Killer Whale Game

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Killer Whale: Free the Angry Orca

Orcinus orca, a.k.a. the killer whale, has been in the lime light for many years as the star of many aquatic animal shows. Thousands of people flock to these events and the whales are beloved by kids and adults alike. Are orcas really the friendly, playful creatures depicted by many anatomically incorrect crayon doodles? In the game, Killer Whale, the intelligent orca has had enough. His many years in captivity have fueled his rage and now his only goal is to escape the aquarium and live as a wild animal should.

The game is divided into several levels. In order to beat a stage and escape, you will have to master how to maneuver the angry killer whale. Pressing the Left or Right keys will rotate the orca and using the Up key will make him advance forward. It is possible to change direction on the fly, though combining the directional and movement keys is quite tricky.

Honestly, we're not really big fans of tank controls. It is rarely the perfect choice for games involving living creatures such as, case in point, our irate blackfish. Having to spend time adjusting directions while swimming makes hurdling barriers, floaters and other obstacles harder than it should be; it's really non-intuitive --unless of course the system is used for an actual tank game.

In order to restore health, you may press X in time to chomp on other fish in the tank. Pressing Z will make the orca dash, giving it extra destructive power when attempting to break through walls. Killing other aquatic creatures and destroying items will increase the orca's rage. Fill up the anger bar to activate rage mode. This will make him invulnerable and able to cause more damage. Eventually you will meet enemies along the way. Pressing the Down key will make the killer whale spin using it's raw power, pushing away hostile sea creatures. Once you reach the exit, press the Space Bar to end the level.

While Mr. Orca is quite the enraged blackfish, he is also quite the intelligent creature. After the tutorial stage, you are immediately introduced to the puzzle side of the game. Instead of simply requiring you to get over physical obstacles, you will need to use your wits in order to pass through the correct order of colored bands in order to unlock the exit. Controls aside, we found the puzzle side of the equation to be enjoyable. It is easy enough for beginners thanks to the hint messages (the game tells you if you did something wrong) but challenging enough, skill-wise, for genre veterans.

The game gets a few brownie points because of its textured graphics, however, there's still a raw quality to it. While we like the stylized shark art, the fonts and menu designs are quite cheesy with their slashed, bloody look. We found that the splash page and in-game graphics also clash in terms of colors though they are decent if considered individually. In terms of audio, the game favors ambient clips as opposed to background music. There are select sound effects but don't expect to hear every bump along the way.

NDI Teravision's Killer Whale is not the best example of a side-scrolling swimming game but it does have some good points. The puzzles are enjoyable and regardless if you're after a quick exit or simply swimming around eating small fry, there is enough to do in a stage. The concept of an orca fed up with its captivity is also a nice angle for a game, even if he does have a temper problem.

On the downside, the tank controls are awkward and they do require some getting used to. Basically, check it out if you're looking for a decent side-scroller that has fun puzzle elements but don't expect a stellar title.