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Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 1: We Negotiate with Terrorists

Score: 89%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Straandlooper
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Hector: Badge of Carnage - Episode 1: We Negotiate with Terrorists is the first episode in a new three-part series that is being published by Telltale games. Unlike most titles coming out of this company, Hector is actually developed by Straandlooper, a studio based in Northern Ireland. What's great is that, even though the game definitely skirts the boundary of decency, it is still a great point-and-click adventure that really pulls you in.

Hector: Badge of Carnage has a very distinct feel to it. Not only does the game feel very old-school 2D adventure with a hand-drawn stlye to it, but it also feels very dirty as well. In fact, the only characters I would say feel "clean" in the whole game are Hector's fellow police officers. Each of the dozen or so other characters you will meet seem to fit right in with the grimy town.

Outside of Hector's distinct look is also the game's audio. While the background music is okay, its the game's voices that really stand out. Each of the voices seem to fit their various characters really well, and this is especially so for the game's titular character. Of course, he also gets some of the prime dialogue as well, and believe me, he is not a shining example of what a policeman should be ... but then again, all of those "typical" officers don't seem to be getting the job done.


Gameplay:

Hector: Badge of Carnage - Episode 1: We Negotiate with Terrorists starts off when a shooter has taken hostages in a condemned building. While officer after officer tries to talk to the villain, they soon realize the only person that might actually get through to him is Detective Inspector Hector. Too bad he is nowhere to be found.

Our first impression of the main character isn't all that good of one. We find him sleeping in a cell, locked in, pants-less and a bit hung over. Your first goal is to get out of the cell and find out what is going on. Even then, the task of getting out to the crime scene requires a few amusing hurdles to be crossed. Just keep in mind that Hector is more of an anti-hero than the traditional one, so it's okay if you need to promote some prostitution or get an old lady to tazer a hoodlum you let loose on the streets. As long as you get what you need.

The real meat of the game is the hostage-taker's demands. When you finally get them out of the guy, you end up hearing quite an odd list of tasks. For one, he wants the town clock tower fixed. He also wants the local porn shop, Erotico, shut down and finally, he wants you to help a man who is trying to start up a beautification program in the town. Like I said, not your typical demands.


Difficulty:

Hector: Badge of Carnage - Episode 1: We Negotiate with Terrorists seems to have a good mix of challenges. While a lot are fairly straightforward, a few require some extra thought. I did feel a bit cheated a few times though when it would turn out I needed some inventory item that I don't have. When I did finally find the missing piece of the puzzle, it was almost always something that blended into the background so well that I had no reason to think I could pick it up.

Another bit of annoyance came when I would end up performing tasks and having no idea why I needed to do them until some future event happened. This was especially true when Hector seemed really intent on buying a red handbag when I didn't even know he was looking for one. Later it all became clear, but it doesn't seem like the order of events was quite right during these times, which of course, led to some confusion.


Game Mechanics:

Hector: Badge of Carnage - Episode 1: We Negotiate with Terrorists is pure point-and-click. There are a couple of little details that break away from the norm, though. The main one being the ability to double-click on an inventory item and that would occasionally do something. In fact, I am sad to admit that I was a bit stuck at the beginning because I didn't realize that was something I could do. When I did, a paperclip became a straightened paperclip and that was a useful tool.

Another mild complaint in the way of mechanics involves some of the dialogue-based puzzles. Most of the time, everything follows what you would expect. Find the right path through the branches and you make some progress in the story. There were a few conversations where the right answer was to essentially ask the same thing over and over again until suddenly a different option appears. In most games, if the option you chose doesn't yield any real results, it wasn't the right option. Here though, you can't be sure of that.

All that being said, I would still recommend giving Hector: Badge of Carnage: Episode 1: We Negotiate with Terrorists a play through. It's fun, full of dark humor and just feels like an all around good game. I will say though, Hector is not for younger gamers, as there are a lot of adult references in this game.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows XP/Vista/7, 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent Processor, 3 GB RAM, ATI or Nvidia card w/ 512 MB RAM Video Card, Direct X 9.0c, Audio card required
 

Test System:



Windows 7 Ultimate, Intel i7 X980 3.33GHz, 12 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c

Related Links:



Windows Spiral Knights Microsoft Xbox 360 Outland

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated