Kimberley Ellis
30 Apr, 2011

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

PC Review | Law and disorder.
Thanks to the success of titles such as Sam & Max, Monkey Island and the recently released Back to the Future, publisher Telltale Games has effectively bucked the trend of modern gaming, showing that this new breed of episodic adventure games has plenty to offer modern gamers who are looking for more than the next big action/shooter title. The question remains, does Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 1 - We Negotiate with Terrorists carry on Telltale's recent string of successful ventures or is a title that we should lock up and throw away the key?

"Shhh, I'm watching the royal wedding!"

"Shhh, I'm watching the royal wedding!"

Thankfully, Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 1 - We Negotiate with Terrorists is another shining example of why the death knell for the classic point-and-click adventure game hasn't rung quite yet. Those who remember the glory days of adventure gaming in the early 90s will surely find some appeal in Hector: Badge of Carnage, as it concentrates on the qualities that made the golden age of adventure gaming so great: smart puzzles and genuinely chuckle-worthy humour. Be warned though, if you're not a fan of British police parodies like Hot Fuzz or lewd, crude Leisure Suit Larry styled humour you're definitely not in the audience bracket that Hector: Badge of Carnage is targeting. Like most first episode offerings, We Negotiate with Terrorists offers very little in the plot stakes, with the episode just giving you enough of a taste to whet your appetite for what's to come. But while it's light on plot; the clever puzzles, extremely amusing situations that Hector finds himself in and the witty one-liners that are constantly peppered throughout the episode make this short ride a thoroughly enjoyable one.

The game placed you in the shoes of Detective Inspector Hector, a crude copper who seems to spend more time in the police lock up sleeping off a big night with a bottle of whiskey than performing any form of detective work. When a violent hostage crisis in the tiny UK town of Clappers Wreake leaves the police bereft of negotiators, it's up to the overweight, pants-less lush that is Hector to step in and take over hostage negotiations. Upon arriving at the scene, Hector is given a list of demands to fulfill before the terrorist cuts sick and goes on another murderous rampage. Needless to say, the rest of the story concentrates on Hector attempting to fulfill the three demands thrust upon him by the terrorist, but we won't give away anymore details about the story for fear of spoiling too many of the gags.

Best acronym ever.

Best acronym ever.

As we've already stated, a large part of the appeal of Hector is that the game actually delivers in the humour stakes. Whether it's playing out in a cut-scene or in the middle of a puzzle you're working on, a large helping of Hector's humour is so lewd that it is essentially coming at you from the gutter. While we should be grossed out by everything that Detective Inspector Hector stands for, there is something about this overweight, gruff detective that'll have you cheering for him - so much so that you can't help but be charmed by the lovable beast. This is largely due to an excellent script and voice acting by all involved, particularly that of the part of Hector himself.

It's the great writing that keeps Hector from being little more than a number of scenes tacked together for purely for shock value, but it's the fun puzzles that keep you coming back for more. What is so great about the puzzles in Hector is that they are wonderful throwbacks to the best adventure games of yesteryear, puzzles where you'll collect an item that you'll need to hang onto for an hour or so before it is used to solve another puzzle in a scenario later on down the track. Another thing that Hector does well is that it blends items into the background quite seamlessly. While some adventure game puzzles are made quite easy thanks to badly placed items sticking out like a sore thumb or a silly hint system that'll make the required item shimmer or flash because you've taken too long to find it - which effectively cancels out the purpose of playing the game in the first place - Hector will immediately have you 'pixel hunting' for interactive objects - dragging your mouse and clicking over every space on the screen to suss out your next move. The exploration system is quite easy to use with one mouse tap allowing you to look at an object while two taps will allow you to interact with it. This system works reasonably well, but felt that a more traditional system where you are required to click on different icons to perform different functions may have been more effective as the system that the game currently employs can sometimes lead you to perform incorrect commands or skip dialogue. Nevertheless, working to hard to find a resolution to a puzzle means that once you eventually find all of the pieces to complete the puzzle in a scene, you are left with a real sense of accomplishment.

You don't wanna know what we had to do to start the car.

You don't wanna know what we had to do to start the car.

For those that find certain puzzles a little difficult to complete, Hector also comes fully equipped with a hint system to help you through those frustrating dead-ends. The hint system caters to players just after a small cryptic clue to help move them through a scene or if you're finding that those hints aren't working out for you, you are then able to access a walkthrough style hint that lays everything out for you in plain English.

Like most episodic titles, the biggest detractor is that it's quite short gameplay-wise with your average gamers most likey to complete the game in around 3 - 4 hours, but if you're a time poor gamer with a couple of free hours to kill, we can't think of a better way for you to spend ten bucks.

After spending some time with Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 1 - We Negotiate with Terrorists, we believe that this first episode is a great start to a promising new adventure series. Its superb voice acting and finely crafted script ensure that this game is fun, engaging and chock full of witty one-liners and shocking situations that'll have you laughing in hysterics. It's quite light on overall plot and it ends with one hell of a cliffhanger, but that only makes us anticipate the next episode even more. With 3 titles planned for the series, we’re sure this loudmouth lush will up the ante on his next ridiculous assignment and we can't wait for another dose of Hector's dysfunctional crime fighting skills.
The Score
Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 1 - We Negotiate with Terrorists is a great start to a promising new adventure series. It's funny, engaging and we literally can't wait for another dose of Hector's dysfunctional crime fighting skills. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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2 years ago
Just for everyone's info - this is also available on iDevice via Appstore and is a larf and a half!
2 years ago
Had this on the ipod for awhile, and really enjoyed it. Never eneded up finishing it though. Should go back to it.
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