Interpol: The Trail of Dr. Chaos Review

Interpol: The Trail of Dr. Chaos is a way more exciting and evocative title than this boring photo-hunt game deserves.

Interpol: The Trail of Dr. Chaos is a title that implies international intrigue, Bond-caliber evil geniuses, and perhaps even some nostalgia-tickling Carmen Sandiego-style gameplay, but what you get instead is a weak-ass photo-hunt game. It tries to trump things up with a “plot” about chasing down Dr. Vladimir Chaosky (seriously!) and his henchmen, but that doesn't make scouring a blurry screen full of random junk for a specific piece of junk particularly fun.

You might think that, hey, for $10, you'd at least get a really good photo-hunt game, right? But Interpol: The Trail of Dr. Chaos is barely committed to its globe-trotting concept. You theoretically travel from San Francisco to Cairo and all points in between, but each location is essentially a mildly themed room that's been haphazardly filled with just stuff. Some of it matches the theme of the location, but there's apparently a preponderance of CDs and umbrellas the world over. To its credit, there's enough stuff on every screen that you can approach any one location multiple times and not be asked to search for the same things.

There is, however, a very finite number of locations in Interpol: The Trail of Dr. Chaos, and you can easily plow through all of them in an hour and change. You can play it cooperatively with up to four players, either locally or over Xbox Live, and I found this experience slightly more enjoyable, simply because misery loves company. It's rarely very difficult, providing you with a spacious time limit and numerous hints that you can cash in to find the more evasive items. Any difficulty usually comes from the fact that the art isn't quite HD-quality, and attempting to use your in-game magnifying glass just makes it look muddier.

Sometimes, though, the description of what I was looking for was unclear, which eventually lead to me just randomly clicking on stuff and hoping for the best. Maybe this speaks more about my own ignorance, but how am I supposed to discern between a bocce ball and, well, any other type of ball, ever? And since when is "swift" another name for a pterodactyl? Occasionally the game just makes inexplicable assumptions about the player's knowledge base. There's one location where you're asked to identify a number of "changes" in various pieces of presumably real-world art, though without providing any sense of what the pieces might've looked like before.

It's unsurprising that developer TikGames is primarily known for cell-phone games and casual Flash-type stuff, because that's exactly what Interpol: The Trail of Dr. Chaos feels like. This is exactly the kind of simplistic, disposable, and completely charm-free junk that Microsoft shouldn't be clogging up Xbox Live Arcade with.