Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 1 Review

There’s a very particular audience in mind for the first episode of Hector for the iPhone: it’s aimed squarely at devotees of the Lucasarts adventure games like Secret of Monkey Island and British police parodies like Hot Fuzz. This first episode offers just enough, plot-wise, to get you interested in the next one, and it’s chock-full of some extremely amusing situations and witty dialogue.

You play as Hector, a crude but effective officer of the law in the tiny UK town of Clappers Wreake. While the game skirts around the edges of what’s acceptable on the App Store (the game is not explicit so much as suggestive), you’ll meet plenty of miscreants and perverts in this first episode. There’s a prostitute whose garter belt makes for a fan belt for your beat-up police car, and a heroin junkie who falls asleep in a life-sized sex doll package, with hilarious results.

Nothing dodgy about this situation.

Hector has been called from a post-binge slumber to his latest case: A nut-job has been picking off police officers in a hostage situation. Getting to the scene of the standoff is your first major task, and then you’ll have to meet his three unusual (and civic-minded) demands. One of these includes shutting down the town’s largest pornography outlet, which gives the developers an opportunity to make plenty of naughty jokes.

The animation and voice work in Hector episode 1 is top-notch. We found ourselves enjoying the cutscenes consistently, even if we were occasionally frustrated by some of the gameplay mechanics. Compared to highly polished App Store adventure games like Broken Sword: Director’s Cut, Hector’s controls can be a tad unwieldy. You’ll have to ‘pixel hunt’ for interactive objects, dragging your finger over every part of the background. One tap looks at an object while two taps interacts with it, which can lead to some incorrect commands or skipped dialogue.

Wonder if the porn superstore contributed to Ali’s blindness.

Also, the game lacks a hint system, which can lead to a few frustrating dead-ends. In Secret of Monkey Island, you could shake the device for an instant hint, but Hector forces you to figure it out on your own, or look up the answer online. This may be because the entire episode will last a few hours if you explore exhaustively, and much less if you look up the solution.

Hector: Episode 1 is a great start to a promising new adventure series. Though it ends on one heck of a cliffhanger, we’re sure this loudmouth lout will be back soon with another ridiculous assignment. If the series continues to improve, it could turn into a Must Have even outside of the specific intended audience.

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