(NOTE: NO. 10-1 OF THE WORST VIDEO GAME CARTOON EPS WILL BE UPLOADED SOON. WITH THAT OUT OF THE WAY, ENJOY THE REVIEW!)
Inspector Gadget, a Saturday Morning cartoon revolving around a bumbling cyborg detective who consistently foils the plans of a terrorist organization called M.A.D. led by the nefarious Dr. Claw (whose face we NEVER see, and no, I’m not counting that one time that he was played by Prince Charming) with the help of his dog Brain and his niece Penny, is one that happens to have a sizable cult following. While I can’t say that it’s a great show, I can still understand why it’s so popular amongst 80’s folk. Granted, all of the shows that followed the original have proven to be pretty bad, and there were two absolutely DREADFUL live-action features, but that doesn’t change the fact that it helped to pave the way for DiC Entertainment, who would later go on to make…
…yeah, let’s not delve into that.
Anyways, given that the show was extremely popular at the time, it was a no-brainer that games were to be made…about a good number of years after the show ended, to be precise. The one that we’ll be looking at today is a 1993 side-scrolling SNES title called…well, Inspector Gadget.
The game’s premise revolves around Gadget traveling throughout the world to save his niece Penny from the clutches of M.A.D., and…that’s about it. But putting the lack of actual story aside, where in the spectrum of licensed titles does this game fall? Let’s find out, shall we?
THE LOOKS – Back in the day, most licensed games based off of cartoons were usually made several years after the show itself ended. Some looked like pure garbage, while others like this one actually looked pretty good. However, there’s still a problem. While the levels and their backgrounds are nice and detailed, they do give off a somewhat generic vibe, consisting of ghostly woods, a desert, and the like. Heck, there’s even a level at the end of kind of rips off Wing Fortress from Sonic 2! I forgot to mention that whenever Gadget takes a hit, he loses his clothes. Surely, no other game has ever done this before. Also, at the climax of the aforementioned stage, we actually get to see what Dr. Claw looks like (though I won’t show it since I want to stay true to the series). Now, even as someone who doesn’t care about the series that much, I do have to say that it kind of goes against everything about Claw’s character. I mean, the fact that we never got to saw his face is what made him as interesting and menacing as he is, so why bother ruining it? Eh, let’s just move on.
THE SOUND – Well, I can definitely say that this is one of the SNES’ weaker soundtracks. Putting aside the fact that Hudson Soft made a Inspector Gadget game without the theme song, a lot of the tracks are rather forgettable and just plain boring. Yes, there are plenty of worse soundtracks out there, but that statement alone cannot remedy a flaw. The sound effects on the other hand are fairly tolerable, despite some annoyances here and there.
THE GAMEPLAY – Wow…I’m not sure if I’ve come across a platformer that’s THIS utterly generic in a good while. First off, Gadget’s controls are… not very good. They’re not terrible, but there are a lot of times in which they feel a bit wonky and frustrating. Also, for some reason, every time before he jumps, Gadget does this brief, but nonetheless distracting crouch. Second, the level design is about as uninspired as uninspired gets. Granted, it doesn’t feel sloppy nor is it hard to navigate, but it plays it so safe to the point where it really drags the game down. Thirdly, the gadgets themselves don’t exactly add anything to the game, though it excessively tries to trick you into thinking that they are. While they are rather useful, they don’t do much to make the game actually stand out from the gazillion other licensed platformers at the time. Lastly, the boss fights are atrocious. They are so basic, so easy, and so lazy to the point that they make Crazy Castle look like Dark Souls. You know, Gadget was always incompetent, so I guess that this game is kind of faithful in a way.
THE BOTTOM LINE – Inspector Gadget is one of the most derivative and mediocre titles to ever grace the 16-bit era. The graphics are nice to look at but don’t offer anything new, the music is a chore to listen to, and the gameplay falls as flat as a pancake. I honestly wouldn’t recommend this game unless you’re a diehard Inspector Gadget or platformer fan.
GO-GO-GADGET RATING – 5/10