Hector Ep 1 - Badge of Carnage

Telltale Games have gone back to a simpler 2D point and click system for their latest instalment. Detective Inspector is their newest hero- an overweight, middle aged and slightly corrupt cop. When the town of Clapper's Wreake has a hostage situation, the police department have no choice but to call on Hector to save the day. This is mainly due to the terrorist shooting the rest of the negotiators. After taking a liking to him, the terrorist issues demands for restoring the town's historic beauty. The police chief wants to give into his demands (they haven't enough money to pay him off), so it's up to Hector to fix the town.

This is not a game for younger gamers. While not overly crude, there are jokes here that are definitely not suitable. On the plus side, this is a great game for adults. For an adult themed puzzle game, the jokes are hilarious. The dialogue is great and doesn't rely on dick/boob jokes or constant swearing for its humour- unlike the recent Leisure Suit Larry games. Hector is perfectly cast, but I'd prefer to have had Philip Glenister do the voice work- the character reminds me a lot of Gene Hunt from "Life on Mars".

The game's art design really suits the tone of the game. It gives it a sense of filthiness without going overboard. It's a shame there's not a lot of locations to admire, but it's an even bigger shame that there's not more of the animated cut scenes. These steal the show, but there are only a handful of them. The animation is great, and there's a ton of visual jokes.

The controls are standard point and click fare, which is refreshing after the occasional fights with Back to the Future system. It was designed with the iPhone/iPad in mind, which may also explain the game's length. The game also offers a hint system for those of you that need it, and it even goes as far as to provide a full walkthrough. I recommend reading through it after completion, as it's done in the style of Hector talking to you. There is a lot of fun to be had with trial and error though, as apart from Hector's insults there's also fun banter for wrong dialogue options. While not a major challenge, the puzzles are strong and varied enough.

My main complaint is the play time. It's really short, and can be completed in just a couple of hours. While there are three episodes in the series, I hope that the other two are longer, but unfortunately we'll have to wait until autumn for them. There are also a few jokes in here that people not from the UK won't get. In fairness, these are few and far between. This is probably the closest you'll ever get to playing "Gene Hunt: The Game". It's hilarious from start to finish and well worth the purchase price for the laughs alone. A huge downer though is that the episode ends on a cliff hanger (like all Telltale Games).

Played on PC, also available on iPad Touch / iPhone / iPad

V. Smyth

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