Undercover: Dual Motives (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 04.09.2007

Nintendo fans have been crying out for a true point-and-click adventure on DS since the day the system was revealed due to the touch-screen mechanic being ideal for the PC interface and the dual screen set-up working well for menu navigation. So far we have seen games of this ilk in the form of Another Code, Hotel Dusk and Phoenix Wright...but none of those have been a 'Broken Sword' or 'Monkey Island' type of game. But now Sproing has kindly obliged and brought Undercover: Dual Motives to the portable. With the game hitting German stores last Friday, Cubed

The whole premise of the game is that it is a precursor to Undercover: Operation Wintersun from the PC and revolves around the early days of Dr. John Russell, a physicist that finds himself thrown into a world of intrigue, deception and mystery, where he is the central player in a large conspiracy. Working alongside his close ally Audrey, a receptionist to the British research facility's Director, his task is to uncover the truth and clear his name before the MI6 steam-roll in and arrest him for being a traitor to his country.

There are not many locations shown off in this 1930s-40s war time era game, but what is there is quite impressive for on the DS. However, in terms of setting, the only signs of the period the game takes place in are the drab, colourless style of clothing worn by various characters, an old-fashioned warden guarding the exit to the special research facility and the odd fighter plane being found inside an internal bunker. Because of this lack of variety, even though everything looks nice, the DS is hardly pushed to the maximum at any point. The few different backdrops you must visit are all basically highly detailed photographic stills in which the small 3D characters saunter around. It certainly looks impressive at first, especially when seeing it in a small video format or in static screenshots. However, upon playing the game properly, the 'wow' effect certainly disappears and is replaced by more of a middling 'hmm' sentiment as the characters themselves become a little too pixellated when moving to the forefront of the playing field. Sadly the soundtrack, whilst pleasing, does not back up the graphical side very well since only little snippets of tunes play at each location...then they fade out and you are faced with complete silence for what seems like ages, until it randomly kicks back in. This would have been slightly more acceptable if there was any speech in the game. Yet there is none whatsoever, which removes a lot of the game's charm.

Screenshot for Undercover: Dual Motives on Nintendo DS

But, and this is the key point, the game redeems itself to some degree by how well it is put together, plus the ease-of-use of the DS interface and the way various other features of the system are utilised during the adventure. To start with, the game is played using both John and Audrey, with controls switching between the two of them with the greatest of ease (simply tap 'X' or 'R' to change perspectives). They can both interact with the surroundings in different ways and will also incur differing responses from people when trying to dig around for clues. The developer has crafted puzzles around this dual-player set-up and many a time you will be banging your head against the wall because John will not get the right result...but then in a last ditch throw of the die you try the same thing with Audrey and BINGO, it works! And it does indeed work in quite a clever way, since Audrey will not do things like climb ladders because she is wearing a skirt or will pass heavy objects to John for carrying. So you have to retain a logical train of thought at all times.

Screenshot for Undercover: Dual Motives on Nintendo DS

That brings us onto the other point

Screenshot for Undercover: Dual Motives on Nintendo DS

The puzzle side of matters is well implemented, though, with some suitably wacky solutions required that will often leave you thinking, 'Wow, why did I not think of that in the first place?'. Basically there are times when unless you try every permutation available then you are not going to figure things out, which is always the case with games on this nature. Undercover: Dual Motives also makes great use of the touch-screen in certain puzzles, plus even has you blowing into the microphone early on. I will refrain from spoiling the puzzles, especially when the game is so short...Oh yes, I was just about to get onto that

Screenshot for Undercover: Dual Motives on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


Undercover: Dual Motives is a tough one to score, because there is so much about the point-and-click adventure that makes you want to love it, yet on the other hand the game feels unfinished and ends far too abruptly to be truly worth the investment. The game is only out in Germany right now, so you have to hope some tweaks will be made before the worldwide launch. Otherwise you are probably better off buying the PC successor 'Undercover: Operation Wintersun'.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Q1 2008   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Q1 2008   


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