STAFF REVIEW of Whiplash (Xbox)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003.
by Tony Ingrassia

Whiplash Box art You think you have problems? How would you like to be one of those poor little critters stuck in some testing lab, to be pocked and prodded and god knows what else. Well, here is your opportunity to take on the roll and guide your fury little friends to freedom. Whiplash is a humorous platform adventure that takes you on an interesting romp through a huge industrial lab, where you take on the roll of a lowly squirrel like critter named Spanx. But there is good news, you won?t have to undergo this escape plan alone, your right hand man?literally, is Redmond the rabbit, a fur-ball of doom. Shackled to Spanx, Redmond serves as Spanxs? weapon of destruction, what ensues is some of the most original and funny platform gaming in some time, is it your cup of tea?? Read on and judge for yourself.

Not without flaws, Whiplash is an entertaining experience as far as a platform games go. As I said, you take the roll of Spanx who has the luck to be chained to Redmond the wise cracking, multi-talented bunny of doom. Our bunny buddy is Spanxs? weapon, key, and comic sidekick throughout the game. The gist of the game is simple, escape from the lab.

The lab has multiple levels and objectives like freeing your fellow animal brethren from cages, acid baths, and numerous other tortures. The first level serves as a tutorial teaching you the moves your going to need to use not only Redmond effectively, but also the basic inventory system. Obstacles such as locked doors can be opened in many ways, my favorite is putting Redmond in a shredder like gizmo to unlock the door, and it?s quite funny watching the fur fly. You will also need to master jumping and grappling to reach higher ground, and yes this is another of Redmond?s functions, poor guy gets a work out. Levels also contain surveillance cameras that trigger alarms and notify guards of your were a bouts. Attacking guards until unconscious with a flurry of combos that hurl Redmond mercilessly all over the place is common, string together enough combos and Redmond goes into hyper mode destroying everything in his path as long as you keep stringing together those combos, keep in mind those guards will eventually regain consciousness. Most of the environment is destructible, and at times is part of your objective. Your little buddies are guided not only by a mapping system, but an unknown stranger who communicates with you via the lab intercom system, who is this stranger, and why is he helping?

Now Redmond is more than just a rabbit who still has his ?Blue? lucky foot attached, he?s a raging fur ball. Redmond can obtain special traits when found and used, such as dipping him in bio-sludge infecting all he comes in contact with. He?s also capable of inhaling helium to get you over certain obstacles, and even back up toilets causing all sorts of problems. You have some of the usual platform game tools available like maps, first person views, and power ups ranging form health to exploding hamsters you can use as grenades?yes I said hamsters.

Whiplash offers up some real unique ways of getting the job done, unfortunately the fun is short lived, I made it through the game in about 10 hrs, not really a long enough challenge for a game, and after the first few hours the cartoonish humor starts to loose it?s luster. The game is also plagued by camera problems making your moves and views very difficult to achieve without backing into something, let alone missing important objects and or information. Whiplash is not a bad game, it?s just short on replay value and becomes a little repetitive once you get used to all of the ?Innovative? ways to use Redmond.

Definitely worth a weekend rental, and some may actually love it enough to buy it. Platform fans need to give it some serious time, and casual gamers will find it most entertaining. So make sure your animal activist friends are nowhere around when you indulge in this bunny bashing adventure. One last note?no animals were hurt or injured to make this game, I think.

Visually Whiplash is pretty sharp. Although it has a cartoonish look to it, it still has some nice elements and character rendering. Nothing way over the top, but details are very present and were given some attention, such as the fur flying in the grinder, or the whirling, chaotic antics by Redmond when he goes into hyper mode. Hard to criticize Whiplash too much as far as the graphics because of the style and content of the game, it suits it well.

In the audio dept. a lot of the same holds true, while nothing over the top, it suits the game well. The best part of the audio is the dialogue. Quite funny and you will get a giggle or smile on your face due to some of the comments. Unfortunately this too gets repetitive after the first few hours of play.

Needs a little more depth or the addition of some sort of co-op mode to give it some replay value.

Overall: 7.2 / 10
Gameplay: 7.2 / 10
Visuals: 7.8 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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