I wanted to like this game, but… it was dated. Too dated. I’m starting to wonder if Sierra’s Police Quest series just did not age well. Maybe it was Jim Walls’s departure and the series taking a darker tone. Maybe it was the bad voice acting and mechanics to this game? Either way could be a plausible answer.
Game: Police Quest IV: Open Season (1993)
Platform Played: PC
Price: $9.99 included with SWAT IV in a sale
Genre: Point & Click Adventure
Background: I was in grade school when this game was advertised heavily. When I was in high school, I wanted to play it as I was old enough to do so. This game like its prequels fell off of my radar for quite some time. All in all, I can now conclude I was not missing much. LA Noire (2011), tells a better, yet 1940s police story in a fine fashion. Police Quest IV, is a dated, cheesy, and all around wonky simulation of police procedure.
Dated & Cheesy: This game is set in a world without an internet, smart phones, or social media. This game is set before the events of the war on terror, and this game takes place in the last millennium altogether. The vehicles, fashion, and technology all reflect this in game. However, this does provide some view into the police tactics of the past. Daryl F. Gates was the ‘designer’.
This is certainly a point and click adventure game. You collect clues and perform actions by clicking. You can look, use, touch, talk, etc.. with your mouse. The travelling in this game is quite frustrating. As there are not many indicators to the player on which way is the correct way to go at times. This is a big problem at Parker Center (LAPD HQ until 2009) as I was not initially told that the protagonist’s office was located on the third floor. I wasted a lot of time and I got to see some odd sights on the different floors of that building though.
The worst facet of this game which showed its age was the voice acting. Characters who happen to be minorities are oftentimes speaking in horrendously sterotypical accents with dialogue that is atrocious. I’m not an advocate for political correctness, but I am an advocate for common courtesy. Frankly, this made me weary of this game quicker than most. I could care less about the graphics, the audio, and the voice acting though. The mechanics and progression drove me to quit on the second part of the game’s story.
Poor Mechanics, Poor Interaction: In one scene in the game, a piece of evidence has to be obtained. However, the timing has to be just right. It is frustrating to have to redo this over and over again until everything clicks just right. All in all, that was strike one. Strike two was the wonky control scheme during the first shootout. I can’t say I liked that either. As I kept playing this game my patience continued to be worn down.
Final Analysis: I cannot recommend this game to anyone. To quote the game’s annoying narrator “What you see is what you get, Carey!”