|Release: April 27, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
Most of the people you meet are parodies of lowlife British youths along the lines of Ali G, speaking in ridiculous street slang and popping any pill a stranger gives them. Every adult character, meanwhile, is uniquely twisted, whether it's a crazed war vet, a mouthwash-chugging bum, or a trigger-happy, Taser-wielding grannie. It's fascinating to watch the developers' gift for character creation and storytelling shine through in such a weird, degenerate game world—and we expect this to be even more true in future episodes, which will be developed from the get-go with the PC in mind.
For all the over-the-top adult content, though, the basics are pretty much what you'd expect from the point-and-click genre, and that's both good and bad. You control the main character entirely with a mouse. You explore screen after screen, build up a collection of items, and resort to the not-always-helpful hint system when you get stumped. Most of the puzzles are well-designed, and some are inherently funny, but a few have solutions you really wouldn't expect to figure out on your own. Some of the sound effects (including the voice clips you hear every time you try to combine things that don't work together) become grating quickly. Many of the NPCs have needlessly complicated dialogue trees that are mind-numbingly boring to navigate. So, if you can't stand point-and-click games most of the time, don't expect the potty humor and gritty urban environment to change that.
Speaking of the environment, it combines a simple but artistic style with the feel of a hard-boiled-detective story. The entire game looks like a booze-soaked Saturday-morning cartoon (unlike other Telltale games like Back to the Future, which use 3D models), with all sorts of little touches—the characters' clothes, the nasty debris on the sidewalk—to give the world character. In addition, the music goes with the detective theme, and the voice acting is terrific. I'm not qualified to judge British accents, but it sounds kind of like a Guy Ritchie movie, so that means it's authentic, right?
Again, if point-and-click games bore you, even the great jokes in Hector: Badge of Carnage might not change your mind. You will find some of the puzzles frustrating. You will spend too much time messing around with some of the dialogue trees. But if you do enjoy Telltale-style games, and especially if you have a sick sense of humor to boot, "We Negotiate with Terrorists" is a must-buy. With a delightfully repugnant cast of characters, disturbing one-liners galore, and several hours of depraved puzzle-solving, this episode holds its own with the genre's best. So, raise a glass of mouthwash to this new partnership between Telltale and Straandlooper.
CCC Contributing Writer