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SummaryA good Sierra remake, but why wasn’t it designed by Jim Walls?
The GoodIn the early 90s, Sierra decided to remake some of their older games, created by the people that originally created their games in 16-color EGA. Al Lowe who created the Leisure Suit Larry series created the Larry 1 remake, Roberta Williams created the King’s Quest series and also created the KQ1 remake. Jim Walls created Police Quest, yet he didn’t create the PQ1 remake.
In this remake, the story is the same as in the original PQ, but for those of you who jumped ahead and played the remake first, the story is about Officer Sonny Bonds of the Lytton Police Department pursuing a ruthless drug lord who calls himself the “Death Angel”. He must first take time to patrol the streets of Lytton, arresting anyone who breaks the law. If he does the right thing, he may go into undercover. Fails, and he might lose his career.
But despite this similarity, Sierra decided to make some changes to the game. For example, there is a new driving interface that shows the map of Lytton divided into four sections. Traffic lights do not appear on the map. But instead of this, the words ‘STOP’ will appear if Sonny approaches a red traffic light. There is also an area that indicates what street you’re on. When you get out of the police station for the first time in the original edition, you are called to investigate a collision on the corner of Fig and 4th. No one knew where that was, so they have to drive all around the map until they finally found it. The street indicator in the remake makes driving easy.
When you go to your locker room and try to open your locker, you have to use a combination that can be found in the Gazette that comes with Police Quest. You control Sonny’s black-and-white by using four direction arrows on the dashboard. I found these sometimes not making sense because you may be heading southbound and you want to turn left, but I actually turn right, and vice-versa, so I had to do the opposite. In the original PQ, I found it easier to drive. I found there is a radio extender in the patrol car, but you cannot use it.
Sierra also decided to change the name of the characters. The woman who ran a red light is Tawnee Helmut, not Helen Hots. The drunk driver is Bill Barnum, not Art Serabian. In both versions, the card player is Frank, but in the remake, his surname is Magpie, not Sloan. When you get into the Narcotics (undercover) unit in the new edition, you have access to a computer that lets you input serial number of weapons, check case files, and check out the personnel section, so you can look up information on what your mates were doing in the past.
Police Quest was originally designed using Sierra’s old AGI interpreter, but due to Sierra remaking it in SCI resulted in stunning 256-color VGA graphics, as well as sound card support. Plus, you can use the mouse to select any of the icons from Sierra’s new icon interface, making it easier to move around the game world. The game also features digital sound effects. I like the way how the siren sounds when you turn it on while driving. If you have it on, then you can bypass many stop signs. I found that some of the music is excellent, especially when the Death Angel found out from his friends that Sonny is a cop. I don’t know how good the remake sold. It sold probably a lot well than the KQ1 remake.
The BadThe ending could have been done a lot better. The court ruling that was in the original is sadly missed in this remake. The ending could have been the same as the original, and the name and faces of the characters unchanged if Jim created this game himself. Sure, in both versions, the endings cover Sonny receiving an award by the mayor. But it is the court ruling that was well done in the original. Pity Sierra didn’t include this. But despite this setback, this game is good, very good.