Hector Badge of Carnage – What We Think:
Telltale Games has always put its best foot forward with their point-and-click adventure games, and it’s wonderful to see the genre making a comeback in today’s gaming environment. But, with so many hits, there’s bound to be a miss coming some time. While I won’t go so far as to say Hector Badge of Carnage is bad, it’s not really great either.
Leisure Suit Hector
The first noticeable trait about Hector would obviously be its appearance. The animation style reminds me of the ‘Clerks’ animated cartoon. While that show had its moments too, the humor, much the same as it is in this game, was too bold and on the nose.
Let’s backtrack a second here: Hector is about a grubby cop who works to keep the peace in a run-down dump of a city in good ole Britain. Grubby, mind you. Not corrupt or crooked…or dirty…just, filthy. As the game opens you awaken in a dirty cell, in your undies, being called into action to deal with a hostage situation downtown. Finding yourself locked in the cell, you need to find a way out, which involves the standard fare of combining things found until you have a used condom and a paper clip with which to pick the door’s lock.
This “tutorial” room sets the stage for the type of humor found in the rest of the game, which is mostly in the gutter. Again though, while not bad, it does nothing clever enough to be unexpected and elicit a genuine laugh.
Hector himself is neither hate-able or likable since he’s just an OK guy. Not mean. Not cruel. But a rude slob nonetheless who aims ensure things turn out right, even if only so he can go home at the end of the day for a beer.
Technically Hector is mostly solid – the script was a bit jumbled in at least two places; once in the park Hector said something about combining a sexy hand bag with a wig when I had not yet a clue that a wig was going to be involved. Again later, when looking at a porn shop’s sign and reading it without the ‘X’ before I’d removed the ‘X’. Maybe my avatar was just thinking out loud how it was going to look after I was done with it, but still, but the logic felt more like a glitch.
Honestly, my favorite character was actually the most disgusting one – the blind guy who hung out at the porn shop all day seeking tactile pleasures. The Irish war golem came in a close second. I must admit that the game grew on me as I played it, but perhaps I’m too easy to please; I can suspend my disbeliefs to enjoy a low budget movie or game. But it might also mean there is hope for the those intrigued by Hector’s premise.
As a first episode, maybe Hector just tries too hard. It has some potential, but the devs need to find the places where the humor and the puzzles synergize correctly to maximize the enjoyment of the setting. Here’s hoping they can get the combo right in the next installment.