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Whiplash Review

Developer: Crystal Dynamics Publisher: Eidos
Release Date: November 4, 2003 Also On: PC, PS2 and Xbox

The Xbox has lacked crucial titles in nearly all genres, aside from the FPS genre. The platform genre is no different; there is a definite lack of quality titles that any gamer should be furious. However, platform titles have received the description that they are “all the same� these days. Whiplash tries to break the mold by giving the player control of two animals tied together, who must escape the grasp of a huge corporation.

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Whiplash is set in an animal-testing facility, owned by Genron Corporation (the name is very similar to the now fallen oil company, Enron); Genron is truly every animal rights activists’ worst dream. You play as Spanx, a weasel used for electro-shock therapy, and a cocky-mouthed rabbit named Redmond, who was used to test so many products that he is literally invincible. Your goal is to escape the testing facility, while chained together, while trying to rescue other animals, and getting back at the corporation that did harm to all of the animals in the facility.

The main appeal within Whiplash is the humor, which can get repetitive as the game progresses, such as the comments that your characters will make, but during cut-scenes, fresh humor keeps everything lively. Spanx will find many uses for Redmond throughout the game, whether as a weapon, a grappling hook, or as a swing, he can even serve as a helicopter. You will also encounter various uses for Redmond, including a freezer of sorts, that turns him into an ice block, a furnace, which turns him into a fire ball, a helium tank, which turns him into a balloon and you can use him to float to other locations above you, along with a handy combo, which does double the damage, if you smash enough things. There is also a RPG element to Whiplash, an experience system, which will expand the number of hits that Spanx can take.

Spanx and his chained friend Redmond will make their way through several areas, connected to each other by doors, hallways, and vents, while making your way past laser trip wires, radiation suited scientists, scientists, robotic animal catchers, robotic flying security systems, and more. The basic formula in Whiplash is running around, freeing test subjects such as monkeys, and smashing computers and experiment rooms until you get bored, save and come back to play the same thing over in a few hours. If it sounds repetitive, you would be right, other than you will always encounter new puzzles and other obstacles. The only “mini-game� that I encountered was the “chicken-shooter�, which you must use to fire at enemies in one level and free monkeys with in another level.

Unfortunately, the developer did not take advantage of the Xbox’s graphical supremacy. The game looks like it could be a Dreamcast title, but at the most, it is PS2-quality. While graphics don’t define a game’s entertainment value, more impressive graphics are welcome in all games. Spanx and Redmond both look excellent, along with the destruction that they cause, but the environments are boring and used far too often. There are also some collision-detection issues, along with hidden walls. The camera angle is unstable and hard to get used to; the camera can get in the way when you are fighting an enemy and you are sometimes fighting blindly.

While the edgy humor is a plus, Whiplash doesn’t stay fresh for long. The disappointment comes from the repetition and the graphics which aren’t up to par. The action is fun, but can be found in many recent platform games. Whiplash is well-worth a rental for Xbox owners, but not even worth looking at for PS2 owners, especially with games like Jak II and Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando.

Graphics: 4
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.3
Written by Kyle Review Guide