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Publisher: Gamecock Media Group
Developer: Crackpot Ent.
Minimum requirements: Pentium IV 1.5 GHz or equivalent; 256 MB RAM; 64 MB video memory; 600 MB hard drive space
Genre: Action adventure
Release date: Available now
Review by: Jason Pitruzzello
Troi is a messy city. Crime, corruption, and discarded soda cans litter the landscape, turning a once gleaming city into a grimy, film noir metropolis. Chrys Liszt, rookie detective, has been recently assigned to one of the few uncorrupt police precincts in the city and partnered with Roachy Caruthers on a new case. While this might not be the most compelling plot for a computer game on the surface, it has a wrinkle which the developers use for all its worth: insects are now the dominant life on Earth. The few humans that remain live out their existences in hazmat suits on the fringes of the new insect culture that comes complete with skyscrapers, commercials for consumer products, and homicide, err, insecticide. Yes, that’s right; there’s been a murder at the Nectarola plant, giving Chrys and Roachy their newest case, with all of the zany one-liners and parody you would expect from mixing insects with detective work.
Insecticide is a game that tries to do several things at the same time. While the plot is one part parody and one part crime drama, the gameplay is one part action and another part puzzle solving adventure. On the action side, the player controls Chrys as she runs through the city of Troi, blasting bad guys and jumping around in ways that only an insect can. On the adventure side, Chrys puts her Pollinator (standard issue side arm for law enforcement in the insect world) away and solves puzzles to advance the plot and yield clues to the case and her hidden past. Neither the action nor adventure portions of the game play at the same time. The game is broken up into different stages and these stages alternate between either running and gunning or sleuthing and investigating. What this means is that there are no baddies to kill while solving puzzles and there are no puzzles to solve while killing baddies.
When playing an action stage, you find yourself maneuvering Chrys across buildings and rooftops, running and jumping using her many legs to get her within shooting distance of her adversaries. And when I say running and jumping, I really mean it. The city of Troi seems to be a breeding ground for lethal falls and dangerous rooftops as much as it is for the good insects who call it home. Excellent coordination is a must, for most falls are lethal to Chrys if she misses a jump. When it comes to killing bad guys, Chrys uses weapons such as the Pollinator, Nectar Cannon, and Amberizer, to deal with foes that do everything from use firearms to spitting at her. While all of this fighting is going on, Chrys flings witty quips at her opponents and Roachy gives advice from the sidelines on how to proceed.
When it comes to puzzle solving, you end up talking to various characters and interacting with hotspots in an effort to collect the necessary items for whatever task is at hand. This will be familiar ground for those used to puzzles in other adventure games, although the interaction between the characters can be quite entertaining. Insecticide’s developers took the time to utilize the game’s premise to its fullest potential, having fun with every insect or detective cliché and pun you can think of. While none of the puzzles are too difficult, they remain entertaining as you progress through the game.
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