April 27, 2011

Review – Hector: Badge of Carnage
Episode 1: We Negotiate With Terrorists

Review Hector Badge of Carnage Episode 1 We Negotiate with Terrorists
I spent a good part of my Easter Sunday playing Hector: Episode 1, a game that I would definitely not want to get caught playing if Jesus were coming back.

Why? This is easily one of the bluer point-and-click adventure games on the market – a hypothesis supported by the fact that you can’t escape the first room in the game without solving a puzzle that involves a condom and a severed foot.

Did that get your attention? Great, I’ll continue then.

Hector: Episode 1, originally released for the iPhone by Straandlooper Animation, has now been brought to the Mac, PC, and iPad by Telltale Games, a company already known for police-based adventure games, although Hector is neither a dog nor a rabbit. You play as Detective Inspector Hector, a (human) constable working in Clapper’s Wreake, an English town that, as they say, “took the ‘Great’ out of Britain.”

Review Hector Badge of Carnage Episode 1 We Negotiate with Terrorists
The titular Hector, who would definitely have a remark about that choice of wording, is as apathetic towards enforcing the law as he is enthusiastic toward women and drink. Episode 1, subtitled “We Negotiate With Terrorists,” sees Hector doing exactly that, as a terrorist takes hostages in a local building and demands that a series of bizarrely altruistic tasks be performed by Hector, in an effort to improve the town.

In essence, what this means is that Hector will begrudgingly help a wide array of people that he’d rather have nothing to do with by finding items, combining items, going to other places, and giving those items to other people, all while exchanging British obscenities and making observations about randomly placed droppings and phallic objects.

Don’t be entirely put off by that last sentence, should poo and wang jokes not be your cup of tea; the game’s dialogue does not entirely depend on sheer lewdness, and is often amusing in a self-deprecating way (that “self” referring to both Hector and the player). Also, even the unfunny parts are still somewhat amusing when filtered through the protagonists’ grumbling British accent.

That being said, should you get lost regarding where to go and what to do next, prepare to hear some of those lines repeated ad nauseum. Luckily, if you do get tired of hearing Hector say that he “can’t be arsed” to use an item incorrectly, there is an in-game guide available that offers hints, and the hints are as well-written as the rest of the game; I wound up going back and reading some of the hints to parts I had already figured out on my own, just to see if I missed any of the particularly sarcastic or belittling clues.

Review Hector Badge of Carnage Episode 1 We Negotiate with Terrorists
The graphics are animated in a two dimensional Flash-like manner, but the character designs do a good job of matching the game’s sense of humor; in fact, one of my favorite parts of the game is Hector’s walking animation.

The only real problem I have with the display is that the inventory is divided into pages of five items displayed at a time, when only six or seven items are ever simultaneously held at any given time. If there were a dozen or so items to manage, it would make sense to make the player scroll through them, but as it is, if one or two more item slots were added, scrolling wouldn’t be necessary. This is certainly nothing game-breaking, but it’s still a bit annoying when you need to use that sixth item.

This episode ends a bit suddenly, but hopefully, the second episode (due out this fall) answers some of the questions left by this first one. Not to spoil anything, but if Episode 2 manages to tie in some of the consequences from the awful things Hector does to meet the terrorist’s demands in Episode 1, it should be very interesting to play through.

In summary, if you’re a fan of adventure games, or even if you’re just a fan of hearing British people talk rudely to one another, definitely consider buying this game.

Straandlooper, Telltale Games

Telltale Games

PC, Mac, iPad (PC Reviewed)


Release Date
April 27, 2011

*A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for the review Kyatt. Can’t have enough point and click games. I just did a marathon of all Tales of Monkey Island Episodes and both Back to the Future releases on PSN. Hope this one gets sent that way ONCE PSN is back…

    Comment by EdEN — April 27, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

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