previews\ Nov 8, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Whiplash - PS2 - Preview 2

It seems like everyone is doomed these days.  The days of zombie-filled towns and evil beings that wanted to take over the world were bad enough.  Now animals are being tortured by humans.  In Whiplash, a game that looks and sounds (but does not play) like Abe's Oddysee, you command a weasel (who looks like a rat) and his friend/weapon called Redmond.  The weasel's name is Spanx, which would make sense if he were being held in a human prison.  In reality an evil organization has captured the animals to conduct experiments.  The experiments are important to their products, like hair spray, none of which can be legally tested on humans.  Their animal testing wouldn't be legal in the real world either, but this is a game, and only the animals are aware of what's going on.  So as two of the most desperate animals in the game you must free your furry friends in order to save yourself.


The title of the game, Whiplash, seems to have little significance until you play it.  Spanx and Redmond are chained together and cannot be separated.  Their chains are impenetrable; their key to freedom is the key to the chains.  Will they find it?  It's not so much a matter of find as it is obtain.  Together the two rambunctious animals will have to work hard and use a little brain power to escape mankind's torture chamber (a lab).


That's all fine and dandy in a press release, but the best part is hidden inside the gameplay: your weapon is the rabbit, Redmond.  Being the weasel that he is, Spanx will spin Redmond around like there's no tomorrow (and if they're not careful, there won't be).  He can whip Redmond at enemies in a variety of ways.  The first attack move is performed by pressing the SQUARE button.  You can repeatedly press that button to execute a combo.  His secondary attack turns Redmond into a sledgehammer.  Not in the literal sense, but Spanx will strike from above his head and slam Redmond down on whatever is in front of him.  If you press the jump button (X) when Redmond hits the ground it'll cause Spanx to be lifted up into the air, creating a unique attack move.  Likewise, pressing the SQUARE button after jumping creates another airborne attack move.


Redmond isn't only good for killing though.  There are some times in the game when you'll have to solve a puzzle.  Just how difficult these puzzles are is unknown.  The one in the demo was fairly basic, though it did take me a few minutes to figure out what was required in order to solve it.


You come to an area with a locked door (never seen that in a game before have ya?).  There's a generator nearby that is powering the machines that are holding three monkeys.  Normally a connection would not be made without looking around first, but the game tells you to use Redmond by pressing the TRIANGLE button.  You'll see the triangle icon a lot, indicating special uses for Redmond at that particular time.  Throwing Redmond into the generator is not nearly enough though.  The game tells you to destroy it, but what it doesn't tell you is that you must press the left analog stick back and forth several times.  Otherwise Redmond will be spit out and you'll have to start all over again.


As a whole the demo was short and fairly straightforward, but also a lot of fun.  The main goal was destruction, so if you like to obliterate things (including enemies) you'll really get into Whiplash.  It's considered an action/adventure game but it doesn't have anything in common with Jak II or Ratchet & Clank.  Not much of the story is revealed in the demo, but lots of humorous scenarios are promised.  Thus the comical actions between Spanx and Redmond are amusing.  Hopefully the finished product will be even funnier.  Look for it in stores later this month.

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