October 7, 2011

Review – Hector: Badge of Carnage
Episode 3: Beyond Reasonable Doom

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — TJ "Kyatt" Cordes @ 9:06 am

Hector Episode 3 Review
Well, the wait for Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 3 – Beyond Reasonable Doom, certainly wasn’t as long as I was expecting for a game with “Episode 3” in its title.

With that dig out of the way, it’s time to return to Clapper’s Wreake and conclude this season of Straandlooper’s point-and-click adventure featuring Detective Inspector Hector, the hero that Clapper’s Wreake deserves – that is to say, a hilariously corrupt and loathsome one.

Hector Episode 3 Review
Hector: Episode 3 begins much like the other two episodes, with Hector trapped in a small room, wherein he has to use his puzzle solving skills to escape. This puzzle differs in that it doubles as a Saw-style death machine, albeit a more lighthearted one in which, if the corpulent constable stops running on a treadmill, he and his partner drown in poo.

Alright, perhaps “lighthearted” isn’t the correct word, but it was an amusing start to this third entry to the series, even though the tension is dampened by the fact that there’s really no way to fail, as Hector runs indefinitely no matter how long it takes to solve the puzzle.

Much like Episode 2, there is a portion of Episode 3 in which you play as both Hector and his annoying partner Lambert, though it’s a different experience this time around. Whereas last time Hector and Lambert were just two men blindly exchanging junk through a hole in the wall (note to self: reword this later), this time around they work in the same space, each with a set of loosely defined abilities.

Essentially, you play as one person until he complains about some object being too heavy, or some passageway being too small, or some task being too menial or dangerous, which is your cue to tag out to the other stronger, smaller or more dispensable character. This portion was reminiscent of something out of Lost Vikings or the Mario and Luigi RPGs, but with a much narrower scope.

Hector Episode 3 Review
I concluded my review of Episode 1 by saying that the series would pay off if the consequences of Hector’s questionably altruistic actions were elaborated upon in later episodes. While Episode 2 mentioned some of the people and events of the initial foray into the series, the meat of Episode 3 takes place in a town fair attended by many familiar faces.

This fair, which is somewhat astounding in how it manages to look so colorful and grimy at the same time, is chocked full of references to the first episode. Surprisingly, few of the people hold a grudge over the way Hector “helped” them previously, but then, if they refused to talk to him in an investigation-based adventure game, it wouldn’t be that fun, now would it?

Hector Episode 3 Review
After Episode 2’s lewd, rancid meat-filled quest, I was surprised to find that this episode was a bit more tame in comparison; yes, it has its aforementioned poo, and the crime-solving duo spends the first hour or two wearing nothing but arse-exposing hospital gowns, but it didn’t have the “ew, even I’m a bit put off by this” moments of past episodes. They do say the word “arse” in this one more than in the other two combined though, and I picked up a handful of British slang words that I’m going to have to look up later, but I’m certain that they are horribly offensive across the pond.

That’s not to say the story or the puzzles are bad; most of the puzzles still require Hector to do what he does best – ruin people’s lives in a hilarious manner, and in the end, that’s what keeps my interest in this series. Additionally, while this episode follows the previous two’s “trapped in a small area/trapped in a slightly larger area/explore the rest of the map for clues” formula, this last episode shakes things up by not dividing the last part into three sub-quests. Instead the game throws Hector into one gigantic area with the sole intention of warning the attendees of the fair of a terrorist attack and then thwarting said attack, which was a refreshing change.

There’s even a map that lets you instantly cross the fairgrounds without having to walk through 5 or 6 screens every time, which is a great time saver, even though it is still fun to watch Hector’s dumpy walking animation (which turns into a dumpy running animation when things go pear-shaped near the end).

With all of that said and done, Hector: Episode 3 contains all of the off-color British humor (or rather, off-colour British humour), bizarre puzzles, stylized backdrops and hilarious walking animations that one would expect from the series, and it wraps the story up rather conclusively.

While I can’t say that Episode 3 is my favorite of the series, throughout these last three games, Straandlooper managed to create their own filth-laden British town, populate it accordingly and threaten to destroy all of it, and I’m glad that Telltale Games plucked this iPhone game out of the ground and let it grow in its adventure terrarium for a couple more episodes.

Straandlooper, Telltale Games

Telltale Games

PC, Mac, iPad (PC Reviewed)


Release Date
September 23, 2011

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

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