Endless runners have never really been my bag. Temple Run, Sonic Runners, all games I’ve filed under “mobile gaming” and never gotten into. I didn’t realise Agent Intercept was one, until I started playing it.
Set against a fun and self-aware comic book/James Bond story, it’s very much fitting with the bright colours, arcade gameplay and addictiveness on hand. The added bonus? No microtransactions either.
Alright, it’s not completely an endless runner, as it’s level-based. But it retains a similar concept. A short and sweet spies-in-cars game, Agent Intercept evokes a time of classic arcade titles from “back in the day”. Which ones? Guess you’ll have to read on and find out.
Where In The World Is Car-Men Sandeigo?
You may be wondering why I put a tortured pun as the header there, but there’s a reason. For one, the plot does take you around the world and two, it’s got a story akin to Saturday morning cartoons.
You, the player, are an unnamed agent in a state of the art sports car named the Sceptre. Your mission, that you have no choice to accept, is to take out CLAW, a sinister GI Joe Cobra-like outfit led by Eris. She’s got some over-the-top, vehicular-based henchman, as much as you have a gaggle of car-based backup in your ear piece.
As players race across the globe, from sunny cityscapes and hilltops to desserts and volcanos, the plot unfurls in sillier ways. Eris wants to take over the world, there’s a couple of double-crosses, and all the dialogue is either rampant “We can do it!” enthusiasm from the team, or “I’ll get you next time” straight from Inspector Gadget.
But you know what? In a time of serious Cyberpunk, po-faced Elden Ring and global warming analogies like Horizon, some Saturday morning nostalgia was very welcome indeed.
I’m On The Chase, HQ
From torturous headers to more on-the-nose ones, that pretty much gives away the gameplay of Agent Intercept. It also highlights how old I am, but that can’t be helped. If you’re also familiar with Chase HQ, or Spyhunter, this will make sense.
Combined with the endless runner gameplay, Agent Intercept has players focus on steering, drifting and boosting over driving. There’s no accelerator, meaning speed cannot be adjusted (besides going faster with boost), with players having to be vigilant on the steering wheel.
You’ll never actually stop, but there is a life bar. So whilst the threat of driving too slowly isn’t there, the danger element is. Thankfully, you’re not just avoiding obstacles. You’ll be taking the fight to CLAW too.
All The Nifty Gadgets
Having to not worry about maintaining speed, bar constantly holding the L2/X button to boost, it frees up more concentration time for shooting. Which is good, as Agent Intercept relies on firepower and skills to keep the points flowing.
Much like any of Bond’s vehicles, the Sceptre has a few means of combat. Machine guns, homing rockets, right up to lasers and landmines make for vehicular combat. Some lock on, others require a bit of aiming.
But it’s not as tricky as, say, Ace Combat. You’re driving on what are essentially global Scalextric tracks: only forwards, and enemies will almost always be ahead of you. There are some sweet, timed “trick shots” too, normally in boss fights, that see the Sceptre ramp off of something for a contextual button prompt shot. These are, in short, pretty dope indeed.
So that’s the driving and the shooting, combining retro arcade games with the stylistic spy shots seen in recent games like Stuntman. But what other tricks does Agent Intercept have under its hood?
Transform-a-car, Roll Out!
That sports car that I mentioned, being all state of the art and whatnot? Well, it’s more than just a car. I don’t mean that in some wanky, M&S advert way, but more a literal one. The Sceptre is a car… but it also becomes a boat, a snowmobiles hybrid and later on, a jet.
These transformations are set, players aren’t able to switch on the fly. What normally happens is a road will be out, but it’s on the level’s path. So one ramping point later and you’re a boat, or a snowmobile in the artic sections. The plane parts I won’t spoil, but they are reserved for the later stages for a reason.
Controls still operate the same whatever vehicle the Sceptre is, so again all players have to do is concentrate on shooting, and keeping that score multiplier up.
Best In Your Field
Part of what makes Agent Intercept fun and engaging, rather than just a run of the mill racer, is its competitive edge. That comes in the form of the score at the bottom of the screen, as seen above. Kills, boosts and drifts add both score and a combo counter.
The more stylish you play, the higher your score will be. The higher the score, the better the… well, that’s pretty much it. There are, however, mission bonuses to unlock per level too. Each level has five, and one is always “finish the level”. The others are along the lines of hitting a certain score, drifting for a minimum distance, killing so many CLAW baddies or a variation thereof.
There are three Acts, each with five levels, and there’s an objective requirement to unlock the end stage of each. Fortunately, the requirements are quite low, but there are bragging rights (and trophies) for hitting all the objectives in every level. So there’s some replayability, if only to test yourself.
The Boat Is Not Enough
As much as I want to say that Agent Intercept is “the perfect arcade game”, it does have a few weaknesses. There’s only a limited amount of play modes outside of the campaign, which are just variations on score/time attacks. Which is fine if you’re a trophy/achievement hunter, but not if you’re expecting much else.
In terms of gameplay, the boat is definitely the most boring vehicle mode. It doesn’t drift, per se, but it does handle corners terribly. Which is a bit of a mood killer when you’re skidding round in a Porsche-alike, then a snowmobile, then… crashing into corners and winging it as a boat. It’s just a bit of a low point of a level when it happens.
The only other criticism is that there are only fifteen levels in the campaign. Admittedly, this doesn’t need a thirty hour story, but it does fly through the narrative beats in rather quick fashion at times. Yet however, that’s not a deal breaker.
The Spy Who Drove Me
In summary, Agent Intercept is an absolute blast to play. Sure, there is a lack of post-campaign content, outside of some non-canon levels and character profiles. But the full 100% doesn’t come easy, neither does that full 1000G/Platinum trophy.
That aside, you can easily lose yourself in a ten hour arcade racer. It’s reminiscent of the old coin-op racers, complete with modern spy pastiche and some gripping levels later on. The graphics are simple and bright, the music is all bold and brassy, and that was enough to make it entertaining for me.
If you’re looking for a fun and cheap arcade game, taking on spies in a more cheerful way than the more recent Bond films do, you can’t go wrong with the Sceptre’s shape-shifting shenaigans.
If you have felt that spies have been portrayed in the media as too grumpy and serious as of late, look no further. Agent Intercept throws it back to the wacky Saturday morning cartoon antics of spies, paired with some old school racers too. It’s quite short, especially when the campaign’s done, but if you want ten hours of cars and gadgets, look no further.
Agent Intercept is available from 30th March on PlayStation 4 & 5 (reviewed on latter), Xbox One and Series S|X and Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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