12-08-2003, 02:01 PM
Hey ther Whiplash gamers,
This is the thread where you can put your review of the game! We'd love to hear what you think about.
Imagine visiting a giant corporate and seeing EVERYTHING it does--even the things you shouldn't see! That's what Whiplash offers the player. It's a trip with a wily Weasel and a Rabbit that gives a new meaning to "rabbit punch!" You start out escaping from being spliced together but end up in a plot to overthrow the evil corporate that wronged you.
First off, this is a great game for the slightly older kids (10 - 15). The game is rated Teen by the ESRB but it's a tad heavy. There is violence. . .but towards humans. . .and they are evil and deserve it. But, you don't have a gun and there is no blood. I am really tired of games aiming for the younger audience that feel they have to have guns as a play mechanic just to sell. Whiplash offers you a Rabbit on a chain to quench that human thirst for destruction (but in a most amusing way). There is some crude humor in some parts. but all of the naughty words are bleeped out for your protection. I could have done without the "poop" jokes though. That is so 1997! More about the sound later.
So, where does that leave the older gamer that wants to overthrow a morally corrupt multimillion dollar corporation? Well, gamer, I say to you, you still have that Warner Brothers humor (you know, the kind that you finally started to get years later)! And for those looking for something new in a game, the game does offer something that isn't done very often because it's a huge strain on the developers--destructible objects. Where are you at Jak II?! Didn't think so. It's a blast to destroy just about everything in this game ala Red Faction (minus the actual building). Also, you can set a bunny on fire; what's not to love about that? It's so cute the way he "dances" about while aflame.
Moving on, we will discuss the actual graphics. They are not top of the line. . .but don't let that stop you particle effect junkies hold you back. They complement the game very well with their simple colorful textures, once again, akin to a cartoon (however, it'd have been nice if there were a few more polys for characters to shape them a bit better). As for animation, the game falls pretty flat on its choppy little face. While care was taken for Redmond and Spanx, it seems there wasn't enough time to smooth out some issues with every other character in the game. This aside, the level design is great at times (i.e. the overlapping of Endurance and Robotic areas) but for a game that didn't want to be labeled "just another platformer" there sure is a lot of queer jumping sections (the Waste section comes to mind). I find that if I had to work at Genron, it would be a pain to have to cross extremely narrow bridges with no hand rails and bottomless pits. Also, it would be quite tiring to travel down the many twisting hallways that connect the sections of the building together (with only a handful of bathrooms shared by the entire building). It becomes a chore to visit an area of the building. No load screens is the flavor of the month and for the most part Whiplash delivers that--unless you swoon (but you're not a real gamer if you die). The only gripe I have with this "no load screens" practice is the execution of it. It would be nice if games did not have load screens, but I also do not wish to work while my level loads. This is what Whiplash does for the gamer during most loads. Spanx and Redmond traverse through a long, winding hallway filled with robots (which offer the gamer nothing as an incentive to destroy them) and laser arrays to a locked area and are presented with a "bunny grinder." What are these doing here? How do Genron employees bypass having to throw a bunny on a chain into it? Who knows? I do know that I rather have had a loading screen, or better yet, Redmond tell me a funny joke (or that ever amusing "Voice of Genron") instead of having to travel boring hallways and press back and forth on the analog stick for 30 seconds. Forced gameplay is not a winner in my book.
Speaking of gameplay, let's take a look at what Whiplash does well and what it does poorly. The actual thought of swinging a rabbit around on a chain is great! And learning the variety of moves is also a warm welcome. But, some of these moves are not utilized nearly enough in the game to warrant the inclusion of them. While playing, I found myself dreaming of how I'll use various abilities to solve puzzles, but I was quite let down. The fire, ice, and toxic elemental abilities are used only a handful of times. There just weren't any puzzles in the game. It's mostly a straight shot from point A to point B. The puzzle was figuring out what your mission objective was. I found myself scratching my head way too many times. I even checked the area maps and mission objects and still couldn't decipher what I was supposed to be achieving. Remember, when you develop a game, all of the objectives are clear only to you. Throw the rest of us a bone, please!
It's interesting to note that there isn't much in the way of boss battling but you do get a pretty cool battle against a giant robot spider known as the Powerbot. It's a shame that the designers didn't really plan on souping up some intense boss battles since the Powerbot left me wanting more big battles.
To create a marketable character in today's marketplace, great thought must be put into your character's dialog, and Whiplash both excels and flunks in this respect. The in-game chatter between Redmond and Spanx (well, Spanx just grunts so it's more of a one-way conversation) is done quite well. But, it wears thin about two hours into the game as Redmond begins to repeat himself more often than anyone really wants to hear. The cinematics that hold the story together range for amusing, to crude, to just plain bizarre ("breakfast tacos," anyone?). Redmond is very amusing and is always "on" and the evil Franklin Mann has some good quotable lines too, but it just seems like the developer was trying too hard to come up with material at times. Other jokes seem to just fall flat (a "Titanic" joke? Does anyone even remember that movie?!). Sometimes, it's okay to call in some professional writers instead of asking the guys who are amusing while drunk at the office parties to fill in the blanks with a punchline. That aside, I would have loved to see much more in the way of cinematics. There are not enough to build Redmond and Spanx as likable characters but the ones you are rewarded with are usually worth the play.
Now, for the music and effects, Whiplash went a different route. While most games from American developers seem to be spewing licensed music (yeah, I want to hear more Smashmouth, really), whatever the latest techno craze may be, or overly dramatic film scores, Whiplash takes a more comical approach to the music. To draw a comparison to cartoons again, the game's quirky tunes will have you humming. Another fun aspect of the music is the use of separate tracking. Extrapolation: when the action is hot, you get the full monty, but when the fighting cools, you get just a little sliver of the full track. It works quite well for the most part, but when the action isn't explosive, the small piece you do hear can get quite old, very quickly. As for cinematics, it would have really been something to have that same feeling in the cinematics that you find in the gameplay. The cinematics flounder a bit due to the total lack of scoring. And, speaking of sound and cinematics, the effects during cinematics are also at a loss. There is so much more that could have been brought to life that remains lifeless due to the ineffective use of effects.
All in all, Whiplash makes the most out of throwing the gamer a ton of new ideas and innovations. It's just that sometimes when you are first to bat, you strike out. Hopefully, the development team will continue to improve on some of their ideas to create a smash hit that can be enjoyed by a broad audience. I say this game is worth the purchase. Why? Because it's not overly expensive and you'll get your dollar amount back in fun time! You will just want more of the good stuff and less of the hallways.
One last gripe: where was a cameo of Crystal Dynamics old mascot Gex? Couldn't find Dana Gould?
01-19-2004, 01:24 AM
This game is the bizzomb. I love smashing everything, and how all the lab workers go berzerk when their machines get blasted to bits. It's totally like being in a cartoon!
Spanx is silent the whole time, while Redmond is constantly shooting his malicious mouth! The game is varied enough that it doesn't get repetitive. Each level employs different aspects of power-ups and types of gameplay to keep you going. Sure you can smash everything in the game (which would take a VERY long time), but you don't have to (although it is fun :P ).
The music is boppy and fun (there is even elevator music in the elevators). The graphics are colorful and cartoony, with just a hint of cheese. And the voice overs are hilarious.
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