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Igor's Adventures with the Mad Scientist PC CD-ROM/ESD

Published by Core Concepts
Developed by Core Concepts
Released - Out Now
Price : $21.95 (Electronic Service Download)/$24.95 CD-ROM

http://www.coregames.com/

It's all too easy these days to get carried away with graphics. All too often the gaming press will get hung up on how good a game looks and almost ignore how the game plays. The quality of the game play should be what really matters but with more capable graphics cards emerging almost on a six monthly basis, the emphasis is almost always on how the look of game can be improved and little concern is given to how the game plays. Thankfully there are some genres where looks aren't everything and where substance is more important than style. The puzzle genre is perhaps the best example of this. Here we have the latest game from puzzle masters Core Concepts, Igor's Adventures with the Mad Scientist.

Last year we reviewed Core Concepts' Rich Diamond and we were very impressed by how well the game played as it was very simple to learn but almost impossible to master. You could say pretty much the same thing about Mad Scientist. There are 80 levels in the game and the goal is the same in each and every one of them. To put it simply you have to construct a robotic monster and then activate it. So far so good and it doesn't seem like it's going to pose a challenge except that the trick is bringing these parts together. You'll have to move the 8 separate parts (the robot monsters are made from 9 individual parts but the head is always in a fixed position) around mazes, move them over moving conveyor belts and avoid numerous enemies, amongst other things, in your efforts to get the robot monsters assembled.

Initially it's all very simple but before long you'll be scratching your head and really having to think about what you're doing. To make it even more challenging your character, Igor, can only push the parts and cannot pull them by himself and he cannot rotate them either. Thankfully you can always find devices that can help Igor out. On levels where the pieces have to be pulled then Puller Robots are there to help and on levels when the pieces have to be rotated there are gears that can rotate a piece through 90 degrees. There are various other creatures and objects such as mummies, teleports, giant mutated rats known as a scurry rats and numerous types of conveyor belts that can all help you in your quest to assemble the robot monsters. Of course you have to be careful and it's possible to occasionally push a monster piece against a wall and you won't be able to retrieve it and this can add to the frustration factor. Thankfully you can save at any time by pressing the 'S' key and pressing the 'R' key will instantly rewind to the last save point. It's a good idea to save the game at any point where you are unsure what to do and to its credit the in-game tutorial emphasises this fact.

It's not just about assembling the robot monsters though and getting as low a score as possible. Mad Scientist is practically a turn-based puzzle game (although the conveyor belts move constantly) so you don't have to worry about time limits. The score will increase with each step that you take so you have to be careful about being wasteful with your movements. Activating a robot monster will reduce your score by 1,000 and there are also other ways to reduce your score such as feeding a scurry rat or mixing the contents of yellow and green flasks. You can even take a look at the game's website to see how your score compares with everyone else's.

Graphically Mad Scientist is as good as it needs to be. The game is played from an isometric viewpoint and this makes everything easy to see and there is no need to mess about with camera angles which is a big relief given the amount of games that we see that struggle with poor camera angles. Each level is made up of tiles with each step that you take moving you from one tile to another. This may seem a simplistic approach to take but it works really well. Another benefit of using this method to construct the game is that it has allowed the developers to include a very easy to use level editor. When you've finally managed to crack the 80 included levels (which will take you months and I'm nowhere near completing them all) you'll be able to download levels that others have created. Core Concepts have even begun making extra levels available too.

Mad Scientist is absolutely fine for deaf gamers. The game comes with a good tutorial that shows you how to do everything in the game and this tutorial is delivered exclusively via text. The game also comes with a 42 page manual (in .pdf format) that covers all the aspects of the game including instructions on how to use the level editor, which is great to see. The single omission for deaf gamers is when you save a game a voice will inform you that the game is indeed saved but there is no notification in text.

Like Rich Diamond before it, Igor's Adventures with the Mad Scientist is another great puzzle game from Core Concepts. Gamers who like to relax and be able to think about how to solve challenging puzzles (without being rushed) will really enjoy the game. The game levels are well balanced and the initial levels go easy on you and encourage you to go on and give the more difficult levels a go. Initially it can be frustrating should you mistakenly push an object against a wall as most of the time you'll be unable to reverse your action but if you make good use of the save function before you commit to any action you're unsure of, you can avoid any major disasters. Igor's Adventures with the Mad Scientist is definitely a must for puzzle fans everywhere and at the bargain price of just $21.95 (which is around £12.30) it's excellent value for money.

Overall Game Rating: 8.5/10
Igor's Adventures with the Mad Scientist is a great puzzle title that puzzle fans will really enjoy. You have to make use of the save feature a lot though to prevent yourself becoming frustrated.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No problems at all for deaf gamers.