|Release: April 27, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Robert VerBruggen
When I saw that Hector: Badge of Carnage was a product of Telltale Games, I thought I knew exactly what to expect: cartoonish graphics, a light-hearted story with some mildly off-color humor, and point-and-click gameplay. Ten minutes later, the cartoonish graphics and point-and-click gameplay were certainly there—and I was trying to fish a paper clip out of a toilet with a condom I'd tied to a string. I needed the paper clip to pick the lock on my jail-cell door.
No, Hector is not your typical Telltale fare, in part because it was originally produced by Irish developer Straandlooper for the iPhone and iPod—Telltale merely helped the developers port it to PC and published it. It doesn't have a cute and fuzzy demeanor, and it most certainly isn't for kids. But under its gruff exterior, the first of three installments ("We Negotiate with Terrorists") features the same simple puzzle-solving mechanics we've all grown to love. Or hate.
Hector is a grizzled, overweight detective in Great Britain, full of profane wisecracks and fed up with the decline of his city, Clappers Wreake. He's also drunk most of the time, which presumably is why he starts the game in the aforementioned jail cell. In this first episode, a terrorist has taken several hostages and holed up in a dilapidated building, and he's been taking out police negotiators with a sniper rifle. Once Hector escapes the drunk tank, finds a client for the grotesque prostitute who likes hanging out in front of the station, and gets his beat-up patrol car running, he heads to the scene of the standoff.
It turns out that the terrorist is fed up with the city's decay, too, and he's using his hostages to clean things up. You're given a list of three demands: Close down a porn shop, get the town's clock tower running again, and help out a man who's trying to increase tourism to the city. From there, you embark on a complicated puzzle-solving journey that requires you to visit three locations in the city, picking up items and matching them to their proper functions. A quick-travel function allows you to use items you find in one location to make progress in another location with no hassle.
If you have a crass enough sense of humor, this game is great for some laughs. Some of the things Hector blurts out are hilarious in an I-can't-believe-I-just-heard-that kind of way, and even the dumbest jokes are clever somehow. Seriously, how many games let you try to convince a pornography-obsessed blind man that a dead heroin addict is a blow-up doll?