|System: 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: June 27, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Like clockwork, almost every level alternates between the two play modes. The gameplay begins to feel too formulaic, only a few stages into the game. With a little more attention on how the very distinctly different components are integrated, the transitions from one to the other could have been more seamless. Instead, they come across as almost two completely different games duct-taped together. It would have been nice to see some of the adventure game elements worked into the platform levels and vice versa.
The basic point-and-click controls for the adventure portions are reasonably intuitive; they're about what you'd expect. Interestingly, navigating Liszt through all areas of the game is done with a combination of keyboard and mouse controls. The WASD keys handle movement, while camera angles, aiming, and physical actions are done with the mouse. The left mouse button fires weapons during the platform levels, the right mouse button makes Liszt jump, and the mouse wheel switches between weapons - albeit a little too slowly. Weapons are disabled during adventure levels. Tapping the space bar at a hotspot will zoom into the area and switch to a mouse pointer interface for interacting with the scenery.
Insecticide's saving grace is the obviously high volume of TLC Crackpot Entertainment poured into the characters, setting, and gameplay environments. The game's dark, ominous vibe contrasts pleasantly with the frequent gags and humor scattered throughout. From the lead characters to the peripheral players, the bugs are quirky and likeable. Their funny dialogue is entertaining, and all the voice work is of a surprisingly high quality. The art direction is easily one of the game's more appealing aspects. All the levels are sharp, packed with detail. There's only one fly in the ointment: some animated cut-scenes in the game are highly compressed, making the reduced audio quality and spotty visuals of these brief moments stick out like a sore thumb - particularly in comparison to the polish found in every other facet of the game's visuals and audio.
Offering only a few meager hours of gameplay, it's hard to understand why Episode 1 was not released in conjunction with the second half. It's an extremely short experience that drops players off at a somewhat baffling spot in the adventure. The quality of the characters and gritty charm of the seedy underbelly of Troi is enough to keep players engaged when the gameplay wears thin, but we'll have to wait until the arrival of Episode 2 for the final verdict. Up to this point, it appears Insecticide is a reasonably good game unnecessarily sliced in twain.
CCC Staff Contributor