Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
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Longtime adventure game developer Presto Studios offers its first action title in Whacked!, a four-player party game emphasizing frenzied, cartoon-style combat in a demented game show format. Contestants choose one of seven offbeat characters, ranging from an ornery rabbit to a spoiled sweet tooth, before deciding on the following modes of play: Gameshow Mode, Battle Mode, and Rehearsal. The basic game has players progressing through four stages of free-for-all battles to claim a mysterious, ultimate prize. An assortment of power-ups and weapons are available within each arena to ensure the action remains chaotic from beginning to end.
Controls are designed to be simple for anyone to pick up and play. Characters can sidestep left or right to avoid attacks, perform a punch attack or use a weapon, and jump high into the air. Gameshow Mode offers six variants, including "Combat," where the goals are to 1) whack each other until stars are released, and 2) quickly grab them before opponents do. "Grab 'n' Run" involves carrying a golden trophy for a specified amount of time as others chase it down. "Dodgeball" is patterned after the playground classic, while "King of the Hill" has characters defending a moving patch of swirls. "Fragfest" involves wasting as many rivals as possible within the time limit, and "Chicken" consists of slaughtering the noisy cluckers for their stars.
The action takes place across 13 different settings, ranging from an arctic pipeline to underneath a Christmas tree. Over 30 weapons include such diverse armaments as pitchforks, staple guns, explosive dogs, rubber ducky grenades, soda cans (used to belch), circus cannons, and shish kebob sticks. Random elements come in the form of question marks and big red buttons, which can either help or hinder a player. Since Whacked! is designed first and foremost as a multiplayer title, options available in Battle Mode include split-screen play on one system, networked consoles via System Link, or online play using the Xbox Live service. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide