Girls can join Barbie on a mission to save the world’s most famous jewels from Camille, a jewel thief who has stolen them. Barbie must travel to England, China, Italy and Mexico on her trail, in this side-scrolling platform adventure.
Secret Agent Barbie, complete with secret agent gadgets, has to chase down Camille and recover the stolen jewels. To do this, she must explore the crime scenes thoroughly, making sure she’s not seen by the security police in the process. In fact, sneaking past these guards is the main focus of the game, but Barbie has several cool gadgets at her disposal to help her evade discovery by either masking the guards’ vision or by making her invisible for a short time.
Barbie can run, jump and roll in a crouch as she makes her way across the levels. In some levels, she can swing across to other platforms. Sometimes access isn’t obvious to another platform, so players need to explore all of a level to look for ways across or locks that can unlock doors. Her moves are for the most part easy to implement, but jumping can be a little problematic, as an important platform may only be attainable by jumping and Barbie’s jumps aren’t always so easy to accomplish. Perseverance is the key. Sneaking past guards is the most important aspect of this game, as Barbie’s “detection” meter goes down quickly if she’s spotted by a guard. In fact, if she is spotted, she’d better move quickly out of view as the guards will follow her, making her detection meter run out very fast.
Interspersed among these levels are arcade chase scenes, where Barbie must chase Camille, dodging obstacles in her path. These obstacles are pretty easy to avoid.
This is a fairly decent game for the GBA, and one that is designed specifically for younger players. There is no fighting, only sneaking and chasing. The levels are fun to figure out and Barbie moves fluidly and well. However, the sneaking bit can get sticky as the game progresses, even on the easy level. On some levels, the guards are so numerous that it’s difficult to get past one without running right into another, just as Barbie’s timed gadget runs out. As her gadget meter power level has to rejuvenate before being used again, she’s often stuck there while her detection meter runs out. Even if she runs to a place that’s out of sight, there is significant damage done to her detection level before reaching safety. It’s impossible to see the guards before they see Barbie in many cases, too, so detection is often unavoidable in the first run through any level. This makes the gameplay boil down to essentially running through several platforms in a level and “dying” several times, to get a good feel for the needed strategy to get through successfully. The easy level shouldn’t have had this issue.
Parents who are looking for a non-violent, entertaining game for their younger children may want to look at Secret Agent Barbie, but need to keep in mind that the “easy” level isn’t much easier than the regular levels, and may frustrate some children.
The game is easy enough to master and the levels are fairly entertaining. However, sneaking past guards can be frustrating at times and lead to excessive “dying”.
The graphics are very nice and bright, demonstrating that yes, you can see on a GBA if the game is designed to be seen.
The sound is average.
The mechanics of the game are easy to learn, but getting past those guards can be hard sometimes and will require repeated pass-throughs.
It’s a great idea to get Barbie out of the mall and into a more action-oriented arena. But, it’s still in essence a basic platform game, with no real innovations.
Barbie Secret Agent is fun to play for the most part, but as the game progresses the sameness of it all can lead to boredom. Also, the difficulty level may be too difficult for the bottom range of the target audience.