Saturday, August 30, 2014

VGR Inspector Gadget (SNES)

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VGR: Inspector Gadget
From AIM/Hudson Soft
Played on Super NES
Also available on Game Boy

Type Sidescrolling platformer
Year 1993

Based on the eponymous Inspector Gadget cartoon series, this SNES platformer was developed by Hudson Soft back when the Japanese developer was having a try at several cartoon adaptations, probably in order to challenge Capcom and Konami who both were handling most similar Sega and Nintendo titles.

To do so, Hudson didn't look that far for their ideas. Why change a winning combo? They did a few pretty standard platformers attached to more or less popular franchises at the time, including a fairly decent SWAT Kats game.

The game was released exclusively for Nintendo's 16-bit system, although a NES version was planned but quickly canceled.

In this game since the player gets to control Gadget and not his niece Penny, this makes it probably the only time Gadget was ever portrayed as a somewhat competent character (since Penny usually does everything...).

This time it's personal...

Wowsers! Penny has been captured by M.A.D. agents!

The story is told via some humorous slightly-animated cutscenes. At the beginning of each stage you get a briefing from Chief Quimby. And like on the show, you get the running gag with the message's self-destruct and all.

The objective off this game is to follow Dr. Claw's operations from one secret location to another, going all over the world in your quest to help rescue Penny!

Each of the levels are mostly based on some specific episodes.

Starting in an haunted castle, from Gadget & co's visit at Dracula's castle in England. Then it's up for a little mountain trip in Switzerland. After that you will move onto a tropical forest in South America, King Tutonpoot's tomb in Egypt until you finally reach Dr. Claw's secret headquarters in his castle!

At the end of each of these levels you get to face a boss... Dr. Claw himself! These boss fights usually revolve around all these kinds of weird gimmicks, mostly a way Hudson Soft found to make use of some SNES-specific effects.

But then, he always escapes, until you finally catch him at the end into his dirigible! In that last level Claw will jump aboard a giant robot!

Will Inspector Gadget be on time to saves Penny?! Well, of course he does! And in a funny final cutscene Gadget gets a note from Quimby who tells him they were apparently finally able to catch Dr. Claw for the very first time! Aww... no more chasing the villain all over the globe for our hero?

Let it be said, this game was the very first and only time the audience ever got to see Dr. Claw's face! That's right, his face, unmasked, gets a brief appearance in the last stage! In plain sight! Not hidden from the view!

The game plays like a fairly standard platformer.

The levels are pretty big, but not that much you would get lost in them. You make your way through, jumping around platforms.

It's really strange to get a hang of these controls at first due to the very unusual layer of the buttons and the way you can use Gadget's "gadgets".

Gadget can punch and kick. You can also use his "hat-hand" to hang on to things. In order to use his gimmicks, you need to find power-ups lying around. They give you better lengths of his limbs, as well as access to several of his other very useful gadgets. There's this red helicopter propellers, suction cups to climb around, arrows, bombs to break the blocks, a lamp to see in the darkness, etc.

There's even these little Inspector Gadget robots, like Gadgetinis a decade earlier (did the inspiration behind those characters come from this game?).

Each of these abilities can be upgraded, such as the super arrows, etc.

To power these you need to fill your gauge with hats, each gadget taking a different number of hats to use. You can collect those from bricks you can break around the levels.

There's also a time limit to keep an eye on.

Finally, getting hit will make Gadget lose his clothes, that's right, kind of similar to Capcom's Ghosts 'n Goblins series. Meaning you will probably spend most of the time in this game playing with Gadget wearing his boxers! You can find some additional layer of coats around, which will grant you back your hit point.

The boss fights will require some thinking outside the box as you look for the correct way to defeat Claw each time.

There's also a couple of odd-looking bonus areas to collect some items.

The game is fun enough, not very long and looks fairly close to the show in terms of visuals and atmosphere.

It also features some catchy music composed by Keisuke Mitsui, an Hudson veteran.

Overall, when it's all said and done, the game is pretty cool actually. 

Fun and cartoony. It looks great and is fun to play!

If you like SNES platformers or the show it's based on, Give it a try, it's well worth a look!

Although the controls do take some getting used to. Specially the way gadgets work, how to properly use them, etc.

It's sort of easy since it's a bit on the short side.

It's not that great, but it is worthwhile checking out if anything for the only time Dr. Claw was ever officially revealed (outside of a late action figurine).

Sadly this decent title never got a proper sequel, although there would be a couple more Inspector Gadget games over the years. Including pretty similar in tone Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance titles, a Playstation maze-like puzzle game and a couple of games for Playstation 2, once specifically based on the Gadgetinis series.
I give it:
2 / 3 Bruces!


  1. Great review, I fondly remember this game and loved every moment of it. That we FINALLY got to see Dr. Claw's face was amazing. :)

    1. Thanks!

      Yeah, that was definitively a nice plus from this game^^