EIDOS Releases Animal Rights-Themed Game for PS2/XBOX

Eidos recently released a videogame for the PS2 and XBox — Whiplash — which has the player navigating two animals through destroying a research lab and freeing the animals therein.

The game quickly drew fire from both researchers and animal activists, however.

On the research side, Ian Gibson of the House of Commons select committee on science and technology said that the game’s over-the top setting (the two main characters are spastic animals who have been used to test a hair spray) would lead children to have distorted views of animal research,

This is unhelpful to the whole debate. It is a nasty and vicious way of prejudicing young minds for the rest of their lives. Young people with fresh minds need to be brought into an understanding of the problem with both sides of the argument being put forward in a rational and reasonable way. Clearly such programs are not bringing a balanced judgment to serious and difficult areas of understanding.

But the game was not a big hit with the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, either, with deputy head of research Penny Hawkins complaining that the game makes light of animal suffering,

Animals suffer when they are used in research and it’s extremely disappointing that someone would see fit to produce a so-called humorous computer game out of that suffering. The RSPCA puts a lot of effort into encouraging children to be compassionate towards animals and empathize with them. This is obviously sending out completely the opposite message, that animal suffering is funny — that it is something to make a joke out of.

So which is it — or neither. Well here’s how one Internet reviewer described the game play, and I can’t imagine many animal rights activists thinking this is promoting their cause,

So you go to your only main weapon…….Redmond. Your fuzzy little bunny partner becomes the instrument of destruction for you, simply by beating the ever loving hell out of him, and using him to get past various obsticles. And when I mean use him, I mean physically. This poor rabbit takes a ton of abuse! When you come to people you need to knock out, Spanx uses Redmond as a mace, whipping him around and smacking him into the bad guys. Do that enough times, and Redmond will go into a rage and really tear into whatever he can. So you use him to smash up more things! He’s only a rabbit you know. That’s just the humane stuff! It’s hard to explain the extent of the things Redmond is forced to do. For example you come to a big gap in the floor with an electric ring hanging in the middle. So you toss Redmond at the ring, and while he’s sticking to it and frying like an egg, you can cross to the other side of the gap. Need to set something on fire? Find a special machine that burns things up and throw the rabbit in! He should stay crispy just long enough to do what you have to. You can fill Redmond up with helium to float in the air like a balloon to reach high places, and you can dip him into radioactive waste and use him as a poisoned wrecking ball. You even stick him in the toilet now and again!! This is just the beginning, you can eventually learn how to use Redmond in a number of other ways.

Both groups should just take a deep breath — its an over-the-top game. Children are not going to think it’s a realistic depiction of animal research or of how to treat animals anymore than they are going to think that Simpson’s Road Rage is an accurate simulation of proper driving techniques.


Free the animals, smash up the lab and chain-whip policemen — this is the latest video game for children. Richard McComb and Renee Mickelburgh, The Daily Telegraph (London), February 15, 2004.

Two really strange peas in one bizzare pod. Michael Mullis, NLGaming, November 20, 2003.

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