STAFF REVIEW of Whacked! (Xbox)

Tuesday, April 1, 2003.
by LynxFX

Whacked! Box art From first sight of this game, Whacked! appears to be another childish game with little to no appeal to adults. That couldn't be farther from the truth. Whacked! brings us a whole new type of game for the Xbox that is more in the lines of Southpark than a Warner's cartoon. The diverse characters combined with the immense amount of weapons and game modes including Live gameplay really let this game breakout of the ordinary. The first time you see the bouncing 'censor' bar of Lucy or the string of 'bleeps' that follow a successful whack will let you know what you are getting yourself into.

Whacked! has so much that can be unlocked that it is hard to know where to start. So how about we start at the beginning. For single player you start out in a gameshow with an over the top host, Van Tastic. From there you get to choose you character, one of seven if you have beaten the game and 5 hidden characters, and it is off to the first round of challenges. There are dozen or so maps to play on and over 40 weapons at your disposal. The more you play, the more you unlock. There are 4 rounds, three curtains per round and 3 challenges per curtain. Do a little math and you see it will take you 36 challenges to get to the final stage. Then comes Live. Jump on Live and you will have a totally new experience with your buddies. Nothing is quite like sticking your best friend with a pitchfork or smacking him with a baseball bat and hearing him scream over the communicator. The lobby is very well setup and should be a standard for all Xbox Live games. Don't let the demo fool you; this game has a lot more going for it. This is the only game I have ever played where in a matter of seconds you can go from first place to last place, or last place to first place. The game is completely unpredictable and that is what makes it a blast to play.

The visual flare of this game is perfect. The bright vivid colors combined with some very nice animated characters. The game is as clean as you can get, high framerate and there is never a hic-up that I have seen. It isn't widescreen, however it does stretch very nicely for those of you with widescreen TV?s and I must say it looks marvelous on an HDTV. Every character has their own little moves and animations that are quite detailed even if you will rarely ever see them. The maps are nicely laid out and also have plenty of details that only a few will ever spot. It doesn't break any new ground but I don't think the developers could have done anything else to make this game look any better.

Dolby Digital 5.1 baby! As soon as you enter the game you will be immersed in a 3d world filled with crazy sounds. Directional sounds are widely used and makes for some very interesting gameplay. But the best part of the sound has to be the characters soundtracks. There is some very funny stuff here, from the sensual pleas of Lucy to the undecipherable Toof. Then you can't forget the subtle swearing of our Canadian penguin Eugene.

This is a first rate title for the Xbox that will sadly get overlooked by many. The few things that could improve it would be larger levels with more than 4 players. Widescreen support of course. :) Downloadable content. Otherwise great game and hopefully we get our hands on Whacked2!

Overall: 10.0 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 10.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10


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