Loop is a new futuristic racer along the lines of the Wipeout series by
Psygnosis, and its one of the most addictive racers Ive played in a
long time. The year is, well, some unspecified year in the future.
Gasoline supplies have dwindled, and cars have ground to a halt. The
future of racing has nothing to fear, however, because we humans have
found new toys to play with. Magnetic powered vehicles zip around the
track at breath taking speeds dodging land mines, powering past the
competition, and the action has never been better.
One of the many benefits of these new techno racer vehicles is the ability to fire up the magnets and cling to the track during those times when gravity isnt our friend. Thanks to the magnets, those wussy racing tracks of the 20th Century are a thing of the past. In their place we have tracks that look more like slightly sadistic, gargantuan roller coasters complete with loops, barrel rolls, near free fall drops and corners that look anything but possible. As your racer zips around the course your vehicle loses energy, and with it speed, at a pretty steady pace. To keep your energy charged up and your vehicle moving at top speed its necessary to drive through charge-up areas randomly spread all over the track. So in addition to contending with a roller coaster of a course at breakneck speeds, you have to zig-zag across the track itself to keep hitting the energy charge-ups. Its an extremely wild ride, but its not over yet. Eight other racers think they ought to finish the race before you do, and theyre willing to make their point with land mines, rockets, lasers, homing missiles, shields, and turbo charged battering rams.
Successfully navigating these courses is quite a challenge, and requires split second reflexes and flawless control. Youll have to provide the reflexes, but Killer Loop provides the flawless control with a phenomenal steering scheme that combines excellent D-pad steering with smooth strafing buttons to give you the control necessary to slide through the intense levels. The racing pods even have the ability to dislodge their turret and fire in a complete circle while retaining forward momentum.
The level design in Killer Loop is outstanding, and it only gets better as you unlock the hidden tracks. Among the highlights of the excellent level design are speeding and spiraling through a three hundred and sixty degree underwater glass tunnel in Hawaii, plummeting down the intense twisting and sometimes clouded peaks of the Himalayas, racing through Needle Rock, which has you defying gravity as often as not and features some super sweet drops, as well as racing on Mars, on a Spacestation, and in a Holodrome.
The superb graphic quality only enhances the level design and great game play. The graphics are as good as anything on the Playstation. Whats better still is that they run super smooth, without any clipping, and the frame rate always stays constant. These factors go a long way toward completing the illusion of speed.
There are initially three vehicles selectable for play. When you beat all of the races in class one with the same vehicle you unlock a new upgraded version of the vehicle and a new class of races where the vehicles are faster and the competition tougher. There are four different race classes, each one faster and tougher than the last, each with one new track, and each one with three new upgraded vehicles for a total of twelve cars, three for each class.
Killer Loop is a rocking game, but in order to play youre going to have to rock alone. In a tragedy rarely equaled this side of Shakespeare, no multiplayer mode was added to Killer Loop. None, nada, nothing. This is a racing game, and why no two-player racing mode was provided defies belief. In order to entertain more than one person youll be forced to pass the controller back and forth, seeing who can beat a track first, or who has the best lap-time. Not only is this not as much fun as racing against one another, but the sterility of two people trying to smack talk about lap times is comical, and damn near un-American. Somebody dropped the ball here, and dropped it in a big way.
A while back I wrote that the formula for a great racing game is: good graphics + great control + lots of interesting tracks to drive around on. Id like to amend that formula to add in the one element I took as a given it must have multi-player mode in order to fulfill its potential.
As it stands, Killer Loop is an arcade racer of the highest magnitude, and its the most fun Ive had with a racer in quite some time. Unfortunately, the lack of a multi-player mode is going to limit the games appeal for a lot of gamers, plain and simple. If you love racing games, and youre not going to be bothered by an exclusively one player racer, then Killer Loop is a definitely a must play game.