Platform: DOS; Amiga; Atari-ST; PC-98
Review: Sonny Bonds is back…with a vengeance! Actually, the perp he testified against last game and put in prison is back with a vengeance. Not only has he escaped prison, he has kidnapped Sonny’s girlfriend and is knocking off everyone that was at the trial. Since you’ve been promoted to homicide, the case is yours. Lest you worry that you’ll get bored with nobody familiar around, Jim Walls has created several more characters with wonderful personalities.
First is Keith Robinson, your partner. Other than taking smoke breaks and making snide remarks, he offers little help, but befits the easy comic relief that every cop game needs. Then you have Captain Hall, who has a very short temper but a keen taste for pistachio ice cream and a master at working the telephone. And as with Police Quest 1, the supporting cast of characters usually have something funny and interesting to say.
The production values remain quite satisfactory, with improved graphics and sound over the predecessor. Even the sound that tells you that you’ve been awarded points is addicting. The game takes a bit more of a linear route this time around as Sonny usually knows his next destination. However, the puzzles remain fair and moderately difficult. Police procedure is toned down considerably, but still must be followed regularly in order for Sonny to achieve the maximum points and have a clue as to what’s going on. The design team also made a smart move in eliminating manual driving. Since Sonny is in an unmarked car and never needs to patrol the streets, driving would have become pointless and quite tedious.
But where this game shines again lies with the character and plot development. The Vengeance has the best story in the series, with the game spanning over two cities, under water, and in the air. The humour is still very prevalent, and suspense and action are dished out at regular intervals. There is one highly contrived plot device, but can be forgiven considering its entertainment value. And the end-game is fantastic on all levels.
As close to flawless as an adventure game can get, Police Quest 2 remains my favorite game of all-time.
Contemporary Rating: Medium. Good parser, but going to the shooting range multiple times to adjust the sights on your gun would annoy many.
Cruelty Rating: Tough. If your only saved game is a split second before you’re going to die, then yes you can make the game unwinnable. Otherwise, you should be fine. You can miss a ton of things through your investigation, and this will make the game more difficult (and less enjoyable), but it won’t lock you out.