When you first start up Crave's futuristic PlayStation racer Killer Loop, you'll be amazed by how much it looks, sounds, and feels like Psygnosis' Wipeout series. But while it does borrow heavily from that trilogy (and Psygnosis' Rollcage), Killer Loop has enough differences to give it its own identity, ruining perfectly good lines such as "Wipeout done by a cover band."
Yes, it's the future once again, and you and your suspension of disbelief drive magnetically powered vehicles that can stick to tracks even when they weave and flip contrary to gravity. The basic sci-fi racing conventions are observed here: You gather power-ups while careening around the track, and you can fire weapons to slow opponents down. Killer Loop is different from the other games in that speed power-ups are essential for you to maintain your top velocity, or else your speed will inch down to a crawl. Also important for you to snag is the magnet energy power-up, which lets you have enough energy to climb the walls to gather power-ups on the ceiling - or just hang on during the more winding sections of raceway.
You'll quickly start memorizing the locations of all the power-ups on the tracks, which is always a sign of a compelling racer, but Killer Loop isn't without drawbacks. The biggest problem with the game is its lack of a two-player mode, something pretty unforgivable in a genre that has even seen two-player tournament modes that also contain computer-controlled AI opponents. Its weapon selection also leaves a lot to be desired. Instead of the myriad inventive little zammies that you must choose from in Wipeout 3 and Extreme G, you get missiles, lasers, homing missiles, mines, shields, and ram shields. The only one with a shred of originality is the last, which protects you, speeds you up, and lets you bash into your opponents without damaging your craft.
The visuals in Killer Loop are relatively pop-up free, but in contrast are also quite basic looking. While the frame rate is high, the illusion of speed isn't as well maintained as in other similar games. The techno-ambient soundtrack, however, is very listenable and fits the title very well.
Its basic nature aside, there is fun to be had with Killer Loop. Though fans of futuristic racing games may find more style, depth, and substance elsewhere, the game offers some nice tracks and a decent, challenging time - albeit sans multiplayer racing.