Monday, 23 January 2017

Freak Out / Stretch Panic (Playstation 2)

Freak Out (Stretch Panic-US, Hippa Linda-JPN)  (PS2) :

More utter insanity now, but this time from Treasure, a company who excel at making great games that nobody buys! And even a lot of Treasure fans seemed to not give this one much notice...

Freak Out tells the tale of Linda, a girl who has to deal with 12 rather vain sisters who constantly mock Linda's fashion sense and love of her scarf, which was gifted to her when she was six by her now deceased father. One day...whilst Linda is off picking up the weekly cosmetic shopping for her self-obsessed sisters... a mysterious package arrives on their doorstep. Possibly thinking it has come form some secret admirer, the sisters open it.....and unleash 13 scary vanity demons looking to punish pretty types!

12 of the demons possess the sisters, but the 13th only manages to attach itself to Linda's scarf... thanks to her lack of vanity. Despite her obvious annoyance at her stupid siblings, she decides she better get to the task of saving them from the vile Zakos, for that is what these demons are called! Because Linda took good care of the scarf, and with it's magically gained sentience it agrees to help Linda rescue her sisters, and let her utilize its newly acquired powers of stretching... that turns everything it touches into elastic!

Each of the sisters has been zapped off to a seperate dimension, and these are accessed through various different dimension doors. In order to open the doors, Linda must first defeat some more vanity demons...ones named Bonita Zakos! 

These rather large-breasted baddies can only be defeated by pinging their heads or bums, which can be tricky to grab hold of as their bulbous boobs block your aim! Once you've managed to get a few of them to explode though, you can access one of the doors to the other dimensions..

Here you'll face one of your possessed relatives, and have to work out exactly what needs to be stretched and pulled in order to free them. Once..well, if... you've managed to do that, your sister will be saved and she'll be added to the Gallery Of Shame...a place you access by pinging a bell in the hub world and that lets you mess around with your families features and textures later in the game! And you set off to blow up more Bonitas and rescue the next victim of vanity!

It's truly a weird little game, and won't be for everyone. It has a sort of odd Tim Burton-esque atmosphere, but probably has just a touch too much colour in it to be really classed as such. Still, I think it looks rather groovy but I can see how some people might find it a bit too strange...

It was one of Treasure's first 3D titles, and you can see they haven't quite mastered how to make a good game camera, with it spinning around and not letting you see what you need to see sometimes.

It can also be tricky to judge exactly where your scarf is in relation to things, and the controls for using it take a bit of getting used to too. And I've had to refer to an online guide more than once to work out exactly how to defeat the bosses...But having said all that, I still enjoy it every time I restart it to try and play through again, and if you're looking for something very different from the type of things you normally play, then this could be a good place to start!

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