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Product: Whacked!
Company: Microsoft
Estimated Street Price: $49.95/£39.99
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

Although the release of Xbox Live! has been hailed for being the first console to get online with a really good service, there are not many games out that support it. That isn't to say that the games that have been released haven't been good, there has been a couple of great titles in Mech Assault and Moto GP, but right here we have what is possibly the first Xbox Live! game you will play (in demo form on the starter pack CD) - Whacked! The game is a kind of gameshow come party game full of colour and a lot of wacky characters for you to play as and against.

Whacked! is a fast and furious arena combat game in which eight demented contestants are pitted against each other in the world’s most irreverent and dangerous game show. When contestants take the stage, all hell breaks loose as free-for-all combat ensues. Contestants must use power-ups and zany weapons such as giant staplers and rubber ducky grenades to flatten their opponents and win a grand prize that’s out of this world.

  • Distinctive, twisted characters. Characters present an "escape-from-reality" humor that is appealing to serious and casual gamers. Imaginative style and background stories add depth and interest. Characters have their own personalities and unique moves which add humor and depth to gameplay.
  • Online enabled. Play online via broadband with the Xbox Live gaming service (available fall 2002). Talk and taunt during the game online using the Xbox Communicator headset (sold separately in the Xbox Live starter kit). Play six different modes online, including Flag Tag, Death Match, and King of the Hill (subscription to Xbox Live service required).
  • Vast and varied weapons and power-ups. 30+ weapons and power-ups available throughout the game. Atypical weapons, stapler gun, pitch fork, electro whip, etc. add to gamer appeal. Secret weapons will appear throughout the game. Unexpected weapon/power-up combos add to weapon variety.


Review Quotes
"If there is one thing to say about Whacked! graphics, it is that they are quite unique. The design is quite cool, the characters all look unique in themselves and the level design is bright and varied"

So we have already established is that Whacked! is based on a gameshow style of game, it is what you could call a party game as it is far better when played with a few people than it is by itself. The idea is easy, you pick one of seven contestants as your controlled character. You then get to play across a variety of levels (13 to be exact) and in 6 different game types.

  • Combat: Step into the arena, pick up a weapon and then whack the other players so that they release the stars they are carrying. The person who collects the specified number of stars first is the winner.
  • Grab 'n' Run: The first player to carry the gold trophy for the specified time is the winner.
  • Dodgeball: Smack the other players with a dodgeball whilst trying to avoid being hit yourself. The last player standing wins.
  • King of the hill: The first player who manages to stay on the moving patch of glowing green for the specified time is the winner.
  • Fragfest: Kill as many other players as possible before the time runs out.
  • Chicken: Collect the specified number of stars to win, whilst trying to avoid and kill chickens at the same time.

The most widely played style of game here is easily Combat mode, it is probably the easiest one to get used to as well. The basic idea is to collect as many stars as the game asks you to get. You get stars by either running over the various ones that appear on the level, or by whacking a fellow opponent so some of their stars that they were carrying fall out, it is all very simple but can be a lot of fun when a full group of people are playing the game.

The problems however begin quite early on in the game for the single player, even though the game try's to come across as a game show, it doesn't really succeed. You start off as being able to choose one of four characters (the rest of them are unlocked once you complete the game with the characters you have, although they are already unlocked if you play on Xbox Live!). So what is the problem, well the levels seem to last too long, and when you consider that the levels themselves are not actually very large you can get fed up whilst playing which isn't a good thing - it is a good thing when you are playing online against others but not in the single player game. The next problem is that despite me saying the levels last ages, this isn't actually because they are difficult, they are far too easy even on the hardest level of difficultly.

So how does it play online? Well it is one of the few launch titles that doesn't seem to have any lagging problems what so ever, I guess this is more to do with the fact that the game only supports up to 4 players at one time where as the laggiest title of them all on the Xbox - Unreal Championship supports up to 16 players at one time. This is also one of the few games in which a lot of players seem to like to use the voice capabilities of the Xbox Live! service, I'm not quite sure what makes people use it with this game, but anyway it helps with the atmosphere.

Most online users seem to enjoy playing the combat game the most, while quite a few are also playing Fragfest, but one of the problems we have with Whacked! is that with the retail version there seems to be very few people online to play most of the time. But in saying that I can't see this being the most sort after Live! title when comparing it to the rest. But it is a disappointment to see so few people online playing.

Graphics & Sound

Review Quotes
"The idea is easy, you pick one of seven contestants as your controlled character. You then get to play across a variety of levels (13 to be exact) and in 6 different game types"

If there is one thing to say about Whacked! graphics, it is that they are quite unique. The design is quite cool, the characters all look unique in themselves and the level design is bright and varied, there is something for just about everyone here. There are no problems with frame rates as the levels themselves are not all that big, and even though there can be a lot going on at one time there is never a point when there is too much happening that the Xbox GPU will take a hit.

The sound is a plus point, the voice overs are actually very well suited to the game itself. The announcer perfectly fits into the style of the game too - as does the host, Van Tastic

Final Comments

How It Grades
Controls: 78%
Gameplay: 75%
Presentation: 79%
Graphics: 75%
Multiplayer: 79%
Sound: 79%
Manual: 83%
Interface: 72%
Price/Value: 70%
Overall: 73%

Whacked! is one of those titles that is hard to review, on one hand I find it refreshing that it is a pick up and play title that can actually be a lot of fun to play with a group of people at home or online via Xbox Live! - on the other hand it is repetitive and you won't want to play it for hours on end like a lot of titles. Anyone expecting something amazing from Whacked! will be disappointed.


Specs & Package
Overall Score 73%
Version Reviewed Whacked! (PAL/NTSC)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Whacked! DVD
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Good graphics
Nice Style
Can be amusing
The Bad Points No Leaderboards
Humor is hit and miss
Xbox Live! Enabled? Yes
Widescreen Support No
PAL 60 Support (Europe) Yes

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