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Law and Order: Justice is Served

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: VU Games
Developer: Legacy Interactive
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

Turn on the TV and, at any time during the day, you’ll more than likely come across an episode of “Law & Order.” With what seems like hundreds of different versions of the show dealing with ever facet of the law, ranging from murder investigations to the guys who rip tags off of mattresses, “Law & Order” has a flavor to fit just about anyone’s tastes. For fans of the series that can’t get enough of the show, there is the successful series of Law & Order games from VU Games. The third in the series, Law & Order: Justice is Served, may not be as deep as other point-and-click adventure games, but it’s a good enough title to keep fans busy.

Justice is Served is the best looking of the series. Characters look much closer to their real-life counterparts than previous games. This is mostly due to improved character animations, including a much better walking animation. Characters also blend in with their environments better, as does the evidence -- which is sure to frustrate some players while in the midst of an investigation.

As with other games, many of the actors from the TV show reprise their roles in Justice is Served, most notably Jerry Orbach. Jesse L. Martin and Elisabeth Rohm also make appearances, as does tennis great Patrick McEnroe (little brother of John McEnroe). Lines aren’t delivered with quite the personality seen in shows, but they’re more than adequate. The one aspect you’ll have to deal with is the Ukrainian accents, which can get annoying and sound a little too fake at times. The show’s trademark “Duhn-duhn” sound is also around, rounding out a great presentation.


Law & Order: Justice is Served opens with the murder of tennis’ latest “It” girl, Elena Kusarova, just before the start of the U.S. Open. You, along with Detectives Lenny Biscoe and Ed Green, are called in to solve the murder and make sure the suspect gets their day in court. Justice is Served is split into two sections: investigation and prosecution.

The game starts with you investigating the crime. This involves collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses/suspects, and trying to nail the right person. Doing so isn’t easy since there are several suspects, all of whom could be the suspect. There’s the sports agent whose relationship with the victim may have been a little more than agent/client, and a stalker looking for a little more than an autograph. You must collect evidence and figure out whom it points to. After finding evidence, you can have it sent to the lab, which will give you a basis for questioning. Once you figure out who the evidence points to, you can interview the suspect. Questioning a suspect isn’t too hard since you’re not allowed to break off the conversation until you’ve asked all of the correct questions. Often times, the answers you get from suspects only unlock new questions and new people to question. And, for the most part, this is how the first half of the game plays out. There are a few puzzles you can solve along the way, but they aren’t all that hard and require minimal thought. After you have all the evidence, you can arrest the suspect and bring them to trial.

From here, you join up with Assistant D.A. Serena Southerlyn and build your case. You can subpoena witnesses and get evidence ready; when everything is set, it’s time to go to trial. Questioning witnesses on the stand uses the same mechanic as it does during the first portion of the game, only now the questions you ask matter. If you ask the right questions, you can crack the person on the stand. But asking the wrong questions will cause the defense to object. Also, while the defense is cross-examining the witness, you’ll have the opportunity to object. Figuring this section of the game out doesn’t require a law degree, but knowing when to object is important to winning the case. Of course, there is always the possibility of getting the wrong person in court...


If only the real legal process were this quick and easy. Law & Order: Justice is Served isn’t that hard of a game to complete, at least from a puzzle-solving standpoint. The difficulty comes in when trying to discover which evidence is important and which isn’t, making attention to detail a key element in Justice is Served. Finding evidence at crime scenes is also frustrating at times since it blends in so well with the background. Fingering a suspect also presents a challenge since the evidence always points to at least two people. Also, the game isn’t too good at letting you know what’s going on. You may get a search warrant, but will have no clue as to who the warrant is for. Once you figure things out, you have to make sure you do everything right at the trial. Otherwise, you could lose the case or have it thrown out.

Game Mechanics:

Law & Order: Justice is Served features a very easy point-and-click system. All areas are presented in 360-degree views that you can freely search. When you get to an area that can be searched, a magnifying glass appears. Clicking on the area will give you a close-up of the item. If the object is relevant to your case, you can collect it for evidence and send it to the lab for testing. Questioning suspects and witnesses is simply a matter of choosing the right questions from a list -- very easy, even for technophobes.

Point and click adventure games are hard to come by, but Justice is Served does a pretty good job of filling the void. Fans of the show will obviously get more out of the game than casual fans. However, the game is still enjoyable while it lasts.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:

Pentium III 600 MHz, 128 MB RAM, DirectX 7, 16 MB video card

Test System:

Windows XP, Pentium 4 1.7 GHz, Radeon 9100 128 MB, 40 Gig HD, 640 MB RAM, DirectX 9.0

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