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Police Quest 3: The Kindred (DOS)

100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  *Katakis* (37804)
Written on  :  Oct 09, 2003
Platform  :  DOS

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The final PQ game designed by Jim Walls, and the best of the lot

The Good

This is the third and final game in the Police Quest series that got created by Jim Walls. After that, he moved on to work at Tsunami Media and produced Blue Force, and the PQ project was handed over to retired LAPD detective, Daryl F. Gates. At the start of the game, Jim tells you what Sonny and Marie are doing: the both of them have just got back from their honeymoon, and live happily ever since. However, on Sonny's first day as an acting sargeant, some thugs viciously stab Marie in the Oak Tree Mall parking lot, and these thugs are all part of a ritualistic cult that murder innocent people and carve pentagrams on their chests. Luckily for her, their attack was interrupted by someone watching them.

Sonny’s first day starts out at the Lytton Police Department, as just like any PQ game. The station house occupies three floors. The first floor is reserved for the men’s and women’s toilets, the second floor is where the homicide and sergeant’s offices are, and the third is where the communications center lies.

Sonny starts the first day off as a sargent, being asked to patrol the streets and deal with maniacs who drive too slow or too fast, write tickets, and arrest anyone for indecent exposure or for DUI. If Sonny doesn’t go by the book, he may end up dead on the road before he can say “Mama”. If he does however, then Sonny might learn of Marie’s unfortunate meeting with the thugs. When Sonny gets killed, Jim Walls tells you what you’ve done wrong, and like any Sierra game, PQ3 allows you to restore games, restart, or quit.

In PQ3, Marie is no longer referred to as “Sweet Cheeks” as she doesn’t look very attractive anymore. In the first two games, she had long smooth black hair and was attracted to Sonny since he had laid eyes on her, and had a very strong relationship with him since then. But that was changed in PQ3 as Marie and Sonny are now married. For a start, Marie’s surname is Bonds, not Wilkans. She also has short brown hair, not long black hair. When I said earlier the "first two PQ games", I meant PQ2 as well as PQ AGI. Marie had brown hair in PQ SCI but it will still long.

Now back to business. As a result of the stabbing, Marie is placed in a coma at Lytton General, struggling to survive, and Sonny ends up investigating Marie’s death and the cult murders that got her into the hospital. To assist him, he is joined by Pat Morales (you may recognize her as one of the officers who attended the briefing in PQ SCI). Little does Sonny know that Morales is also a member of the cult.

Sonny’s investigation into the cult lasts up to six days. To help with her survival, he must make an effort to visit her every day and give her a couple of presents sometimes. Otherwise, Marie won’t live. There are two endings to this game. The ending that you’ll view depends on whether you visited Marie everyday, or just let her die.

As this is the last game that Jim made, I think this game is the best out of the three. It seems to have more action, and better detailed graphics than the first two, or even PQ SCI, for that matter. The sound and music are excellent also. Although the sound didn’t get the same treatment as PQ SCI, the music playing where you patrol the streets responding to a call from Dispatch is rather good.

The Bad

There were a few problems I found with PQ3’s driving interface. Obviously, the driving interface hasn’t got the same detail as in the driving interface for PQ SCI. Occasionally, a green sign with the street name will come up, telling you what street you’re approaching. The orange signs tell you the places you’re about to pass. At the bottom of the interface, you see whether you’re heading northbound, southbound, eastbound, or westbound, on whatever street you’re on.

This interface is also faced with a nasty time bug, where your car is driving faster than the speed of light. To deal with this, you must slow the game down either by using slowdown program or disable the L1/L2 cache in the BIOS. Sadly, As I once told Unicorn-Lynx, my BIOS is shit, so I can't do the latter.

This is where confusion comes in. If you’re southbound on 6th Street, for example, and you want to head west into Fig Avenue, then the game tells you that you are heading eastbound on that avenue, even though that you meant to go west. You’re also limited to east and west. If you want to go northbound or southbound along a street, how can you tell which way north or south is.

The driving interface of PQ SCI is much better. You can click the EYE icon on any street of the Lytton Map and the game tells you what street is that, and on any building so that the game tells you what building you click the EYE icon, and better still, you could do without a map, even though one is enclosed in the game box. Sadly, this is not the case of PQ3. There is still confusion in the SCI version, but not as much. So in conclusion, I would say that the PQ3’s driving interface is rather crappy.

Also, when PQ3’s end credits scroll up, there is a list of the cast placed somewhere among everyone who brought you this game, as with Sierra’s CD-ROM version. As far as I know, PQ4 might have been released on CD-ROM, but PQ3 wasn’t. So wasn’t PQ SCI. I wish these games would have come out on CD-ROM anyway.

The Bottom Line

Besides the crappy driving interface, PQ3 is much better than the rest. If you’ve played all the PQ games except for PQ3, shame on you. You don’t know what you’re missing. ****½