Whacked!For a long time, the gaming community had heard tell of a little number being cooked up by Presto Studios as a would-be successor to the less-than-stellar Fuzion Frenzy â€œparty gameâ€ on Xbox. Months went by, and as gamers got more informed about this game, they saw odd yet intriguing artwork, and a promise of a great multiplayer mode. Well, the game that has Xbox owners interested in party games has finally made its presence known, and Whacked! is ready to take Xbox, and gamersâ€™ funny bones, by storm. FEATURES -20 different destructive weapons -10 power ups to unlock as the game progesses -12 Game altering states to add even more sizzle to your steak -12 different stage maps - xbox live compatibility - system link compatible - single player mode has 4 â€œroundsâ€ with 9 stages each - unlockable cutscenes and commercials - viewing gallery allows players to watch all the cutscenes and commercials theyâ€™ve unlocked - 4 characters to be unlocked - 4 different difficulty levels to challenge players - 6 different types of mini-games - Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound Support GAMEPLAY All of the gameplay elements in Whacked! come together to form a brilliant concoction of easy and responsive controls with fun and addicting gameplay. The controls are simple and few: Jump, run, attack, and side-step. If you hold down the jump button, you will jump a bit higher, and stay in the air a bit longer; a trait which all who play Whacked! will quickly learn to utilize in order to be more successful. Running is a necessary element that is executed about as well as it could be in any game of this nature. Side stepping will not be used as often as you may think, as itâ€™s only necessary implication lies in avoiding enemy fire, and players will find that to use it otherwise will slow down their pace in the game, which can become detrimental to your characterâ€™s chances of winning. While Whacked! features simple controls, the gameplay is surprisingly deep overall. Featured in Whacked! are 12 levels for characters to beat the competition in. The levels in the game include a pirate ship, and upside down bathroom, a demolition derby, a space station, an arctic oil-dumping site, and a kitchen counter top, among several others. In these levels, players compete against opponents in different games, including: Combat â€“ Collect a specified number of stars before your 3 opponents beat you to it. Frag Fest â€“ Whack as many opponents as you can within the specified time to win this game. Dodgeball â€“ Be the last player standing to win. King of the Hill â€“ Stand on the â€œgreen swirly areas,â€ wherever they might pop up, for a total specified amount of time to win. Chicken â€“ Kill the chickens and collect stars. You wonâ€™t have any opponents (aside from the flightless feathered fiends), but you only get 3 lives to collect a specified number of stars. Grab and Run â€“ One trophy, four contestants. He (or she) who holds the trophy for the specified amount of time wins. Youâ€™ll play these 6 game types over the 36 total stages in the game, as well as in the final round of the game. At times, it can get redundant and even a bit frustrating, but there is plenty to of items to unloack over the course of the entire game. There are 20 weapons for players to use, including plunger missiles, baseball bats, freeze guns, staple guns, rubber duck bombs, and the ever popular yolk-o-matic (high speed egg shooter). As gamers progress in the game, all of the weapons will eventually be unlocked, but weapons arenâ€™t the only things to keep a gamer playing by a long shot. Also included in Whacked! are power ups, which players can collect in the form of â€œ?â€ These question marks give the player special powers for a brief period of time, including invulnerability, invisibility, and the ability to steal stars from other players. However, the effects can be detrimental with such effects as being lit on fire, or having a ticking time bomb follow your every move untilâ€¦KABOOM! Thatâ€™s the risk you take, and the rewards are well worth the risks. There is also the â€œbig red button,â€ which will alter the state of the game for a brief period of time. For example, if a player picks up the big red button, he or she could cut off all use of weapons, turn all stars into zombies that attack all players, or make the leader a walking magnet for all projectile weapons (among other possible effects). These certainly liven the game up in those dull times of straight butt-whoopinâ€™, and can be frustrating when you are the leader in the game, but nothing is more satisfying than overtaking the current leader by making everyoneâ€™s weapons target that player alone! The final power up is an â€œ!â€ which will give the collector a brief super power, which varies from character to character. For example, if Lucy gets the exclamation point, head for the hills! If Lucy kisses another player (touches you) they not only die, but get launched into the stratosphere, and in game where stars are involved, a hefty star loss is inevitable (unless of course, you are Lucy).
The characters in the game fit in perfectly, and each has a background that places them into Whacked! with perfection. The characters include Lucky, a rabbit whose legs were cut off by a lucky charm factory; Eugene, a flightless quasi-penguin with schizophrenia; Toof, a monster with jaws like a steel trap and a mindâ€¦not so much like a steel trap; and Lucy, theâ€¦umâ€¦naked girl. You can also unlock the rest of the characters in the game, including Lance the lion, Charity the young, hyperactive, girl, and Otto, a lackadaisical couch potato with one supercharged chair. Thereâ€™s also a secret character to be unlocked upon the completion of the game (but youâ€™ll have to play through the game yourself to find out whom it is). The gameplay in Whacked! is simple, and therein lies itâ€™s effectiveness. Whacked! does not make an attempt to fool gamers with all kinds of functions that each character can pull off just for the sake of proving what a developer can add in to a game in this day and age. Rather, Whacked! focuses on the simplistic elements of run, jump, and kill; the elements which made gaming popular 15 years ago, and the elements which when executed properly, still define some of the best games today. GRAPHICS Take a dash of evil, a dose of cartoon animation, and a serving of next-generation beauty that weâ€™ve come to know and love, and youâ€™ve got yourself an general idea of the graphics featured in Whacked! The game doesnâ€™t overpower gamers with next-generation graphic muscle, but it effectively combines cartoon-ish and somewhat â€œdarkâ€ themes with simple, yet very pretty level and character designs. The in game graphics in Whacked! are as good as you could ask for. During gameplay there is an enormous amount of action as well as various items (including characters) on the screen. However, the game does not suffer from any slow down or choppiness. This is not surprising, considering the Xbox hardware, however when gamers deal with all the action taking place on the screen, especially in later levels, the graphics will be all the more appreciated. The graphics in the â€œcommercialsâ€ are done in a cartoonish manner. The artwork is in and of itself humorous and innovative. The artwork adds to the humor within each commercial (making the commercials one of the best aspects of the game). As for the cutscenes, the graphics are smooth, and as pretty as any cutscene can be. Presto did a very nice, if simplistic, work on the graphics overall. SOUND Sound is one of the truly special elements in Whacked! Aside from the always lovely 5.1 surround sound support featured in Whacked!, the game also has a catchy-as-can-be theme song. The music within each stage is nothing spectacular, but with that said, it does reflect the mood of the gameplay effectively and keeps the tone of the stages upbeat, whether gamers are busting an opponentâ€™s skull, or running around aimlessly while on fire. As far as sound effects go, they are absolutely fantastic. All the weapons effects sound as you would imagine (explosions, fire burning, items flying through the air, etc.). The voice work in Whacked! is also superb. Van Tastic sounds like your stereotypical game show host, Eugene comes across very well as he shows his repressed desires through dialogue with himself. Lucy sounds like the voice on a 900 number (uhâ€¦or so Iâ€™d imagineâ€¦). All of the elements of the sound play together so well, and really serve as icing on the delicious Whacked! cake. ONLINE Without a doubt, Whacked! is meant to be enjoyed with the Xbox Live service. To no oneâ€™s surprise, Whacked! runs like a gem on Xbox Live, experiencing no lag time, even when dealing with 4 characters located in different regions of the US, with plenty of on screen action from weapons, stars, and movement of background objects. The host of a game can choose from any of the available levels in Whacked! as well as any character he/she has unlocked. Hosts will also be able to select the game type, and how long the game will run, or how many stars will need to be collected in order for a winner to be decided. Just as in the regular game, players will compete against 3 opponents, and if a slot is left empty as the game starts, it will be filled with a computer player, whose difficulty the host can set prior to the start of the game. Of course, Whacked! is every bit as good, and then some, when played against three other human contestants, but lacks any stat tracking features. While this is a slight annoyance in the age of â€œwhoâ€™s who among gamers,â€ Whacked! not being confined by a rankings system makes the game slightly more appealing for gamers looking for a simple, light hearted game with friends online. However, a lack of any rankings database can hurt replay value amongst some gamers, as it doesnâ€™t necessarily give gamers a reason to play Whacked! as often as some other games, aside from the incredible fun to be had with the game (which more than makes up for any lack of a rankings system). REPLAY VALUE With the arrival of Xbox Live comes increased replay value, and this is no different for Whacked! The ability to play online with friends (or random folks) around the country adds a whole new dimension to Whacked! and makes it all the more enjoyable. Aside from the online portion of the game, Whacked! can also be enjoyed by four friends on a single Xbox, which will appeal to the gamers without the Xbox Live service, or for those who simply wish to talk smack to their friends in person. Surprisingly, the single player game in Whacked! is compelling enough to keep you coming back for more. Despite the repetition with which youâ€™ll play the same mini games, the commercials, and the desire to discover what â€œthe prizeâ€ is at the conclusion of the game will keep you coming back, even with multiple characters. Yes, despite the redundancy faced while playing this Whacked! many a time, there is plenty to keep you interested in the game for some time to come. OVERALL Whacked! fulfills a mandatory element of any strong online gaming service, and that is a game that is all about fun; no real competition, and more importantly, no cause to destroy your controller in frustration. When played offline, Whacked! maintains itâ€™s charm, and adds an all new level of humor with itâ€™s hilarious commercials that players are rewarded with upon successful completion of a stage. Whacked! is chock full of weapon, power-ups, artistic appeal, and well developed characters. Gamers looking for a game that doesnâ€™t take itself to seriously, and doesnâ€™t require a lot of patience or persistence to play, but gives you a rewarding experience full of action, explosions, and humor, then youâ€™d be hard pressed to find a more suitable choice of game then Whacked! --Brett Jones