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Insecticide

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Gamecock
Developer: Crackpot Entertainment

About Brad Hilderbrand

I've been covering the various facets of gaming for the past five years and have been permanently indentured to WorthPlaying since I borrowed $20K from Rainier to pay off the Russian mob. When I'm not furiously writing reviews, I enjoy RPGs, rhythm games and casual titles that no one else on staff is willing to play. I'm also a staunch supporter of the PS3.

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NDS Preview - 'Insecticide'

by Brad Hilderbrand on Feb. 21, 2008 @ 6:38 a.m. PST

Insecticide is a hard-boiled, fast-shooting detective game set in a festering future city where bugs have evolved as the planet’s dominant race. A murder at a powerful company leads police from the Insecticide Squad on a bug hunt through the city’s seedy underbelly, and into a mystery of epic proportions.

Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Gamecock
Developer: Crackpot Entertainment
Release Date: March 11, 2008

If you've ever wondered what the world of Sam & Max would look like if it were populated by bugs complete with a heroine who vaguely resembles Jade from Beyond Good and Evil (but with four legs), then you'll be in luck in a few weeks with the release of Insecticide. This action/adventure hybrid incorporates intense combat and platforming elements with some fairly deep puzzle-solving and complex investigation and discovery. The result ultimately feels like what would happen if you jumped into a '50s-style detective story laced with hearty elements of film noir, and it all might just be crazy enough to work.

The developers are quick to point out that this is a story-driven game, so players should expect a lot of very deliberate pacing with combat only breaking out as you close each chapter. Players control Chrys Liszt, a young but tough cop who is mentored by her hard-boiled superior, cockroach Roachy Caruthers. Under Roachy's tutelage, Chrys must interrogate suspects, collect clues and press NPCs to give up the goods on who's behind the city's recent crime wave. All told, each level plays out as a sort of slow burn, with the culmination of all of your hard work investigating and piecing together the clues leading to frantic firefights and fast-paced action.

During the "investigation modes," players will select their responses from a branching dialogue tree, where the correct line of questioning reveals new clues or intel vital to cracking the case. Also, some characters will only spill what they know when confronted with evidence found elsewhere, perhaps following a completely different lead. The system creates some fairly complicated puzzles, yet it all remains intuitive, so gamers who use their heads can start to piece together the clues along with Chrys and begin to see how it all fits.

As you close in on your suspect, the game switches into more of an "action mode," where the bad guy decides it's time to put up or shut up, and you find yourself in a firefight. These sequences are fast and furious, with enemies taking shots from every angle and Chrys doing her best to take down the dangers while remaining in one piece. These more exciting moments break up what could otherwise become a somewhat laborious experience, and they really provide the change of pace needed to keep the game feeling fresh throughout.

The tone of Insecticide is rather dark and serious, but with bugs as main characters, you can rest assured that there is quite a bit of humor as well. Two of the main developers hold the LucasArts pedigree, cutting their teeth on those great (and hilarious) '90s adventure titles. There's actually quite a good mix of seriousness and humor in the game, with something that will appeal to the adults of the house, while remaining accessible enough for the kiddies.

This is shaping up to be a fairly deep and satisfying experience for both DS and PC gamers, and with the disc going gold just days ago, it won't be long before the gaming public can try out Insecticide for themselves. While the title may be a little too offbeat to attract a huge audience, what is here should be deeply satisfying to fans of the genre. Those looking for a solid mystery with a dash of gunplay would do well to cancel the exterminator and let the bugs infest your DS or PC in March.


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