Whip Rush 2222 AD (Genesis) review
"If you want to give Renovation credit for one thing when they released Whip Rush 2222 A.D. for the Genesis in 1990, praise them for knowing how to copy from good games. "
If you want to give Renovation credit for one thing when they released Whip Rush 2222 A.D. for the Genesis in 1990, praise them for knowing how to copy from good games.
As I flew, shot and dodged my way through this horizontally-scrolling shooter’s seven levels, I often felt that I could have been playing one of many personal favorites. When I looked at the weapons and the manner you’re expected to use them, I was reminded of Bio-Hazard Battle. However, many levels seemed more like something I’d find in R-Type. The cool thing is that the combination of styles works out pretty well in this game, as you have to use a fair amount of strategy in picking which weapon you have equipped at any time or you’ll be in more than a bit of trouble.
Besides the standard pea-shooter you start out with, there are a handful of upgrades in Whip Rush, each of which can be powered-up a couple of times. The green lasers are powerful, but concentrated, beams that fire directly in front of you. Missiles cover a bit more of the screen, but still leave your back unprotected. Finally, the fire attack’s direction is determined by your on-screen movement. If you want to shoot in front of you, move to the left of the screen; to shoot foes coming up on your rear, move a bit to the right. To enhance your firepower, you also can pick up helper ships, which you can rotate to different positions around you or send out toward foes.
Even better, each of Whip Rush’s plentiful power-ups contains all of these abilities within it. All you have to do is wait for the appropriate letter to appear before flying over the icon and you’ll get (or improve) that weapon -- making it so you don’t have to wait an eternity to get that second laser upgrade. That also makes it easy to switch weapons on the fly, which is a necessity in Whip Rush. A couple of this game’s levels -- just like a late-game Bio-Hazard Battle stage -- are fond of sending your ship in different directions.
You’ll start out going from left-to-right, just like you’d expect from a horizontal shooter. If you’re like me, you might be equipped with a fully powered-up laser, as that attack is absolutely devastating to foes that appear in front of you. Things soon get a bit rougher, though, as the screen starts scrolling toward the top....and then to the left. Obviously, this makes your laser completely worthless, as most foes are popping up above or behind you. Now you need the fire weapon, as a minimal amount of control pad manipulation with that item will negate whatever advantage your foes had.
Then again, it might not. Like I said earlier, this game has much in common with R-Type, which means you’ll have plenty of tight fits and tricky fights no matter what weapon you’re using. While a couple of levels place you in wide-open spaces for at least a good portion of the stage, you’ll still spend the bulk of your time in enemy ships and bases flittering through tiny gaps while trying to dodge incoming fire. Some of these alien-made obstructions are quite clever -- especially the lasers emitted by the fifth level’s battleship. These beams, if left alone, will fill up the screen, leaving you with no option other than a head-on collision. What you have to do is either destroy the device creating them BEFORE they start their winding path across the screen or shoot the actual laser, which will cause its progress to sputter to a halt.
Also clever is Whip Rush’s inclusion of something resembling a story. Now, there’s absolutely nothing here that’s groundbreaking (aliens blowing stuff up and taking over places), but the way it’s portrayed made this game seem a bit more personal than most. Instead of giving each level a stupid generic shooter name like “Asteroid Field” or “Red Moon”, Renovation made up names that describe what you’re supposed to be doing. The first level is called “Drive out the Intruders” and is followed by stages with names like “Engage Incoming Aliens and “Destroy the Base”. Yeah, it’s purely superficial and has no impact on the actual gameplay, but little touches like this can make a game seem more vivid and memorable.
Sadly, Whip Rush is not a particularly memorable game. While it does an admirable job of recreating some classic shooter moments, the only time it really gets an identity of its own is during the boss fights -- and it’s not in a good way. Many of these major fights are boring, frustrating battles against foes with small weak spots that only can be hit at select times. Oftentimes, you aren’t given much room to maneuver in, so you’ll be forced to carefully move throughout cramped quarters waiting for the specific time your foe is vulnerable to damage. The final boss is especially infuriating, as a pair of snaky arms prove amazingly proficient at consistently shielding the immobile monster during his brief moments of vulnerability. Defeating it was arguably the most tedious task I’d ever endured in a shooter.
And then you have to take the game’s distinct lack of personality under consideration. Most of the time, Whip Rush feels like R-Type (Lite), only without the charm. While the graphics aren’t horrible and the music can at least be tolerated, much of this game reeks of banality. As I progressed further and further into my quest, I found myself desperately wanting something to jump out of the screen and impress me. Nothing did. The levels were competently designed with a few tricky areas and, with the exception of many bosses, nothing truly annoyed or aggravated me, but something was missing. With a slew of “been-there, done-that” levels capped by horribly-designed bosses, Whip Rush just doesn’t have what it takes to evolve beyond the ranks of merely decent and become a truly good game.
Community review by overdrive (September 01, 2005)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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