Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39520)
Written on  :  Sep 25, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars

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Wall's second PQ game doesn't fail to disappoint

The Good

This game is quite possibly the best that Jim Walls has ever created. In the last Police Quest outing, Officer Sonny Bonds patrolled the streets; booking people for speeding, dealing with drunks, and arresting drug dealers. He eventually went undercover and apprehended Jessie Bains, the head of the illegal drug cartel, and Bains was sentenced to ninety-six years in prison.

One year passes and Bonds gets promoted to Detective, but it was not long when Sonny found out while working for Homicide, that Jessie Bains had escaped from prison. The story gets more interesting as throughout this game you learn that Bains is killing whoever provided testimony at his trial, including your girlfriend Marie Wilkans (who, by the way, looks even more incredible than she was in the last game).

As usual, you start the game at the police station. I like how the station is structured. The lieutenant's and sergeant's office is gone, but these are replaced by two new offices, with one being the Homicide office. The station also boasts a shooting range where you can practice your shooting skills. PQ2 has more locations than its predecessor. You get to visit the Oak Tree Mall and the airport for the first time.

Because of its great storyline, I was eager to find out what happens next, whether it was your next task or the game simply showing a cut-scene. Like a real police officer, you can die in the game dozens of ways, and sometimes I felt afraid that performing a specific action will lead to my death.

I really enjoyed the stuff you have to do in the game. You have to adjust your weapon's sights as you are involved in a shoot-out early on in the game. You also have to deal with hijackers on board an airplane, and disarm a bomb set by them. The main thing is attending crime scenes,which involve a bit of forensic work like dusting for prints, taking blood samples, and taking pictures of the scene.

PQ2 is the first game in the series to use Sierra's more-advanced SCI0 engine. It provides the game with double the resolution of its AGI cousin. This resolution gives the graphics more detail to them, and there isn't a black area reserved for typing commands. In this game, as soon as you start pressing a key, what you see on the screen is paused and a dialog box appears, allowing you to enter commands. This technique is ideal if there is a timed event and you need to quickly type in a command without worrying what would happen if you fail.

Another plus is the support for sound cards that were introduced at the time. Whichever sound card you have, the sound is excellent and the background music blends well with what is happening on screen. In my opinion, though, the sound is superb through the Roland MT-32. Mouse support Is also added, so you can click on anywhere and Bonds can walk there, or still use the keyboard to move him around.

I don't believe that PQ2 is too short at all. You will be too much occupied with the situations that the game throws at you, and these situations often take about ten minutes to complete, with you trying to figure out what is it you need to do.

The Bad

If there was anything bad about the game, I would say that PQ2 lacks the driving mini-game that was found in the previous game. When you get into your squad car and drive out of whatever location you're at, you would use the arrow keys to navigate your car to your next destination, all the while crashing into other cars and stopping for traffic lights. This is sadly missing in this game. On the plus side, it was fun to listen to Keith as he starts yapping in your ear.

The Bottom Line

Police Quest II is my favorite game of the series. It has such an interesting storyline, and you will be occupied with the situations Bonds finds himself in. There is some great music and sound effects thrown into the mix as well. Any PQ fan should at least play the sequel at least once. I would love to see a remake of PQ2 right after a proper remake of the original, not that disastrous remake that Sierra made without the supervision of Walls himself.