System: Sega Genesis Publisher: Sage's Creation Developer: Taito
Genre: Action Type: Sidescrolling Shooter Circa: 1990

Insector-X is a sidescroller shooter with the strange gimmick of playing as a fairy fighting against giant enemy insects. Unfortunately, a weird gimmick does not make up for a lack of good level design and challenge, neither of which Insector-X has. Admittedly, there are some really hectic moments, particularly in the last level on the Normal and Hard difficulty settings, but most of the game is bland, uninspiring, and much too easy. Insector-X is one of the easiest shooters I've ever finished, if not the easiest.

When I first played Insector-X, I had mixed feelings for it because the game definitely has its hard parts. But now that the game has settled with me and I've replayed it a few times, my feelings aren't so mixed anymore. On "Easy", it probably took me about 50 tries to get past the last part of the final stage. While that may sound like a lot, for Insector-X it really isn't, since you don't get sent back very far. Even though you lose your power-ups when you die, the stages are so loaded with them that it's easy to get yourself in top form again. Once you're fully powered-up, you can pretty much sit back and hold down the fire button, as your weapon will cut right through everything in its path. Since the power-ups that appear are random, it's possible to "luck" past the toughest spots if you get the right one(s). The "Normal" and "Hard" modes have considerably more bullets and enemies to deal with, but still aren't significantly tougher than "Easy".

The bosses seem to be included just to end the stage as opposed to providing any ounce of challenge. Most of them have safe spots. The first boss can be taken out before it has a chance to do anything, and for the second boss, all you have to do is sit right in front of it and shoot, and it can do nothing to you. The final boss has one attack that caught me off-guard at first, but once I knew to watch for it, he became extremely easy to beat. In fact, I'd say that most of the challenge of Insector-X comes only from your character being a weird "Z"-shape. It's difficult to fit this shape through gaps in bullets, enemies, and obstacles. The play control isn't very fluid, either. Even with speed-ups, it's awkward. You're much more encouraged to stay back at the left side of the screen and continuously fire then to dodge all around.

The insect gimmick isn't pulled off well enough to be interesting in the least. The bosses look nice, but the enemies are small and unimpressive. The same little flies and wasps appear in every level. The background graphics are flat, not very colorful, and too often repeat a simple pattern. For example, in the jungle you pass the same rows of leaves and tree trunks over and over again. Other times, the backgrounds change abruptly from one image to another with no continuity (grass, grass, grass, building!?, grass, grass, sky!?). Some parallax scrolling could have worked wonders. You also have to get over the fact that instead of having a cool spaceship, you're controlling a really stupid-looking fairy in a "Power Ranger" suit with a camcorder attached to its helmet. The music is also annoying as hell. Insector-X does have an interesting title screen and some hilarious (poorly-translated) ending dialogue, but it's a problem when those are the most entertaining parts of a game.

Insector-X gives me practically no trouble on replays at all and no reason to justify replaying it anymore. There are no interesting enemy patterns, no challenging bosses, no original ideas, nor even any mid-stage bosses to spice up the action. I don't regret playing it because I did have some fun with the few tough spots that exist, but it's not a game I would regret never having played, either.




AddThis Social Bookmark Button Dreamhost