Any of you remember the old C64 game "Spyhunter"? It was a video game "homage" based on that scene from "The Spy who loved me". You know the one where the car, a Lotus Espirit, turns into a submarine? Well the game we're looking at now is a modern day take on that idea. Originally released on mobile through the Apple Arcade back in 2019, it's now arrived on Xbox, Switch and Playstation, giving us console players a chance to experience its transforming spy vehicle gameplay.
So firing up Agent Intercept for the first time, it's only gameplay mode you'll be able to access is it's campaign. Set over 3 missions, consisting of 5 stages each, it's the main mode and makes up most of the game. It has a rather well done story driving the action, a very bright and action packed spy story that feels very much like a Saturday morning cartoon. Told through nicely drawn static images, and with some quite good voice acting, it starts off with the evil organisation CLAW committing various heists around the world. And the only thing standing against them is The Agency.
The Agency is a well-funded but covert group of spies and agents, with access to advanced tech and amazing gadgets, they do what they can to protect the free world.
When CLAW carry out a daring prison break, in broad day light no less, the Agency knows that Project Spectre is the only way to save the day.A high speed and high tech transforming vehicle, Spectre is almost impossible for a normal person to drive. Good thing you aren't a normal person though.
You're an agent.
A Super Agent.
And at the wheel of Spectre, you're a force to be reckoned with.
So how does it actually play? Well first off, if you're looking for a serious racer or driving game, you won't find that here. This is an action title first and foremost. It's a fun experience, very arcade-like but it's not a "traditional" driving game at all. In fact it is much more akin to an auto runner or on-rails experience than anything else. The camera is fixed and, unusually for a car game, isn't located behind the vehicle. Instead it's a strange 45° off-to-the-side-and-slightly-behind angle for the most part (it does change around sometimes in certain situations) and can unfortunately make judging distance a little bit of a problem. That said though, pickups are pretty forgiving so it doesn't matter as much as you'd think. Yes I did say pickups.
Scattered throughout the stage you'll need to be making sure to collect these, even if they'll just increase your score a little, because they are essential for secondary quests.
You see, getting to the end of the mission is just one of the challenges you'll be doing in a stage. While trying to carry out the main mission objective, chasing down an escaping helicopter, stopping a submarine from nuking a city, taking out satellite controlling trucks or whatever, you'll also have 4 other targets to try for as well.
Luckily you can attempt them on separate runs, completing each individually instead of all together, but these extra conditions are where the real challenge and replayability comes from. You'll have to finish within a certain time, take out a certain amount of enemies (perhaps with a specific weapon), drift a certain distance, get a certain high score, collect a certain amount of high value pickups, complete a certain amount of a special action (like driving between the machine gun bullet streams of an oncoming helicopter) or a good few others too.
Now at this point it's probably better, and easier, if I just go through a typical level and that'll explain how the game plays out. So you'll begin the mission, after a story part to frame the action, by dropping into the levels track. You don't need to accelerate, carefully break or anything like that. This is why I mentioned it being like an auto-running game earlier, the vehicle automatically goes forward on its own and you have only 4 buttons to worry about. You can move left or right, used to avoid obstacles, collect pickups and to take corners without scraping along the sides and taking damage. Your 3rd input is your booster. Powered by a bar at the bottom of the screen, this allows you to ram enemies and, most importantly, to drift round corners. Lastly is the 4th and final button, for weapons, and is used to attack enemies, bosses, and various targets important to the mission.
Using these controls you'll race through the levels, collecting pickups that give points, recharge your boost bar and give you ammo for your weapons. You'll be heading towards the target for that mission, usually a boss like a submarine, armoured vehicle or some such and will have to take them down to complete that stage. However that's only one of the five available targets for each stage. To unlock the ultimate 5th stage in each of the 3 levels, you need to unlock a certain amount of these challenges so you'll be aiming to do them alongside the main requirement.
Need to get a certain score? Make sure you hit all the pickups. Each one adds to your multiplier but you need to keep it going as 3 seconds without adding to your total will reset it to zero. Luckily you have many opportunities to keep the multiplier going. Each pick up increases it by one. Each enemy you take out increases it by one. Drifting around a corner stops the counter completely for as long as the drift continues.
Tasked with destroying a certain amount of enemies? Maybe using a certain weapon? As you go around the track, certain pick-ups appear that are different from the score increasing variety. These are the weapon type and each comes with a certain amount of ammo for its type. Homing missiles are the most common, they'll automatically lock on to anything ahead of you and will chase it down with a simple press of the R trigger. Machine guns are next, giving a huge amount of ammo these must be manually aimed and require quite a few hits to take down your target. And lastly are the Lazer cannons. These have only a few shots but will kill anything in one powerful blast AND, even cooler, will pierce through more than one opponent. Line it up correctly and it can be used to take down a whole street full of enemy vehicles in a single blast.
And that's basically it. You'll drive your car at high speed along the tracks, collecting pickups, drifting around corners and taking out enemies, increasing the score and its multiplier, while trying to complete as many of the five challenges for that stage as you can…
Oh except for the gimmick.
Remember I said the Spectre was a high tech transforming vehicle? Yeah well I meant it. At many points in the track you'll suddenly find the way blocked, either by nature or enemy action, and it's time to go off road. Your car will suddenly become a boat and you'll find yourself making your way along the rivers and canals instead of the roadways. Unfortunately though, it doesn't actually change up gameplay that much. It controls exactly the same, just feels a little heavier, and it's only really different in looks only.
The plane mode though certainly has a change. Yip, that's right. It has a motherf-ing plane mode! It doesn't appear till much later in the campaign but you will get access to a transformation that results in you flying through the air. Don't get too excited though. It's still all on rails, you have no freedom of where to go or how to get there. You do have a slightly different control system to deal with however.
Your boost now controls your altitude. Sometimes you'll need to stop boosting to drop down under broken concrete beams, collapsed buildings parts or cliffs. At other times you'll need to rev your engine hard to go as high as possible and rise above trouble. All the while you'll be lining up shots on the boss, hitting pickups and trying to keep that multiplier going. There's also a submarine section too, which is identical to the plane style and only appears once in the entire campaign.
This thing is though, these different vehicle modes aren't all that different. They all stick to the same basic formula, acting as a minor change in a short section instead of a completely new way to play. It's a nice addition, don't get me wrong, but doesn't do enough to change up action in a title that is starting to get very samey, very quickly, by the point the plane and sub modes are introduced.
And that's probably my most major complaint about Agent Intercept. It gets a little repetitive. Although you'll have slightly different objectives to fulfill in each stage, it basically boils down to the same each time. Get to the end as fast as you can, getting as many pickups as you can, while drifting round corners and taking out opponents. The nature of the on rails driving means you can't find better routes or look for shortcuts, you can quickly learn the track and the best way to do it. You could argue it doesn't outstay it's welcome either though so that repetitive nature isn't a huge problem. The main campaign can be finished easily in a few hours, less if you do the bare minimum. You do unlock side quests but these are just a remix of the campaign levels with extra bosses or something thrown in. There's also a high score mode, complete with leader board, that you can do but again it's basically the same levels you've played already, just with a competitive scoring element.
Agent Intercept ends up being a fun, fast arcade driving game that entertains. It's transformation gimmick adds a little variety to the equation but ultimately doesn't do enough to change things up. The different objectives in each stage provide replayability but aren't enough to provide fun in the long term. But that might not matter considering its completion time. Designed for mobile, where you play in shorter bursts, it might not hold the attention on console for long. While you do play it though, you'll find a fun and enjoyable experience where trying to perfect a track can really grip you. Ultimately it is what it is, a fun budget mobile port that will provide a few hours of action packed arcade thrills. Take it for what it is and you'll get a few hours of enjoyment out if it!
*Note: A copy of the title was provided for the purposes of the review
FINAL SCORE: 7/10
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