Hector: Badge of Carnage developer Straandlooper describes the game as follows: “Listen up, meatsacks. No doubt you’ve been waiting years for a half-decent game to show up in the Adventure category of the App Store. Well, this is it. Half-decent, as promised.” For me, a description like that holds a lot of promise, and of course, a fair amount of trepidation. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long in order to find out that this is one point & “click” adventure that fulfills its promise.
In Hector: Badge of Carnage (Episode 1: We Negotiate with Terrorists), you play as Detective Inspector Hector, “the fat arse of the law.” Hector works in Clapper’s Wreake, “The town that took the Great out of Britain.” This episode is planned as the first of three installments in his story, and as the game opens, the Clapper’s Wreake Police Service is attempting to negotiate with a sniper who apparently has a number of hostages. That’s about all they know, though – every time one of the policemen approaches the building to negotiate with him, the sniper declines or, to use the cliché, he refuses “with extreme prejudice.” However, when Hector is called in to make the attempt, the sniper likes his (extremely negative) attitude and issues a set of demands.
They’re not a classic LucasArts set of demands, though. If Hector has a spiritual predecessor, he’s much more Leisure Suit Larry than Guybrush Threepwood. In fact, just to get to the hostage situation, Hector has to break out of the prison cell where he sleeps, find some pants, and find a way to use two hookers, an old lady with a taser, and a juvenile delinquent to get his car started. The story is far better than I expected, and although it’s quite British, anyone who doesn’t mind a dirty joke or ten will probably find it very funny.
Badge of Carnage plays very much in the classic point & click style, although without a mouse, it could be better called a “point & tap” game. It’s all about the puzzles, and although they aren’t all easy, they are all fairly logical. I generally had a good idea of what my end goal would be, and just needed to figure out how to accomplish it. For example, I needed a new X for the town clock, and although it was easy to guess that I was going to get it by tearing the X off of the sign on the “Exotica” porn shop, figuring out how to get the X took some work – in my opinion, just the right amount of work.
In addition to being fun, Hector looks great. Or, perhaps better said, Hector looks like a fat sack of crap, and Clapper’s Wreake looks like the kind of town where you wouldn’t send your worst enemy, but they’re extremely well drawn. The art design is cohesive, and everything is clearly understandable, visually. Honestly, it’s just a great-looking game. The sound doesn’t disappoint either – every line is spoken aloud, and the voice actors do a great job. The game doesn’t allow players to listen to their own music, but I never really wanted to; the game’s music is as good as the voice acting. And in terms of controls, anyone who’s ever played even a single point & click adventure will instantly be at home. Single tap something to look at it, double tap to interact with it. The only possible complaint I could have is that it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether you can leave a screen to another “room” in the area. This is a very minor issue, though, as the amount of trial and error required to find out is miniscule.
Sadly, the game is not very long – I finished it in two gameplay sessions of a few hours each – but that’s what I expected from an episodic title. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s just a great little game, and after playing this episode, I’m very much looking forward to Hector: Badge of Carnage episodes 2 and 3. So, if you have an iOS device and don’t mind some sex in your humor, you really should check it out.