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Wipeout HD's Sol 2

Wipeout is a series of futuristic racing games developed by SCE Studio Liverpool (formerly Psygnosis), widely regarded as the Play Station's answer to Nintendo's F-Zero series. Players race anti-gravity craft at speeds of several hundred kilometers per hour (Several thousand in some games), while exchanging weapons fire and attempting to avoid potential elimination (an element introduced in the second game). Visuals and atmosphere are two of the hallmarks of the Wipeout series; the first three games were made in cooperation with well-known Sheffield design agency The Designers Republic.

The original Wipeout, released in 1995, was the first non-Japanese game for the PlayStation. Seven installments have been produced since:

  • Play Station: 2097/XL (1996) and 3 (1999; Special Edition rerelease in 2000)
  • Nintendo 64: 64 (1998; strange, as Psygnosis was a Sony subsidiary by this point)
  • PS2: Fusion (2002) and a port of Pulse (2008)
  • PSP: Pure (2005) and Pulse (2007)
  • PS3: HD (2008; Fury expansion in 2009)
  • Vita: 2048 (Vita Launch Title; seeks to have cross-platform play with HD Fury)

The first two games were also ported to the Sega Saturn and PC, among other platforms.

Not to be confused with a a game show involving finding which answers don't belong, or a that obstacle course show with the Big Balls.

This game series contains examples of:

  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The Quake Disruptor weapon. The wall is a tsunami of asphalt.
  • All There in the Manual: The series's story is barely touched on in the actual games, while supplementary materials flesh out the context of the games throughout nearly two centuries of anti-gravity racing.
    • A lot of this material is almost totally exclusive to the websites promoting the games themselves, and the older sites have since vanished from the internet. Some archives do exist though.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In the early games, opponents followed predetermined paths at fixed intervals from each other. This got toned down a bit for the series's later installments.
    • They also didn't use half of the weapons. When they gained access to all weapons for Fusion, it became clear why. For one, it made unlocking weapons a bad thing: being able to fire one quake or gravity blast about every six times you got nailed with one from any of the 15 other ships on the track isn't a good trade-off. Things got more balanced in this regard with Pure and its comparative lack of area effect weapons, though it is still hard to overtake a pack of ships without getting mines or a bomb in your face every time you are about to catch up.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The Plasma Bolt was a One-Hit Kill in earlier games, but had a long charge time and only goes in a straight line. As of Pulse, it is slightly easier to use but no longer a guaranteed KO.
    • In Wipeout 3, it was both easy to use AND an instant kill. Elimination contests came down to how many plasma bolts you got. Luckily, elimination mode was revamped in later games, though Pulse has an overpowered unlimited duration leech beam in eliminator mode.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: The Quake Disruptor. It has always been the most useful powerup, and it's very cool to boot, causing a large wave on the track.
    • Except in 2097 where it was first introduced. It was slower than in the later installments; in fact, it moved at about the same pace as a Phantom class ship. The end result was a large wall of tarmac in front of your nose blocking your vision. This made it virtually useless on Phantom class.
    • In some iterations, you can actually fire the quake backwards either by stopping and turning around before firing (Pure, Pulse, HD Fury), or by simply looking backwards before firing (Fusion). This is especially fun if you're in first place because you're pretty much guaranteed to hit everyone behind you!
  • Blood Sport: Well, you have weapons. The rest follows. (Unless you're playing the original game, in which the weapons merely slowed opponents down.) In Eliminator mode, players must eliminate a select number of opponents before the race ends.
  • Boring but Practical: The Auto Pilot. The Speed Boost.
    • And the humble missile, which is usually an amazing sleeper weapon because it has long range and a powerful effect. And in the first two games there was a weapon (Shockwave/Electrobolt) that would slow down the target while doing virtually no damage; despite this, the slowdown added up to more time lost than any of the explosive weapons and it was the best weapon, followed by the missile. It was still removed in Wipeout Fusion by the development team because it was considered useless. Fools.
    • The energy shield. Time it correctly and you will make it through the Quake unharmed... and if you do, everyone around you (and in front!) gets blasted senseless, leaving you with a chance to take the lead. Every bit as good as shooting that quake yourself!
  • Canon Dis Continuity: Wipeout Fusion was poorly received among the series fan base due to changes in gameplay, the removal of teams dating back to the original game, and lackluster visual design (being the first entry without The Designers Republic's input). The backstory to Pure undid most of these changes, attributing the excesses of Fusion to Executive Meddling and the placement of profit over ethics.
  • Cherry Tapping: Running into walls or other competitors can cause Critical Existence Failure at low ship energy levels. Nudging opponents to death is very possible and very hilarious.
    • And the natural follow-up to a Shield Raider in Wipeout 64 which leaves the target with 1 point of energy.
  • Coca Pepsi Inc: EG-R and Xios merging into EG-X.
  • Cold War: The American (Auricom) and Russian (Qirex) teams are in perpetual rivalry.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Rubberbanding AI ensures you will never win a race by more than a few seconds. In tournaments, the same opponent will always finish all races in first place, unless you finish first in which case he gets a guaranteed second (barring some highly focused strategic weapon play on the player's part)
    • In the PSP iterations, the opponents will have unlimited boost usage in the first lap. Oh, and you always start in last position. Good luck catching up!
  • Computer Voice: "Contender eliminated", as well as on weapon pick-up. Wipeout HD's computer voice reads off a pre-flight check-list before a race begins. "... Shield levels: check. Engines: check. Ship functions: check. Switching to manual."
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Comes to a head in Fusion's F9000 league.
  • Deflector Shields: Loads of 'em. There's the temporary shield, the reflector, the force wall....
  • Difficulty by Acceleration: Zone races use this.
  • Difficulty Levels: Vector, Venom, Flash, Rapier, and Phantom.
    • Vector class is removed in later games, probably for being Easier Than Easy at it's incredibly slow (for a racing game) top speed. Imagine the 50cc class from Mario Kart, then make it 25cc and give it wings.
      • Of course, it went from Vector/Venom/Rapier/Phantom to Venom/Flash/Rapier/Phantom. And Vector was only really painfully slow in the third game.
        • ...and Pure.
  • Downloadable Content: the PSP titles have new tracks, vehicles and songs that can be brought in.
    • No Export for You: Pulse's DLC is only available to European consumers. (Well, and torrent users; but, as this piracy-minded troper can attest, installing the things after you download them is a completely different question.)
  • Dueling Games: With F-Zero.
  • Eagle Land: Auricom, as the representative of the United States and Canada. Its portrayal is generally positive, as shown in its being the first to withdraw from the corrupt F9000.
    • In Fusion their superweapon was a Kill Sat, but the team leader told you to 'please not use it too much' because it violated the 'beauty of the sport'. (Sorry, I can't hear you over the CONTENDER ELIMINATED. Heh.)
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Piranha is mentioned as a parts manufaturer in the ship specifications section of the first games manual, set almost a full half century before their debut as a racing team in 2097
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first game is markedly different art-wise and has a few gameplay quirks not kept in the sequels.
  • Endless Game: Zone mode, in which the craft keeps going faster until the player can no longer successfully steer through the track.
  • Energy Weapon: The plasma bolt, electro bolt, energy leech, among others.
  • Fan Nickname: In the early games, there are rescue droids which grab your ship and place you back on the track, should you fall off. The fanbase has nicknamed them "Wuss Wagons".
  • Fictional Document: Loads of them, including various team ship specifications and even branding guidelines.
  • Fragile Speedster: Faster craft tend to have weaker shielding. This is Icaras' hat in all of their appearances.
  • Glass Cannon: The unlockable Zone and Medievil teams in Pure have great stats but pitiful shielding.
    • Icarus have greatest top-speed (It even out-classes Piranha!) in exchange for paper-thin armor. Team's history says that in it's early days, making it to finish line is a great success in itself.
  • Guest Racers: The unlockable Medievil team in Pure. The DLC added ships patterned after Jak and Daxter and SOCOM.
  • Harder Than Hard: Wipeout HD's Elite difficulty is punishing, particularly on Phantom Class. Aside from getting very aggressive with weaponry, the AI ships can quickly turn through the sharpest corners as if they're constantly running Autopilot while STILL maintaining high speeds. In short, it's Wipeout AI upgraded with F-Zero's AI tendencies.
  • Interface Screw: The first two games have an energy weapon which slows the target ship and alters its controls. Pure has the Energy Disruptor, which is similar.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Available as a weapon pick-up in Wip3out.
  • Jack of All Stats: Auricom ships are generally average but balanced in all aspects. In Pulse and HD, this is Mirage's hat (aside from being the weirdest looking ship of the stock game). Assegai and Qirex also count; they have slight boosts in handling and shield, respectively, but they are otherwise average.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: Anti-gravity inventor Pierre Belmondo's AG Systems is bought out by a Japanese conglomerate by the time of the first game.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Usually, the Qirex craft. Triakis, Auricom and Piranha in HD.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Fusion and its multi-track championship format where you have to consistently finish in a good position, along with the existence of the Gravity Bomb and Cryo Rocket which were almost guaranteed to respectively drop you all the way to the bottom of the pack or eliminate you in one hit and pocket change. During the course of the game you were very likely to have at least one championship ruined by some of the various cheap shots in the game. This was dialed down in later installments.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: In the earlier games, the AI was unable to use most advanced weapons and generally stuck to projectiles, which they used eagerly as you approached first place. Most of them missed, even the homing weapons, but the constant spam of incoming weapon warnings was a little unnerving.
  • Mega Corp: The sponsors of the various leagues, as well as the owners of some of the teams (Triakis, for instance). Overtel, which owns the Qirex team, also controls most in-universe communications networks.
    • Harimau and FEISAR avert this however. The former is explicitly named as a humanitarian charity on the Pure website, and the latter is presumably a government owned research firm (The FE stands for Federal European)
      • According to the US manual for Wipeout FEISAR stands for Federal European Industrial Science and Research. The country of origin is European Consortium.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The cover pieces themselves aren't examples, but in-game menus and HUDs have a distinctly stripped-down feel to them, especially in Wipeout 3.
  • The Movie: Not a literal example, but the first game had a humorous billboard which said, "Stuff explodes in Wipe Out: The Movie!"
  • Multinational Team: FEISAR, the official team of United Europe, has headquarters in 12 countries. The games use the resulting inefficiency to explain why FEISAR's ships are so slow. Icaras, originally introduced as a British team in Wipeout 3, also becomes this in the later games.
    • Similarly, Assegai is the official team of the United African Nations, though it's unknown how many different nations the UAN spans.
  • Nintendo Hard: The earlier games had a rather unforgiving learning curve. Wipeout HD is also considered by some to be the hardest in the series, but later patches introduced difficulty levels for those who struggled against the insane AI and speed.
    • The hardest two challenges in the series: untextured bonus track 4 on Phantom speed in Wipeout 3 (intended as an ultimate challenge, the AI is insanely fast here) and combo challenge 5 in Wipeout 64 (win a race on the hardest track in the game on the highest speed at the controls of a flying brick, and kill 7 opponents with your only weapon being your superweapon which is great at slowing down opponents but does almost no damage).
  • No Export for You: Wipeout Pulse got re-released for Play Station 2 with all the Europe-exclusive DLC already installed and unlocked... in Europe. Still no export
  • Nostalgia Level: Bonus and downloadable content tends to include track remakes from earlier games. Between every game (and including the mirrored and simplified track clones in Wipeout 64) the Altima track appeared four times; Talon's Reach, Gare d'Europa and Karbonis appeared three times.
  • Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Just look at the list of game titles. Fusion added or changed a number of gameplay elements, while Pure was intended as a return to the series' roots.
  • Oh Crap: Enabled by the weapons announcer, which gives you just enough time to brace for impact but rarely enough time to actually dodge the incoming weapon if it can be dodged at all.
    • "Shields critical. Quake."
    • The Cryo Rocket weapon in Wipeout Fusion. Its most noticeable effect was that colliding with anything would take off half of your shield and getting hit with a weapon would destroy you instantly. If you didn't explode before you realised what was happening, you could survive by making absolutely no mistakes for the next ten seconds. Needless to say, the AI is much better at avoiding random collisions, making the weapon all but useless when the player is behind the crosshairs.
  • One-Hit Kill: The plasma bolt in eariler iterations.
  • Prequel: 2048, the PSV launch title, takes place fifty years before the first game, before anti-gravity racing has become an established sport.
  • Product Placement: The first game has conspicuous advertising for Psygnosis' other titles. 2097 followed with a level of Red Bull ads that almost made it feel like a promotional game, on top of the pervasive signage devoted to the soundtrack artists. Later games have mostly parodied this trope through the placement of fictional advertisements for teams and race sponsors throughout the tracks in very conspicuous locations. (One ill-considered update to Wipeout HD added advertisements to loading screens, which were quickly removed after an Internet Backdraft, not least concerning the additional load time spent waiting for the ad.)
    • Fusion. Kappa ads.
      • For the uninformed, Kappa is a clothing store.
    • The Red Bull ads are almost Truth in Television, since the drink sponsors many "extreme" sports in the real world, so Anti Gravity racing would be right up their street. Also since 2097's release, Red Bull now sponsors not one but two Formula One teams.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Some of the biggest names in the techno business have produced tracks for the game, ranging from The Prodigy to the Future Sound of London.
    • And Kraftwerk!
    • And Sasha, who produced four songs exclusively for Wip3out, named after the game's racing teams.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The team name "Piranha" from 2097 was somehow consistently turned into "Pirhana" in 3, and then changed back for Fusion.
    • Lampshaded when they realised their mistake: Pirhana is supposedly a merger of the teams "Pir" and "Hana".
  • Rule of Cool: The Quake Disruptor sends a massive ripple down the track, damaging all opponents that it hits. It would be completely unworkable in real life, but it's certainly impressive.
  • Scenery Porn: One suspects that this is half of the reason that Wipeout has an autopilot pick-up (the other half being the higher difficulty levels).
    • Zone Mode strips the track environment down to basic colors and uses it as a giant trippy visualizer for whatever music happens to be playing.
      • Is it possible for menus to be scenery porn? Cause they are.
  • Serious Business: Wars break out in the aftermath of the scandal-ridden F9000's collapse between Fusion and Pure.
    • The home base of one of the teams gets bombed.
  • Shark Tunnel: A staple of the series.
  • Shout-Out: Auricom's name is a reference to Psygnosis's rail shooter Novastorm, in which one of the generic enemy ship is said to be manufactured by "Auricom Systems".
  • Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: The settings cover the whole spectrum, actually, with everything from smog-belching powerplants and Blade Runner-style cities to immaculate public parks and high-end shopping malls.
  • Start My Own: The backstory to Pure', has a Qirex engineer being dissapointed by their new designs and starting her own team.
  • Tradesnark: Most logos in the earlier games have a conspicuous "©", "®", or "™" marking. This has lessened since The Designers Republic left the series. Most games since Fusion have a more realistic, less obvious use of trademark symbols.
    • This was something of a theme in Designers Republic non-commercial work in the late 90s, which spilled over into some of their commissioned stuff like the Wipeout universe.
  • Updated Rerelease: Wipeout 3 Special Edition added tracks from the first two Wipeout games. HD took tracks from Pure and Pulse.
  • Vehicular Combat : Pretty much the Trope Codifier of this game subgenre.
  • Wacky Racing: Supersonic hovercraft shooting weapons at each other.
    • Though the visuals and setting play it slightly more realistically than most
  • Wave Motion Tuning Fork: Auricom's original super weapon, Energy Sphere, which, other than being chargeable, behaves mostly like the Plasma Bolt.
  • We Care: "Let's be friends!" is AG Systems' slogan in Wipeout 3.
  • What Could Have Been: The original version of Fusion was quite different. Psygnosis had developed the game using high-powered PCs as they did not receive the Play Station 2 dev kits on time, assuming the Emotion Engine could handle it. It turned out the two architectures were completely incompatible and this early version had to be scrapped.
  • You Don't Look Like You
    • Wipeout XL ditched the first game's pseudo-realistic homogenized, decaled ship designs in favor of a more sci-fi look.
    • When The Designers Republic left the series, Fusion had a radically different visual style by a different design group which was not well recieved by long-term fans. Pure fixed this by returning to a style closer to Wipeout.
    • The vehicles in Wipeout HD's Fury expansion pack are... quite different. (They look more like seperated part attached to each other to form up the ship. Unlike preceeding Wipeout where ships look more solid.)
    • Goteki45's ship in Pure is unlike either of their other appearances, and was the most unusual design that was included in the basic game.
    • Happens once again in Wipeout 2048 with AG crafts more streamlined. Justified that the game settings take place earlier than most of Wipeout games.
      • The craft in the video featured also resembles a piece of Wipeout concept art that's been doing the rounds since 3, so it might also be a case of technology catching up with the artists visions.
  1. For this particular one, it has an accurate transliteration of "Designers Republic" in katakana.