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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Crave Entertainment

 

Developer

Crave Entertainment

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- One for the kids

- Varied goals

- Easy controls

 

 

- Older gamers won't find much to enjoy even if they love Tony Hawk

 

 

Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (Playstation 2)

Review: Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 (Gamecube)

Review: Transworld Snowboarding (XBox)

 

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Whirl Tour

Score: 5.8 / 10

 

Crave Entertainment had a great idea with Whirl Tour (WT), which takes the basic concepts of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series and turns the skateboards into scooters. While this sounds like a cool idea it doesn’t necessarily translate into great gameplay.

 

You initially play a character named Wasa B, a roadie for a band called “Flipside”, who is giving a concert when suddenly the band members disappear into swirling vortexes. Wasa, thinking quickly, decides to hop on a scooter and jump into the last vortex in an attempt to save the band.

 

whirl-tour-1.jpg (52845 bytes)          whirl-tour-2.jpg (58122 bytes)

 

WT features a solid amount of game modes, which include arcade mode, story mode, practice mode, and multiplayer.

 

The story mode is very similar to Tony Hawk’s Career Mode as each level contains a number of goals that you must achieve before unlocking more levels. Goals include defeating bosses in each level and achieving a high score (and saving the band member on that level). Since there are so many goals you often forget what you’re supposed to achieve and you’ll constantly find yourself cycling through the options menu looking at your objectives. Lots of the mission goals are lame and after playing the story mode for twenty minutes you’ll want to forget about this game.

 

WT’s second problem is that each level has a time of two minutes to complete as many goals as possible. Even the practice mode has a time limit – 30 minutes! The timers are not really necessary.

 

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Another problem with the story mode is that there is no in-game map. Since the environments are so large it’s very difficult to keep track of where everything is.  And because WT has a definite “kiddie” vibe its hard to grasp why a map wasn’t included.

 

The story mode can also be played cooperatively with a friend, which makes the game a little easier. A big problem with playing the co-op mode is that the screen is split vertically and the viewing distance is not very far.

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The biggest problem overall is the speed of the game. Compared to other games, WT lacks the speed and intensity that its competitors have. Some may also find that the game carries a high frustration level – rigging 80,000 point combos is really tough (but because WT is aimed at young kids they’re not likely to care if they can't).

 

The control is perhaps the best part of WT, which is almost identical to that of the Tony Hawk’s series. For example, triangle is to grind and the X button is to turbo. Each character has their special combos, etc. -- all the traditional extreme sports stuff.

 

whirl-tour-3.jpg (65397 bytes)          whirl-tour-4.jpg (64770 bytes)

 

The graphics are not, in any way, Playstation 2 quality. The characters are very cartoon-like but bland and so are the environments, although the lighting techniques are very nice. Luckily with all of the game’s flaws there is no slowdown and the load times are pretty quick as well.

 

For the first ten to fifteen minutes WT features a pretty awesome soundtrack but after that the songs quickly repeat themselves. It seems like the game only contains three or four songs. The character voices are done well but lots of the characters speak sparingly, which is good because the voices don’t become repetitive.

 

With a weak story mode and a few decent multiplayer modes Whirl Tour might be worth a rental if you’re curious or if you’ve got small kids in the house, otherwise you’ll be under whelmed by WT.

 

- Siddharth Masand

(December 11, 2002)

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