Realistic mystery, sometimes gritty to a fault
To lend an air of authenticity to their already-established Police Quest series, Sierra brought infamous LAPD Chief Daryl Gates to oversee production of this gritty detective mystery. The result is a richly-detailed and fully interactive episode of In The Heat of the Night. You use your gut instincts combined with supposedly-real police tactics to find out who's behind a string of murders in South Central.
The photo-realistic environments and real actors, while somewhat dated looking, are so compelling that it really takes you back to urban life in the 1990s -- the good and the bad. Adventure, mystery, and police fiction fans will enjoy wrapping their head around this whodunnit.
The game captures the stress and depression of being a police detective so well that you'll find at times it's actually a drag to play. Bodies of innocent children turn up, best friends die, widows grieve and your boss is breathing down you neck. All in all, there's not much actual fun to be had..
The voice-acting is, unfortunately, very cheesy. It ruins the movie-like quality of the game, to the point where you may find greater enjoyment in turning it off and just reading the dialog.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect is the resolution to the mystery -- after spending the greater part of the game meticulously interviewing, note-taking, evidence-collecting, and putting the pieces together, you *accidentally* stumble upon the killer's trail. This is a huge disappointment for potential armchair sleuths who looked forward to solving the whodunnit aspect themselves.
The Bottom Line
A gory, realistic depiction of Los Angeles police life, and worthwhile mystery that sometimes takes itself a little too seriously. Anyone who's a fan of modern crime fiction would have a field day... or an Open Season.