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Slipstream 5000 Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Slipstream 5000 was one of the most revolutionary games of 1995, and yet nobody remembers it. Forget Ridge Racer and Daytona USA, this twenty year old racer was filled with unique stages, customizable options and even a multiplayer mode. Too bad this Steam port lacks proper gameplay support. With only a keyboard to work with, Slipstream 5000 is hard to recommend. Rating: 40%
Slipstream 5000
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  • Review Score:

  • C-
Twenty years ago, the PlayStation and Saturn were getting ready to launch with two very limited racing games. Both Ridge Racer and Daytona USA were speedy arcade ports that had only a handful of tracks between them. Worst of all, these games offered nothing in the way of multiplayer modes. They were a big disappointment.

While all this was going on, Slipstream 5000 was quietly pushing the boundaries of what you can expect from a racing game. Trading cars for jets, this 1995 release offered ten vastly different stages, tons of vehicles to choose from and even a competitive two-player mode. It should have been the most-talked about racing game of the year, but somehow Slipstream 5000 got lost in the shuffle and forgotten about for two decades.

To help celebrate the game's twentieth anniversary, KISS Ltd. has brought the long-forgotten racer to Steam. This is not a next-generation remake or remastered version, but rather a straight port of the game the way it was experienced two decades ago. While this is certainly great for posterity, the limited options and dated mechanics make this one hard to play.

The concept is simple enough: You fly around ten courses based on popular cities from around the world. Your goal is to come in first, collect the earnings, customize your jet and continue the winning streak. It's a simple premise with just enough depth to put the other racing games of the era to shame.

Slipstream 5000 (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Beyond simply flying around in a first-person cockpit view, racers will be able to equip weapons to take down their opponents. Much like wipEout and Mario Kart, it's easy to go from last to first thanks to some well-placed shots. And thanks to the lock-on target, firing the various weapons couldn't be easier. But beware; the enemies are quick to use the weapons against you.

With a quality joystick in hand, I can imagine Slipstream 5000 blowing people's minds in 1995. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a quality joystick. I tried several USB controllers, only to find that none of them worked the way they should. This is especially disappointing when you discover how difficult the jets are to fly with nothing but a keyboard. This is certainly not the way the developers meant the game to be played.

Slipstream 5000 (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

For what it's worth, the ten stages are diverse and full of multiple paths. Each stage is based on a different geographical location, so expect to see a lot of famous landmarks throughout the world tour. While a few of these courses really shine, too many are filled with narrow paths that make flying difficult. This may not have been as much of a concern with a proper joystick, but my poor keyboard wasn't prepared for the sharp turns and tight spaces.

Unfairly ignored twenty years ago, I doubt Slipstream 5000 will have better luck in 2015. It's easy to see why this was so impressive at the time, but without proper gamepad support this race isn't worth flying. Longtime fans of the game may get a kick out of revisiting some of the courses, but newcomers will wonder what the big deal is about.
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