Here Jim Walls steps in and give us the nutshell version of what happened: Marie is taken to Lytton General and is stabilized, but remains comatose.
|A puzzle, perhaps?|
|It’s all so cheesy . . . so cop show . . . I love it!|
|Usually, there are ambulance-chasing lawyers, not reporters.|
Anyway, I want to investigate the crime scene, so I try to click on the trunk of Sonny’s car for his investigative kit. Why do I think this is in the car, you ask? First, in Police Quest II, it was, so there. Second, according to Section XIV: Required Equipment for the Police Officer, Part 3, an “investigative kit equipped with various tools used at crime scenes” is standard gear for cops. But only the front end of Sonny’s patrol car is on the screen, so he just gets in and goes home. Again, like with the reporter, I have a feeling I may want to investigate the crime scene, seeing as how my wife was nearly killed there, so I restore to make sure I didn’t fall for a Sierra Walking Dead (TM) scenario.
And I’m glad I restored. Taking a cue from the uniformed cop scouring the parking lot with his flashlight, I fire up Sonny’s to do the same. Here’s where I think I leapfrogged a puzzle, which I mentioned in my first post when Sonny took the batteries from the department’s storage closet and put them in his flashlight without any prompting from the game. I suppose if I hadn’t done that, Sonny would have then discovered that his flashlight had no batteries and would have been unable to search the crime scene, since trying to click “Eye” near the car without the flashlight on gives a message saying Sonny should return when it’s day. That’s kind of a diabolical way for a game to reveal the existence of an inventory-based puzzle. I’ll remember this when it comes time to rate this game.
In any event, Sonny turns on his flashlight and walks around Marie’s car, finding this:
Further clicking proves fruitless, so I decide that now is a good time to go home.
But first, since the game gives the player control once Sonny gets dressed, I decide to check out the bedroom.
This music box is apparently was one of Marie’s favorite possessions, as she liked listening to its song—her favorite—while Sonny was on-duty since it reminded her of him. Bet that’d be a great thing to bring to her at the hospital.
I try leaving the room, but can’t find the exit. Eventually, Captain Tate calls, tells Sonny to put some pep in his step, and then the game make Sonny leave the house, get in his car, and drive to the station.
Once there, I go to the Homicide room to talk with Captain Tate. As I suspected, Sonny is put on Marie’s case, since the Captain knows Sonny won’t be able to concentrate on anything else. It’s like the plot to a late 80s/early 90s cop movie. I approve. He also tells Sonny Marie’s case file number and the file number of a related stabbing, strongly advising that Sonny do some computer research. In other words, the game posits that YOU, the player, does some REALISTIC detective work. “Reality role playing,” as it says on the box, indeed.
Oh, and Captain Tate has one extra surprise for Sonny:
Captain Tate leaves to handle some other business, so I figure I should look up those cases. First, just for the hell of it, I check out the Personnel section and call up Morales’s file, figuring I should check out my new partner. Turns out she has quite a history.
|There are also a bunch of Sierra employees who apparently work at LPD.|
I figure I should start at the beginning, so I check out Mr. Britt’s case. He was murdered via repeated stab wounds on March 3, 1990, and had a pentagram carved into the lower-left part of his torso after death. Some hair collected from the victim’s hand reveals that the presumed attacker has Type A-Negative blood. The medal was reported stolen, and according to the file, there is no modus operandi or similar murders. The investigator, John Childs, speculates that a cult might have moved into the area. Great. I think back to poor Mr. Britt’s Bronze Star medal itself. In the inventory screen, it kind of looks like a pentagram. Maybe that’s why the murderer stole it? Was the medal the reason for the murder? I don’t know, but it’s a weird coincidence.
Nothing left to do but check out Marie’s case. One thing that sticks out is that her wounds were the same size as the wounds on Messrs. Britt and Jones, 6” x 1 ½” and presumably made with a dagger. The file indicates that the attackers were motivated by robbery, which makes no sense because Marie’s purse was still with her when she got taken to the hospital. Lastly, the file speculates that the attackers were frightened off during the attack. But who, or what, frightened them?
So that’s a lot for Sonny to chew on. I try talking to Morales, but she has nothing useful to offer. I then talk to the other detective in the office, Hanks, to see if he can help. He’s kind of a wise-ass, making comments about the newspaper he’s reading, but a commonality between his comments stands out: First, he tells Sonny that some old lady has posted a reward and is requesting witnesses to help her find her lost dog. Second, some fans were trampled to death at a Pink Mongoloid concert, and the paper put out a call to ask for witnesses. I think back to the nameless reporter and the card gave Sonny. Could he help?
Yes! I call the number and give the info, and the reporter offers to publish the request in the next morning’s edition.
Since it seems like a serial killer is on the loose, why not check out what the criminal psychologist, Dr. Aimes, has to say? It turns out he’s kind of a pompous ass, telling Sonny he can’t build a profile without the proper documentation. I try to print stuff from the computer, but there is no way to do so that I can find. I guess I’ll have something to give him later.
There’s also a personnel file on Dr. Aimes’s desk, but when Sonny tries to grab it, the good doctor gets angry.
Oh well. I kind of want to go back to the Oak Tree Mall and see if the Army recruiter knows anything about Samuel Britt. But first, I go to the evidence lockup on the ground floor to drop off the chain and the Bronze Star.
The attending officer, Martha Gibbs, asks Sonny to enter the case number for each before booking them in the proper file. Unfortunately, after depositing the Bronze Star, the game automatically makes Sonny drive home! I restore and, before driving to the mall, check out the trunk of each car.
Both the cruiser and the unmarked car have evidence kits with a scraper, toothpicks, plastic baggies, and a camera. The cruiser has road flares, but the box of flares in the unmarked car is empty. So there’s the explanation as to why Sonny has to grab some from the closet. This smacks of a puzzle in Codename: ICEMAN that Trickster rightly complained about involving not checking that a security guard gave you the proper ID card back. In other words, this is a very procedural puzzle, expecting the player to pore over every single detail, without any prompting, lest you run into a dead man walking situation later on. Brutal.
Anyway, I get into the unmarked car. Morales comes down, uncannily being able to tell the exact moment that Sonny is about to leave. She puts her purse on the arm rest. I click on it, and get a message about not being able to take the key while Morales is around. I keep that in mind.
I drive to the mall. When I try to make the turn, the game tells me there’s no reason to.
I drive back to the station, book the evidence, and leave. Sonny automatically stops at Lytton General Hospital first to check up on Marie. In the lobby, I walk into the florist and buy Marie a rose.
|The statement contained in this screenshot is 100% true.|
On Day 3, Sonny gets to his office only for Morales to lock her desk drawer, stand up, announce she has to go to the locker room, and that she’ll meet Sonny outside. I try to open her desk drawer when she leaves, but am told it’s locked. I guess that’s why I’ll need her key.
There’s a message from the Captain in Sonny’s basket. Turns out someone named Carla Reed saw the request for witnesses in the paper and called with some information. Her address is 325 Second Street, which the Captain remarks is strange, as that’s an industrial area. Could be a trap. Nothing left to do but go visit Ms. Reed. I also see that there’s a paper back on Hanks’s desk. I try to pick it up and am told that it is Hanks’s lunch so I should just leave it alone.
In the car, both Sonny and Morales express skepticism about this witness, hoping it’s not some joke given the strange address. I drive to Second Street and get out to see a bag lady sleeping in some newspapers by a shopping cart which presumably contains all of her worldly possessions. This is Carla Reed.
|Like this one.|
Steve Rocklin: One bad dude. Drugs, burglary, and membership in a cult called “Sons of Darkness.” I think we have our first suspect. I wonder what would have happened had I not gotten the card from the reporter?
Carla wants to go home, so Sonny and Morales drop her off. I remember to get my handcuffs back, which gives me points, and again prompts me to wonder what would have happened if I had forgotten to take them, other than Carla being unable to move her cart. Would it have been a big deal at all? Aren’t police stations pretty much swimming in handcuffs?
Whatever. I get back in the car, and Morales checks her watch, tells Sonny she has to make a phone call, and asks him to take her to the Oak Tree Mall. Sonny reluctantly agrees, although I figure that this is a good time to talk to that Army recruiter.
Upon arriving, Sonny notices that Morales is careful to take her purse. No key-swiping now, but there is a key maker’s shop in the mall. Another future puzzle, I think.
The key maker is useless, as is the Army recruiter. I can show the recruiter my badge, which makes him more cooperative, but there’s nothing to do or take, I am unable to ask about Samuel Britt, and they guy offers no useful information about anything.
|I’ll take one of those tank keys, please!|
|Can you make the game let me ask you about Samuel Britt?|
Points: 181 out of 460.
Inventory: Gun, handcuffs, flashlight, road flares, nightstick, wallet with $7.50, computer access card, notebook.
Session Time: 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Total Time: 4 hours and 50 minutes.