E3 '07: Insecticide

Remember those old Lucas Arts adventure games? Maybe, maybe not. If not, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of Sam & Max, the series which recently benefited from a nice resurgence. Made in conjunction with people formerly from Lucas Arts and a few Sam & Max folks, Insecticide is a game taking a bit of old detective adventuring, but mixing it amongst 3rd person shooter gameplay.

Developed by Crackpot, Insecticide is a game film-noir fans or old-school gamers will immensely enjoy. The game takes place in a futuristic setting, where humanity’s dominance of the earth has ended, and insects have evolved into the dominant species. You play as Chrys Liszt, a detective working with grizzled veteran Roachy Caruthers.


The game takes a lot of cues from the old buddy cop films and detective noir. Filled with a lot of references to past movies (as some of the early level titles reference) and lots of stereotypes (grizzled veteran, upstart young gun, paper-pushing chief, etc.) it’s an homage to the law enforcement entertainment of yesteryear.

The story of Insecticide is rather simple: a murder has taken place at the Nectarola soft drink company, and you (Chrys) have to solve the mystery.

Developed for both the DS and PC, the game plays fairly identical on each; the only differences are more cutscenes for the PC version, as well as a likely omission of the target-locking found on the DS.

Insecticide is split roughly half and half between action levels and detective scenarios. In the action levels, you use Chrys to chase down enemies and fight, using a variety of weapons. In the build Michael Levine gave me to play, I could use two guns: the default one which gathers pollen from the air and fires it (so you’ll never run out of ammo), and a slightly stronger gun which had a limited ammo supply.

In the DS version, you can play using the touch screen, but Michael recommended people try to play while using the buttons, because using the stylus takes away a lot of options. To lock on an enemy, you press the right trigger; firing is the left. You’re able to jump, adding some platform elements to the game.


Insecticide DS


Between levels, there are detective missions, which are closer to the old adventure games. At the crime scene, you’ll investigate for clues, talk to people, and gather more information to ultimately help solve the crime.

I also got to experience the insect detective headquarters, which is filled with many colorful characters. Outside of the chief, there were unique insects all working, each with their own personality and quirks (Roachy, for example, won’t speak to you until you butter him up with some donuts).

The action portions of Insecticide didn’t seem to be groundbreaking, but they were solid enough to stand up to some similar titles. What really makes the game stand out is the mixture of detective elements with the action/platforming, and the colorful characters and unique story.

Look for Insecticide to hit shelves for the DS by the end of 2007. For the Windows version, the game will be split into two episodic downloads. According to Michael, though, they won’t be huge files, and will likely be around 100-200 MB each in download size.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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