Police Quest 2: The Vengeance logo

SIERRA ON-LINE/ACTIVISION £34.95 * Keyboard/Joystick/Mouse

Police Quest 2 revolves around being a police officer at work: detective Sonny Bonds, on the homicide squad in the fictional American town of Lytton. No choosing skills for a personalised character - Bonds likes his job and he isn't going to change.

Arriving at the police station one morning, you receive a bote about a retrial for Jessie Bains. Bains is the "Death Angel", a murderer with whom Bonds has crossed swords before - what do you think Police Quest was about? A few minutes later, urgent news is flashed to you. Bains has escaped and he has a hostage - what now?

What you don't do is leap into a patrol car and drive to the crime scene. Such positive action lands you in trouble This is a "true to life tale of high police adventure", as the box proudly proclaims, written by an American ex-policeman called Jim Walls!

First of all you have to get the paperwork sorted out. Don't worry about that hostage - he's been dead for hours. Believe it or not, the entire police station has the same attitude towards the public good as the very responsible guy who designed Chernobyl!

Asking your captain for help doesn't do a lot of good either. He's exactly the stereotype you see on every American cop show: angry, busy and short on friendly words. Well, not exactly all that busy. He gets through an awful lot of ice lollies and telephone calls and the he turns round and tells you to get on with the job.

This is how a real police officer behaves? The USA does have a very high crime rate, especially murder, but Lytton's law enforcement community just doesn't care. If this is a "true to life tale of high police adventure" I'll take something like South American Death Squad Simulator any time - I bet they'd show more concern and compassion for their fellow man.

I'd love to know what to do next on the administrative side but I haven't a clue. You just don't find that sort of thing out from Dirty Harry films. How do you get further? Well, you can spend hours just trying to get ten minutes into the game. Playing Police Squad 2 can be as predictable as the forms you get to fill before you have the chance to get the cuffs out.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

It's a pretty game and no mistake - better looking than Hero's Quest. When you adjust the sights on your gun you couldn't ask for a clearer picture of what's going on. Driving around Lytton is a bit tedious as it all looks the same. The speed at which the graphics move puts me in mind of a Citroen 2CV - it gets there but it takes time. Audiowise there isn't a lot. I was promised a 30 minute original stereo theme tune... somewhere.

LASTING INTEREST

This game will have you running around the ceiling in frustration. It's a three-disk game and there's whole a lot of accessing going on. This sort of one-solution puzzle can become highly irritating and, as such, is not recommended for the beginner. You can't so much cut your teeth on this game as blunt your chainsaw blade a bit. It's very, very difficult indeed.

JUDGEMENT

Police Quest 2 can make you livid. After spending a good few hours getting totally fed up it's all too possible to want to blow away your captain in frustration. This costs your badge and leaves you still far from solving the Jessie Bain's Case.

If you think you could be a real American police officer, then go for it. The game is good EXCEPT that it requires an immense effort to play. When I play a computer game I expect progress not blood, sweat and tears. Some will find emulating the job of a modern American 'tec enthralling, but most will find it far too realistic - with its heavy procedural bias - reminding them of a hard day at the office. Not the ideal way to relax after a hard day at the office.



Police Quest 2: The Vengeance logo

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.