Hector Episode 2: Senseless Acts of Justice review
|REVIEWS - VIDEOGAME REVIEWS|
Episode 2 brings back the crude humour of the Episode 1, with even more filthy fun ....
When we last saw Detective Inspector Hector it was in the cliff-hanger ending of Hector: Badge of Carnage – Episode 1 - We Negotiate with Terrorists. Given that it’s a three-part series, you’re unlikely to be surprised that with your help in the opening tutorial Detective Inspector Hector overcomes the sticky situation at the end of Episode 1 and is back for Episode 2: Senseless Acts of Justice.
This time Hector is bigger (in some places better) and features more twisted humour than before. And after reading Shadowlocked’s review of Episode 1, you wouldn't even believe that was possible.
Here’s a quick recap for those new to the series from Straandlooper and Telltale Games. It’s a 2D point and click adventure game with all the traditional hallmarks you’d expect – dialogue, exploration and solving puzzles with seemingly useless items. Only Hector is ruder and cruder than any other adventure game to come before it (that this reviewer knows of anyway).
You play as Detective Inspector Hector, most disgusting, politically incorrect, and therefore most quintessentially British copper to be a part of Her Majesty's police force. He makes Gene Hunt sound like a feminist. Episode 1 – We Negotiate with Terrorists did what exactly said on the tin, with Hector obeying the demands of a madman in order to make the scummy English midlands town of Clappers Wreake a nicer place to be. Hector had to do some things he didn’t like including destroy his favourite porn shop...so as you can imagine he doesn’t begin Senseless Acts of Justice as a jolly policeman at all. Not that he ever is.
Senseless Acts of Justice sees Hector attempting to hunt down the terrorist madman that eluded his grasp at the end of Episode 1. Not before you get some help from outside, that is! A clever opener of Episode 2 sees Hector requiring the aid of his hapless sidekick Lambert. But rather than force you to play as the goon on his own, you switch back and forth between Lambert and the trapped Hector, as the Detective Inspector comes up with a suitably-crude-yet-ingenious plan to escape the predicament he’s left in thanks to the conclusion of We Negotiate with Terrorists.
Episode 2 is bigger than the first with more places to go, and more strange, disgusting, yet very, very British characters to meet. You’ll talk to drunken slappers the night after a hen do, a filthy gun shop and boutique owner, and horrible phlegm-spewing takeaway restaurant cashier as you go about your unmerry business. Most of the characters are horrible, or psychotic, or just plain weird, but manage to carry a certain charm.
Their dialogue with Hector is what you’d expect if you’ve played Episode 1 in that it’s lewd, rude and downright odd in places but hilarious nonetheless. Once again, almost every character is voiced by just one person, an impressive feat given the range of regional accents covered. Clappers Wreake may be in the heart of England but includes Scots, Welsh, Scousers and even a very stereotypical uppity Frenchman. It’s all very well put-together and, if anything, Straandlopper’s writing has improved over the first installment of Hector.
What hasn’t changed, for the most part, in Episode 2 - Senseless Acts of Justice is the standard point-and-click adventure fare. Like all point-and-click adventure games you’ll be combining seemingly unrelated items to puzzles, but as with Hector Episode 1 the items used to do so are far from standard. Things you’ll use in your quest to track down the terrorist on the loose include an unlimited supply of beef, a human heart and a ladies pubic wig. Thankfully, these items are unrelated to each other.
Like We Negotiate with Terrorists, it’ll take brainpower and combining items found in locations A and B to solve the conundrum at location C; but for the most part it’s enjoyable rather than taxing. Like many point-and-click adventure games however, there are certain moments where the solution can be a little obtuse. Thankfully, if you do get really stuck there’s a hint system...even if it’ll insult you for using it.
It’s an episodic series, so Senseless Acts of Justice doesn’t have any graphic improvements over We Negotiate with Terrorists. And while Hector doesn’t look spectacular, it’s hand-drawn-looking style fits very well with the game as a whole. Clappers Wreake is painted as the pimple on the arse of Great Britain that is while still managing to look bright and interesting in both the interior and exterior locations. Some Episode 2 dialogue scenes are very up close and personal so the animation, compared to the voicework, occasionally looks a little off but it’s nothing that’s going to destroy enjoyment of the game.
Speaking of sound, the music of Episode 2 – We Negotiate with Terrorists is a huge improvement over the forgettable sounds of the original. Each area has its own backing music which fits it perfectly. Well - as perfectly as you could choose the right music for a strip club inside a church anyway...
Senseless Acts of Justice is a fine continuation of the Hector series, consolidating the areas where Episode 1 got things right while making subtle improvements elsewhere. With a play time of 4-5 hours it’s also much longer than the original episode but doesn’t feel stretched out at all; if anything it offers even more bang for your buck. Basically, if you liked the first installment of Hector, you’ll love this. If you didn’t enjoy the crude humour of the original than you best stay away from this one.
A third episode, Beyond Reasonable Doom, arrives later this year to complete what will hopefully be a fine conclusion to Hector trilogy... Oh, this one also ends on a cliff-hanger, though you expected that this time, right?
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