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Written by  :  ETJB (450)
Written on  :  Feb 21, 2010
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful

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Ahead of Its Time

The Good

Daryl F. Gates' Police Quest: Open Season (herein after referred to as, “Police Quest 4") is a point n' click graphic adventure game very much ahead of its time. It attempts to provide an interactive and realistic experience as to what a police detective actually does during a murder investigation. This is years before, "Grand Theft Auto" would attempt a similar interactive and realistic experience, albeit from the point of view of a criminal. For its day, the storyline is pretty daring and features impressive voice acting, sound effects, music, graphics.

The Bad

Police Quest 4 abandons the central character and the fictional city from the previous games. Many of the game's puzzles can be incredible frustrating, albeit for different reasons. Some puzzles are entirely logical, but do require a basic understanding of professional police procedures. These "procedure" based puzzles add to the realism of the game, but may disappoint gamers expecting Hollywoodized law enforcement. Other puzzles are so illogical and bizarre, that you can only solve them by trial and error repetition or cheating. Finally, something must be said about the game's storyline, as it may turn some gamers off. Police Quest 4 offers a pretty realistic depiction of the diverse people, ideas, behaviors, conflicts and places of the area, during the early 1990's. This includes a window into race, ethnicity and class conflict. It includes profanity and a gritty crime drama, where even children are not safe. It includes the murder of your partner, the wife and child he leaves behind, and his ties to the transgender community. It includes such characters as a successful rap artist, a violent Neo Nazis and a friendly, but probably stoned, hippie. While the realistic, colorful and otherwise gritty content does not go beyond what one might see or hear on a television episode of, "Law and Order", “Criminal Minds” or “CSI”, it may make some people uncomfortable. Personally, I liked the game's risqué realism but it tends to fade away too soon. For example, the playable character has almost no personal life that we know of and the game never offers the range of freedom that became famous (or infamous) with the "Grand Theft Auto Games".

The Bottom Line

Police Quest 4 does offer a high degree of interactive, gritty and thought provoking realism within the limits of an early 1990s, CD-ROM, point n' click, graphic adventure game. Puzzles are heavy on the police procedures or heavy on being painfully absurd. It breaks away from the characters and locations of the previous Police Quest titles and really tries to reflect the range of different people, places, conflicts, idea, identities, life-styles and behaviors that exist. In many ways it is a forerunner to later games such as "Grand Theft Auto" and, with some revisions, a new version of the game could become very successful.