Crude, Lewd, and we hope never nude – meet Hector, the British police force’s finest.
The point and click adventure genre has a number of iconic games that have, over the years, achieved a level of fame that ensures they are well known to all. Amazingly, the vast majority of these games have come from the same publisher/developers – Telltale Games. As such, anything new that is thrown out by the masters of pointing and clicking is automatically assumed to be of a certain quality. So let me begin by saying that Hector: Badge of Carnage was not actually developed by Telltale, but by Irish developers Straandlooper, with Telltale only responsible for publishing.
As is the current trend in point and click titles, Hector is being released as a series with this being the first episode, entitled “We Negotiate With Terrorists”. The game revolves around Hector, a prime example of the worst humanity has to offer, who happens to be a police detective in the town of Clappers Wreake. After an incident with an unknown gunman and a hostage situation leaves several policemen dead (and one old lady thanks to a trigger happy TWAT member), it is decided that Hector needs to be called in, possibly to save the day or possibly in the hope that he will be the next victim. Either way, this is where the players adventure starts and it begins with first having to get Hector out of his cell in which he sleeps after a particularly rough night of drinking and debauchery.
The puzzles within the game are all based around items found and used in the appropriate places. Whilst at times some objects may be difficult to find without the “let’s just click everywhere” approach, or the use of/comining of various items may seem a bit vague, generally speaking the puzzles are not too difficult. More time will be spent searching for the right items than actually solving the puzzles.
Perhaps one of the most recognisable aspects of a Telltale game is the way it looks, and at first glance Hector looks the part. But as the game progresses, cracks begin to show that reveal the games true origins. The cut-scenes are all well done and enjoyable. But once past them, everything becomes a little inconsistent. The overall style is great and fits very well with the subject matter, but the animation is where things occasionally fall apart. Most of the time is seems to flow alright, but occasionally things stutter, characters move in a jittery manner or things simply appear. These anomalies stand out like a sore thumb and are instantly noticeable.
Something that I found a little strange about the game was hte control method. Everybody and their dog can play a simple point and click game as it only requires the use of a mouse. But it would seem that there is still room for confusion. In Hector, a left click will move the hero around and allow him to examine objects. However, to interact the player is required to double left click rather than right click, which strikes me as a little odd. Playing the game on a laptop with the touchpad, I found myself quite often trying to interact with items or people by mistake, which can annoy a touch when they launch into an extensive dialogue.
But, the most important aspect of any point and click game is the story. Episode one of Hector launches the player into an incredibly crude world that is by no means suitable for all of the family. Within the first couple of minutes the player will have to deal with a used condom, a lack of trousers (complete with “pedo” taunts) and a pair of rather ripe prostitutes. The story itself is not too bad, but the constant attempts to lower the tone of the humour have a tendency to overshadow everything else. I am sure that there are people out there who will enjoy this kind of humour, and good luck to them. But I am also certain that many will find Hector to be just too unsavory to enjoy.
If you fancy your humour to be a bit rough and ready, then maybe hector: Badge of Carnage will appeal. Essentially there is nothing too wrong with the game itself, the production level is quite high (although not as high as Telltale gamers may expect), the puzzles are confounding without being too obscure, and the story will certainly be interesting enough for most adventure games players. But the juvenile, toilet humour just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Hector: Badge of Carnage is obviously aimed at a very particular audience, of which I am not a part.