by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Back So Soon
After the long wait between the first two episodes in the Hector series, Episode 3 (sub-titled Beyond Reasonable Doom) arrived somewhat unexpectedly. Having only recently completed the middle chapter of the Hector trilogy, the cliff-hanger ending remained fresh in my mind. For those who haven’t yet played the first two episodes (We Negotiate With Terrorists and Senseless Acts of Justice ), I’d like to apologise for any spoilers that may be contained in the following review.
Beyond Reasonable Doom begins with Hector being in a spot of bother (again). This time, Hector is now aware of who the villain is and with some help from his bumbling sidekick Lambert, he intends to escape from their current predicament and spoil the plans of Clappers Wreake’s master criminal. To do so, Hector will visit a larger number of locations than the previous two episodes and will even visit sites and converse with characters from the previous chapters. He will begin in some sort of sewer prison and (hopefully) end up at the Clappers Wreake festival known as Clapfest.
Solving The Crime
The puzzles are again fairly straightforward, requiring Hector to utilise every item that he can collect, as well as conversing with characters to find clues as to how to solve various puzzles. If you’re ever in doubt though as to how to solve a conundrum, the built in walkthrough hint system returns from Episode 2. The game runs rather linearly though, and Hector will on a number of occasions refuse to pick up an item, but say that it may become useful later on. At times this means that Hector will need to re-explore old areas, in the hope that something may have changed. In fact, some puzzles even require you to converse with a character in one scene, then leave the scene and immediately return. But these frustrations are only minor gripes in an otherwise well written plot.
Beyond Reasonable Doom is again full of hilarity in the crude, crotchety Hector style, but has probably been toned down a notch from the past couple of episodes. Yeah sure, there are still plenty of fart and penis jokes, and Hector starts the game in a hospital gown that shows a little too much of his rear end, but I feel that the jokes were a tad less risqué. There are loads more pop culture references in this third instalment too, making me chuckle to myself at some of the references.
Indeed, there are even a number of game mechanics that mock the point-and-click adventure genre, such as wanting to pick up all the items you can, which in itself is a humorous touch. Even the hint system carried over from Episode 2 pokes fun at anyone who decides to use it continuing the trend of the coarse demeanour set out by Hector himself. Everything just seems to fit in so nicely with the down-trodden nature of the town of Clappers Wreake. The writing has definitely improved since the original episode, and the voice acting just accentuates the one liners. Indeed the voice acting, despite the harsh British accents that may give some non-English speakers some trouble, is a highlight.
Visually, Beyond Reasonable Doom follows the same path as the first two episodes. The locations are a bit more varied throughout the game, and the colourful Clappers Wreake Clapfest certainly livens up the town somewhat from the dreary slum represented in the earlier chapters. The character animations run smoothly for the most part, although I did encounter one problem where Hector fluctuated between his hospital garb and his suit whilst in the beer tent. Hmmmm…come to think of it, maybe that’s by design.
Hector Always Gets His Man
The length of Beyond Reasonable Doom is probably the optimum length for an episodic release, despite the game seeming to have more endings than a Peter Jackson movie about Hobbits and a certain ring. Just when I thought I’d sewn everything up into a nice little package, a slight twist was revealed and the story continued. It was only until the final credits rolled that I knew the series was complete. The series though, just like the main character is a little bit crude and rough around the edges, but it gets the job done. It has certainly improved since the first episode, thanks largely to the superb dialogue and voice acting. I would suggest playing the first two episodes before sinking your teeth into this one, despite Episode 3: Beyond Reasonable Doom being the best of the trilogy. And for less than $20, the series is a worthwhile purchase for fans of point-and-click adventures...if you can stand the fart jokes.
Hilarious from start to finish, accentuated by the superb dialogue and voice acting.
The tutorial at the start seems a bit obsolete, considering this is the third episode in the series.