Review: Igor The Game (PC)

Igor The Game (PC)
Developer: Legacy Interactive
Publisher: Southpeak Interactive
Genre: Platformer
Release Date: 09/19/2008

Another movie based game! Hooray! Third time’s a charm, right? Let’s see what we’ve got to work with.

Animated movie based on classic horror film cliches? Sounds promising. Starring John Cusak? Good. Featuring the voice talents of Steve Buscemi, John Cleese and Eddie Izzard? Alright! This is bound to be a hit!

What? The movie came out a week ago and nobody noticed?

Well, crap in a hat.

If Wall-E and Iron Man were blockbusters in the theater, and crap on the console, it looks like I’m in for some hurt. Let’s see how bad it gets, shall we?

1. Story / Modes

The game takes place in the land of Malaria, where everyone is either an evil scientist or an assistant, known as an Igor. Igor’s master dies and he keeps it a secret, donning his former master’s armor and jousting in his stead under the name Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein of Gelderland.

No, wait.

He decides to enter the evil science fair and show everyone that Igors are people too.

Whatever.

Anyhow, his monster is good rather than evil, so Igor, a dead bunny, a brain in a jar, and the monster, set forth to put things right. Er, wrong. Again, this looks great on paper, how did it go so wrong?

The game has no modes whatsoever. You just play the game. And then you’re done. And then you can play it again. Hooray! You’ll want to skip steps 1 and 3 though.

Story / Modes Rating: Mediocre

2. Graphics

I don’t think it’s much to ask that a computer version of a computer animated movie looks like the source material. Unfortunately, Igor The Game looks more like the results of a midterm exam from those colleges you see advertise late at night convincing you that you too can be part of the video game industry.

I get that it’s going to be stylized; the movie looks like a cgi Tim Burton kinda thing. But everything looks so clunky and choppy, like it was slapped together at the last minute. The camera is so slow you can outrun it, the levels are so expansive and drawn out that you can never get a sense of where things are, and some animations just don’t work. Switches you’re supposed to flip will be flipped already when you arrive, and at one point you hand an invisible greeting card to someone. Of course, the card was drawn backwards, so it’s no big loss. Maybe it was a manga-style card?

Regardless of all the above, you know you’ve got a problem when the website for the game looks better and runs faster than the game itself.

Graphics Rating: Bad

3. Sound

No surprise at this point. The music is too loud and repetitive. The voices don’t sync up with the mouths. And they don’t even use the original voices. Instead of Steve Buscemi it sounds like someone just held their nose and read the lines with a New York accent.

The one potential highlight of the game and they drop it.

No, to say that they dropped it lets them off too lightly. It’s more like they threw it to the ground, held it there, and forced its children to watch while they disemboweled it.

Sound Rating: Very Bad

4. Control / Gameplay

Controls are simple. Arrows move, space jumps, control attacks. The plus key will allow you to swap between each of the four characters. Each has a unique ability that is necessary to break an item or flip a switch. So that’s, um, variety, I guess. Igor has a combo attack, the bunny has chargable electricity, the brain shoots rockets, and the monster can rush attack. About 3 feet really. Not as much a rush as a stumble with some dust effects when you think about it. Huh.

Anyways, all that information is pointless because you can get through a lot of the game by walking. No, that’s not fair. Jumping is involved as well. Yeah, walking and jumping pretty much sums up the game. Are we having fun yet?

Oh there are enemies, but they don’t really matter.

“But wait!” you cry out, “How can enemies not matter in a platformer? Isn’t that the point? That and jumping?” Yes, yes it is. Which is why Igor The Game is almost like a journey into some bizzare art installation of a game, some kind of post-modern deconstruction of the platforming genre. By stripping away all our preconcieved notions of what a video game is, it opens our eyes to what a game truly can be.

Or it just sucks.

You see, you can easily outrunwalk most enemies. In fact, if you find yourself forced to play this game (at gunpoint with the lives of your loved ones on the line, I assume) it’s not worth your time to try and fight the cybernetic chicks (again, great on paper!) and whatnot. It takes forever to kill one due to the fact that each time you hit an enemy, it twirls around stunned and invincible for a couple seconds. Then you hit it again, wait, again, wait, again, wait, again, wait, again, and it’s dead. In fact, typing that last sentence (without copy-paste, I might add) was more enjoyable than the gameplay of Igor. And what do you get for your trouble when you do kill them? Bolts! Hooray bolts! I loved bolts in Ratchet and Clank!

“What can I buy with my bolts?”, you may ask.

Well, after you collected all the bolts you can find….

“Yes?”

And you’ve opened all the chests and boxes and collected their bolts….

“Yes??”

And you’ve found all the hidden treasures and their bolts….

“Uh-huh?”

And you’ve walked back into the same room to find all the bolts and boxes have respawned and collected them as well….

“Um?”

And you beat the final boss….

“Get on with it!”

You get a screen telling you how many bolts you’ve collected!!!

“…”

But wait!

“No, I don’t wanna.”

It tells you your best bolt score, so you can go back and beat it! That’s right, you’ve got the ability to replay the level and get more bolts that mean nothing to beat your previous score of bolts that mean nothing. Did I mention they mean even less because walking room to room respawns them? I did? Good. I ended the first level with 1750 bolts. Does that mean I win?

You can also collect skulls. There seem to only be 15 per level. Perhaps something good happens when you get 15. I couldn’t be bothered. I’m sorry if I’ve let you down. I promise I’ll review more movie games in the future for atonement.

So where was I? Oh yeah. Ignoring enemies. I beat the first boss without touching the keyboard. To be fair, it was an experiment to see if the game would be over if all the characters died at once. I forgot to mention that. When you die, it’s only for about 30 seconds and you can switch to another character. A no-stakes game has no appeal, so I had to find out if the game would end if everyone died. So I simply sat back and watched. The other three characters did their best to attack, get killed, get back up, fight some more, etc. My character (Eva, the monster) simply got pushed into the corner by blind robot orphans (perhaps this should have been a tabletop rpg, because this $#!% is gold on paper). No damage, just pushed back. I don’t know if it was an AI glitch or a feature, and to be honest, I didn’t care.

There are other troubles, but they seem almost trivial in comparison. The first door is supposed to open when you collect 4 paper flowers, but refused until I had 7. Aiming is difficult at best. And your allies can magically jump up to whatever height you may reach, but they can’t follow you up stairs or ramps.

Control / Gameplay Rating: Worthless

5. Replayability

Well you can try and get more bolts, so you’ve got that going for you.

I suppose if you look at bolts like a score, it’s got the same replayability as any classic game where you’re just trying to beat your old high score. Of course, since you can just walk back and forth between rooms to get more bolts, I guess it’s not the same. Maybe it’s more comperable to a game of who can count to the biggest number. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Replayability Rating: Awful

6. Balance

To be honest, the second boss battle actually required me to participate if I wanted to finish it this century, as I was swarmed by little enemies and the boss at the same time. Given the limited attacks and overwhelming odds, it was indeed challenging. So I guess the whole game isn’t boringly easy. Sometimes it’s boringly difficult.

Balance Rating: Poor

7. Originality

I can honestly say I’ve never played a game before where you collect items for the sake of seeing how many you can collect. And then trying to beat that score. So yeah.

Originality Rating: Awful

8. Addictiveness

Some games are so bad you have to play them, just to see what happens next. If you’ve read my reviews of other movie games, you can probably hear my derisive laughter from this category ringing in your ears. So please understand me when I say that I’d rather play Wall-E and Iron Man to completion, back to back, before I ever play Igor again.

Addictiveness Rating: Worthless

9. Appeal Factor

I’m not sure how I can describe the appeal of the game without repeating any of my previous hyperbolic rants.

I’m sure it would appeal to very, very young children who are just learning how to use a keyboard.

There, I said something nice. Happy?

(it burns)

Appeal Factor Rating: Dreadful

10. Miscellaneous

True Story:

I went to find more information about the game at the official website. I couldn’t find much, so I clicked the Buy link to see if it had anything to add. The page is “under construction”, but automatically redirected me to the Legacy Games website. However, before the page would load, it asked me to click on a genre of my interest so that they could tailor the ads to me. Then I had to click again to choose the subset of ads. I chose electronics and satellites (because that was the only option). The Legacy website then opened in a pop-up, redirecting my original window to the local Yellow Pages listing for satellite tv.

But that’s not all. I noticed that they’re giving the game away for free! Simply sign up for a trial with one of their sponsors, and you’ll get a copy of the game for free! Apply for a new Discover card, and 5 days later, pending approval, you’ll get a free copy of Igor The Game! A $20 value! And if I remember correctly, I believe the free link was the only one working at the time.

WTF?! Who does this?

Miscellaneous Factor Rating: Very Bad

The Scores

Story / Modes: Mediocre
Graphics: Bad
Sound: Very Bad
Control / Gameplay: Worthless
Replayability: Awful
Balance: Poor
Originality: Awful
Addictiveness: Worthless
Appeal Factor: Dreadful
Miscellaneous Factor: Very Bad
FINAL SCORE: VERY BAD

Short Attention Span Summary
Unless you’re a programmer who enjoys hacking games to make them more interesting, don’t waste your time. Might I suggest a rousing game of Watching Paint Dry? It has more Appeal and Replay Value!

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