It excels as an investigative film noir adventure, but don't expect too much from the action sequences or the length.

User Rating: 6 | Insecticide DS
Insecticide is the second title on the DS from new publisher Gamecock Media Group, developed by Crackpot Entertainment and Creat Studios. It's an action/adventure game revolving around a murder (or homicide, which the title plays off of) at the Nectarola company, which makes soft drinks. The game follows two insect detectives, Chrys Liszt and Roachy Caruthers, as they look to solve the case. Staying true to the name of the genre, it is both an action game as well as an adventure game, and the levels switch between the two.

The style is quite unique to the handheld, as the game is presented as a film noir detective story, similar to 1950s crime films. It gives the stylized world an inch of believability, and keeps the expansive worlds from getting stale.

One of the genre types, certainly the most enjoyable, is seen in the investigation levels, where you must investigate a scene and interrogate the witnesses. As Chrys, you run around the level and collect evidence to bring back to the station. Engaging in conversation with the witnesses can clue you in to the location of some evidence, and you have opportunities to view a scene and click around with the stylus. Doing so lets you do a number of things, including collecting evidence and using previously-gained evidence as tools to progress you through the level, such as using a knife to cut a rope. Also, dragging evidence from your inventory to a witness can give you some additional comments about it. These sequences really challenge you to think about how to both gain and use your evidence to further the investigation, and are a real blast to play.

The other genre featured in this game, action, isn't as well executed as the first. You control Chrys again, looking, running, and turning with the directional pad, shooting with the right shoulder button, and jumping with B (hitting B twice lets you double-jump). The controls feel a bit clunky, and can certainly be to blame for getting hit by enemy gunfire a few times before you even see them. Conserving energy is something you may want to do in these action sequences, as your health can drain pretty fast when your enemies are attacking you, and health-replenishing cans of Nectarola are somewhat hard to come by. Your arsenal is one of four firearms, the default one being very slow to fire. Causing more frustration, in addition the clunky controls, is some of the platforming bits. Falling too far causes your death, as does falling off certain areas. Fortunately, Chrys is seemingly gifted with immortality, as you get reset right back to where you were prior to your untimely and frequent death. Somewhere in all the mess are a couple of things to collect, kills and scarabs, which get totaled up at the end of each level.

Unfortunately, the case doesn't last too long. There are only eight levels, most of which can be finished in less than twenty minutes each. The overall experience of the game is hampered by the frustrating action sequences, and the value of paying full price for a short game not worth all eight levels just isn't there.

However, thanks to the fantastic investigation sequences, the fun had during those was enough to save it. Pick up Insecticide if you're itching for a quick detective adventure, but don't expect it to last too long.