A very in depth feeling of what it's like to be a detective.
When I was a kid, my neighbor was a cop. I always had this fascination with the police. Well, I did until I was a teenager and police would harass me just for be young and loitering around public.
Having no idea what to do next is a feeling that will be lost on new generations of gamers. This game made me feel that way. It took me several months to complete simply because there were times when I was going around in circles not knowing where I was supposed to go or what I was supposed to do. Sounds boring, doesn't it? No it wasn't it just made you more aware of how much this game really got into your brain.
If there was anything I didn't like about the game it was the suspense. Being a small child playing this, I felt more chills playing this game than I did watching Silence of the Lambs. That might explain my affinity towards Buffalo Bill.
But the fact that my mother wouldn't let me see that movie until I was 16 but she let me play this game at 8 years old shows how much this game was underestimated for its impact. It was a real chiller for it's time.
The Bottom Line
I suppose that now-a-days there is a huge difficulty in trying to convey the scope of how Police Quest or even any of Sierra’s text games affected gaming history, but seeing as how I played these series of games since I was still having trouble crapping my pants, I sort of have more perspective.
Police Quest 2 was the sequel to one of the most true-to-life adventure games, ever. It was so thorough that real police stations would have copies of the game on their computers to give rookies a feeling of what kind of mindset real police officers needed to have. This is the element of the game that made me feel uneasy playing it.
This game puts you in the shoes of Sonny Bonds, Vice cop for the Lytton Police Department in Lytton, California. The murderous drug dealer, Jessie Baines, who we caught in the prequel to this game, has escaped and you mist hunt him down. You don’t hunt him down like a criminal mastermind in a buddy cop film. You have to take leads that you get from witnesses, you have to track him down like a real detective.
Truthfully…This game was not very much fun. It was very official. It’s a bit slow, but very in depth. Every little nuance affected whether or not you could make it through to certain parts, so many times you found yourself reloading saved games just to inch a tiny bit further. One part comes to mind where you have to SCUBA dive to recover a corpse. I died so many times just getting caught up in the water’s current.
Sonny Bonds is a good character that you grow to love, so when he dies you feel a sense of shame for your carelessness in letting him die. It’s not like Leisure Suit Larry where his failure or death seems more satirical. There is something more human about Sonny Bonds and his life splayed out in game format makes you connected to him as if he were a real person.
I’m gonna open up to you a little bit here…When I was a child I had a terminal heart condition and I spent a huge chuck of childhood in the hospital befriending children who would later go on to die before they reached their teens. This gives you a screwed up sense of life and death. Police Quest 2 helped me get through this truly very painful time in my life, so it has a special place in my heart.
Playing this game on PS1(not Playstation, but the IBM PS1) with three game disks was probably the best fun I could have ever had in a time where the few friends I had are dead now. Maybe this makes me morbid, but this also makes me think that if not for the physical requirements of police work, I’d make a damn fine detective.