Hector: Badge of Carnage, Episode 1
The negotiators are dead. The Clappers Wreake Police are flustered. And somewhere inside an abandoned building, a terrorist sits comfortably with a sniper rifle in a room full of hostages. There’s only one thing left to do, send in the best the force has to offer.
Waking up from a drunken stupor, and in his own filth, Inspector Hector receives the call to report to the crime scene. After an odd morning of stealing pants, adventures with hookers and automotives, and forgoing dignity, our begrimed protagonist arrives to diffuse the situation. Apparently, the unknown assailant is fed up with the city’s downward spiral and makes a list of demands to redeem the municipality. With the department’s bribery funds tapped, and a lack of respectable vocabulary, Hector has no choice but to concede to the demands: repair the city’s clock tower, help out the local town activist, and shut down Clappers Wreake’s porn hub.
The goals seem rather concise, but are not without tedium. As Hector triangulates his priorities, he goes through the usual undertaking of collecting an illustrious assortment of items, from candies to bootleg handbags and even a blow up doll. Some help solve a predicament on the spot, while others have to be taken to one of the two other locales for solving their unique puzzles. The nature of the solutions are as colorful as the game’s hilarious dialogue, accentuated by a plethora of British slang. Think Guy Ritchie, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost holding the same pen. This thankfully masks the redundancy of the core gameplay.
Unlike the point-and-clicks of late, the game is incredibly generous with its hints. Instead of earning some form of hint exchanging currency, you can opt to view the hints tab at anytime. The amount of info given away is dictated by your own discretion. However, if you still can’t figure things out for yourself, there’s an option to view an actual guide on how to beat the game step by step. Badge of Carnage also doesn’t score your performance at all, so the guilt of peeking at its built-in FAQs is weighed only by the player.
The visual orientation is a real treat. Along with the game’s mature mischief and solid voice acting, Badge of Carnage brings it all together as an interactive late night cartoon. While the script is entertaining, there are times where the dialogue can be rather excessive. Conversing can be a time consuming endeavor, unless you figure out the response combinations that shortens the chit chat.
As with any episodic content, We Negotiate with Terrorists ends on a cliffhanger, a most amusing one at that. Although, I hope next time Straandlooper harmonizes their cutscene sound as the voice acting was barely audible in contrast to the epic music. Overall, despite being short and having next to no replay value, the Inspector Hector series is shaping up to be an entertaining romp. While the Puzzle Agent series is more child friendly, the misadventures of Hector are the complete opposite, bringing back the old days of mature point-and-clicks. With that said, I’m definitely looking forward to the next episode of our good inspector’s self-deprecating life. No ASBO applies.