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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Extreme Sports

 

Publisher

Crave

 

Developer

Papaya Studio

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- Some colorful graphics

- Simple trick combos

- Definitely one for the under 10 crowd

 

 

- Where’s the speed?

- Time limits are passé nowadays

- Wide, wide turns seem to be the norm

- Anyone over 10 is likely to lose interest in about five minutes

- Although the environments are all fantasy little is done with them

 

 

Review: Whirl Tour (Playstation 2)

Review: Aggressive Inline (Gamecube)

Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (Gamecube)

 

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Whirl Tour

Score: 4.5 / 10

 

I’ll be upfront about this; the above score reflects my own personal biases and my age.  I fall well out of the prepubescent demographic Whirl Tour (WT) is obviously aimed at.  My son, three years old, has a blast when playing WT – laughing, giggling, and surprisingly able to pull off some good-looking combos once in a while.  Anyone over 10 is likely to overlook WT in the first place so they’ll spare themselves the experience of actually playing it.  But for parents looking for kid games, please read on.

 

whirl-tour-gamecube-1.jpg (31883 bytes)          whirl-tour-gamecube-2.jpg (37065 bytes)

 

WT follows the extreme sports formula that the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games popularized.  Each environment is filled with objects to trick off and objectives to complete, like performing a specific trick and defeating boss characters.  The goals and environments are kid friendly – no petty larceny or misdemeanors required but lots of power-ups littered about – right down to the two-player co-op feature in the Story mode.

 

Although there are a few different modes – Versus, Monster Trick (H.O.R.S.E.), Story – the same frustrations envelope each.

 

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The biggest flaw is the complete lack of speed.  This is particularly frustrating after playing stellar games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 or Aggressive Inline.  For example, Story mode starts with the band, Flipside, vanishing mid-concert – an event orchestrated by Dr. Skeezicks – and during each level you have to find and free the different band members.  To do this, you have to successfully race Dr. Skeezicks’s mutated monsters – actually the band members – to the 

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bottom of a course.  These races are unlocked as you progress through the story mode and are absolutely painful!  After a while I fell into the mantra, “Faster, faster! Damn you, faster!”  Grinding squeezes out bit more speed, as does hitting the boost button, but couple it with finicky control and frickin’ wide turns and you’ve got much frustration.

 

Tricking isn’t much of a problem; in fact, experienced players should be able to master WT in about the five minutes it takes to become sick of playing.  This makes it somewhat accessible to younger kids, but more advanced features like the boss lock-on might be totally missed.

 

whirl-tour-gamecube-3.jpg (46616 bytes)          whirl-tour-gamecube-4.jpg (44505 bytes)

As if you needed more ammo to label WT as kid-oriented, the graphics are big and bright without much detail.  Everything moves smoothly, which doesn’t come as a surprise since your character moves so damn slow.  The other presentation aspect, the audio, is only so-so.  Music is sparse, nay, nonexistent, unless you make a concerted effort to grab the (three) hidden music discs in each level.  But it’s nothing to make your ears bleed.

 

Overall, Whirl Tour might interest younger gamers and please parents with it’s inoffensiveness, but there are still better games out there for the younger audience.

 

- Omni

(December 23, 2002)

 

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