Whiplash Impressions

Crystal Dynamics' action game features Spanx and Redmond, two crazed animals chained together.

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One look at Spanx and Redmond and you'll know that things are not quite all right in the world of lab science. A duo of escaping animal test subjects, Spanx and Redmond may not be the most likely of partners, but since they're chained together they don't have much choice. The stars of Whiplash have a crazed look that might remind you of the TV cartoon series Ren & Stimpy, and what we saw of the game suggests that the gameplay is just as frenetic as an action-packed cartoon episode.

Until recently, Spanx and Redmond were the unwilling participants in the experiments of Genro Corporation, an evil company that unseen figures will reward you for damaging into bankruptcy. Instead of having you collect items to punctuate the action sequences, the game will present you with many opportunities to wreak havoc on the interiors of Genro's headquarters. The installation is filled with various security measures, guards, and scientists, but the emphasis throughout is on non-stop action. Security devices like laser sensor beams, cameras, and motion plates aren't there to be inched around, and can even intentionally be activated to attract attention and get a big fight going. But when you're low on health, you'll naturally want to pay a little more attention to where you step as you run through the large wacky rooms at Genro HQ.

Constant combat is at the core of the game, and it's here that the inextricably linked Spanx and Redmond can help each other out. Actually, things aren't nearly that nice. You're really controlling Spanx, the crazy weasel, while Redmond, a rather more intelligent rabbit, is along for the ride. Spanx can take advantage of Redmond's predicament in a variety of unkind ways. For instance, you can dunk Redmond into tanks filled with nasty chemicals used by hazmat-suit-wearing guards for their own weapons to turn the rabbit into a ball of flame to swing at enemies. There's a combo system and a series of quick attacks will fill up a special meter you can use for special attacks like a smash move, a quick whip, and a 360-degree sweep.

When enemies go down, they're not out. Stunned enemies will get back up after not too long, while stronger attacks can knock them longer. Some rooms have monkeys you can set loose for points and also to sit on downed guards. One result of this system is that you won't find the corridors empty if you double back, since enemies will persistently be on patrol. There will be a total of 12 locations in the game with 3 missions each.

Whiplash is being developed for the Xbox and PlayStation 2. The game is currently pre-alpha and is due out this holiday season.

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