Sunday 18 December 2022

Blue Force – Some Days Are Just Like That

by Alex

Jake Ryan is about to have the worst day of his life on the force. That’s a pretty mean feat considering it’s only his second day on the force, but that’s how things roll on the mean streets of Jackson Beach. You saw what went down in the Tower District with our pals Frank and Tyrone, and the search for young Skip Dixon’s missing baseball card. White guys named Tyrone—what is this world coming to?

We’ll get to all of that, but first, I have a confession to make:
“I like Blue Force.”

Yes, yes, stunning and brave, I know. Somebody give me the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award (no, seriously, give it to me). I can’t help it though. I’m actively enjoying this game. All you people who told me it was awful, can I trust you anymore? This game ain’t bad! This session was fun! The characters are likeable! I felt like a detective! What more could you ask for?

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, obviously.

Oh, but what’s that? When we left off last time, Jake wasn’t a detective, was he? So what happened?

I’ll tell you what happened. It all started like any other day, pulling into the station . . .
. . . getting into uniform . . .
. . . and checking the mail.
Jake has a message from D.A. Stuart Cox stating that he’s dropping the charges against Tyrone Walker, Frankie Sandoval, and Bradford Green? What the hell is going on here? I made the busts! Did I not make them stick?

That’s disappointing, but I’m pretty sure it’s entirely plot-driven and not a result of player-error like it would’ve been in an actual Police Quest game. Do you remember how during their romantical nighttime walk on the beach Laura Dixon told Jake that Bradford Green didn’t even own the boat Future Wave and that it really belonged to some “big-shot judge or lawyer or something”? Lawyers, am I right? Anyway, keep that in mind.

The morning briefing is a lackluster affair, with there inexplicably being nothing of note going on in Jackson Beach that Sgt. Sutter has to tell his men about.

Like, you sure about that bro? No arms dealers, thefts of weapons from $%&@ing military facilities, or things of that nature? Just a big ol’ “Yeah, whatever, what can ya do?” from the Sarge. Hilarious. He is more concerned about that morning’s inspection and admonishes his crew to look sharp and—hey, isn’t that the same donut on the table as yesterday morning’s briefing? Are the janitors on strike or something? Come on, team: No Dirty Harry’s!

And I finally get what No Dirty Harry’s! means.
All right, all right, I’ll show myself to the door.
Sutter wants to talk to Jake and Doug afterwards, telling them not to get too down about D.A. Cox not only releasing Bradford Green, but tossing his illegal weapons out for a “bad search.” I don’t even know what that means since I did read the guy his Miranda rights, but whatever, right? Sutter tells Jake not to take it too hard because rookies make mistakes sometimes. No big deal, man. That’s just life.

You know, the Sargeant is pretty blasé about all of this. I wonder if he’s doing all right.

Doug tries to help Jake out but shut up, Doug.
Seriously, shut up.
I’ve seen Doug’s pathetic skills of verbal persuasion when he almost got me killed confronting Bradford Green (“Welp, guess I’ll just drop muh gun then, what can ya do, ya know?”). I don’t want him sticking up for me ever again. Imagine him as your lawyer: “Gee, judge, sure there’s exculpatory evidence (I don’t even know what that means, ha ha!) but I’m not one for fighting. Sure, just lock him up for 10 to 15 years. I don’t want no trouble.”

Seriously, what’s wrong with everyone else on the Jackson Beach PD? “Help, help, Officer! This big, bad man wants to hurt me! Save me!”

Jackson PD:
So yeah, maybe this game sucks after all and I’m just so starved for a competent adventure game experience I’m overlooking some of its writing flaws. That’s okay though because I love cheesy stuff. I mean, I love it. I’d much rather watch that Dolph Lundgren Masters of the Universe movie than any MCU cape-stuff, and I’d rather play Blue Force than, I dunno, Elden Ring or something.

The inspection goes well, with Sutter telling Jake he’s “looking really good here” and that his “thing” [gun] is “cleaner’n my mamma’s wash.”

The Sargeant concludes by telling Jake his dad would be proud, which is a nice way to end the inspection, which was getting way too steamy for my delicate sensibilities. Male bonding . . . it’s great!
I sure am glad I cleaned my gun yesterday, which makes total sense, but I digress. Now, with no direction because just whatever, bro, nothing really matters, Jake heads on his bike to patrol just somewhere, anywhere, because there’s nothing to pass on, anyway. Just ride on, man. It’s all good.

So I figure I’ll go fishing. Screw work: off to the Marina!

Unfortunately, Jake isn’t the only one who had that idea:
Bummer, man. So it looks like Jake’ll have to do some real work. Luckily, after hopping back on Jake’s bike dispatch has something to call in.
At the Bikini Hut! All right, Day 2 is looking up! Maybe some of the models are having trouble squeezing into their tiny little numbers and need a big, strapping young rookie cop to oil them up and all of that. Jake speeds off, forgetting to put his helmet on—actually ha ha he doesn’t have a helmet in this game, which is funny because motorcycle helmets became required by law in the Golden State in 1992 (yes, I looked it up; why are you looking at me like that?) and this game was released in 1993 and takes place in 1995, so, you know, gotcha, Jim!
“Please die.”
I get to the Bikini Hut and oh come on!
This freakin’ guy again? Aren’t there any other cops on the force? You know, ones that can handle things themselves? It’s enough to make a guy turn to the bottle.
I can relate, man. I can relate.
So here’s the deal: this guy is drinking and driving and locked himself in the car. He refuses to get out and Doug “Dumbass” Harrison is stumped on what to do.

Hmm. You’re a cop, Doug. You could, I don’t know, use force? Blue force, maybe? Do I have to do all of the thinking around here?

Yes, I do. I have Jake radio in that he’s on the scene, and ask to run a check on the plates, but it doesn’t turn up any warrants or anything like that. None of my inventory items work to get drunkard out of his car, talking to Doug is as useful as talking to the wall, and I was about to drive away and see if the answer lay elsewhere when I remembered back to the first three Police Quest games. What did those titles have in common besides being designed by the smartest, bravest, and most-handsome former California Highway Patrolman of all time?

That’s right: they all had important items inside the trunk of the player character’s patrol cars. Now, here Jake’s vehicle is a motorcycle as opposed to the cruiser Sonny Bonds drove in those games, but Officer Doug has a patrol car which, presumably, has a trunk.

I click “Action” on the trunk, and Jake asks Doug if there’s anything useful in it.
“Gee, Jake, I dunno if my own trunk has anything useful in it.” This goofball . . .
It turns out that the trunk contains a first aid kit and a roadside emergency kit, the latter of which contains flares and a spring-loaded punch.
I like the way this game uses insets to show close-ups of different areas, by the way.
Blowing the drunk driver’s car up with some roadside flares is tempting, but I decide on a slightly more subtle approach. The spring-loaded punch is a device specifically designed to break car windows. So, no, Doug, nothing useful in your trunk. Just kindly turn around, face the beach, keep walking and don’t stop.

Jake comments “Messy, but it worked,” in contrast to Doug, who is neat but does not work. With the drunk driver out of the car and hopefully en route to public execution, Jake returns the spring-loaded punch to Doug which might not be a good idea considering Doug seems like the kinda guy who eats paste, tells Doug he can handle things from here, and jets off to resume his patrol.
With no direction, I go to Alley Cat to confirm my suspicion that it is indeed a bowling alley.
Jake asks the kid if his manager is in, which is strange because Jake doesn’t have one of those types of haircuts. Nothing else to do here, so instead of just going to every location one-by-one, I head over to Lyle’s office to follow up on the previous night’s conversation.
Lyle, if you remember, ran a private detective agency with Jake’s late father. He asks Jake if he found anything else on the beach. Jake says no. However, Lyle had taken it upon himself to call ATF to see if they could check out the Channel Islands (an eight-island archipelago off the coast of California). The ATF informed Lyle they didn’t have enough for an investigation, but Lyle called b.s. and asks Jake to take a look at that nice map on the wall behind him. Lyle surmises that, based on the currents, the crate piece Jake found on the beach could’ve come from one of them . . .

. . . any one of them. And when Jake suggests taking a trip to the islands—maybe using those free boat coupons from Mr. Carter?—Lyle shoots him down by saying there are too many islands.

Okay, sure, makes sense. Lyle muses they could head out if they get a solid lead. Jake says he’ll keep an eye out and then heads back out on patrol. But when stopped at an intersection . . .
Yeah, I’ve got nothing flippant to say here. Getting hit by a speeding vehicle is a constant danger in a cop’s life, and there’s nothing funny about that. Luckily, in our story Jake survives with nothing more than a busted-up leg. We rejoin him at home a few weeks later, bored and restless and watching TV—perhaps The Young and the Restless?
He his saved from terminal drudgery by Lyle, who has a business proposition: come help out at the office. It’ll give Jake something to do, and the exercise will help keep his knee from getting too stiff.
Jake dozes off, and has a dream, more of a flashback, of the night his parents were murdered, recalling when he woke them up to tell them he heard somebody in the house. Ever the brave man, his dad gets up to investigate and the flashback ends.
Jake wakes up and—hey, who’s that stranger in my house stealing my Pepsi?
Whew, it’s just Lyle. Jake asks him about his parents’ murder. Lyle says the best thing Jake could do is come to the office and take a look at the files. He leaves, telling Jake to stop by. It is here I realize the game is taking a different track away from “police procedural” and more towards “action movie: this time it’s personal” territory. I have mixed feelings about this. While I enjoy cheesy action movie fare, the interesting thing about Police Quest games, particularly the first one, was the strict adherence to proper police procedure. I felt like I was learning something as I solved puzzles and really had to think like a cop and not a private eye. There is a difference.

Maybe Jake gets back in uniform at some point; I doubt it, but we’ll see.
At the office, Lyle doesn’t stay long, having “a warrant to run.” He conveniently left Jake’s parents’ case file on the desk, so naturally I take a look at that. There are newspaper clippings, police forms, and photos of the scene, which must be rough to look at. Scanning this stuff gives poor Jake another flashback to the night of the murder.
There’s also some microfiche, something I am old enough to have actually used in grad school, and Lyle just so happens to have a microfiche machine. Aside from a basic rundown of the facts, the file lists the evidence, which just so happens to include the same kind of ammo as what was stolen from Strathmore Armory, as well as the evidence bag numbers they’re stored under! There are even pictures of the cartridge casings! Can Jake finally run this against the APB for Forest Follett?

Nah. Of course not. That’d be silly! Or maybe, not yet. I dunno. This seems like the kind of thing I’d run to the station to check out right away were I investigating my parents’ murder, but maybe I’m the weird one here.

Lyle returns, and Jake shows him the file. Lyle makes the same connection Jake and I did.
And yet, they don’t go to the station to confirm. Jake does interrogate Lyle about the night of the murder, and from the story Lyle tells it sounded like there wasn’t anyone with motive to kill the Ryans. However, a few days earlier they had “rousted some joker named Cobb down at Tony’s Bar,” but couldn’t catch him.
That must be Mr. Majestic Mullet from the game’s intro! I hope I can find him and get tips on cultivating a nice mullet of my own.

Lyle didn’t have any evidence linking Cobb to the murders and didn’t think his rap sheet had enough to go on. So Jake is sort of back to square one . . . except at least he has some leads to go on. Before leaving Lyle’s office, I checked out his phone on the back desk under the map.
It’s not only a phone, but a new-fangled device called a “facsimile machine,” or “fax” for short. Did you know that in the Year of Our Lord 2022, lawyers still use these things? Anyway, Lyle’s phone/fax combo can call the DMV, the FBI, and the Jackson Beach PD. This being an adventure game, I’m sure it’ll come in handy before long.

I spent the rest of this session doing some investigative work, which I’ll relate in bullet form to avoid the somnambulance of a blow-by-blow, as I ping-ponged between many locations, and save files, to save time (I don’t think anyone will wan to read about my thrilling reloads). I rather enjoyed this section of the game, and while I fully expect Blue Force to go off the rails eventually, for now it’s a fun experience.
  • Carter’s Marina: Mr. Carter is pleased to see Jake. He has nothing to report on Bradford Green, but doesn’t want to help a rookie cop out by checking out some mug shots, presumably so Jake can figure out if there’s a Green/Cobb connection, which is never made clear, down at the station. Seems that Mr. Carter doesn’t like “messing in other people’s business.” Not even for justice. I do show Mr. Carter Jake’s father’s nickel, but all Mr. Carter says is that it’s a “pretty nice specimen” that’s worth about fifty bucks. I come back later, having the idea to rent a boat and check out the channel islands myself, but Mr. Carter informs Jake that all of his boats are out and to come back tomorrow.
  • Jail/City Hall: Jake commiserates with Not-Jim Walls about getting nowhere with Hayley McCoy over at the information booth—as if she couldn’t hear Jake from that distance of about six inches! Anyway, Jim tells Jake to “keep trying” because “[s]omething’s bound to give.” And this time, Jake is able to get Ms. McCoy to at least think about dinner with him . . . and to let him call her Hayley. Otherwise, nothing doing here.
No, Jake! What about Laura Dixon!
  • Tony’s Bar: There’s literally nothing doing here. I can’t ask anybody about Cobb, can’t play shuffleboard, and can’t get a drink, but I can play “Okie from Muskogee” by Merle Haggard on the jukebox (it doesn’t actually play). Fun fact: The Melvins do an excellent version of this song with Hank Williams III on their 2000 album of collaborative covers called The Crybaby.
  • Jake’s House: Yeah, why not. Out of ideas, I head back to Jake’s thinking that maybe he needs to sleep to advance the game. Instead, his grandma tells him she accidentally left the computer on while cleaning the den, and asks him to shut it. Why does cleaning the den involve turning the computer on anyway? Oh, I know why—it’s a cheap ploy to get the player to poke around on the computer. And it works!
This time I’m tuned in to the file called “Cobb,” and unlike last session, this time I hit upon the idea of using “Jackie,” Jake’s mother’s name, as the password . . . and it works! See, the clue is the file called “Letter,” which is John Ryan’s letter to his wife Jackie, above the “Cobb” file. Not a bad bit of puzzle design. The “Cobb” file contains financial ledger pages and a blueprint for a warehouse. I use the “Print” icon to print out a copy of these and head back to Lyle’s.
  • Lyle’s Office: Jake excitedly brings up his find to Lyle. Lyle thinks this might be the break they need, and mentions that Cobb had dropped something after fleeing Tony’s bar years back. Jake mentions there’s stuff about Cobb and someone with the initials “SC” (three guesses what that stands for). Lyle suggests Jake check with the PD, so I use the phone/fax to call Barry, who sends over a rap sheet, which suggests that Cobb is a friend of Forest Follet. Jake also tells Lyle that Barry said they can get a mugshot, but I’m so excited to start interrogating people at Tony’s I fail to do so. So into Lyle’s car go Jake and Lyle, off to do a little private dicking.
  • Tony’s Bar, redux: Well, Tony the bartender doesn’t want to talk to me, even after I show him Richard Cobb’s rap sheet. Neither does the lady at the end of the bar who wasn’t there before. They don’t respond to Follet’s rap sheet either.
After a quick jaunt to the Marina with Lyle which turns up nothing, head to the PD, show Barry Cobb’s rap sheet and get a mug shot, and then head back to Tony’s. Now Tony will talk when I show him the mug shot. He recognizes Cobb . . . but only as “Snow Man.” Sounds ominous! What’s worse, when Cobb comes in, he orders sauerkraut with pickled eggs. Good God, man, what kind of establishment are you running? I should arrest you for that! Anyway, Tony suggests we talk to Katie Prittchard over at the end of the bar, who used to be Cobb’s girlfriend.

She doesn’t talk to Jake until he shows her his badge, and then she’s more cooperative. All she knows is that Richard, or “Dick” as she calls him, is too well-connected, so the chances of making any bust stick are low.
She also informs Jake and Lyle that Cobb hangs out with a squirrely guy called “The Weasel” who works at the bowling alley. Katie conveniently writes down “The Weasel” on a napkin in case Jake can’t remember this exotic, complicated name.
Well, it’s more so because this is how the game operates: You can’t use the “Talk” icon to ask about certain things a la a Quest for Glory-esque conversation tree, nor will Jake automatically interrogate people based upon certain things the game has flagged he knows already. You just have to click inventory objects on people.
  • Alley Cat: This time, the manager is in and hey! He looks like someone I went to high school with!
Jake shows Eugene the napkin and asks if the name “The Weasel” means anything to him.
“Oh, yeah, sure,” says Eugene. “That’s Follet. He works here.” And then Eugene just . . . brings out Forest Follet, who also looks like someone I went to high school with!
Follet doesn’t want to talk about the Strathmore Armory robbery, but when he refuses to give Jake another name, Jake orders Lyle to take him downtown. Follet talks then, saying that he knows a guy named Nico the Snake who’s been letting Follet stay in his trailer down by the Bikini Hut. The best part is, Lyle takes Follet in anyway, stuffing him in the car. Before leaving, I click “Talk” on Eugene, and Jake asks if Follet had any belongings. Eugene goes in the back to check and comes back with a key. He gives it to Jake without asking for a warrant or anything. Nice! Proper police procedure!
  • City Hall/Jail: But I stop back at City Hall en route to the Bikini Hut because an idea struck me: Jim Walls’s handsome doppelganger works at the Hall of Records, right? Maybe he has info about the blueprints Jake printed from his father’s computer?
7Jimbo has nothing on the ledger papers, but that Stuart Cox had the blueprints run through the county permit system some ten years back. Yes, the Stuart Cox, the D.A. who let Green, Walker, and Sandoval go, and who apparently has a connection with noted scumbag Richard Cobb. And what’s the connection between all of these people, the warehouse plans, the robbery at the armory, and the death of Jake’s parents? The plot thickens.
  • Bikini Hut: Follet’s key opens up the trailer. Sadly, no bikini girls are in here either.
I poke around and find a pair of boots with orthopedic lifts built into the heel.
These trigger another flashback:
Is this Nico the Snake character the killer of John and Jackie Ryan? Anyway, the boot heel is actually a secret compartment and contains a note. It is initialed “S.C.” and contains “a list of dates for arms shipments from a Marble Head Island warehouse.”
But this isn’t the most exciting thing Jake finds in the trailer:
These go to Jake’s, ahem, personal evidence lockup.
5Outside, Lyle has returned from apparently taking Follet to jail. Jake tells Lyle that the schedule mentions the same 9mm ammo that had been stolen from the armory and used in his parents’ murder, and mentions the Future Wave by name. This is the break they need! It would’ve been cool if the player already knew this from the game mentioning it when Jake first finds the note, but you know what they say about minor quibbles . . .

. . . actually, I don’t.
  • Lyle’s Office: The day ends here with Lyle telling Jake he’ll try tomorrow to get ATF involved, and that Jake should check out Marble Head Island (alone? Isn’t that insane? No Dirty Harry’s!). Lyle even calls Jake “partner” and tells him to check in after he investigates Marble Head Island. The day then ends, and we pick up day three outside of Jake’s house in the morning.
Checking out the island where arms-dealing criminals all by his lonesome sounds like a surefire way to get killed, but this is an adventure game so getting killed is par for the course. Plus, it’s a Jim Walls designed game, so you just know it’s going to get outside of the realm of the police procedural and into the realm of the action movie, which is fine by this old game-reviewing crazy.

So that’s where I’ll leave off for now: enjoying the chase and having fun with Blue Force despite its flaws while still anticipating something that’ll make me utterly hate this game. Par for the course!

Session Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes

Score: 1,800

Inventory: Gun w/ 2 clips, handcuffs, ticket book, Miranda card, briefing, telescoping boat hook, ID, piece of shipping crate, Indian head nickel, boat rental coupons, business card, mug shot, Cobb’s rap sheet, ledger/blueprints, “The Weasel” napkin, key to trailer, schedule

Arrests: 4 (drunk guy doesn’t count because Doug took him in and booked him, but Follet sure does)


  1. This is actually starting to sound like a complex, multi-layered story... If perhaps a bit "pat," but that's a quibble. Not everything has to do with your parents' murder, Batman.

    I like that the previous arrests have been overturned due to unspecified "rookie mistakes," but now start looking like a lead into corruption at multiple levels. "Dick is too well-connected" is red meat for a policeman/detective who is out to put all the bad guys in jail.

  2. I hope the sargeant removed the bullets from that gun beforehand, because it kind of looks like he's looking down the barrel of the gun. One of the rules of gun safety is to never point a gun you know (or don't know) is loaded at anything important. Though I guess if that lesson hasn't stuck by the time he made sargeant he's not aiming it at anything important.

    The way the story is progressing is weird. Like you noted with the arrests getting thrown out, it all feels like the game is setting you up in an unwinnable situation later, but it seems to just be the way the game is going. Getting run over feels especially ripe for this, because that's the kind of thing I would expect would be a random death rather than the events of the plot.

    Also, basically any government agency in the US still uses fax machines. Some even require you to send them faxes for important stuff. That might sound silly to some, but our government is the kind that just won't upgrade or fix anything if its still working or if it isn't important enough. And those fax machines still work.

    1. I'd say among the most shocking of these would be when, last decade, the federal government required the states to upgrade their driver's license systems to modern standards, a few states were royally screwed, because they were still using mainframe computers programmed in COBOL in the 1970s to process their DMV transactions.

      That said, it's not just government. Commercial airlines still use floppy disks for day-to-day in-flight activities.

    2. There was a big initiative to get rid of the fax machines during the time I've been working with the Federal Government (so, last 15 year?), which has succeeded enough that I haven't encountered one personally in a very long time, but I assume they're still out there some places. (One of the big hurdles is that legally, they resolved that a fax of a "wet" signature (ie, a physically ink-signed document) was just as legally binding as the real thing decades ago, while an email of a scanned document wasn't considered the same thing under the law, and digital signatures didn't have the force of law until much more recently, so anything that needed a signature had to be faxed just because the laws were written that way)

  3. Wild "fan" theory time!

    Theory 1: Wnxr jrag vagb na haerfcbafvir pbzn nsgre uvf zbgbeplpyr nppvqrag (bjvat gb uvf nsberzragvbarq ynpx bs uryzrg) naq arire erpbirerq. Gur fhofrdhrag riragf bs gur tnzr ner na nanybtl bs uvf gevc guebhtu chetngbel, jvgu gur crahygvzngr fprar va gur jnerubhfr uvf zrgncubevp neeviny ng gur tngrf bs whqtrzrag.

    Theory 2: Avpb Qvyyba npghnyyl sbhaq Wnxr uvqvat va gur pybfrg 10 lrnef rneyvre naq zheqrerq uvz nybat jvgu uvf sngure. Wnxr vf npghnyyl n tubfg cerfrag va nyy fprarf, ohg zbfg vagrenpgvbaf jurer yvivat punenpgref nccrne gb or vagrenpgvat jvgu Wnxr ner n pbafrdhrapr bs gur Wnpxfba Ornpu fzrygre eryrnfvat urnil zrgnyf vagb gur jngre flfgrz, pnhfvat unyyhpvangvbaf naq qryhfvbaf va gur cbchynpr. Ylyr vf gur rkprcgvba - ur qbrfa'g qevax jngre (abgvpr gur sevqtr serrqbz ur rawblf ng Wnxr'f tenaqzbgure'f ubhfr?), ohg nf n qrfpraqrag bs n Ibbqbbvrar Cevrfgrff, Ylyr cbffrffrf gur fvtug naq vf gur bayl bar npghnyyl noyr gb pbzzhavpngr jvgu Wnxr'f fcvevg.

    Theory 3: *V* jnf uvg va gur urnq zrer zbzragf orsber ynhapuvat Oyhr Sbepr sbe gur irel svefg gvzr. Vg rkcynvaf gur snpg V znantrq gb trg gb gur raq bs guvf tnzr, naq guvf cbfg.

    So, yeah, make of that what you will... but this game is deep. The Brothers Karamazov deep. Wizard of Oz ain't got nothin' on Blue Force!

    1. In regards to theory 3: Juvyr znlor abg gur zbfg rayvtugrarq ivrj, V nz rawblvat orvat nf fcrpgngbe nf Nyrk cebterffrf shegure naq shegure qbja gur qenva gbjneqf shyy zragny qlfshapgvba, naq V fhfcrpg gung ur unf haqretbar n shyy ybobgbzl cevbe gb jevgvat gurfr cbfgf.

  4. suddenly getting hit by a car was not something I was expecting! similarly the switch from police to private investigator, but that is less of a shocking twist and more of a weird one, for a game called "blue force" I'd expect more police work and less being a maverick

    1. It is very far off from Police Quest no question about that, but if I went to watch a movie in the early 90's called Blue Force this would be exactly what I would expect, right down to a minority partner.

    2. Not exactly how you meant it, but if I were to watch a game as an animated movie, I'd prefer this art style. I wasn't a big fan of FMV, but this is just the right mix of rotoscoped characters but hand drawn backgrounds.

      That said, when this game came out, so did NYPD Blue. Thankfully, Jim Walls didn't make us see Jake Ryan's naked behind in the shower.

  5. You know, is it just me, or do Doug and the drunk driving dude look suspiciously similar? Like they're played by the same actor? If I'm not just seeing things, it puts an interesting twist on things. Rather than being hilariously incompetent, he's just trying to prevent his twin from getting arrested.

    1. That would be a great twist, but it appears they just used the limited number of people laying around the office as characters, and doubled up as needed. Hence the twins working in separate offices, and Jim Walls as an actor as well.

      But really, it's a conspiracy and everyone but Ryan is related and conspiring to turn the town into a massive crime syndicate, of course.

  6. For what it's worth, I distinctly remember that the accident was the watershed moment past which this game went from "pretty mediocre" to "just awful". If you are still enjoying it in any case, more power to you!

    1. I'll share my full feelings on the "Finished" post, but I get the sense Jim and the writing team had much bigger plans for this game, and the accident was a form of deus ex machina in response to senior management deciding to stop throwing good money after bad and telling them to start wrapping things up.