It's time to bow down. With new tracks, weapons, and ships, and improved graphics, Wipeout XL is one of the top second generation titles for the Playstation this quarter. Wipeout XL has six all-new tracks and two hidden bonus tracks. There are fifteen ships, seven more than the original game. Each ship's strengths and weaknesses appear right on screen: top speed, turning ability, shield level, energy level, thrust, and aerodynamics. Wipeout XL's turning has been fine tuned, making it much tighter, yielding superior control and "road hugging." The weapons in the original Wipeout slowed the opponent down but yielded little satisfaction. In the sequel, it is possible to completely eliminate a weak opponent from the race. The earthquake weapon is unspeakably awesome.
The graphics in Wipeout XL show the benefits of a year's efforts. The tracks are more detailed, with parrots flying through the lush vegetation of the South American track and monorails cruising along beside the hovercars. The background visuals are elaborate to the point of distraction. The weapons are visually spectacular, and seeing the light trails behind the hovercars is just plain cool. The sound effects are an improvement over those in the original, offering sonic details of everything from the laying of mines, to the explosion of a direct missile hit. The music soundtrack features a mix of techno and ambient house tracks that perfectly matches the pace of the game. The artificial intelligence has been tweaked up a few notches and will aggressively attempt to eliminate players right from the start. Wipeout XL is linkable, providing head-to-head racing action for two Playstations. Wipeout fans, this is a must buy. For those of you who have lived under a rock for the past year, get with it and reach for XL.