|Release: September 22, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Robert VerBruggen
Hopefully you like halfhearted bathroom humor, because that's pretty much all the third and final episode of Hector: Badge of Carnage has to offer.
Hector's first episode was a breath of fresh—well, not-so-fresh—air: a point-and-click game with lots of clever jokes and ridiculous sight gags. Yes, it was juvenile and focused on gross-out comedy, but there was an irreverent spirit about it that made it worthwhile. Unfortunately, the writers burned up most of their good material in a single episode, and the shtick got old quickly. The second episode wasn't particularly enjoyable, and unfortunately, the same can be said of the series finale. There are some jokes that work, and a few of the puzzles are zany enough to keep you entertained, but all in all, there are better ways to spend a few hours.
At the beginning of Episode 3, Hector is in the terrorist's custody and needs to escape. (Kind of like the beginning of Episode 2, come to think of it.) He and his sidekick, Lambert, wake up in a septic tank (of course). Hector is wearing nothing but a hospital gown, and Lambert is strapped down. The terrorist has rigged the room so that it fills with raw sewage unless Hector runs on a treadmill continuously. Naturally, your first puzzle is figuring out how to escape this room, and your task involves some teamwork with Lambert.
I hope you like feces, because you'll be dealing with them a lot here. Hector is too fat to fit through the hole he and Lambert open—instead, Lambert opens the tank from above, and Hector rides a wave of sewage to the top. Then, you have to get some kind of transportation back to Clappers Wreake, a feat that requires Lambert to fish for a spark plug up a cow's rear end. Once you're back in town, you have to explore a disturbing carnival while searching for clues that could lead to the terrorist, who is executing a plot that could kill everyone in the whole town. If you can bring him to justice, you can bring the Hector series to a merciful end.
Once you get to the carnival, it's just a matter of sticking it out through the usual gameplay—find items, look for places to use them, and consult the built-in hint system (which insults you for using it) whenever you hit a dead end. You'll visit a number of exhibits, some of them entertaining, including a band stage that pokes fun at Guitar Hero. There's nothing wrong with any of this—it's what you signed up for in a point-and-click game—but once the novelty of an overweight, foul-mouthed detective wears off, the gameplay starts to feel rote and repetitive. Hector always works best as a vehicle for dour, disgusting humor; it's never been about the puzzles very much at all.
To be fair, this time around, most of the puzzles are at least intuitive. I rarely had to consult the hint guide, and there were only a few that I thought were poorly designed to the point of being virtually unsolvable without cheating. However, "intuitive" and "challenging" are two different things, and while Episode 3 is less frustrating than previous entries, it's a lot easier, too.