" It reminds me of Chinese food…It's nice while you're eating it but a half hour later it'll be forgotten for the new meal your already hungry for. "
Title: Whirl Tour by Crave Entertainment
Format: PS2 Racing/Trick game
Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo
The Hype: Coming square out of nowhere, Whirl Tour is Crave's answer to the Tony Hawk trick skating genre. In this version you're dropped on a motorized scooter and put on a mission based level system and told to defeat bosses and collect power ups. And, yes, just to put your mind at ease, you read that right…you're on a scooter buffing up and kicking ass.
What This Monkey Thought...
Graphics: It's always confusing when a game comes out with graphics that are obviously out dated, it makes you wonder if the developers are seeing what else is on the market. Not even carrying the excuse of lagged development Whirl Tour is, without question, the graphical equivalent to games we saw in the last millennium. It's not that they're bad, per se, it's more that they seem unpolished- sporting blocky models, low polygon counts, and some serious aliasing issues. And while the levels they're rendering may be down right monstrous in some cases simple textures and mediocre camera work won't actually let you get into them visually. 2.75 out of 5
Playability: Okay, this is going to be
a bit confusing so you'll have to bear with me. In control Whirl Tour comes
in right along with any number of the racer/trick games you've played over the
years (especially the afore mentioned Tony Hawk), with button combinations,
both simple and elaborate, pulling off tricks and combos and strings increasing
your potency and score. That much is pretty standard.
What gets both bizarre and interesting is the manner in which these functions are employed. Rather than being a simple race or point game Whirl Tour actually implements an action game feel with mandatory level goals, trick based combat, and actual end of level bosses that must be scrapped with using your array of tricks to damage the various baddies you'll encounter. As odd as this sounds it actually comes off fairly well and only suffers from a few notable failings. The first two, and definitely the most important, are some significant play glitches and the rather obtuse damage system the game implements. In both cases they are forgivable and not overly game disrupting but annoying all the same. The third, and most subjective of my gripes, was in the overall juvenile feel the game perpetuates. From it's cartoonish characters to it's repetitive objective design (all the levels are played through virtually identically) the game just feels like it's made for the younger 10-15 year old gaming crowd (and, coincidentally, my little cousins love it). Not that a young target audience is a bad thing by any stretch but, aside from the rather silly anime-esque cover art, there's really nothing to tell us older gamers "this one's for the kiddies". 3.75 out of 5
Story and Drama: As I said, surprisingly enough, there is a story in Whirl Tour. It's not a great one, or even a good one, and obviously it's little more than an excuse to string the missions loosely together, but it's there all the same. The premise is that your character, Wasa B, is a roadie for the rock band "Flipside" and is chillin' off stage during one of their shows when they are freakishly transported into an alternate universe and you take it upon yourself to go to war, scooter style, to find them. And, regardless of however much that synopsis made you wrinkle your brow and shake your head, I'm going to give them points for bothering to include a story at all, dammit. 3 out of 5
Multiplayer and Replayability: The obligatory trick and arcade modes are present to make sure that there's more than 8 quick levels to run through but, unfortunately, much of the interesting items and levels are strictly unlockable so you'll be forced through the story whether you like it or not. Honestly, once that's done, I'll be surprised if you actually want to put the game in again but, if you do, that's where all the fun stuff happens. The solid, if unoriginal trick and skate style are familiar to anyone who's played in the genre and it'll provide you with some reasonable entertainment. Added to that as well is the now standard trick-off multiplayer competition and, definitely most interestingly, a 2 player co-op that will definitely give you an extra perspective on the game. 3 out of 5
|All in all, despite its ambitious concept, Whirl Tour ends up being decidedly unremarkable. Fun in it's own right but not particularly noteworthy its lack of graphics and limited replayability will keep it from being memorable. The only notable exception to that, as I eluded to before, is for kids. Kids seem to love the simple tricks, light feel, bizarre combat, and wacky story line, and it definitely warrants consideration for anyone under the age of 16.|
The Good: Interesting premise with large levels.
The Bad: Graphically dated with uninspired gameplay.
The Overall Ugly: It reminds me of Chinese food…It's nice while you're eating it but a half hour later it'll be forgotten for the new meal your already hungry for.
What it's Worth: Rental.