Pin It
Favorite

The Player 

by MARTY DEMAREST & r & & r & Insecticide & r & Rated Everyone 10+; Nintendo DS, PC & r & 1 Star & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & B & lt;/span & ugs annoy me. Not the creeping, flying, buzzing and biting kinds. The bugs that bother me are computer-generated -- the bugs that overran movie screens in movies like Antz and A Bug's Life right after CGI artists discovered that bugs are the second-easiest things to fake with a computer following plastic toys. Sporting unimaginative human stereotypes beneath chitinous exteriors, the shiny insects infested cinemas and then began burrowing into videogames, usually via lame spin-offs from the lame movies.





Insecticide intrigued me, however. The first point in its favor was that it's an original videogame -- no movie to promote. Second, Insecticide's lead designers were responsible for games such as Full Throttle and The Curse of Monkey Island. Those are classics of the click-and-investigate adventure genre, and all of them made me laugh out loud. Insecticide was also published by the indie Gamecock Media Group, and in an era of big-budget games, I crave examples of creative independence. Finally, Insecticide promised to combine a story-driven detective adventure with shooting and jumping action, all on a DS. It was enough to make me overcome my bug-phobia.





Insecticide immediately threw me into the action. I found myself firing a "pollinator" at a fleeing criminal bug in a dark alley where I quickly became frustrated. The murky atmosphere made everything too dark, even on an ultra-bright DS Lite, and my shooting was reduced to clicking on the "lock on" button and firing blindly. When I jumped, there was no easy way to judge distances, and even half a dozen levels into the game, I found myself repeatedly falling to squashed deaths. When I was asked to investigate crime scenes or do police work, I simply wandered through a room, clicking on everything until I used it all. The game never let me fail.





Much of Insecticide feels half-pupated, as though a beautiful design was going to emerge but the cocoon got ripped off too early, revealing a mushy mess. The characters have rough-hewn contours, and they talk (in text) while swaying back and forth with less animation than some games bring to blades of grass. I now know that the only thing worse than a computer-animated bug is a badly-computer-animated bug. Despite Insecticide's insistence on telling a story, this whodunit plot is populated with generic characters, guns that feel identical (though they have different names) and a sense of momentum that's like running into a windshield.





THE GOOD: The pre-rendered cinematic sequences of Insecticide suggest a witty storyline with amusingly designed characters and gritty environments. When the action starts, these subtleties are lost. The environments become hollow halls in which to blindly chase enemies, the story crumbles under lifeless humor and the characters get reduced to masses of cumbersome polygons. The game has good designs behind it, but Insecticide swats the life out of them as soon as they try to take off.





THE BAD: I don't expect anything more than generic schlock from games like Bee Movie, but I expect to be transported, entertained and challenged by my own limitations when the team that made Insecticide creates a game. Instead, I was alienated, bored and reminded that even good game designers have their limits.





THE BOTTOM LINE: Insecticide exterminates a decent idea.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Bridging the Gap
  • Bridging the Gap

    Bridge Avenue stands as the dividing line between the swanky Kendall Yards and impoverished West Central. Is that about to change?
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Rematch
  • Rematch

    Once again, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Joe Pakootas face off for her seat in Congress. Here are some ways they differ
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Hail to the Chief (Again)
  • Hail to the Chief (Again)

    Craig Meidl again gets the nod from Mayor Condon; plus, a WSU football player in Domino's brawl won't be charged
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Spokane-Cagli Sister City Ceremony

Spokane-Cagli Sister City Ceremony @ Doubletree Hotel

Sat., Oct. 1

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


Briefs


trail mix


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • Worth a Shot
  • Worth a Shot

    As preventable disease breaks out, concern for public health reaches a fever pitch
    • Feb 18, 2015
  • A County Ombudsman?
  • A County Ombudsman?

    Weighing the costs and benefits of oversight at the Spokane County Sheriff's Office
    • Mar 25, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation