Selections From Wipeout 2097 – The Soundtrack (With A Quick Mass Effect 3 Rant)

I’ve been annoyed by something over the past few weeks, and I’ve continually debated with myself if it’s something I wanted to bring up on this blog. But since I’m posting a video game soundtrack tonight, I figure that’s enough of an excuse for me to go on a video game related rant of sorts.

Fucking Mass Effect 3.

If you follow gaming news at all, you know what I’m going to talk about now. If not, a quick summary.

Mass Effect 3 is a video game made by BioWare and distributed by Electronic Arts. As a whole, the Mass Effect series has been widely acclaimed for its amazing story. The characters are nuanced and detailed (with the women actually being characters and not sex objects to be ogled), the conflicts between alien races are fascinating, and the overall themes the games touch on are grand and bold, with some of the greatest dialogue ever to grace video games holding it all together.

The series is also lauded for its high degree of interactivity when it comes to the story. You can choose how to interact with people, how to solve quests, and in some cases who lives and who dies. What’s even more impressive is that the choices you make in one game carry over to the next. So the people and situations I experience in ME3 will vary widely from those experienced by another player depending on how they played the other games in the series.

So you can see how gamers would develop an attachment to the world of the game and its characters, which made playing through the third game all the more painful for them (and me).

Long story short, BioWare fucked up in some pretty major ways when the time came to make ME3, the biggest of which being the ending. Simply put, almost nothing you did actually ends up mattering. The characters you saved/killed, the choices you made, the alliances you forged, none of it really matters. With rare exception, the only difference between the game’s endings is what color explosions you see.

Needless to say, fans were pissed, and since the game’s release, more and more have been sending angry tweets to developers, organizing protests and even filing complaints with the FTC over false advertising. The overall theme of their efforts has been constant: “fix the ending.”

Well, today it paid off when BioWare announced they will be releasing upcoming DLC (downloadable content) that will help to provide “more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey.”

That’s good right? I sure thought so! The fans spoke out and the developers listened!

But I guess it’s bad? I mean, that’s if the gaming media is to be believed.

I follow a lot of gaming journalists on Twitter, and their overwhelming reaction has been one of extreme displeasure. Their basic argument is that BioWare “caved” to fan pressure, and that they’re compromising their “artistic vision” in order to offer what many consider to be fan service and nothing more. Some have even gone as far to claim that this not only sets a dangerous precedent for storytelling in games, but that it also shows that games are somehow a “lesser” form of art.

While some writers have been able to express their distaste in BioWare’s decision with a modicum of class and respect to the gamers who are so passionate about the game, many have simply responded with whiny troll comments, insulting Mass Effect fans’ intelligence. Because we all know that the best way to get someone to agree with you is to insult and belittle them.

Furthermore, I find it curious that the games media is against BioWare for modifying (not CHANGING) the ending of the game, but they seem to have almost no problem with BioWare stripping out content to make overpriced day-one DLC or the fact that you almost need to play multiplayer to get the experience needed to earn the game’s “best” ending.

So, decisions that sour the storytelling experience so BioWare can make more money, those don’t invalidate games as art, but somehow listening to your fans and responding accordingly does? How does that make sense?

As for this setting a “dangerous precedent,” people are giving this instance way too much credit, as if it’s never happened before. Games have had their endings changed with DLC before, Bethesda did it with Fallout 3, and I’m pretty sure that BioWare’s even done it with their games in the past.

Shit, it’s not even unique to video games. Fan reaction often changes the narrative of fiction. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle only “resurrected” Sherlock Holmes after his fans complained to him. Dallas made an entire season of their show a dream to undo the damage they caused (and they retconned the series finale with reunion specials). The makers of the anime Neon Genesis: Evangelion even released an alternate ending to the series to help answer the fans’ questions regarding the show’s bizarre climax. Musicians regularly compromise their artistic vision to sell more records. You can’t just ignore these examples and insist this is something new. Well, I guess you can, but then that just makes you a dick, which is kind of my point.

I wish someone in the gaming press would actually talk about the positive aspects of this, and the positive trends that I hope it might help spread, such as the idea that BioWare and every other video game developer out there should care more about their story and less about figuring out how to squeak out more money from the players. And that when you cut out parts of your story for DLC and skim on the narrative to make us play a boring multiplayer mode, we’re going to take notice and we’re going to call out on it. And when you make bold claims that turn out to be boldfaced lies, we’re going to call you out on that too. You can’t just go around and make shit up and expect it to be okay anymore.

But hey, whatever. It’s just a video game, and I’m sure even the most condescending of people I’ve been arguing with on Twitter aren’t bad people, they just like to get a reaction out of people, and that’s something I’ve certainly been guilty of in the past.

But you know what games don’t need stories? Racing games. Let’s talk about an awesome one of those.

Wipeout XL/2097 – The Album (Selections)

The first Wipeout was released in 1995 for the Sony Playstation, with Saturn and PC ports coming soon after. It’s a futuristic racing game where racers drive not cars, but high speed ships that hover just inches off the ground. It was one of the first games for the PS1 that I played, and I remember it blowing my 16-year-old mind away. It was just so fast! Holy crap! Looking at it now, it seems quaint, but at the time I was just in awe of it.

Wipeout XL (Wipeout 2097 in other Europe) was released a year later. This sequel took everything that was great about the first game and ramped it up to eleven, including the speed. This game was flippin’ fast. Your vehicle would shoot across the track at such high speeds that I remember it was hard to even focus on what was going on sometimes.

In addition to the amazing sense of speed and it’s awesome sleek, futuristic look, each game in the series is also known for it’s excellent electronic soundtrack. Prodigy, The Future Sound of London, Photek, The Propellerheads and many other amazing electronic artists of the era were featuring in Wipeout games, and served for me as an excellent introduction to electronic music past what I was hearing on MTV.

Now that I come to think of it, I think a good deal of my musical tastes were shaped by the soundtracks to the Wipeout games. Without them I certainly would not have discovered electronic music when I did, meaning they probably saved me from a life of late-90s post grunge and indie bullshit. So I was very happy to find a vinyl copy of the soundtrack last week. Since most of the songs on the Wipeout XL/2097 soundtrack were liscened tracks, many of them are available today on CD and digital download. I’m only featuring the ones that are not, enjoy.

Firestarter (Instrumental) 
Don’t worry, it still has the “Hey hey hey!” part.

Future Sound of London
We Have Explosive (Herd Killing)
I never heard of FSOL before Wipeout, and I associate them (and this song) with the game so much that I can never think about one without immediately thinking about the other. I’ve been waiting for a chance to put up a version of “We Have Explosive” for years now, but every other version I own has seen a digital release on Amazon or iTunes. This “Herd Killing” variation, however, has never been released outside of the Wipeout soundtracks from what I can tell. And if it has, any album/single that has it is long out of print.

A different version of the song than the one that’s included on Orbital’s In Sides album.

The Chemical Brothers
Leave Home (Underworld Mix I) (Edit)
Another alternate version that’s exclusive to this soundtrack, this one clocks in at about three minutes shorter than the one on the leave home single. Great tune, Underworld really put their stamp on it with this remix.

The Third Sequence
I could be wrong (I’m wrong a lot after all) but I’m fairly certain that these two tracks by Photek were made exclusively for Wipeout XL. Aside from a 12″ single, I don’t think they ever got any other official release. That’s especially odd considering that “Titan” doesn’t even appear in the game itself, just the soundtrack CD. If you like 90s DnB then you should seriously dig on these tunes, they’re great.

Source Direct
Another track that’s on the CD/LP but not actually in the game itself.  A great tune none the less, very reminiscent of Photek.

Atom Bomb
V Six
Hey, two songs that were actually in the game! This version of “Atom Bomb” clocks in at a whopping eight minutes, and is different than the version that would later appear on a Fluke album. “V Six” is a straight up exclusive to this soundtrack, and never saw a release on any Fluke record as far as I know. It’s not as great as “Atom Bomb” (few things are) but it’s a great hard-driving electronic tune, the kind of thing you want to listen to while driving a hovership at 200 miles per hour.

Afro Ride
I want to ride on a giant afro. That would be awesome. This was also the b-side to “Afro Left.”

10 Responses to “Selections From Wipeout 2097 – The Soundtrack (With A Quick Mass Effect 3 Rant)”

  1. dubrobots says:

    Afro Ride is readily available to buy. Would be a shame to take it down cos it’s fabulous, but if it means so much to you to not post legally available stuff…

  2. Lost Turntable says:

    I don’t believe it is in the states, which I where I am.

  3. dubrobots says:

    If you’re happy with that, then cool, just thought I’d mention it

    Not being a gaming type, I’ve never heard that version of Petrol, so ta for that

    “Ta” is British for thanks, in case the language barrier is a problem 🙂

  4. Guest says:

    Wip3out was what really got me into contemporary electronic music. Previously was only in 70s/80s ‘space-music’ like Vangelis and Tangerine Dream. After playing the game, I got Sasha’s Xpander and Orbital’s Middle of Nowhere. The game disc was the type where the music was stored on individual tracks so it could be listen to on a cd player.

    Then later heard the soundtrack to Wipeout 2097, although I never played the game itself.

  5. Drain says:

    from what i’ve been reading is that most people are of the same consensus regarding the ME3 ending. they wouldn’t have minded an ending where shepard died but take exception that every ending is that. also, they recall that bioware made the bold claim of having 16 different endings but somehow only have 6 which are damn near identical. now, i’m entirely against the occasional bummer ending (L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption as examples) as it is the story being told and i can live with it. but to have such boastful claims and not even deliver on them would rightfully so make any fan complain about lack of choice. also, now that we know that he dies at the end of every ending…what would make someone who hasn’t played it want to play it?

    but on to the music…excellent stuff you posted tonight. i had no clue that there was an 8minute version of “atom bomb”. also, i didn’t know the instrumental version of “firestarter” wasn’t readily available in digital form, makes me glad i got the “firestarter” single years ago when i came across a used copy.

  6. Adam B says:

    Is this related at all to a soundtrack I DL’d many moons ago called _Wipeout Pure_? Possibly the next in a series of Wipeout games?

  7. Lost Turntable says:

    That’s a sequel.

  8. Tim says:

    I don’t know a lot about Future Sound of London, but what I do know, is that you should check out their debut single, ‘Papua New Guinea’ which is an ambient classic:

  9. Lost Turntable says:

    Yes, Papa New Guinea is a classic for sure.

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