Hector Badge of Courage is a very simple game in comparison to other games of its ilk, simple not in the ease of how one would play it, but in its story. You’re not a pirate who has unleashed a voodoo curse, a small robot trying to bring an entire robot city back online, a french journalist investigating a series of political murders that somehow involved your father years ago. Your just a cop, no, not even the psychotic rabbit with dog dectective kind. I know, crazy, right? Your just a chubby cop named Hector and some dude be shooting up the town yah? Sorry couldn’t help it, the game itself is very well written and funny, with thick heavy accents on every character, it bleeds Britishness from its very pores, its not a view of the UK that many people are actually familiar with. If you don’t know what a Chav or an ASBO is all about, or did not know about the public obsession/fear of sexual deviants, you may be a little bit lost. Luckily I’m an anglophile and had studied abroad there for 4 months previously. It has a very intentional layer of gross humour (spelled with a U because its British) that won’t ever be suitable for anyone under the age of 17 and over the age of say 30/40, and while it wasn’t always necessary, the dirty humour certainly makes the game memorable and is a character in itself.
I had actually bought the game once already for the iPhone when it first came out, and volunteered to review the game out of interest of whether or not anything new was added to the game now that Straandlooper had the might of Telltale games behind them. Sadly nothing new had been added to this release, the time in-between had been spent making the game run for the computer and also replacing the original touch based controls with a mouse. The game certainly looks amazing on my 27 inch iMac with the resolution maxed out. The original problem I had with the game of being unable to actually click on an item in the game correctly(Damn your size, thumbs!) is now gone since it has left the small screen of the iPhone and moved to a computer.
The difficulty in this game is hard, I beat it on the iPhone and that was only after I went looking for hints online, now the game has the hint system built in. But even after beating the game once before I still had trouble figuring things out again (Hindsight where did you go!?). I think it was said best by the cool cats at the Joystiq podcast when they described some of the puzzles as not making much sense, there is of course some allowance of puzzle solving in any of these games, things don’t always have a logical solution, using a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle on the rope going over the chasm instead of just climbing along it isn’t exactly the most obvious choice, but you would eventually come to think of it by going over the items in your inventory. Some of the puzzles in Hector get far more complicated than this very early Monkey Island example and suffer from creator’s hindsight, “If I thought of it, so will someone else obviously,” which does plague a lot of other point and click adventure game.
But I applaud the game, first, for being a well done game with a very high production value when it was only developed by a very small group of folks, and second for Richard Morss, who did EVERY VOICE IN THE GAME, which is fucking feat in itself, and one I didn’t notice until just recently when I was looking at the credits. I would love to see some crossover now in other Telltale games with Morss supplying some voices now that Hector is in the Telltale family. Strandlooper took a big risk making an unknown IP like Hector and only putting it on the iPhone market, but luckily they were picked up by Telltale and can keep the story going. I certainly look forward to the future episodes.
Mild Mannered Photographer, who keeps clicking the bed but nothing happens.
PS: Here are some improvements I would like to see added in the future installments of the game.
– Better audio recording of Richard Morss, while he did a great job, half the time some of the characters sounded like they were recorded underwater or in a auditorium which can take you out of the game, hopefully they can hire a full time audio engineer for this, as well as a nice mic and studio.
– The ability to turn subtitles on and off, because sometimes I prefer to be able to hear the joke instead of accidently reading it before its delivered, but then sometimes I need to figure out what the hell is being said.