By Marty Mulrooney
Hector: Episode 2 – Senseless Acts Of Justice is a point-and-click adventure game created by Straandlooper Animation, published by Telltale Games. It follows on directly from Hector: Episode 1 – We Negotiate With Terrorists, which came out earlier this year on PC and was described in AMO’s review as “a hilarious game featuring a delightful mixture of satirical British humour and stylised cartoon visuals.” In Episode 2, Detective Inspector Hector hunts a psychopath and is pulled down a twisted trail of meat, sin, sleaze, and more meat…
Episode 2 starts exactly where the previous episode left off, with Hector staring down the barrel of a rifle that is being remotely controlled by an unknown terrorist. The player immediately has to figure out how to destroy the nearby laptop powering the rifle with only a pizza box, a plank of wood and some wire. It can only be a good sign when a game immediately has you laughing out loud, especially during a tutorial of all things. The simple controls are quickly recounted at the bottom of the screen to walk the player through the first few interactions, whilst Hector continually complains and eventually exclaims “Piss off!” (The tutorial then sulkily replies “I’m gone.”)
The first section of the game deals with Hector and his sidekick Lambert, allowing you to switch between the two. Hector is trapped inside a recently exploded building and has to solve puzzles from within, while Lambert solves puzzles on the outside. The two can characters can also swap items between them. It makes for a nice change of pace controlling Lambert, who is portrayed as a loveable idiot in the same vein as Dougal from Father Ted. Lambert’s interactions with a tied-up Scouser, a shoe-shining homeless boy with a hook for a hand and two drunken ladies offer plenty of laughs, Hector’s scathing comments replaced with misplaced, docile words of kindness.
Lambert’s inclusion as a playable character works so well because he is used sparingly. Straandlooper know that the real star of the show is Hector and once he is busted out of his temporary imprisonment, it’s back to business as usual. I really enjoyed Episode 1’s clear objectives and Episode 2 eventually settles into a similar routine, albeit with some added complexity to help spice things up. Hector must figure out what the brown substance is caking the crime scene walls, who bought the rifle and who owns the now destroyed laptop. Of course, things soon get a lot more complex, with further objectives stemming from these core goals.
There are more locations available than in the previous episode – pleasingly, none are reused – and the simple map of Clappers Wreake has been upgraded to a GPS interface. The locations are varied and well drawn, with Hector visiting a wide range of outright wacky places including a takeaway/restaurant that only sells beef, a dodgy nightclub within a converted church that hosts a brothel, and a gun shop that also offers a wide range of women’s cosmetics.
The supporting characters are always great fun to interact with and play off stereotypes that will be all too familiar to the great British public. The increase in locations also increases the game’s length. Indeed, Telltale claim this episode is twice as long as the first, which may be a slight exaggeration in my opinion. Nonetheless, Episode 2 certainly offers more bang for your buck, which can only be a good thing.
Hector: Episode 2 – Senseless Acts Of Justice is yet another hilarious point-and-click adventure from Straandlooper Animation and Telltale Games. It improves on the first episode in small yet numerous ways, offering an extended completion time and additional laughs. There are now subtitles shown during the cutscenes too, although sadly the subtitles throughout the game itself are often prone to spelling mistakes, which is a shame.
If you didn’t like Episode 1 then this won’t be the game to change your mind. Everyone else can rest assured that Hector is back and he is just as crude, rude and hilarious as ever. Fantastic 2D graphics, accomplished voice acting (all by the super talented Richard Morss!) and puzzles that actually make sense (with a great hint system in place if you get stuck). Episode 3: Beyond Reasonable Doom can’t arrive soon enough!
9 OUT OF 10