, oh my, where to begin with this gem. If my love life would be with games, then would be my first and only true love.
Of course for me it's all nostalgia. At an age just being able to read some basic English,introduced me into the world of law. Imagine a game with the same ambiance as shows like Starsky & Hutch or Hill Street Blues and being able to play out the daily life of a cop (for more of a Miami Vice sort of ambiance, go play Police Quest 2!). You get to do it all, chase bad guys, write out tickets and go deeply undercover. Not to mention, taking your mandatory showers and inspecting your vehicle. All right… maybe not every aspect is as exciting as you might think.
Personally, I feel the game depicts a pretty accurate way going through to hardships of being a cop. This might be confirmed by the fact the game was developed by former policeman Jim Walls. Jim Walls had been an officer himself for 15 years, but after a traumatizing shooting left the force. Afterwards he used his experience in developing games like.
The game itself is set in the fictional town of Lytton. There, you play the role of traffic officer Sonny Bonds. As a traffic cop, you need to follow briefings, gear up and patrol in your car. During your patrolling adventures, Sonny bumps into several scenes where you have to use your resolving powers (no not REVOLVER powers!) to bring them to a good end, gathering up as much evidence where required and follow proper police procedures.
I remember playing this as a ten-year old and it felt like I was driving around in an actual city. Although other cars are just simple blocks moving in patterns, this felt like the Grand Theft Auto of that time. Of course this doesn't stand up much these days, especially if you play on high-end systems at full speed. Then you see how simplistic car movement actually was. Still, each great love is allowed to have minor flaws and at that time the town of Lytton appeared to be a living, breathing thing.
Speaking of flaws, Sierra games are known to be non-forgiving with the whole dying/restoring/restarting mechanics. Sonny can die and some deaths are just frustrating. Driving around can be very dangerous, especially if you haven't checked your wheels first. But that's ok. We, mere simple civilians, understand the risk of being an officer. There are drug dealers out there that would shoot you in the blink of an eye. Motorbike gangs that would beat you up for looking funny and drunk drivers on the verge of throwing up all over you. Other, smaller failures, will just give you less points. For example not being able to gather enough evidence to bring to the courtroom, or not following the exact procedures.
If you manage to survive long enough, you will find yourself in the wake of the Death Angel himself. The antagonist of the story. He's one bad guy… a drug dealer, a murderer, involved with prostitutes and illegal card games. Not to mention having several overdue library books! Near the end of the game, you get to go undercover, where you have to play several rounds of poker before you can finally attempt to end the show with a successful arrest and getting the girl of your dreams. That is, if you “play your cards right” (ba-dum-tss).
There you have it. One of Sierra's finest has it all. This simulator of being a cop has got the driving mini-game, the poker game, stakeouts, shootouts, lots of puzzles and simple yet effective artwork. Sounds are limited to your basic *beeps* and *bops*.
In conclusion, this is the love of my life. I'll always be faithful to her. Well… maybe I might be tempted in partaking in a threesome with her and her half-sister Space Quest 3, but that's another story. Oh and if you wonder who that mysterious Gremlin is, who keeps on taunting lieutenant Dooley, you just have to play.