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Reviewed: Whiplash
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: January 13th, 2004
Page: 2

The basic premise of Whiplash is fairly simple. Welcome to Genron, a corporation based on the idea that humans can get really cool, nifty consumer products at dirt-cheap prices by using animals for product testing. Monkeys get electrocuted, rabbits are subjected to endless varieties of hair care and appearance products, hamsters shot from cannons, mice turned into bombs... some of it stuff PETA cries about now, some obviously parodies. Likewise, the corporate building's full of meaningless scientific-looking stuff, human workers/"scientists", and baubles of zany sorts.

Your objectives? Threefold. Number one, get the heck out. Number two, let the other animals loose. Number three, break enough stuff that the corporation goes into bankruptcy. 

Your weapon? Sorry, you only get one. You're a weasel, right, attached to a rabbit by a chain. Your weapon is the rabbit. I know it sounds silly, but to a large extent it works. Especially with the plot "twist" that, due to all the cosmetic products he's been exposed to and experiments performed on him, Redmond the Rabbit is completely indestructible, able to survive being turned into a balloon, having his face used as a weapon, being lit on fire, electrocuted, inserted like a monkey wrench into various machines... basically, your secondary goal is to inflict as much pain, cruelty, and hilarity on this poor bunny as possible.

Well, that's the premise. Truthfully, the reviews out there are a mixed bag. Some people love it. Some hate it. Some find it indifferent. Me, I'm with the third group. Whiplash is a nice game, and worth the time playing, but it's no contender for Game of the Year. In many ways, it resembles its logical predecessor: Oddworld. Wierd product placements? Check. Odd humor? Check.

Graphically, Whiplash is only decent. The main characters, Spanx (the weasel) and Redmond (the rabbit) are decently rendered. The attacks are well-rendered, and special attacks (like lighting the rabbit on fire) are pretty nice. Overall, however, the environment is just drab. Humans and other animals, and even scenery, are rather blocky. When stuff has been broken, it just goes black if it didn't break and vanish, which is oddly unfulfilling. Glass panes, depending on where they are, sometimes leave jagged edges showing, but sometimes just vanish, as does every "broken" prop. Meanwhile, when the lighting is low, it's very little help; it's easy, especially in tunnels, to be able to see nothing except Spanx & Redmond, and wind up turning around or getting lost in certain sections.

Musically and sound-wise it's not that bad, except for one factor... Redmond. Smart-alecky sidekicks, in the context of some games, work. When they're smart-alecky in storyline. Or as part of special attacks. Redmond, on the other hand, carries around a continual loop of various complaints about whatever the two might be doing, which isn't exactly great for gameplay.

And then there's the camera. Sorry guys, but it doesn't really work; rather than being isometric, the camera is a "follow" cam that sticks wherever it's set, controlled in rotation by the right thumbstick. It's manageable after a while, but gets to be annoying at times, especially in close quarters or when trying to locate the locus of a puzzle in a darkened room.

Bottom line: If you enjoy Oddworld-type humor, try this game. Rent before buying, though. There is a GOOD chance of playing yourself out on this game, because after a while the jokes do get old.

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Added:  Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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