Inspector Gadget Advance Mission (Game Boy Advance) - Review by Andrew



I can remember watching Inspector Gadget as a kid and it's hard to believe how well it's aged. Based heavily on the 1960's television spy parody, Get Smart the show still enjoys a strong following and multiple fan sites across the world. It's also seen in 55 countries and broadcast in 24 languages. Although this is all very impressive there have been few games based on this bumbling French detective and, ignoring the appalling Mathew Broderick movie, it's remained almost exclusively in cartoon form. This Gameboy Advance title is thankfullly based on the latter, but, does it transfer to a handheld game and is it worth your hard earned cash?


Structure: Doctor Claw has gone mad (again) and it's up to you to put an end to his dastardly plan to take over the world. Unfortunately he's quite a slippery caracter and has more henchman protecting him than you can wave a stick at. You start your adventure in New York at the Statue of Liberty and you'll need to travel to London, China and Egypt before you complete the game. Most of the action takes place on platforms and lifts surrounding various monuments which are always heavily patrolled. Disposing of enemies brings forth a whole host of coins and goodies to collect but there are collectables scattered everywhere so you will often find yourself engaging in a 'leap of faith' to reach your goal or a bonus item just out of reach.

At the start of the game you can choose to be Inspector Gadget, Penny or even Brain the dog. This is important as the various characters have very different skills. Gadget obviously has his gadgets but we'll talk more about that later, Penny can swim and control robots whilst Brain is not only a great jumper but can also disguise himself as a penguin (we'd recomend this move as it's not only very funny but demonstrates how a little stealth can go a long way to completing the game). You can change characters mid-level and, to suceed, you'll need to. There's also usually more than one way to complete a given level so exploration is everything. It should be noted that the menu does have a handy tutorial feature as not every is obvious at first.

One thing Gadget was famous for was the various add-ons built into his coat that could be used to overcome obstacles. This game would be a complete non-starter if they weren't included but fortunately they are. You start armed with a handy mallet (concealed in your hat) and the ability to glide down from a height using an umbrella. Along the way you can pick-up a Gadgetcopter, an inflatable jacket and a handy sink plunger which allows you to hit enemies from a distance. Some of these gadgets must be used wisely though as they are on a timer so you may find yourself plunging hundreds of feet simply by exploring a little too much.

There is a link-up mode available which allows you to play various characters and have a race to the end of each level. We haven't actually tried it out but it's probably great fun but everyone needs a copy of the game. It seems that the initial concept of 'one gamepack supporting multiple players' is being ignored by developers meaning more cost for you and therefore less chance trying out these extended features.


Games which switch from one character to another can often be a little too complicated for their own good but fortunately Advance Mission seems to do it with ease. This is mostly due to the simple gameplay and you'll generally spend a great deal more time getting to a hard to reach area than fighting extremely difficult bosses.


The in-game graphics and animation are wonderful and almost identical to the cartoon version. There's no doubt here that this is an Advance title as the detail in the backgrounds and screen characters is outstanding. One aspect of the visuals that's really refreshing as well is that the maps appear to have been designed with a great deal of care. There's not the same feeling of repetition that plagues most titles of this nature. Overall Inspector Gadget represents the quality we should expect for that extra price tag that comes with GBA games.


Advance music is a huge improvement on what the humble Gameboy Color could offer and developers now appear to be utilising it. The music here changes when you move to a new location and always reflects where you are, Egyptian music in the pyramids for example. Where the sound quality really shows though is with the sound effects where everything is used to true comical effect.

Final comments

This could have easily been another dull platformer wrapped around a well known license but the sound, graphics and animation really do transform an average title into a quality one. For a game were are there are no real puzzles (the action usually revolves around locating and destroying Dr Claw's machines), no sub-games or even different challenges to break off from the main objective it's still all very enjoyable. We have, however, come a long way from titles that stick rigidly to one style of gameplay and this could be the game's downfall in attracting a wider audience. There's nothing original here either and what you're getting is an updated version of an old-school platformer but one well worth a look and, for fans of Inspector Gadget at least, a must have game.

Pro: Looks Wonderful
Con: Nothing Original
Final score: 7.5


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Boxart of Inspector Gadget Advance Mission (Game Boy Advance)
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Magic Pockets
Publisher: Light and Shadow Productions