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Review: Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 2: Senseless Acts of Justice

Posted by Patrick McNulty on August 25, 2011 at 12:00 PM

The iPhone has been a platform that is generally on the receiving end of ports - but, with Telltale Games working with Straandlooper to bring the Hector games to PC, that trend is being reversed. The first game felt very specifically designed for iPhone, uprezzed and remapped for PC. But with the second and third having more Telltale influence, does this episode feel more designed for PC? Well, yes and no, actually.

The game picks up directly after the first game - Hector is in the top floor of an abandoned building, being threatened by the voice of a terrorist while a gun is pointed at your head. Here the game does a great job of humouressly implementing the tutorial. A little line of text appears at the bottom of the screen telling you exactly what to do step-by-step, until Hector tells it to go away. Then it mentions how to get hints in the future, and lets you solve the puzzle by yourself.

After you escape from that room, you are forced to escape from the building itself. Doing this requires using both characters - Hector, your character through most of this episode and all of the previous one, and his dimwitted, naive apprentice, Lambert. You switch between the two and pass items. The difference between the two becomes night and day - while Hector clogs the toilet to help escape, Lambert doesn't know what to make of two "polite young women" (hookers) on the streets.

Oh Lambert, how naive are you?

Telltale is not using hyperbole when they claim this game is twice the length of the original, and that is definitely where it seems more suited for PC players - the game picks up after you escape, as Hector traces three separate leads (one involving meat, another involving a guns, and the third involving a strip club set up like a church). Without hints, the game took me about 5 and a half hours on my first playthrough, as an experienced adventure gamer.

No, I really wasn't kidding.

The hint system is slightly more well implemented in this game than the first episode. In the first episode you could at any time gather a hint from a vague clue to literal step-by-step instructions. This is the same in the second episode, but there is a bit of recoil for doing it - you have to leave whatever situation you were in before and enter the laboratory, and first must engage in a dialogue tree with Lambert. Then the game throws the typical "How bad are you at this game?" insults at you before telling you what to do. Hints are not needed for the vast majority of puzzles, if not all, but are a good way to get the more casual gamer into the game.

One surprisingly good thing about this episode specifically is the production value - the graphics seem to run a bit smoother than the first, and the music is a lot better and more memorable. However, regardless of presentation, this game shares the same major flaw with the original, that being the control scheme. As the game is designed for iOS devices natively, everything must be done by the mouse. Walking and item usage is fine, but clicking on an item or person once just makes Hector remark on it - you have to DOUBLE click to use it or talk to them.

I'm just tied up about if this is a good port or not

The humour is as you'd expect with the series by now - crude, dark, gritty, and often satirical, with a hint of self-deprication. Overall, the entire package comes down to if you enjoyed the first or not. If you have yet to try the first, then it depends how much you like old school point and click games with very adult humour. Either way, one thing is for certain - Telltale and Straandlooper have improved upon the first episode very well.



Categories: Review

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