Title Wipe-Out Game Type Sport Company Gonzo Games Compatibility A500 Players 2 HD Installable No Submission Hungry Horace Review So I finally come to review this strange game that has somehow made a real impression on me of late. Although it is not one that I owned back in my youth, I had a passing recollection of an Amiga Format coverdisk demo and a copy that I was never able to make fully work. Nonetheless, remaining were some vague memories of a few short, and entertaining games; enough to root the game's name at the back of my mind to fester over the years. Eventually, I set about investigating a little deeper to find just what ‘the deal’ was with Wipe-Out. Why is it so rarely mentioned? Why are the few fleeting references to it on modern websites so scathing, yet the reviews of the time were so much more full of praise? These were questions I had to answer. Judgement must be cast. Such questions are easily answered when you do come to play Wipe-Out using the normal methods for emulation. The game sadly has no HD installer, and the ADF version is one of the worst I have ever seen. You will struggle to get the game to run, or find yourself at the mercy of the most bizarre of disk routines, with game lock-ups and a dual-colour flashing screen which if featured on television would come with a warning for sufferers of epilepsy. If you can make it past the title screen, one finds game menus largely devoid of text, almost entirely icon based, and it’s easy to see why many people who enjoy ‘trialling’ oft-missed Amiga games these days still managed to pass this one by. So, how to judge it fairly? Simple. E-bay. Game. Box. Disk. Manual….. and my A500. A quick read of the manual is a fast learning experience, and the problems of before quickly begin to fade. It seems the game's poor ADF version stems from modification of the somewhat unusual (read clunky) GonzoDOS save-disk system, which requires the use of a special ‘custom league-disk’ in order to play. However I am reliably informed by the manual that after formatting said league-disk, all my disk-swapping needs are over and I can finally get into playing the game. There are two modes of play, firstly the single-match practice mode. This is more suitable for a quick two-player game, but does let you know how the main gameplay works. What we have at the heart of the game is a familiar format, more commonly known as“Worm or“that Light Cycles thing from the movie‘Tron. However, the premise here is presented in glorious 3D and featuring futuristic hover-boards! Okay, the concept is nothing but a re-working of some tried and tested ideas, but I’ve still yet to see anything else offer anything like it. Only a few games in and I am already having fun with the core gameplay, although it's not exactly smooth on the plain A500. The controls here are like a racer rather than the static nature of your usual lightcycles game; left and right to direct, up and down affect your speed and as a result your turning circle, and fire is used to jump if you have a good enough hoverboard - and there's even a few powerups to collect along the way which can remove you or your opponent's trails, or allow you a free pass through one of the trails, these are activated via the F-keys, though it would be of greater use to have access to them from a joypad combination. On the game screen there is a somewhat essential overhead display to help you out, along with a compass and distance counter to gauge the position of your opponent. There is even the possibility of changing the angle of view, in theory allowing even the smallest of gaps to become negotiable, although finding the time to use such an option during gameplay is highly unlikely! Once you get to grips with the basic idea, its nice to be able to ignore the very limited practice mode, and finally get into the main game. Navigating the menu system without a manual can only be described as a nightmare, yet once you do know your way around it falls into place very nicely. Getting started its best to know that the triangle or‘play’ symbol usually takes you forward a page towards the next fixture, whilst the‘A symbol stands for Abort’. So I begin my league campaign with my own choice of alien character from the array of creatures on offer: a rather apt amorphous blue blob creature by the name of‘Horace and with a randomly selected solar system on the edge of the galaxy from which to begin. It seems there are hundreds of these, each with up to 8 planets. On each planet there is a league, which features 2 arenas. Although the shapes are duplicated, there still appear to be a great number of arenas, varying from some which simply place differently angled walls around the edges, to those which seem to resemble a Stonehenge-esque place of worship, with various (albeit simply drawn) backdrops. Entering into the league system the game presents us with a fantastic amount of game overhead with which to breathe hours and hours of life into the game. I feel an interesting comparison can be drawn with Sensible World of Soccer here, in that you have a good competitive game engine, and then add an interesting fixture / league / career system on top of that which adds the variables to keep the gameplay itself compelling. In Wipe-Out you find yourself having to compete firstly to gain league ranking, and to gain promotion to a higher league. Should you wish to be able to afford to travel to other systems to compete, or even to just upgrade your hover-board, you will also need to find the funds to do so! You can speed this along by placing bets on not only your own matches, but on those of other competitors within the league. Just as you think you are finding it too easy to ace the league, and as you begin to fine-tune your techniques, the next league up provides just the right amount of challenge again to keep you aching to improve and get yourself winning again. The game-play gets faster and tighter, and the controls get better and require more advanced handling as your board improves, but in turn the opponents improve just the right amount to begin to test you again, all without becoming demoralisingly frustrating. It seems I will be playing a long time if I ever want to reach the competitions at the centre of the galaxy! Stepping back to look at what we have with Wipe-Out - even with its obvious flaws I find it difficult not to like this game. We have a fun and interesting game-engine, just not perfectly executed. Of course it would be nice to be smoother, prefereably running on a more advanced Amiga. The graphics could look less dated, (although most aren't hideous, some extra shading would have gone a long way.) The music, unique enough in composition, features a lot of over-used ST-01: (Sound Tracker) sample-disk sounds, which are best silenced after a while with the game's in-built volume control. But essentially, there is good gameplay here, and a plethora of variety bought to it with the full league mode. More often than not, you should find yourself grinning inanely at the immense satisfaction of wiping out a difficult opponent, and the joy of pulling off a particularly tight manoeuvre to do so will leave you glowing with the sheer delight of your own brilliance. There is endless fun to be had for anyone who has ever enjoyed any form of Worm game, or anyone who enjoys an on-going competition format, with just enough variables to the game-play varied. This game might seem like hard work at times, simply through the difficulty in loading a working version, or you might equally be scared by the dated look and sound of it, but if you have the heart, scratch beyond the surface and be rewarded. I genuinely feel you have one of the most overlooked Amiga games in history right here.