Publisher: Telltale Games
Beyond Reasonable Doom kicks off directly after the events of Episode 2, where our gruff and obese hero has unmasked the shadowy terrorist behind the spate of crimes in seedy Clapper's Wreake. Hector has been imprisoned in his own personal hell, a typically bizarre Saw-esque contraption involving a treadmill and a septic tank. Players will have to switch between the Gene Hunt wannabe and his snivelling lackey Lambert in order to escape, which serves to reacquaint players with the point and click mechanics.
Point. Click. Combine. Insult. Laughter or solutions ensue. Usually both.
Shortly after escaping the fiendish setup, however, Hector eventually finds himself at ClapFest: a surreal village fete celebrating the history of the less-than-illustrious hamlet. As with the two previous Hector titles, the core adventure revolves around puzzles with common sense solutions... at least in the context of Straandlooper's warped sense of justice and progression. How do you liberate an item from someone's stomach without punching them, for example? There's a fair bit of item combination and dialogue exploration to enjoy, and though some of the solutions are a bit left field, the level of challenge is usually spot-on.
It's classic adventuring action, pure and simple.
Sadly, there are a couple of flies in the familiar ointment. You'll frequently need to blunder around the various ClapFest screens with no clear objective, desperately trying to work out what may or may not have been added to the backdrops in order to find the components you need. This oblique structure is taken to extremes by a puzzle in which you've painstakingly set up a solution only to be completely stonewalled by the character who totes the item you desperately require. After trying all manner of different solutions, you'll slink off in disgust... only to discover that Hector simply needs to return later and find the item discarded, aggravatingly, on the ground.
The limited scope of the proceedings (essentially one single location) also feels like a step backwards from the franchise, especially after Episode 2 upped the ante by implementing multiple locations and a sense of real detective work. It smacks of a lack of ambition or development time; and I'm tempted to plump for the latter due to the surprisingly quick turnaround between the last two parts.
What ultimately sells Beyond Reasonable Doom, therefore, is the quality of the writing; which is as hilarious, tasteless and peppered with vicious invective as you'd expect from the series. The cast of supporting characters all make a welcome return, and though they're shameless stereotypes of the worst reprobates our proud British culture has to offer, they work incredibly well simply because they're brilliantly, painfully observed. We've all met, seen or talked to (or are) people like them, making it a uniquely British experience that's twice as entertaining and anarchic as anything else in Telltale's publishing library. Engaging in raucous and unpredictable dialogue is the true joy of the package, and one that you should pursue as much as possible.
Finally, value (the omnipresent nemesis of the episodic game) is absolutely perfect here. Episode 3 provides over six hours of play time and wraps up the storyline in a satisfying - if slightly shambolic and overly lengthy- way. It's definitely worth the money.
- Hilarious banter
- Good value
- On the whole, decent and well-crafted puzzles...
- ... spoiled by a few oblique annoyances
- Limited scope
- Nothing new or exciting beyond series staples
The Short Version: Hector Episode 3: Beyond Reasonable Doom provides a solid end to the series that delights and satisfyies more than it disappoints. It's fairly coarse and unambitious - much like Hector himself - but series fans will find a lot to like.