Am I being hyperbolic? Of course. This is the 21st Century, and I’m on the Internet. So take everything with a grain of salt as I try to set the scene for this puzzle.
Imagine a younger, gentler, more innocent Alex, playing this game sometime around 1998 or 1999. He is still in high school, and has been a fan of adventure games since his grandfather first fired up Space Quest I on his old Tandy (in full color!) and showed him how to play parser-based graphical adventure games. Fast forward to his 16th or 17th birthday, when his parents got him the Police Quest Collection, allowing him to finally play the second, third, and fourth installments of this series, as well as the remake of the original. Being slightly OCD, this younger Alex plays them in order: The original, the remake, and the second. Coming up to The Kindred, he initially finds the game unplayable, being unable to control the driving due to the blazing speed of his Pentium and how it makes Sonny’s car soar down the streets of Lytton like a bullet from a gun. He does an Internet search, finds a program called MoSlo that slows down his PC, and is able to play Police Quest III, enjoying himself and feeling like a “real” cop. He deals with Brian Forbes (a puzzle I forgot about), pulls over fools on the highway, and investigates the stabbing of his wife. In between, there is some key-swiping, newspaper-calling, and bag lady-interrogating, leading up to the discovery of the unfortunate Andrew Dent, murdered, mutilated, and discarded in a dumpster. Eventually, Sonny’s shift ends, so he gets some rest and returns to the Lytton Police Department ready to begin day 5. The younger Alex is also ready to begin, wondering how he will track down his suspected perp, Steve Rocklin.
What young Alex did was check all of the files to see the addresses of all the murders where pentagrams were carved into the victims, as well as the address of the Oak Tree Mall. The addresses are:
- 376 West Rose Street
- 341 East Rose Street
- 280 West Palm Street
- 392 South Sixth Street
Plotting these, he begins to see a pattern. That looks kind of like . . . a star. A five pointed star. Wait a minute . . . five . . . the Greek word for five is pente . . . pente . . . penta . . . gram? How about that “Check Pattern” function up above?
Young Alex waits.
He waits some more.
Sigh. Back to the drawing board. Young Alex tried plotting the crimes again. And again. And again. And still, nothing. He did find the hint book loaded with the Police Quest Collection, but it did not help at all. Knowing when he was beaten, Alex shelved the game and played Police Quest 4: Open Season, a game that, when we get to it, he will have a lot to say about it. But Police Quest III was put away, never to be touched again.
Jim Walls: 1. Alex: 0
But all that is changing, thanks to the power of the Internet!
You see, the intervening fifteen years or so have seen the creation of this wonderful little site called GameFAQs. GameFAQs is spoiler-central, but I only needed one specific hint, and that was where exactly to plot the crimes on this picky, picky map of Lytton.
The issue is with the addresses: 376, 392, 280, 341 . . . not exactly nice round numbers. The map you plot them on, though, doesn’t allow for such nuance. Instead, you’re supposed to plot the crimes exactly in-between certain streets: 376 West Rose is between Ninth and Tenth Streets, 341 East Rose is between Second and Third Streets, 280 West Rose is between Third and Fourth Streets, and 392 West River Street is right on the intersection of Sixth Street and River. Lastly, the point on Palm Street needs to be plotted between Eighth and Ninth Streets. Doing so, and linking them with the red lines, finally gives the message that young Alex was looking for way back in the 20th Century.
Enough griping! Here, now, in the present, I’m happy to be able to see what happens next. Who’s the unlucky person marked for death that Sonny is about to save? He won’t find out sitting at his desk!
But I check the Steve Rocklin file first, because when Sonny sat down at his computer, the first screen informed him that the case had been updated.
Before leaving the office, I check out the bulletin board. Sonny sees a message saying that all female officers will have a physical performance test tomorrow morning at the start of the shift. Was this message always there? I recall the bulletin board having generic messages in previous days. Is this message what has been causing Morales to be acting weird? Is she worried about passing this evaluation? I’d really like to get to the bottom of this sooner than later!
Well, time to go to Palm Street. First, though, I check out Dr. Aimes’s office to see if I can read that damn personnel file on his desk. I go in, and it is empty. I click “Hand” on the folder anyway, expecting the doctor to again pop up from under his desk like a creepy jack-in-the-box, but that doesn’t happen! This time, Sonny glances through the file like a nosy little weasel.
Whew. So now Sonny has to worry about Steve Rocklin and Officer Morales. Might as well roll the dice and go to find Rocklin’s future victim before it’s too late.
|Pictured: not proud of me.|
I get a sudden flash of inspiration and try to stick the tracking device to Rocklin’s car. It works! I also check out the alley, but the door is locked. Nothing left to do but go inside the Old Nugget.
None of the people at the bar are too helpful, but neither are they rude. The bartender has no information about the car outside, and she tries to get Sonny to order a drink. I try to do so, but nothing I click works. The guy playing pool makes an “I small bacon” crack, and is generally no help, although it looks like he’s waiting for someone to play pool with. In the interim, he’s standing there playing pocket pool.
|What?! The game made a lame “balls” joke. Don’t I get to, too?|
I restore, and this time pull my gun and shoot Rocklin. He falls leaving a satisfying smear of blood against the wall.
So shooting a suspect a crazy half-naked guy by the river results in a suspension, but shooting a SUSPECTED SERIAL KILLER gets Sonny sent to prison where he faces a future full of butt-rape? Wow! I guess we really are in California!
I restore and try other things. I find that I can, comically, leave the bar as Rocklin pulls out his gun. Once outside, I notice a weird glitch: Sonny and Morales replay the conversation they had when the first got to the Old Nugget. And upon entering the bar, everything has reset like Sonny wandered onto the set of Groundhog Day. Strange.
Back in the bar, I try to use my nightstick on Rocklin. Only the nightstick is no longer in Sonny’s possession. When did this happen?
Well, you won’t get the best of me again Jim Walls! Convinced I’m on the right track and the game is just being a jerk, I consult a FAQ. It turns out I was right to try to shoot Rocklin, but what the game wants you to do is click the gun on yourself. This brings up a crosshairs you can then aim at Rocklin. If Sonny gets a shot off before Rocklin, he fires back, scaring the scumbag enough to send him packing. Nothing in the game documentation says anything about clicking the gun on Sonny, nor does anything in-game hint to this as well.
Jim Walls: 2. Alex: 0.
Morales does something useful for a change, and radios for back-up. By the time Sonny has lit the flares, a uniformed cop arrives to direct traffic so Sonny can safely investigate the wreck.
So I’ve got the keys to Rocklin’s car. Let’s open his trunk.
Sonny and Morales go back to the station where Morales runs off to do . . . something. Notice how she doesn’t immediately go drop the evidence off at the evidence lockup.
I still can’t get into the women’s locker room (that sounds worse than it really is), so I go back to Sonny’s office. In his inbox is a memo from Dr. Wagner reminding Sonny to visit Marie. Seeing as how there’s nothing else to do at the office, I head to the hospital. Morales, again, tags along and uses the stupid phone in the hospital lobby, so Sonny heads up to talk to Marie and give her a kiss before dropping Morales off at the station and heading home.
All in all, a busy day. Sonny overcame two totally B.S. puzzles and tracked down his prime suspect, only to see him die before being able to question him. My one question, as this session ends, is this: Was the next victim that Sonny uncovered by plotting the scenes of Steve Rocklin’s previous crimes on the map of Lytton . . . Steve Rocklin? It sure didn’t seem like he was at the Old Nugget to murder anybody. Or was he? Was he waiting for Sonny to show up in order to ambush him? Was Sonny supposed to be the next victim?
Points: 331 out of 460.
Inventory: Gun, handcuffs, flashlight, wallet with $2.50, computer access card, notebook, keys to Morales’s desk, keys to Rocklin’s car.
Session Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Total Time: 7 hours and 50 minutes.