Thursday, August 9, 2018

Police Quest 1: In Pursuit of the Death Angel VGA Version Review

I love the look of these boxes and I'll eventually get my hands on one.
Police Quest 1 is an adventure game developed and released by Sierra On-Line in 1987 for the PC and was upgraded to VGA and re-released in 1992. This game was also released for the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Apple II, Apple II GS, and the Apple Macintosh. I played this game on my PC through Steam.

In Police Quest 1 you are Sonny Bonds, a police officer for the fictional town of Lytton California. A drug pusher with the nickname "Death Angel" has come to town and starts to sell cocaine in town with deadly results. As the game progress, you are promoted to narcotics and given the case of the Death Angel.

Get used to taking a shower as you'll be doing it a lot.
The remake of Police Quest 1 ditches the text parser used in the original game and replaces it with an easier to use point and click interface. The game plays just like other Sierra On-Line games like King's Quest where you interact with the environment with a mouse cursor. You can walk, talk, or interact with people or items onscreen. Clicking on things can kill you, give you a funny reply, or can move the game along.

In comparison to games like King's Quest, Police Quest is easier to play if you know your police procedure that is provided in the manual for the game. One of my favorite examples is when you take a prisoner to jail. Before you enter you need to lock your gun safely away in a safe. If you do not lock your gun up the prisoner will grab your gun from you and kill you. The game manual, which is a 110 page condensed version of the Los Angeles Police Department manual, explains exactly the procedures you need to take to keep you safe and keep the bad guys in jail. When you are booking a criminal, after you've locked up your gun, you need to figure out exactly what crimes the bad guy has committed and enter the correct penal codes. If you are wrong the guy will walk ending the game. If you do something wrong and end up killed all you need to do is whip out the manual and find the exact procedure. I've read that some people aren't a big fan of this but I like it as it makes the game feel more like a simulation and less like a game.

This Police Quest VGA upgrade looks and sounds great compared to the original release. Besides the video upgrades, the VGA version has also changed up driving mode. At the beginning of the game, you'll drive your patrol car looking for traffic violators. The city of Lytton is represented in map form that has been divided into four squares.

As you drive you'll be able to speed up, slow down, and turn left and right. You can drive up to 55 mph unless you've got your lights and sirens on when you can drive at 65. The siren can get on your nerves so a trick is to turn on the lights and sirens, increase up to 65 mph and then turn them off. You'll also run into stop signs here and there. You need to slow down to 15 mph or you'll blast through the intersection, get t-boned, and killed. If you have your lights and sirens on you can go through stop signs at full speed.

In a few instances, I had a bit of trouble figuring out what I needed to do. One example was when I had pulled over a dangerous criminal who had a gun on him. I needed to get out of my cruiser, duck behind the driver's door, pull my gun, and hold it on the bad guy. If I click on the bad guy with my gun I shoot him. Normally if I click on my character with my gun it says something about not killing yourself but in this instance, that's what I had to do in order to cover the guy while ducking behind my car's door. Like with most of these Sierra adventure games you'll need to save constantly and just use trial and error until you figure out what you need to do, or use a walkthrough.

This game originally wasn't really for kids with it having to be played like a simulation of real police work including seeing dead bodies and sexual situations that are pretty tame by today's standards.

There is no nudity but you'll be dealing with prostitutes, lot's of innuendo, a woman trying to get out of a ticket with her charms, and last but not least a fully clothed lady dancing for a fellow cop as a birthday gift. When I played this as a kid I was always hoping for some pixelated boobs but I was disappointed.

I loved this game as a kid and it holds up very well, at least in my opinion. To me, the biggest downfall is that it is too short. It took me four and a half hours to beat without a walkthrough which isn't very long for a game. The graphics and sounds are great, the gameplay is fun and that includes when you do something stupid to get yourself killed. Fans of adventure games, particularly Sierra adventure games, should like playing this game. While I've never played the original version of this game I would recommend playing this version instead as it's easier to point and click instead of typing everything. I give Police Quest 1: In Pursuit Of The Death Angel VGA version a 9 out of 10.

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