Is Namco-Bandai’s Inspector Gadget a jack-of-all-trades [or gadgets!] or a master of none?
Those of you brought up on 80s TV will no doubt have enjoyed many a Saturday morning watching the original Inspector Gadget animated series. The absent minded detective – endowed with a host of super powered gadgets, most of which were useless or activated at the wrong time and place, and who’s detective skills mainly relied on his niece Penny and her dog Brain – was a huge success with good writing and an overload of slapstick humour (no doubt a nod to Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau). So with all this great material and gadgetry any game based on this license would be awesome, right? Well unfortunately that’s not the case with this new iPhone game.
While it replicates the look and feel of the animated series, the gameplay is severely lacking in creativity and the experience is a short one.
The graphics might be more in line with something you’d expect to see on the Super Nintendo, but at least it fits well with the art style of the source material. Sprites are bright and well drawn and everything has a nice pop to it on the iPhone screen.
Platforming fans will be right at home with the usual run, jump attack gameplay. And there are some clever gameplay elements such as dual character control, which sees you controlling the Inspector and Brain alternately to overcome certain obstacles, and the final level has you careering along a mine cart track on the Go-Go-Gadget Roller-skates.
The controls work ok, and rely on the touch screen, but they have been laid out around the edge of the screen instead of through the use of an on screen d-pad, and so require you to hold the device in a slightly uncomfortable position in order to get to all the buttons easily.
There is a limited use of the license in this game, which in my opinion is a missed opportunity. Where are all the gadgets? You only have use of four of them in the game: an umbrella that pops out of his hat to slow his fall; the previously mentioned roller-skates; some bug spray; and finally Inspector Gadgets weapon of choice, the hat mallet, administered by mechanical arm.
The same can be said for the music and sound. Not once do we hear the official theme tune [which is awesome by the way] nor the comical one-liners of Gadget himself. It’s a shame and seems like the license his been pimped out to any takers.
The game is also way too short. Just as I was getting into it, it was over. For a $4.99 game you’d expect more.
The bottom line
With all the gadgets at his fingertips, you’d expect more from this game, unfortunately it’s as clumsy as he is!
Presentation and Graphics
Loyal to the art style with well-drawn sprites, but lacks detail and certainly doesn’t push the iPhone.
Where’s the official theme tune and Gadget’s voice?
Clumsy controls and an uncreative use of the license hurt an otherwise ok platformer.
Not a lot to keep you coming back for more