|System: DS, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Crackpot Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Gamecock||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Insecticide's platforming, when it works, is fine. However, more often than not, a tricky camera and imprecise controls will leave you restarting at the last checkpoint. The worst offender here are the too-frequent tight rope walks that quickly become tedious as you constantly--and unfairly--get knocked off your narrow path. Combined with unevenly placed checkpoints, the platforming can be brutal. If we had to rate the individual gameplay mechanics of Insecticide, we'd place the adventuring at the top of the list, shooting second, and platforming a distant third.
Insecticide does a great job of showing off what the DS can do in terms of audio and visual presentation. The graphics, especially the characters, look fantastic, sporting plenty of detail and imagination. The environments don't fare quite as well, as they can be a bit blocky and too dark, but overall they succeed in selling this futuristic bug-inhabited world. The score is also cool, nicely complementing the game's film noirish style. We could've used a bit more of a meaty pop in the sound effects, especially during the boss battles, but given the DS's restrictive ability in this area, Insecticide generally pulls off the important background stuff--explosions, passing cars, and ambient city sounds are all good.
This bug-based title definitely has its share of flaws, some minor, some glaring. And, if it wasn't for its great presentation, buoyed by strong characters and a twisty narrative, those gameplay annoyances would really kill the experience. However, playing as a fun protagonist, interacting with some of the most original characters we've seen in a DS game, and getting to flex our brains in the process through clever adventuring allows it to rise above its mediocre moments. You'll have a good time with this welcome portable offering, but you'll also experience the bittersweet realization that it could've been so much more. As is, Insecticide is good, but with more polish and equal attention paid to story and gameplay, it could've been great. Thankfully, this industry cranks out more sequels than Hollywood, and we can definitely see an Insecticide follow-up living up to the full potential hinted at here.
CCC Freelance Writer