Games and Internet
PLAYSTATON Point Blank 2 (NamCO) £34.99 1‘"): )‘I a x
In the smoke-filled, bingo-shouting, neon emporiums we call Video arcades, children from fourteen to 40 brace themselves in front of colourful cabinets, plastic weapon in hand, blasting the livmg daylights Out of anything that moves, Among the crisp Vi'rtua Cop, the crawling horror of House Of The Dead or the ducking and diVing of Time CNS/s, one title has truly captured the essence of light gun pleaSure It is Namco's Point B/ank range. The graphics are cartoon-like and childish, the sOund and music are painfully poor and the games themselves can last less than five seconds, Yet, for all this, Point Blank remains the finest arcade shooter you can pomt a piece of plastic at.
This second instalment to appear on the PlayStation is as wrckedly infectious as its predecessor, retaining the cheeky, insidiously compelling aura that defines Pomt Blank. There are hundreds of games to play, from one- shot tests of acCuracy to finger-aching speed and stamina rounds, all packaged in a variety of game modes The multiplayer rounds are heavenly and, for the extravagant who own two light guns, Point Blank 2 Will make you everyone's best mate, Pure pleasure (ID)
Speed Freaks (Funcom) £39.99 a w k s.
Since the release of Super Mario Kart, many have tried, and failed, to copy its beautiful SlmpllClly. The latest challenger is Speed Freaks, a festival of cartoon karting from Funcom. Choosing one of the kiddie characters, you race over a variety of tracks, firing rockets and slinging slime from your stylised go-kart, as your five opponents challenge you for the title. It's all rip- roaring fun With little or no pOint. Unfortunately, after a few hours play, little niggles creep in to sme the experience. Why, for example, do
108 THE lIST 23 Sep-7 Oct 1999
Wip3out (Psygnosis) £39.99 w it t
Psygnosis created their own little gaming legend when they released the first of the Wipeout games. Combining fantastic gameplay, some decidedly cool dance tunes and an omnipresent design, Wipeout shifted the entire gaming industry up a gear. Then the follow-up, Wipeout 2097 upped the stakes even further. It was faster, sleeker, contained even more retina- ripping graphics and blasted out another stack of bass- thumping techno tracks. To say that everyone was gagging for Wip3out seriously under-emphasises the case.
Now, after a wait of nearly three years, the third instalment has arrived and what a disappointment it is. Not that it is a bad game being, essentially, more of the same. However, it plays like so much less. The racing circuits are nowhere near as butt-clenchingly frantic as before and, being located in a single city, they lack real visual impact. Where are the ice caverns of the first game or the Aztec temples of 2097? Every subsequent
and winding road: Wip3out
Wip3out circuit feels like a windier version of the previous one. None of them have guts.
For the trigger-happy, there are a few more pickups available but, again, these are sadly underdeveloped. As well as the shield, there are cloaks and deflectors to use while, on offence, there are false walls, improved missiles and power drains with which to beat your opponents. None of these come close to the unbridled joy of playing Wipeout 2097 and unleashing a quake weapon for the first time. Indeed, in Wip3out, the quake has been speeded up, reducing it to a blink-and- you'll-miss it wobble on the screen. For many this will be sacrilege.
And what about the soundtrack, that now essential piece of kit which Wipeout invented, that cunning marketing ploy which drags Wipeout demos to dance clubs the length and breadth of the UK? Composed and compiled by top disc spinner Sasha, it is as limp and watery as a kiss from your grandmother. Cheers Sasha!
For the uninitiated (surely a minority), Wip3out will blow you away. For the rest of the world, this is a sickeningly poor joke. A ’Firestarter' it ain’t.
developers insist on endowmg your computer opponents With the desire to attack you and you alone? They might be challenging for the lead, but still they launch missiles at you struggling along in fourth place. It's also infuriating that, alth0ugh you race past them eaSin on lap one, they have the speed to bother you for the next four. A level playing field makes a game so much more enjoyable.
Close encounter: Point Blank 2
That said, Speed Freaks has some entertaining circuits, some dastardly weapons and looks lovely. Super Mario Kart still holds the crown but Speed Freaks has earned its position in court. (ID)
G-Police 2: Weapons Of Justice (Psygnosis) £39.99 * it *
Psygnosis know how to present a game Like Wipeout, the G-Po/i'ce games have an all-pervading air of class created by some beautiful design. Set two weeks after the original, Weapon Of Justice continues the story of Kallisto City’s struggle to maintain law and order.
Gorgeoust created it may be, but beneath the gloss, G-Po/ice 2 suffers
badly from trying to please too many people. After the Widely varying
attitudes to the first game, Psygnosis
consulted focus groups, reacted
accordingly and have ruined what was a promising series. The main criticism of the first game was the very short
draw distance. Buildings would
suddenly appear in front of your Havoc gunship, and bumping into objects was a regular occwrence. To combat
this, G-Po/i'ce 2 now draws the
distance in Wireframe, only filling the
structures in as you approach Although this helps prevent ineVitable collisions, it means that the proper 'filled in’ distance is now even shorter, killing any sense of flying through a city. This cripples the game and despite the addition of more vehicles to pilot, you quickly tire of the chaotic Visuals
Hopefully Psygnosis Will learn to give people what they want, not what they think they want. (ID)
Castrol Honda Superbike (THO) £39.99 iv v: i: it
It is strange that, With so many racing titles flying off the shelves, motorbikes should be so criminally under- represented. Since the original Road Rash, there has been neither Sight nor sound of a decent two—tiered title and, With such a variety of styles to choose from — dirt biking, big tourers, extreme motorcross — you'd think developers would be tripping over themselves to capture the experience.
Well, leather-clad gamers can relax, Castro/ Honda Superbike is a top-class racmg title With the Formula 1 of
biking truthfully re-created in all but
the smell. From a good selection of Viewpomts, the speed, power and grace of this sport is eaSin transferred