The platform genre has had a lot of games that starred a single character, the most notable being Mario, Sonic, and Crash Bandicoot. However, the latest trend seems to be a duo to save the little corner of the world. First there was Jak and Dexter, then along came Ratchet and Clank, and now, fresh from their cages come…Spanx and Redmond???
The stars of Whiplash are a weasel with a penchant for destruction and an indestructible rabbit with an attitude. The unlikely pair wreaks havoc in the animal testing facility they have escaped from. While animal testing may not be funny, this game is.
If Whiplash has any faults, it is for the graphics. The game has been designed for all three consoles, but the polygon count seems to be very low, even for the PS2. This is especially evident in the character models. Redmond’s eyes look very square. The security guards look very chunky, and the bump mapping is rather bland. Although the character models are disappointing, some nice graphical touches are found throughout Whiplash. First of all, the levels all have a distinct feel. One level is filled with fans, another might have an assembly line of robots, while yet another is a typical testing lab. However, the hallways between these areas all look the same. I can imagine that hallways aren’t going to be that different within a building, so I’m willing to give them a little slack for this.
Whiplash does have a few other graphical touches. The fire effects for the game are excellent. Setting Redmond on fire will make him look like a red fireball. Putting him on ice will cause Spanx to drag Redmond in a block of ice. When throwing Redmond into a gear to open a door, fur will fly out of the door. These graphical touches help to make up for the low polygon count.
Music is there in the game, but it really doesn’t stand out at all. Instead, the sound effects steal the show. When Spanx whips Redmond around, enemies will fall and glass will break. Everything that is breakable will shatter with a convincing sound effect. Scientists will yell when Spanx enters the room, and when they are hit by Redmond.
However, Redmond’s comments steal the show. Spanx doesn’t talk, but Redmond has a mouth that lets loose. His comments are incredibly funny during the beginning of the game, and although they will get repeated later, they aren’t so repetitive that they become annoying.
While Spanx and Redmond have several moves in their arsenal, all of them become second nature quickly. Movement is controlled with the left analog stick or the gamepad, while scurrying uses the left or right trigger. Whipping and grappling is handled with the X, action with Y, and jumping and gliding use A. An overhead smash attack is activated by the B button.
Several combos are gained throughout the game. These combos follow closely in line with the original button functions. While all these buttons might seem to have multiple functions, none of these actions are difficult to perform. The responsive controls really make the game easy to pick up and play.
Most of the gameplay involves Spanx whipping Redmond around, destroying the building, and rescuing animals involved in the testing. One of the objects of the game is to destroy as much of the building as possible to make the company go bankrupt. This will cause you to swing at anything and everything in the building. While it is fun, it can be a bit annoying to try to break anything that you can.
Enemies, such as the scientist and security guards, will drop off Hypersnacks. Collecting Hypersnacks will cause Spanx and Redmond to increase their levels. When these levels increase, Spanx can take more damage, while Redmond is able to whip out even more damage. Bandages are used to gain health throughout the game.
Jumping is a large part of most platform games, and Whiplash uses jumping to either avoid lasers or to reach hard to get areas. While jumping puzzles can be difficult, the ones in this game aren’t too difficult to handle. Spanx can jump and use air purifying spheres to swing around. By whipping Redmond around fast enough, Spanx can glide. Gliding assists your landings and creates a whipping effect around Spanx.
Redmond’s unique personality shows through. Since Redmond is indestructible, he has many different uses. Redmond can be put on fire, frozen like an ice cube, or filled with helium like a balloon, among other things. While some of these are used for causing more destruction, others are used for solving puzzles through the game. Spanx might not talk, but his personality shows through his action. His mischievous smile brightens before turning Redmond into a fireball or ice cube. Spanx swings Redmond around before slamming him inside a gear machine. The way Spanx runs around or scurries along a rail is spot on for a weasel.Whiplash will give you your money’s worth, especially at $40. An experienced gamer might be able to finish the game in a rental period, but it will take a much longer time for most others. If one can get past the breaking of all the items in the building, the game is a lot of fun.