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Blue Force

Moby ID: 1478
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Description official description

May 15 1984. In a bar, shortly after a shady deal took place two men enter the bar. They are undercover cops, and once the criminal notices them, he flees the bar, and as his motorcycle skims past town, the pick-up truck used by the undercover cops isn't capable of keeping up when the criminal goes past a fence into an open field. However, while escaping, he left something very important behind. Three days later, someone breaks one of the agents' house. Inside, John and Jackie Ryan are brutally assassinated by an unknown hitman. Their son Jake witnesses everything hidden from the closet in his parent's room.

11 years pass by, and Jake Ryan, living with his grandmother since the incident, joins the Academy and graduates with flying colours. His parents' death turned into a cold case, despite the best attempts by Lyle Jamison, one of John's closest friends and P.I. to bring the criminals into justice. As he is assigned to the local Jackson Beach PD, he learns that stolen National Guard weapons are suspected to be circulating in the area, and one night something catches Jake's eye that might bring him closer to the truth...

Designed by former Police Quest mastermind Jim Walls, Blue Force is an adventure game mostly similar to Walls' previous games with Sierra, where real police procedures are blended into the gameplay. Visually it is also inspired by late SCI engine games, with carefully crafted backgrounds overlayed with video-captured sprites as characters. Interface, however, is different, as the player has the complete inventory on the bottom side of the screen and actions (walk, look talk and use) can be reached using the right button.

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Credits (DOS version)

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 62% (based on 11 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 26 ratings with 4 reviews)

From the guy who brought you the Police Quest series

The Good
In the early 90s, a small game company called Tsunami Media produced a series of games. I didn't hear of them until I purchased a game called Blue Force created by California police officer (retired) Jim Walls of Police Quest fame. Jim left Sierra to work with Tsunami.

The story opens when a killer murders happy couple John and Jackie Ryan. Son Jake finds out about their murder and is forced to live with his grandmother who lives by the ocean. Eleven years later, he decides to become a police officer at the Jackson Beach Police Department, in order to find his parent's killer.

While investigating the murders, you have to deal with several situations, including a woman being held hostage by a crazed gunman which is one of the people you have to arrest, along with a drunk driver, and a person who is convicted of processing illegal firearms.

Your old-time friend, Lyle Jamison, assists you in your investigation to find the killer by helping you collect evidence that will help uncover the killer. When Jake once collects some evidence, he has flashbacks of the night his parents were killed.

The gameplay is similar to every Police Quest game, as you have to make arrests while doing an investigation. You perform your actions through a series of icons. Clicking your right-mouse button brings up a police badge that allows you to select only four actions: walk, talk, look, and touch. Your inventory is displayed at the bottom of the screen and you can click the icon with the left or right arrow key to cycle through your inventory. Above these is a counter that awards your points for picking up objects, making an arrest, etc.

Travelling from place to place is done by using your motorcycle. You do this by simply hopping on the cycle, and pressing the button marked “IGNITION” to turn it on. In a few seconds, you get a birds-eye view of the city. You only need to drag the cursor on several buildings until the game identifies them. Clicking the cursor on the identified building travels you to that location. The cycle also comes equipped with a radio, which makes it possible to receive messages from Dispatch telling you that a situation is in progress, and to respond with the appropriate radio codes, discussed in the game’s manual.

The graphics are beautifully hand-drawn and all of the actors are digitally inserted in the game. And as for the sound and music, they are average. Either of them can be played on an Adlib, Sound Blaster, and Roland. Even if you can also play music through the PC Speaker (which doesn’t produce much sound output), speech cannot be played through it.

The Bad
There is also a CD-ROM version of Blue Force, which I brought ages ago. Along with an interview of Jim Walls and some CD tracks of the game’s music, it is basically the floppy version being placed on the CD.

I can’t think of something to whinge about, except the map. Instead of the birds-eye view, you could get to fiddle with the bike’s controls, stopping at each red traffic light and making the right turns in order to get to your location faster. This is seen in PQ1, PQ1VGA, and PQ3. This feature is missed in Blue Force.

Finally, as Tsunami made the effort to add speech in the installation program when you select a soundcard, what was wrong with adding some speech in the game, particularly in the CD-ROM version?

The Bottom Line
If you like all the Police Quest series, or if you want to practice the techniques used in the game before deciding to become a police officer, Blue Force would be the game for you. ****

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43086) · 2003

One of the most disappointing games I've played

The Good
Not much.It had decent graphics and it was kind of fun to just work on the beat.

The Bad
When I first saw this game,I was excited as it was made by Jim Walls of the Police Quest fame,one of my favorite series of games.So,I quickly installed the game and to my surprise,it was quite bad.The writing was poor,the music was melodramatic and it has some of the worst cliche ridden storylines I've seen in a long time.There's so much else wrong with the game.The date of your parents death is never known as they say many different days.Sometimes you try to do something you know you have to yet you just can't,and sometimes you can miss a large piece of the plot,and when they explain it later,you have no idea what they're talking about.

The Bottom Line
A terrible adventure that features some very poor writing and some very,very,VERY large plotholes.

DOS · by SamandMax (75) · 2001

The master of police-focused adventure games finishes off with a mediocre offering

The Good
When I went out to buy a game, I chose this one for two reasons. One, because the graphics looked fairly outstanding for its time. Secondly, it was designed by Jim Wells, one of my (then) industry favorites, who had brought us the first three incarnations of the Police Quest series. I'll talk about reason one now, and reason two a dialog box later.

The graphics for this game are great. Albeit, any screenshots that showed live digital actors did it for me way back in the mid-90's. The backgrounds are drawn nicely, and the actors integrated into these backgrounds to nice effect. My biggest complaint with the graphics were that everyone had a vertically squashed head during closeups, but that can be forgiven.

The gameplay is typical adventure fare (pre-Myst). If you've ever played a Sierra adventure game immediately after they got rid of the text parser, you know what I'm talking about. The mouse does everything via icons and hotspots on the screen. It doesn't really do anything new.

The storyline is fairly pleasing. It is not up to par with the Police Quest games, and it actually forgoes a lot of the police investigation elements that made the series so intriguing. While nothing special and with predictable plot twists, it serves the game.

The Bad
My biggest complaint was that it was very short. That, and the puzzles were very easy (although the two kind of go hand-in-hand). I was able to finish this game in about six or seven hours. And after paying $60 for it, I was not a happy person.

I was dissapointed at the overall quality of the game.  It just didn't have that Jimmy feeling that was in his other three games.  As I mentioned before, alot of the police procedures and conflicts that occured in the PQ games are absent.  In its place is something that I would almost call 'action sequences'.  While they are not actual action moments in gameplay (as is common today), the scenarios and situations are action packed.  Hostages, terrorists, gunfights and the like.  This may not be a neccesarily bad thing, it does create the tension, but when you go from one dangerous situation to another, it gets tired.<br><br>**The Bottom Line**<br>This could be a good game.  It's from a man with a good track record, and it had appears to have had the production values concerning the aesthetic quality.  But it's incredible simplicity and short length do not make it worth the money.

DOS · by Kevin Olson (8) · 2000

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

CD version

The CD version of Blue Force is the same as the floppy one - the difference is that the score is also available as CD tracks, in electronic organ version, and the first audio tracks contains an interview with designer Jim Walls, talking on the similarities and differences between the game and real police work.

Grandma

At one point in the game you're supposed to use your grandma's computer to uncover some information. If you try to do this too early in the game you're fobbed off with a message telling you you can't use the machine now, because your grandmother is defragmenting the hard drive.

Violence

A curiosity: the player is expected to complete this game - a police adventure - without taking a single shot. You can fire shots - at a gunman and to wound Nico "the Snake" - but you receive the highest score only when you complete the whole game without shooting even once.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #37 Worst Game of All Time

Information also contributed by Jaromir Krol and mobster lobster

Video Injection

Some Tsunami Media games contained a "Get Injected!" form with instructions on how to get yourself "injected" in the Information Center at the City Hall scene of Blue Force. You had to capture yourself on a VHS tape (the form contained specific instructions on the lightning to be used and how to pose), send that tape to Tsunami Media and they would create the digital files and mail a 3.5" floppy disk back to you, that you could install to the game's directory. This service cost US$ 29.95.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jeff Sinasac.

Additional contributors: Jaromir Krol, Patrick Bregger, vintzend.

Game added May 27, 2000. Last modified December 12, 2023.