Whip Rush wants to be R-Type so bad it’s not even funny. It stands to reason that with as many shmups released on the Genesis some of them would bear striking resemblances to each other. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that; some of the best games ever made were, *ahem*, inspired by others. So how does Whip Rush fare in spite of this fact?
Released in 1990 Whip Rush isn’t going to win any awards for its story. In the year 2222 overpopulation has lead man to search the stars for a suitable planet to colonize. After a number of years word is sent that a world has been found but before contact is established the signal goes dead and soon Earth is on the verge of invasion. What does it mean? It means you have 7 levels of action ahead of you that’s what. While not wholly original Whip Rush is a decent shmup that provides enough thrills to occupy an afternoon but I would only recommend to true diehard fans of the genre that have exhausted all other options. There are better alternatives.
Your standard fire can be augmented with 3 weapons, lasers, missiles, and fire. Each can be upgraded a further 3 times and has its own idiosyncrasies. The laser is the most powerful but only fires in a straight line. Missiles home in on targets but are extremely weak. The fireball is weak but can be shot in any direction. There are enough situations where switching is advantageous so getting attached is not recommended.
The R-Type comparison comes in the form of the options. Aside from increasing your firepower they can be rotated and positioned around your ship. They can also be shot in any direction and cause damage on the way back. Sound familiar? You’ll make extensive use of this tactic, especially if you stick with a weapon unsuited for the current situation. The levels themselves are never a straight path to the end and scroll in every direction as well as present obstacles to trip you up. The ability to vary your ship speed is a lifesaver, particularly when it comes to tight spaces.
While it isn’t original it doesn’t do anything wrong either. The levels are a decent length and challenging enough that it’s a breeze to beat the game. It just isn’t very exciting. That might be due to the subdued presentation. The graphics are somewhere between cartoonish and realistic and it doesn’t quite mesh. Some of the color choices are garish and clash with one another. A lot of the enemy designs also skew a little too close to the Gradius series as well. The music as well just kind of sits there. It isn’t bad but it isn’t very good either. If they had tried a little harder with the production values than at least you could enjoy the pretty sights as you blast your way through the game. As it is the feel of the game is very sedate.
With the wealth of shooters on the system you would have to be truly hard up for something new to settle on Whip Rush. It isn’t bad but it’s competing with the likes of the Thunderforce series and the M.U.S.H.A’s of the world. It’s kind of hard to compete with competition like that.