by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Bad cop, bad cop.
Episode 2 of the Hector series begins with a recap of the prior chapter leaving gamers at the cliff-hanger ending. For those who haven't played the first episode We Negotiate With Terrorists, Inspector Hector is a gruff overweight cop who fits all the stereotypical moulds of a disgruntled police officer. But after completing the three requests of the terrorist from Episode 1: We Negotiate With Terrorists, Hector finds himself in a sticky situation in a room with a loaded rifle aimed at him. It is then up to you as the gamer to free Hector from his predicament and to hop onto the trail to discover the identity of the Clappers Wreake’s criminal mastermind.
Unlike the first instalment, Senseless Acts of Justice requires some co-op play between two characters early on – Hector and his bumbling assistant Lambert. Whilst trapped in the building, Hector becomes reliant on Lambert to feed him information and puzzle items. But Lambert also requires items from inside the building to use in other puzzles. The items can be sent between characters through a series of tubes. This works rather well and adds a certain layer to the puzzles.
Once Hector is freed from his incapacitated nature within the confines of the building, the puzzles become more investigative in nature, requiring Hector to find clues to the identity of the terrorist. At his disposal are a forensics expert and an IT guru. Giving these two colleagues items collected during his investigations, enables Hector to narrow down the location and identity of the terrorist. Also available to Hector is Lambert. Whenever you, as Hector, get stuck on a puzzle, Lambert may be able to give a slight hint as to how to go about solving the puzzle.
If Lambert’s subtle hints aren’t enough, the game has a built-in walkthrough. Although I found the puzzles to be fairly straightforward and did not need the walkthrough, it is a nice touch to a point-and click adventure game. The walkthrough does insult the reader, but this fits in well with the overall nature of Hector. The walkthrough goes through a number of steps, asking the gamer various questions to help you solve the current dilemma, indicating the items you may need to solve a puzzle or where they are located. For those that need it, it would definitely be a better option than Alt-Tabbing out of the game. Indeed, it feels less like cheating anyway.
But as mentioned, the puzzles are not overly difficult. All the solutions requiring inventory items are quite obvious, and if need be, a little trial and error with combining items doesn’t hurt at all. The puzzles involving conversation lines can be a bit less obvious. And at times it can be a little grating to hear the same lines until you eventually get the correct dialogue choice.
Although the dialogue can be grating when it is repeated numerous times, in general it is quite funny. Of course, as was the case with We Negotiate With Terrorists, it all depends on your view of what is funny. Hector is funny, in the same way that Leisure Suit Larry was funny. The puerile humour may offend some, but fits in well with Hector's demeanour. Fart jokes abound, as do sexual double-entendres. Pole dancing nuns in a converted church, threesomes involving a woman so fat she has her own postal code, and a body-organ trader in a blood van are just some of the activities that take place in the down and out town of Clappers Wreake. All this combined with Hector’s crotchety disposition make for a comical spectacle.
The audio has been improved since the first episode. The first episode had a number of issues with the audio not fitting in with the on-screen captions, and mouths moving with no sound. Senseless Acts of Justice has no such issues. The voice acting is well executed, with each character having their own unique style, from the gruff demeanour of Hector, to Lambert’s dim-witted tones and the high-pitched squawks of the party girls on the street corner. All have strong British accents, so those outside the UK would definitely be thankful for the on-screen captions. Even then, some of the local slang sayings might still be incomprehensible to some.
Senseless Acts of Justice is a another decent Telltale title. If you liked the first episode, then you will more than likely enjoy this chapter as well. The puzzles are not overly difficult and the dialogue is hilariously presented, if you like the immature styling that fits Hector so well. Visually though, Senseless Acts of Justice still feels somewhat like an online flash game. The characters are well animated and move smoothly around the screen. The locations are quite varied and are colourful enough despite the overall darker nature of the storyline. The story does flow nicely though, and the investigative nature of the puzzles keep the game heading towards a thrilling conclusion. Oh, and my suspicion as to the identity of the terrorist from Episode 1: We Negotiate With Terrorists was totally correct. Either the clues were too obvious, or I should think about sending my CV to my local police department. I’ll wait until Episode 3 concludes before determining whether I will though.
The walkthrough-style hint system is a nifty idea
The humour might not be everyone's cup of tea