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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

[PC] Whiplash

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Genre: racing
PC/developer/publisher: Gremlin Interactive Ltd.
Year of release: 1995
Players: 2
Media: 1 CD-ROM
Additional peripherals supported: gamepad

Get Crashday. Remove all the career stuff and replace it with teamplay. Add a bit of atmosphere from old-skool NFSes, and you'll get Whiplash, maybe one of the best racing games ever made for old systems (DOS and Windows 95, to be exact). Why? Well, if it begged me to play it as much as my faves, Crash Team Racing and Gran Turismo, there is a reason for that. Why won't we discuss which ones, if you have a minute or two?


Okay, it may have kinda poor graphics, even if you keep all the GFX options on max, but. First, it was a DOS game, and if DOS would do the 3D render similar to Quake II or even III, all the numerous polygons will be untextured, plus, the game would go no more than 25 FPS, no matter which machine you try. Second, who said these graphics actually LOOK like they're bad? Try that Country Justice cocksucking trash and you'll see that the graphics are supahbad not only technologically, but estetically too. Okay, never mind. We're not here to discuss the polygon count, you know.
What's cool in Whiplash (therefore refered to as Fatal Racing, or simply FR) is the gameplay. It's not just about finding perfect curves 'on air', it's also about floating, bumping, bumping bad guys, riding on extreme curves... Well, to my knowledge, this is the first well-known racing game that used lotsa stunts, succeeded by Crashday and Trackmania series... And you thought that the coolest stunt racings were released today? Try FR, it will let you blush in that case, I swear.
Oh, and the feature I mentioned above. Teamplay, yeah. Any modern racing game I've seen (newest CTR clones don't count) always lets you to be a one car army. And that's it. In FR, you will have a choice: either you play alone (eight cars overall) or with a partner (same goes for each team, so it goes to sixteen rides). As a team, you will get a bigger chance to win the first places on the championships (or the last ones, if you both fuck up). Of course, what kind of team this would be without some helping stuff like communication... Time after time, you will get messages about your comrador's ride status ('No one's getting past', for example, or 'I'm going in for pits') to make sure that everything goes Ol' Raitt and decide what to do (accelerate, in most of the cases, or bump 'em all) in case if something goes Fairly Odd. If you want, you may even set a chase camera that shoots your teammate (and his position), in place of the timer or rear view mirror. Or, refer to the 'F*' keys to give orders to him.That helps VERY MUCH, I give you my testicles if I won't prove that.
As a dessert, I'll tell you that this is, perhaps, THE ONLY racing game on my memory that may be played COOPERATIVELY. So, if you have a friend that mastered all his Colin McRays and Carbons inside and outside, bring him to your home so he would play this game shoulder-by-shoulder with you. Now, this method gives more profit than playing it with a dead AI. You may decide whom to bump and when to stop for pits... But make sure that you and your friend are used to split-screen mode. Otherwise, you may use the cable connection between two comps, so good luck on trying to sync that stuff!
And, of course, what kind of a fatal racing game it would be without the damage system! Visually, they don't appear. Anyhow. If you won't count the smoke. But when you drive the car... That starts to feel ve-e-e-e-ery badly. Wanna always arrive first? Accelerate to max speed and never, I said, NEVER bump the walls. Yeah-yeah-yeah, bumping walls a lot may harm not only your baby, but it's ultrasonicness as well. In other words, the more you receive, the more your max speed suffers. Easy as hell, yet it's the factor one of your upcoming failure. That's not GTA4 where you get the stolen stuff all broken and still ride with the wind like nothing happened. So, you know, don't fail © Rise of the Triad. In case of what, you either pit or lose one of your three lives (the only time when you may hear the announcement shouting 'FATALITY!!!' Gawd, that's what should be used for M.U.G.E.N. announcers instead of classic Shao Kahn's voice). You lose the cup during the both operations, still.
There is a lot of difficulty levels, starting from 'Girlie' and ending with 'Impossible'... But they only slightly change the AI's behavior and pump the laps number up. That's it. What really makes the game harder (rather than marathonish) is one of three collision damage levels, plus one secret one that may be enabled by DR DEATH cheat (accept this as your name before you type your name in). While low one makes the game feel like yet another NFS clone, Death Mode is sooooo assy but sooooo beautiful that makes the action just goddamn hardcore. Also, that makes bumping the enemies easier too... And that makes you to cut out EVERY curve perfectly, therefore...
And it's sure wouldn't be a stunts racing game without really wild tracks filled with abnormal roads, spaghettis and the things that may make your car fle-e-e-e-e-e-ep! For a starter, there are a lot of turns (yet you may simply accelerate like nothing happened). Then there comes a section of more deadly angles of turning and bumpy roads. Then, lots of 'passages'. Then, ramps. And, to make your blood not just boil but rather burn, and burn as long as you play this game... 360° road sections which will make the world turn upside down... Or even aside. Controlling a car in such a hell needs practice, practice and practice yet again.
Nicey and responsible controls will sure help you in your quest for gold medals. To mention, you can select between a manual gear swap or an automatic (automatic is recommended, so you would use more attention on not going out of bounds).
Sound. Nine out of ten, if I would have a rating system. The sounds are all cool, yet the announcer may get a bit annoying after 30 minutes of playing. Every car and every track has its' own narrative description (digg 'em boyz). The music is just drivy and gorgeous. Even if that's not Flatout's earbreaking awesomeness, it's something close to this level. Just different genre, that's it. Awesome running demo music. Really classy and awesome (yet again) main menu theme. Another fitting and recognizeable theme for the first track, Grand Royale, that may be listened again and again, considring that this game is just full of marathones... The other themes keep the spirit up pretty much like above mentioned tracks did. Just one disclaimer... All I said about the awesomeness of FR's OST refers to the MIDI version of the soundtrack. The CDDA version, for some really weird reason, retains only the demo theme alive, while the others were merely replaced with some techno songs that turn into techno shit when blendered with FR's atmosphere. And yeah, you guessed it. No classy main menu melody. WTF, I MISS IT SO MUCH! Oh, and one more disclaimer. If you decided to use the MIDI tracks, use the old sequencer, because with the newer one, some instruments will get on desync. And, if you can, please post the entire MIDI soundtrack on YouTube, I would HIGHLY appreciate that, thank you.
Oh, I forgot another feature that makes FR look like most modern games... Replay video editor. Loved to mess up with this when I was a kid...


So, overall, if you think that ALL serious racing games are all about showing the road and the car's LARGE BUTT, play this and think again. It may not be really serious, maybe even fully arcade, but it really, really does its' job. It entertains. Eat my eyes if you are a racing game fan and you didn't liked burning rubber and burning the badguys on the right side from you.
Now, why do I think this game had to be ported on consoles and not remain a PC exclusive. Well, let's take PlayStation for example. Even if the actual game required 4 megs of RAM at least (or eight), the graphics would be no bother to deploy here becuase there's not so much textures used. Plus, not so much polygons. Dumb CDDA track could be either replaced with epic rearrangements of the real FR music converted to XA or become sampled PSM tracks (announcer's endless pile of quotes could use XA format, pretty much like CTR did), but I know that Gremlin would make that nightmare come true, so... Also, the replay editor would be gone, but... Well, if Gran Turismo allowed to record replays, then I'd put this one too. With the editor.
So, may anyone tell me, why FR wasn't ported to any of the consoles existing on that day? Gremlin had trouble with money, I guess?

'Serious' arcade racing never was so fun. If you like marathones and explosions, this fun is sure for you... And, to pump the juice up, this game should be yours if you like to beat games WITH a friend! Nobody knows why there was no, well, remakes or ports of this. Even homebrew ones. Maybe because this gamie is an obscurity? Gark, too bad.

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Whiplash has better title. Fatal Racing has better title screen.
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Wee, wee ween!
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Never mess with Ms. Platina Berlitz. Otherwise, brutality guaranteed.
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When drivers become pilots.
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Beware of pitstops. The AI tends to mash your ride even there.


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  2. I think this game had to be ported on consoles and not remain a PC exclusive. Well, let's take PlayStation for example.
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  3. I think I bought this for my sister and was amazed back in 95 or 96!