I have fond memories of playing Sierra adventure games as a kid. I helped Rosella save the land of Tamriel in King’s Quest IV, I nearly peed my pants playing Shivers 2, and I laughed myself silly playing all of the Space Quest games over and over again. And after my brother and I went to bed, I would listen to my parents playing Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards. Once I knew it existed I had to play it, and I was hooked. Adventure games were great by themselves, but LSL was fun, funny, and it felt a little naughty. Hector: Badge of Carnage feels much the same with one key exception – I understand all of the jokes now.
The titular Detective Inspector Hector is a rude and lewd excuse for a detective. He would rather do the bare minimum to continue drawing a paycheck than put in a long day’s work to get the job done right, and when the town of Clappers Wreake is taken hostage, it falls to Hector to negotiate with them. Since Badge of Carnage is an adventure game, Hector doesn’t negotiate so much as he takes every demand the terrorists make (strange as they are) and fulfills them. Throughout your “negotiations” you will fix up the town clock tower, start up the town’s renovation campaign, and do your best to knock the Clappers Wreake porn industry down a few pegs.
Badge of Carnage is going to be both familiar and foreign to fans of Telltale. The visuals are cartoony without looking juvenile, the dialogue is great, the voice work is fun (it sounds like about five guys are giving their all and voicing every character – even the female ones), and the puzzles make sense once you take a step back and turn off your sense of disgust. You will have to scoop a paperclip out of a toilet using an old shoelace and a used condom. All of the adventure game staples are there. You need the paperclip, you have both the lace and the condom in your inventory, the two items need to be combined, and after solving the puzzle you can move on.
I am looking forward to episodes two and three of Badge of Carnage, and that is really the highest praise one can give an episodic adventure game because it did its job. I played part 1 and am now chomping at the bit to play parts 2 and 3.
Pros: Great writing, fun raunchy humor
Cons: The game occasionally stutters after a scene plays.