You probably won’t expect a man like me to have principles, but I do or at least I try. So two years ago I became a vegetarian, because I think one should respect other living creatures and since I ate as much meat as my mother, father and sister all together, I can say that it was hard but useful for me and those poor animals to stop eating meat. The second step in my fight against animal cruelties is slightly less drastic, but much more fun: playing “Whiplash”.
Your biggest enemy is “Genron”, a corporation that thinks of animals as useless and lazy creatures that have to stop living on humans’ expense. Therefore they use animals to fulfil all kinds of disgusting purposes, some of which don’t even make sense. When these animals can no longer be used, they are thrown in a “Recombinator”, a machine that as the name implies, recombines two animals into a new one. “Spanx” and “Redmond” do not intent to sit back and watch until it is their turn to enter the machine and just in time they manage to escape from being recombined. Noble as they are, however, they decide to take on “Genron” and set the other animals free aswell. All this reminds me of “Sonic: The Hedgehog”, but since “Whiplash” rephrases everything, making it funny and new, I do not oppose.
Another resemblance, but with “Jak&Daxter”, is noticeable in the gameplay. “Spanx”, a weasel and the leader, is chained to “Redmond”, a white rabbit. In order to attack enemies, “Spanx” will swing “Redmond” against them and the resemblance with “Jak&Daxter” is as bright as a star with the birth of Jesus, but that’s all it’s got in common. Although you have to save animals, “Redmond” will have to endure a lot of other tortures like using him as a balloon by filling him with helium, short-circuit electricity boxes while using him as a conductor or crushing him in a machine to unblock it. Perhaps this is all funny, but the contradiction is so obvious that it disturbs me.
Fighting is very easy, just press all the button as fast as possible or try to do a simple combo, like three times square and one time L2. The rest of the gameplay is jumping and solving easy puzzles, once you know what the goal is, but it is a shame that everything is so easy, you can fall several metres down without any severe injuries and you can save and restart anywhere. This causes the game not to be thrilling at all.
If you look at the variety of other platform games on the Playstation2 console then the graphics are disappointing and especially the unclear menu’s are a disaster. The levels are not disgusting at all, but since the competition is very strong, a game cannot afford to have disadvantages or rough edges.
Luckily the nice atmosphere, also very suitable for children, and the humour divert the attention from the lesser graphics.
The sound deserves more credit as it is more than acceptable, especially when looking at the game’s other weaknesses. “Spanx” delivers witty remarks and his and the other voices are perfect for their purpose. The sound effects are nice too. Especially the breaking of glass is great and believe me, there is a lot of glass to break.
I don not know for sure if it is meant to be this way, but I think the humour does not stay at the ‘children’s level’ because “Genron” could be “Enron” an American company that committed fraud for many millions and “Redmond” is the city where Microsoft’s head bureau is situated. I won’t spoil the other issues by telling them already, because I only want to stress that the humour is more than you would expect.
If “Whiplash” would score better in the graphics department and the levels would be just a tiny bit more difficult, it would have made a great platformer as the gameplay is certainly not the worst we’ve ever seen and the sound is more than okay. The story reminds me of “Sonic”, but as “Whiplash” puts it in a new coat I can only enjoy it. The humour is very funny and there are some clever remarks. If there was fewer competition, this one would be more than welcome and I do think you should finish it, but you could rent it for a weekend as it is not necessary to keep it in your collection.