Tom and Jerry in War of the Whiskers

Review

posted 2/7/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
Tom and Jerry debuted in a 1940 cartoon entitled “Puss in Boots”. Back then Tom was known as Jasper and over the years have given me many laughs as Tom tried his hardest to get Jerry. Now NewKidCo is bringing the characters from the beloved cartoon to the Playstation 2 in Tom and Jerry in War of the Whiskers. A game rated for teens from a company well known for kids games, Tom and Jerry has beautiful graphics with great renderings of classic characters but the gameplay is a little shallow and hard for kids and adults alike.

Tom and Jerry in War of the Whiskers is a beat’em up game set in various interactive environments. The basic controls of the game are jump, kick, punch, pick up object, block, and taunt. Four modes of play include single player, tag team, Vs., and team play give you or you and your friend control over various Tom and Jerry characters in an all out brawl through 11+ levels. There are secret levels in addition to the eleven available. You don’t have to use just your paws to do your damage. If you’re a fan of the cartoon, you know Tom used a variety of weapons to try to get Jerry. The game features over 75 weapons for you to use against your opponent. Weapons come in all shapes and sizes and do a good amount of damage so it’s best that you try and utilize them to your advantage.

Let’s get to what’s good about the game. War of the Whiskers feature some great 3D modeling of the well known and some obscure Tom and Jerry characters. The designers and animators did a great job bringing 2D cartoon characters to life in a 3D console game. Fans of the show should be proud at how well the artists did in modeling the characters. Besides great renditions of Tom and Jerry, the supporting cast of characters has enough polygons to give them a very nice smooth look. The scale that the characters are to each other seem pretty accurate with Tyke, Nibbles, Jerry, and the duck standing pretty small next to the other characters. In addition to the great looking characters, the animations are also top notch. You’ll see cartoon inspired action such as a character being flattened into a pancake with a hammer and your enemy staggering around with a watermelon on his head. The taunts, in-game animations, pre-fight animations, and end-fight animations are all very well done.

All the battles take place in very nicely rendered environments. Named after animal takes on various famous movie titles, all the environments have numerous objects that can be picked up and used to deal more damage. Mailboxes, crates, and bats are just some of the weapons that you can find. All the environments are multi-level so you can jump around and reach various areas were objects spawn. Some areas are even deformable by hitting them or throwing your enemy into the wall. A pristine looking level can turn into a war zone after a round of fighting.


On looks alone, War of the Whiskers has a great cartoon feel that brings the good old TV show to life. It’s too bad the gameplay is a little lacking and it’s really hard even on Easy level that little kids might get too frustrated with the game. I found myself losing multiple times, as the computer just wouldn’t let up on dealing the punishment. On easy level, the game shouldn’t be this hard and for a children’s game it should be a cakewalk but the AI is just ruthless.

At the start you only get Tom or Jerry to use. It’s only by going through the single player and finishing the game that you unlock the other characters to play. Why NewKidCo didn’t give you more than two at the beginning is beyond me but I feel that they should’ve included at least half of the characters to be playable from the onset. I don’t mind playing through a game to unlock characters but not giving you more than two from the beginning is a little disheartening. Even one of the game play modes is locked until you finish it with one of the unlockable characters. There’s just too much to unlock to get what should be available in the first place.

Another point of frustration can be the level event damage. For example, on the level that’s shaped like the docks, water will fill up the area at certain intervals. Any character caught in the water cannot jump out and will most likely be bitten by the sharks that swim around. All the levels have something like this and you are left helpless in the wake of the event should be you be so unlucky to be caught in it. I think if you were able to escape it once it happens, it would’ve been lot less annoying. The level events are pretty cool to look at though with some being an avalanche, a squid bashing a ship, and a floor of water freezing in a kitchen. Again, younger kids might get a little frustrated by the fact that some of them can be hard to avoid.

There aren’t many different moves as the game is pretty much an exercise in button mashing but that’s not bad considering the audience this game appeals to. It’s this button mashing that allows for kids and adults to play together without having to learn any complicated movements. It’s also this simplistic gameplay that might turn off people too. It’s hard to fault the gameplay for being one-dimensional though. War of the Whiskers lets you jump right into the game and start fighting without having to read the manual.

War of the Whiskers isn’t a bad game. It’s actually very nice to look at and for those Tom and Jerry fans who wanted to just give Nibbles, Duckling, or Jerry what they really deserved this game gives you the chance. I do have to say it was pretty satisfying bringing the hammer down on those cute but annoying characters that gave poor old Tom the bad rap. You can easily play the game with kids of all ages but you’ll have a lot of unlocking to do before you get a good selection of characters and levels to play with. NewKidCo has a decent game here and fans of the cartoon will enjoy it for a bit.






D+
The great graphics are offset by mediocre gameplay. Fun for a little bit but can be quite hard for the younger ones.