Wipeout HD vs. F-Zero GX

Why one Radar editor thinks the PS3 game doesn't come close to the Gamecube racer


This category shouldn't really be up for consideration. Combat was never a factor in the original F-Zero game. It was all about unblinking concentration and the challenge of taking first place without crashing out long before the end of the race. Additional violence wasn't necessary.

But unfortunately, from the N64's F-Zero X onwards, attacks have been available in the shape of ship spins and swipes. To be honest they're awkward and a bit useless, and it's possible - and much more enjoyable - to win every race through pure driving instead. But by including them, F-Zero GX has put itself up for comparison to Wipeout's machine guns, mines, rockets and the mighty Quake Disruptor. Naturally, it loses. Bad F-Zero.

Winner: Wipeout HD

Level of challenge

I'm not going to pretend Wipeout HD is an easy game, but... Well by now you knew there was going to be a 'but', didn't you?

Wipeout is fast, hard and takes major finesse and track knowledge to master. And we love it for all of that. But the relative regularity of its tracks, the inclusion of proper weapons and the option of pilot assistance certainly make it less of a conquest than F-Zero GX.

Vomit-inducing speed, twenty-nine aggressive rival cars, tracks which require psychic abilities, precognitive reactions and a different skill every three seconds to deal with, terrifyingly precise twitch controls... All of these things make F-Zero GX a more hardcore game from the get-go.

But then there are the hidden layers of the control physics. While based around the same accelerator and air-brakes model as Wipeout, F-Zero does a lot more with them. For starters, it was the game that pioneered snaking to build up ludicrous velocities, and intentionally so according to the designers. But beyond that, there are stacks more ways to exploit the air brake and collision physics. With proper mastery, it's possible to take right-angled corners at full acceleration without drifting out, and even use turns to build speed, sometimes reaching over 2000 mph. When you consider that standard top speed is around 1100, that's some pretty impressive driving.

Oh, and did I mention that you can design and pimp out your own machine from the ground up from dozens and dozens of unlockable parts in the vast garage mode? The depth on offer here could drown a man. In my case, it has. And I love it. You will too.

Winner: F-Zero GX

F-Zero GX wins. F-Zero-GX wins without a scrap of a hint of a shadow of a doubt. It's understandable that you might have missed it the first time around, but given how many of you own a Wii and are craving hardcore gaming for it, you have no excuse now. Not only is GX a timelessly brilliant game that stands up to any of its modern day competition - seriously, crank the resolution to HD and it could probably pass on a current gen machine - it's also easily available for rock bottom prices. Justin picked up a copy on Ebay for around £7 just this very morning in fact. You should too. What are you waiting for?

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Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.
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