Parker and Lane: Criminal Justice (Gamehouse)
Parker’s a rookie detective with a temper like fire. Lane’s a seasoned attorney with a laid back attitude. When the latter’s clients start dropping like flies, he has to team up with the former to figure out who the killer is.
I’ll admit, I’ve never seen a procedural cop show, but I have played a Choices story called Most Wanted, which has similar plot devices. The main difference is that Most Wanted felt more self-aware and actually managed to make the characters likable. Unlike Most Wanted, these characters are exactly as they appear to be on the surface, with no depth to flush them out. Parker’s the hot-headed detective, Lane’s the relaxed lawyer and that is it. Even the side characters are little more than plot devices, with the coroner functioning as more of an implied romantic obstacle when not doing her job. The tech guy is the guy with the crush on Parker and that is it. I’ll admit, there is one attempt to flesh out Lane by making him a single father, but it feels like something the writers hacked on in a desperate attempt for sympathy. In other words, this game is Most Wanted without the personality.
Unfortunately, those weren’t my only problems with the game. Do you remember my review of Maggie’s Movies, where I praised the game for addressing sexism in Hollywood? Well, this did the exact opposite and, I warn you, there are spoilers in this paragraph. One of the first warning signs is when one of Lane’s clients assaults Parker in a way that could have possibly turned sexual were she not able to defend herself. No one calls attention to this and Lane even defends this man and calls Parker out for being judgmental. Yes, you read that right, Lane gets angry with Parker for defending herself against a potential rapist and coming to the conclusion that Lane defends horrible people. Are these writers stuck in the seventies? To make an already awful situation worse, when the precinct forces Parker and Lane to team up, Lane makes a sexist remark and the game brushes it off as a joke with the boss laughing along. However, Parker makes her distaste for Lane clear, yet her boss practically orders her to work with him and doesn’t listen to her feelings. If the game had the goal of drawing attention to sexism in the workplace, this wouldn’t bother me so much. Instead, the message of the game is that Parker is excessively uptight and needs to loosen up. While Lane is the relaxed life force that can do just that. Again, I ask if these writers are stuck in the seventies.
Unbelievably, this game is actually part of the Delicious series and the style supports this. Usually games like this have a hidden object style, which is exactly what it says on the tin. This game decided to bring a time management style to a murder case, which I admit is something that’s never been done. However, just because something’s new doesn’t automatically make it good. You send different investigators to check on different areas, bring them the required items and then send them on their way. In some instances, you have to play a mini-game and believe me when I say that they will pop out of nowhere to the point of frustration. Then you send the investigators on their way and have to meet the minimum goal requirement to get to the next level. Every level comes with an optional side quest that you can complete for a diamond, and you get to play special challenge levels in-between. You spend these diamonds on evidence for your case file. You also have to catch the mouse every level, as usual, and get to partake in the daily challenge. Like other games in the series, you also have the option of collecting all of the achievements. Just don’t expect to see any cameos from Emily and the gang.
This game is dull to the point of being a chore. I give it 3 out of 10; the one Delicious game where I didn’t even bother to collect all of the achievements before calling it quits.