Sierra On-Line, Amiga (1 Mb) £34.99
The Death Angel's back in town! If you don't know who he is then I suggest you pop out and buy Police Quest 1, play it to its finish then, and only then, come back to digest this review… have you done that? Ok, let's continue…
Death stalks the streets of Lytton in the deadly form of Jessie Bains (aka Death Angel). Having recently escaped captivity he's out to make dead meat of the cop who put him away… you!
Taking the role of Detective Sonny Bonds you need all your policing skills honed to perfection before you can bring Bains to justice. In your race against time to put him away – this time for good – you have to master your weapon., disarm explosive devices and search for clues on land and under water. Working with forensic experts, crime labs and outside police agencies you need to discover, collect, collate and produce sufficient evidence to put Bains in the slammer… permanently!
Featuring Sierra's 'double resolution graphics' and 'advanced animation' Police Quest 2 is based on actual homicide cases and the stories of retired police officer Jim Walls. It also uses authentic homicide investigation procedures, so authenticity and realism are guaranteed…?
Pulling up outside the police station in my 'sensible' car, my first problem was one of attention to detail. Turning the engine off, checking out the glove box and remembering to take the keys from the ignition are all such insignificant actions I think them totally unnecessary to include in an adventure and incredibly tedious to physically input. Once out of the car I suggest you make a save so you don't have to go through this dull routine EVER again.
Having locked the car (people nick anything these days) it's time to enter the station and face the trials (pun intended) of the day.
Wandering around, entering other peoples offices and generally getting in the way, I eventually found my desk… locked, trusting kind of guy aren't I? Following another quick exploration I found the locker room. Discovering the combination to my locker was no problem as I'd brought everything from the glove box with me. As I strapped my gun on, grabbed my cuffs and ammo clip I at last began to feel like a real cop.
Weapons range next, for a spot of target practice. The blurb on the game packaging boasts 'Fast and furious', 'drama on the razor's edge' and 'Face the tension of split second decisions' but what with fiddling about with ear protectors, ammo clips, pressing buttons to position and collect my targets, adjusting my weapon's sights and the incredibly slow animation of raising, lowering and aiming my gun I started looking for the fast forward option!
The point of the weapons range is to adjust your gun's elevation and wind angle to near perfect so that when facing trouble in the streets one has some chance of hitting what one aims at… but it all takes so long! As an 'arcade element' it makes a good Play By Mail game.
Once the gun was functioning as well as possible (another good place to save your position) I went back to my desk to discover a bit more about myself and get my badge. It was at this juncture that my captain informed me of Bain's escape. From this moment on he kept nagging at me to get to work, earn my money and so on. So, thinking I was being a good cop I headed for my police car to take off and cruise the streets. Before I could start my engine however, the captain called me back and chewed my butt (last phrase supplied by Vernacular Inc.) for not obeying orders. It seems I have to access my computer and search relevant files for more info before I can hit the streets… boring, I wanted to get out there and catch some crooks. Ah well, now what's my computer access password?
There's a lot to Police Quest 2 and a good knowledge of police procedure – provided in the accompanying booklet – is required to get anywhere. I just wish I could have got into the action straight away and not had to faff about in HQ. Maybe the police procedures are a little too real.
Zzap! Issue 65, September 1990, pp.23-24