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Wipeout HD

Wipeout HD

Publisher: Sony
Platform: Playstation 3 exclusive
Price (as reviewed): £11.99/$20 (PSN download only)

Back in the depths of history (1993 for the factoids amongst you), a new games console was introduced to the world. This console came to be known as the PlayStation, developed by Sony, and would change the face of gaming forever.

That's what Sony said, anyway. The two other console titans of the day, Nintendo and Sega, were not concerned. After all, Sony made consumer goods – televisions and Walkmans – so it couldn't oust the incumbents, could it?

Unfortunately for both Sega and Nintendo, Sony quickly took over the crown of leading console manufacturer. Sega threw in the towel of hardware development altogether as a result, while Nintendo moved further and further away from the hardcore gamers that had grown up with its systems.

Wipeout HD

Probably the main reason why Sony won the console war hands down was that it realised that the gamers that had grown up with Nintendo and Sega were now adults, and had a different set of priorities and tastes. Where Nintendo and Sega tended to focus on the younger end of the gaming market, Sony pitched its console firmly towards adults, and its games tended to have more adult themes. It’s the difference between Resident Evil and Super Mario Bros. 2.

One of the launch titles for Sony’s new console was Wipeout, then developed by Psygnosis. With its music and looks straight from the club scene of the day, the game helped cement the Playstation's position as an adult-oriented platform, and the game itself spent many weeks at the top of the charts, both in Europe and the US.

Almost 15 years on from the first incarnation, Psygnosis – now known as SCE Studio Liverpool – has revisited the series in glorious high definition, and we take a look to see whether SCE is just wallowing in nostalgia, or whether it has produced a game fit for the twenty-first century.

Wipeout HD

For those of you who have been hiding in caves on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border for the last few years, Wipeout HD is essentially a racing game set in the future. Rather than use boring old cars, which are so passé in the latter half of the twenty-first century, races are run using anti-gravity vehicles on specially designed tracks. Each track has a number of power-up pads which either boost your craft's speed or provide single-use weapons or shields.

Anti-gravity racing is serious business though, and you'll really need those weapons if you're hoping to win your races. This isn't F1: there's no disqualification for bumping into other competitors in this game.

There's nothing new in terms of tracks and craft in Wipeout HD though – the tracks and power-ups in the game are copies of some of the tracks found in the recent PSP versions of Wipeout – and if you've played any of the original games, the controls will feel as familiar to you as something that's very familiar to you.