Review: Hector: Badge of Carnage (Episode 2)

Hector; the offensive, horrid, yet strangely loveable Detective Inspector returns. After the conclusion to We Negotiate With Terrorists – the first episode – he’s back in the aptly named Senseless Acts of Justice, still trying his best to solve the mystery of the now escaped terrorist, who has been killing police officers and taking hostages all for the sake of repairing the hell-hole that is Clappers Wreake.

A plot involving hostages, a cop-killer and a restoration of a gloomy town might seem serious, but let me assure you it’s far from it; Badge of Carnage is as foolish as it gets, demonstrated by the first character you’ll meet: a stereotypical orphan shoe-shiner with a hook for a hand, who greets you by jumping out of a fridge. Still not convinced? Just around the corner is a pair of neon-clad clubbers, in need of a trolley to make it home in time for the wedding of the raver with no shoes but copious amounts of vomit.

[boxout]These are just a fraction of the many hilarious and bizarre characters you’ll meet on your way to solving the case, as you point and click your way through many locations, finding, combining and using lots of items to solve puzzles as you go; these puzzles feel a lot more robust than the ones in the first episode, and the pay-off is more locations and a longer game length that still manages to stay to the point.

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Before you go off on this quest across Clappers Wreake to find the identity of the terrorist, however, you’ll have to escape from a house by blowing up the toilet – yes, really. Thankfully, you’ve got your bumbling, inept assistant, Lambert to help to make this toilet bomb (no one else though; they’ve all left you for dead and gone to the pub). This mixes up the gameplay, allowing you to switch between each character and pass items in and out of the house to solve both characters’ dilemmas.

The humour is adult (though not mature), dirty and very funny – it suits Hector and Clappers Wreake completely and it’s even funnier than the first episode managed to be. It’s woven well into the puzzles and the dialogue and it all remains very British – though far removed from the higher class tea-drinking kind; it’s all coffee and alcohol for Hector.

The puzzles themselves can be challenging at times, with items that you’ve walked past ten or so times becoming relevant later on. Some of these puzzles include going to a brothel-church to catch a footballer in a compromising position, making sure food is well below health standards in a restaurant and dealing with a dodgy organ and blood donation service in a burger van.

[drop2]Puzzles can get very complex, so you’re able to go to the station and ask Lambert his opinion on the matter – you’ll get a vague hint towards the solution, but he won’t tell you what to do outright. No, there’s a hint system for that. It’s not easy to get the solution from the hint system, mind; it’ll insult you if you try to look at the solution and, in a rather hilarious option, ask you to tell it who your Daddy is – everything about this game is both offensive and hilarious; you’ll even be scolded if you try to quit.

Plot-wise, the game works well, with three different main quests that culminate into a finale of sorts, which ends up being a bit of an anti-climax, though that’s understandable due to this being the middle episode. Some questions are answered, however, and it does nothing but improve on the first episode, with no dragging like you’d expect the mid-point to.

It has a distinct, 2D art style that works well for the point and click adventure genre, as we’ve seen in other games. The voice acting fits the tone perfectly and the music is used well, to an extent. It’s all very well done, with a level of difficulty that doesn’t frustrate yet remains challenging and a good length for an episodic title. It’s the humour and writing, however, where Episode 2 really succeeds, with Hector carrying out many hilarious senseless acts of what he calls justice to solve the case at hand.

Pros:

  • Shows the funny side to a usually serious line of work
  • The humour is hilarious and the tone is spot-on
  • Solving the puzzles, with Hector, is a lot of fun

Cons:

  • You might be insulted
  • Some people won’t enjoy the style of the game
  • It’s quite straightforward, even with complex puzzles

Badge of Carnage is a simple game, you’ll just travel from location to location, picking up items and gathering information from people, but it’s simply fun, and a lot of it. The tone is great too: the contrast between the laugh-out-loud humour and the depressing town blends to create a ridiculously hilarious affair. It’s unmistakably Telltale, the kings of modern point and click adventure games, and if you’re a fan you shouldn’t miss this.

Score: 8/10

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4 Comments

  1. lol this sounds awesome. Hopefully it gets a PSN release

  2. I really must pick up episode 1 on Steam. Cheers, Blair. Good reminder to enjoy whatever they offer as it seems consistently excellent.

  3. these games onb the pc are just cool

  4. Picked up first one for 69p on iphone, really need to get round to playing it.

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