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Written by  :  Condemned (76)
Written on  :  Dec 05, 2009
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.8 Stars2.8 Stars2.8 Stars2.8 Stars2.8 Stars

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful

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Absolute classic

The Good

Police Quest 1 was one of the most impactful games of my childhood! Looking back, playing the role of an authority figure was a very cool and novel thing as a child, and probably one of factors that made it so much fun to play.

The game was ahead of its time, giving the player a bit of the "Grand Theft Auto" sense of freedom and control. Though there were very few locations you could drive to and actually leave your vehicle, driving the streets of Lytton is basically a mini-game unto itself. The game is written that as long as you're in your patrol car at the appropriate time, it doesn't matter where you are - the same red-light runner, drunk driver, etc, comes to you and violates the law in front of you... so its not random chance.

Being text-based, you also have the freedom to type whatever you want... sometimes you'll be surprised at what the game understands and will accept as answers! (Notably, the things you can get away with saying to the red-light runner!!). If what you type is not understood, the game will simply reply with a message of "What is a ______?" and you know you have to re-phrase yourself.

The Bad

Like many other games, once you go through the game and accomplish everything, it's quite difficult to go back and do it again with the same sense of naivete and excitement... it becomes quite formulaic - Do this, then this, then go here, then say this, etc, etc. Re-playability is more for nostalgia purposes, or to show a friend... the theme just doesn't suit multiple plays, as the novelty is in the story and figuring things out.

Driving is fun, but hard! Especially on faster machines, it can be extremely challenging to park your vehicle safely.

Not knowing what to do next can lead to some dull moments. You're driving around aimlessly when the game wants you to go back to the Police Department... in the meantime you're not alerted to this, and you're getting bored. Pre-internet, this was extremely frustrating!

The poker games are monotonous and go on far too long. There's simply no reason for this, the designers could've done better at making this a smaller feature of the game.

The game also makes you follow regulations a bit too much, as in, you have to walk around your vehicle before you leave the yard EVERY TIME to inspect it, or game over, you lose! Save frequently in multiple save files, because you'll be dying regularly and needing to restore your game often! It's also hard to follow police regulations exactly as the game wants you to, as the modern player is extremely unlikely to have the game manual handy! Personally I was helped a lot because my Dad is a police officer, and as a kid I would go ask him "What would you do in this situation?"!

The Bottom Line

It's a challenge, especially if you can get through it the first time without outside help. I've enjoyed introducing family and friends to this game through the years, and typically they really get into it and want to figure out what to do next. It's quite addictive and you're never fully satisfied until you beat it!