Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 3: Beyond Reasonable Doom
First posted on 04 November 2011. Last updated on 15 August 2012.
Hector: Badge of Carnage
The season is comprised of 3 episodes:
- Episode 1: We Negotiate with Terrorists
- Episode 2: Senseless Acts of Justice
- Episode 3: Beyond Reasonable Doom
Hector: The Badge of Carnage is a series of episodic adventure games developed by Irish developer Straandlooper Animation and published by Telltale games. The series features an obese, foulmouthed bully of a detective named Hector and his effete and dull-witted partner, Lambert. The third episode, called Beyond Reasonable Doom, continues the story of the previous games in the series, pitting Hector against a wily misanthrope named Barnsley, who has nefarious plans for Clappers Wreake, a small town in the Midlands area of England.
The story begins with Hector and Lambert trapped in a sewer and wearing no clothes but hospital gowns. In what must certainly be among the most memorable opening scenes ever presented in an adventure game, Hector must run on a treadmill to prevent the chamber from being flooded with sewage and drowning them. The action and gross-out humor continue as the detectives emerge onto a small farm and eventually find their way to a town festival at Clappers Wreake. With no help from the woefully incompetent local police force, Hector and Lambert must first discover and then prevent Barnsley's diabolical plot to corrupt the community.
Straandlooper Animation has done an excellent job creating a unique cast of characters and plenty of hilarious comical scenarios. Neither Hector nor Lambert is the least bit heroic; indeed, both often seem as vile as the villain Barnsley. The developer likes to poke fun at the adventure game genre and adventure gamers themselves. Whenever I try to combine incompatible objects, for instance, Hector calls me an idiot. He is also very mean to Lambert, who nonetheless has some valuable skills needed to solve some of the game's many clever puzzles. In short, this is not a game for any gamer who is easily offended; indeed, the game seems likely to offend almost all gamers who dare to play it.
The puzzles are inventory based for the most part, requiring the player to find and then combine objects. Sometimes, this also involves switching between Lambert and Hector and exchanging items. Probably the best instance of this switching occurs early in the game when the player must subdue a leprechaun who only appears to Lambert. Solving this silly puzzle is quite fun and satisfying. There are, however, several disgusting puzzles involving alcohol, feces, and vomit, as well as a few sexual jokes such as a gag involving a huge vibrator. I compare the humor in this game to the humor in the Austin Powers movies, and the game probably targets a similar demographic.
The game is on par with Telltale Games' other game titles, such as the Sam & Max series, in production values. The art style resembles a comic book or cartoon; while not realistic, it is easy to identify objects and exits. The sound and music are nice and appropriate to the setting. The handy map allows the player to instantly move to the many exhibits at the festival, which saves a lot of time.
Besides the gratuitous humor, some gamers may be put off by the thick accents of some of the game's characters. While Lambert is easy to understand, Hector's thick English accent is difficult to follow. Subtitles are available, of course, but they are not always helpful. The writers of the game rely heavily on idioms and references that can be completely unfamiliar to gamers (like me) who are not native British. Hector practically never refers to an object in a straightforward way, instead using colloquialisms or slang. Even though I am a lifelong fan of British television shows such as Monty Python and Red Dwarf, a lot of this humor goes over my head. As such, I suspect that this series is intended primarily for gamers in the United Kingdom.
All in all, Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 3: Beyond Reasonable Doom is an enjoyable game. I recommend it to gamers in the United Kingdom who enjoy gross-out humor and sexual innuendo. The accents and colloquialisms may be off-putting to gamers who are native of other countries, who may struggle to appreciate the jokes in the dialog or even understand it. For future games, the developer may consider removing the more obscure references, localizing the dialogs for more diverse audiences, or providing an in-game reference book that explains the slang. In any case, the puzzles are fun for any fans of point-and-click adventure games, and the many hilarious and outrageous scenarios are good reasons to give this game a try.