Stretch Panic

Year: 2001
Alternate Title: Hippa Linda (Japan), Freak Out (Europe)
Platform: PlayStation 2
Publisher: Conspiracy Entertainment
Developer: Treasure Video Games
Genre: Bizarre
Review Date: 4/2/02
Rating: ***

One day, Linda's twelve older sisters became possessed by the Demons of Vanity. Armed only with good intentions and her demon scarf, Linda must rescue her sisters by exorcising the demons. And how does one exorcise a Demon of Vanity with a demon scarf? By stretching them, of course! Linda can command the demon scarf to stretch anything and everything it comes into contact with, and when she lets go, the resulting snap incurs damage. Wacky, huh? But it gets even stranger... Linda's sisters are being held captive in the Museum Of Agony as live exhibits. The Museum Of Agony exists in limbo, which is where A-Ha filmed their "Take On Me" video. Once a demon is exorcised, Linda can visit the Gallery Of Shame to "shame" the demon by stretching it and giving it different surface textures. But wait, there's more...

By far, the most absurd and mind boggling element of the game are the creatures known as Bonita Zakos. They were victims of the Demons of Vanity who wished for larger breasts, and are now cursed with GIGANTIC mammary appendages. They must be seen to be believed, and even then... The Bonitas use their titanic titties to attack Linda, and they can also spin them around like helicopter blades to fly around. What the hell?!? The way to defeat them is to get behind one and essentially snap her bra with the demon scarf. How did this concept ever get approved? Just one more reason why I love the Japanese...

Obviously, any game that involves bra-snapping has GOT to be in my collection of oddities. But we're all girls here - what's a little bra-snapping between sisters, right? Unfortunately, after the novelty of enormous boobs and bra-snapping wears off, the game really isn't all that fun to play. The controls are difficult, awkward, and clumsy, and since the camera is constantly in motion, even attempting to walk in a straight line is a serious chore. It's also difficult trying to maneuver Linda and the demon scarf independently at the same time. The sister fights are also quite difficult because of the confined fighting space and the uncooperative camera. The art direction is totally wacky, but I kinda like it. The only thing I don't like about it is the character designs, which seem overly childish and simplistic. Still, I applaud Treasure for their daring and audacity, and for coming up with a truly original and unique game - something you see less and less of these days.