STAFF REVIEW of Whacked! (Xbox)


Saturday, October 25, 2003.
by Duke

Whacked! Box art Well if Whacked! has anything going for it, it's that the price has been lowered to $20. Begun by Presto Studios, (best known for their Journeyman series for the PC) and finished by Microsoft after they (Presto) closed their doors, Whacked! just doesn?t live up to it?s potential, but still manages to be a passable, if lackluster game. So let?s just get right into it.


Visual ? Well, they?re not bad. It?s cartoon look is part of it?s appeal and is done well. There are no aliasing problems, jaggies, and even with the multitude of moving characters and objects, there was no noticeable slowdown. The levels look nice without being particularly outstanding, and the character design is both imaginative and easy on the eyes. (Lucy) 5/10

Sound ? Like most everything else in the game, very cartoony. Particularly good is the voice acting. While never quite over the top, it manages to strike that perfect balance. The only really noticeable flaw with the host. Although it can be assumed that ?Van Tastic? is intentionally annoying, it would have been nice if they?d gone about it a different way than having him repeat the same sad, cheesy lines over and over and over. The soundtrack is standard 70?s style game show fare, and the background noises of the level never fail to deliver. 5/10

XBL experience ? Well here it is, the ONLY I repeat, ONLY reason to buy this game. Whereas the single player experience will only encourage one to keep playing due to its ease, and possibly for the one unlockable character, XBL is where this game really shines. There?s just nothing that compares to playing against live players over a broadband connection. All modes available in single player are available here. While not the most popular live game, one should never have trouble finding someone to play. It?s opt-match feature allows the user to not only view the game type and difficulty in the room, but also who?s playing and the connection speed. Once in the lobby, the person speaking is indicated by a blinking light. This, in my opinion, should be standard in all XBL games. Especially when playing with people unfamiliar to you, this is a great bonus. Another feature that should be included in all XBL titles is found on the Friends list. Whacked!'s friends list informs you not only which buddies are online, but also what game they're playing. While not absolutely necessary, it is a much more convenient way to look this up than exiting out to the dashboard as most titles require. Unfortunately, the game size is always limited to four, but in all honesty, any more and the levels would become more claustrophobic than they already are. One thing to remember is that on the whole the fan base for this game seems to be a younger crowd. As anyone who has played XBL can tell you, 10 year olds can?t always be counted on for the most scintillating conversation, and even the friendliest match can become a constant stream of @#$$ you and *^#@ @(#*($& %(@#*&?s. Also be warned, I have found this game to be the most popular as far as voice masks are concerned as well. After having not touched this title for many months, I picked it back up and played a few rounds, and was reminded of just how fun this game can be in limited doses. 8/10

Do I recommend it?
Sure, Whacked! can be had now for $20 at most retail outlets. In my opinion, this is a steal for most any XBL enabled game. Although I strongly warn you that if you do not subscribe to the Xbox Live service, the life of this game will most likely be severely limited. While it may not receive the most play of my XBL games, I?ll


Gameplay ? Essentially a third-person shooter, the controls are exceptionally easy to master. One button jumps, one attacks. The learning curve on this game hovers somewhere between 0 and .5. Great idea for attracting younger gamers, however the title is rated T (Mature Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence) and some parents may want to keep this out of the hands of their little bundles of joy. The characters are varied, and occasionally will have you laughing. As far as weapons go there are quite a few ranging from a large stapler to an egg-shooting chicken gun. The levels are well thought out and fairly interactive, but small. Bundle that with the different modes of play (standard fare such as fragfest, CTF, and King of the Hill) and the game manages to not be instantly repetitive. Also, it?s important to note that while it is advertised as a ?Game Show Gone Wrong? the only game show aspect of the game is in the intro and cutscenes. The rest of the game feels like and is simply an endless quest to complete the same tasks over and over. Yes they do get harder, but not much, and you will see the same level more than once. Also missing is a key aspect to a game show ? losing. Lose a round, try again. There is no second place, the only punishment for not winning a round is that you will be forced to repeat it until you do.




Visual ? Well, they?re not bad. It?s cartoon look is part of it?s appeal and is done well. There are no aliasing problems, jaggies, and even with the multitude of moving characters and objects, there was no noticeable slowdown. The levels look nice without being particularly outstanding, and the character design is both imaginative and easy on the eyes. (Lucy)


Sound ? Like most everything else in the game, very cartoony. Particularly good is the voice acting. While never quite over the top, it manages to strike that perfect balance. The only really noticeable flaw with the host. Although it can be assumed that ?Van Tastic? is intentionally annoying, it would have been nice if they?d gone about it a different way than having him repeat the same sad, cheesy lines over and over and over. The soundtrack is standard 70?s style game show fare, and the background noises of the level never fail to deliver.


Suggestions:
This is an old review. Unfortunately I wasn't able there wasn't enough space to include my XBL views on it. This is the area where the game really shines. Not that much can make up for the rest, but the lobbies, indicators as to who is speaking, etc. could not have been done better.

Mods feel free to delete this as they aren't suggestions, but I wanted to include a small portion of what, I feel, is the only thing that might make this game worth buying.


Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 5.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10

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