Review by SneakTheSnake

"Inspector Gadget is at it again. But this time, leave him be. He'll get this one on his own."

It looks like we've got a licensed game on the PS2 that, because of its poor quality, can not even hold a candle to its source material. None of this is particularly new, or exciting. Inspector Gadget: Mad Robots Invasion is not one of those legendary bad games, like American Pro Trucker of those paintball disasters. And it's not because of a lack of exposure; it's a poor, poor game, granted, but it's not completely broken. It just makes players wish that the last Inspector Gadget game was the racer for the Game Boy Color - or the maze game for the Playstation - or even that platformer for the Super Nintendo. Europe does have a collection of PS2 games based on common franchises that weren't released in the States: Home Alone 2, Fieval Goes West, Garfield, Gadget and the Gadgetinis and good old Inspector Gadget himself all have Europe-exclusive PS2 titles. For some odd reason.

The MAD Agents are at it again! They're out after the world's monuments this time around. In a voice-acted cutscene with actors who studied under the strict tutelage of such “greats” as Bela Lugosi, Gadget receives a letter with landmarks close to get into Dr. Claw's grasp. He must head off to London, Paris and a handful of others to take down the bad guys.

If you think that the game has any of the charm of the original cartoon, you'd be wrong. The graphics are piss-poor, and this is most apparent in the opening cutscene. Things don't go off on the right foot, as character models are primitive and unappealing, and none of the original voice actors from the current Gadget cast appear here. The Inspector Gadget impersonator in this game is simply atrocious, and his niece Penny is even worse off. There is a successor to Gadget's original voice actor, and his name is Maurice LaMarche. He does an excellent job imitating Don Adams. But neither he nor Cree Summer are here in this game.

The game is a 2.5 platformer, much like Klonoa or Pandemonium!. Gadget moves from left to right, avoiding objects in the foreground and background, bopping enemies with his various (though limited) gadgets and fighting the occasional boss. Nothing about the game screams panache, innovation, or replayability; this is the kind of action you've seen hundreds of times before, hundreds of times better. Sure, the environments are varied, but the obstacles are not. The “cerebral” parts of the game are limited only to “press the button here, an elevator is activated over there” kinds of legwork.

It doesn't take long for monotony to set in, and the game's presentation does not help much. The music is annoying and gimmicky; it does bear some resemblance to the ambient music of the original, but, as you may have guessed, the famous title theme is nowhere to be found here. This game's title theme is also used in the levels; that's how much the developers cared about making a lasting impression. Sound effects are regulated to basic boings and bloops. Poor collision detection make “combat” a chore, especially for the boss battles. Moving from one platform to the next while hopping and bopping can be difficult, as the change in perspective from one plane to the next can make things disorienting. Replay value is nonexistent, as there are no bonus levels, unlockables or even multiplayer.

And there are graphical glitches abound - during Gadget's death animation, his body fell to the floor, but none of his facial features were visible! All I saw was a frightening, crude imitation of Gadget: no eyes, no mouth, just indentations in his face at where they should have been. The only thing notable I can think of about the presentation is that the game's script and dialogue were translated and recorded into a smattering of different languages.

I'm usually willing to forgive a game for a lack of originality or charm if there's at least one thing - one spark - of fun. Creativity. Effort. The racer, for example, is one of the oldest game genres, but I like F-Zero for its sense of speed and most Mario Kart games for their novelty. And sure, Tetris is the perennial puzzler, but other puzzlers have made it into my gaming rotation because of the new things they bring to the table. As for platformers, it's probably the genre with which I'm most familiar, and I can tell you with great certainty that the Playstation 2 was the brainchild of the modern platformer. Even if you're a fan of Inspector Gadget, I implore you to not let yourself get so curious as to consider this game as a purchase. Most games in the same genre released more than a decade ago have more originality, more oomph, than Mad Robots Invasion.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 02/14/11

Game Release: Inspector Gadget: Mad Robots Invasion (EU, 12/31/03)


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