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Rogue Cop Reviews

Author: Choices
Date: 1999
TADS


What does AIF stand for? Adult Interactive Fiction. If you likely to be offended by games with sexual content, you are advised not
to open these files.


Reviewed by Heretik

Released back in the summer of '99, ROGUE COP is a TADS Adult Interactive Fiction game created as a half-port/half-sequel to the notorious SAFE SEX game; previously available only in commercial form. Fortunately, no knowledge of SAFE SEX is required to play Rogue Cop. Choices (the author of this game, and of the 'mini-sequel' code library, ROGUE REDUX) has long since disappeared from AIF circles, but should he wish to resurface and set the record straight on any of what follows, I'm sure we would all welcome his feedback on AGX. You play an anonymous police officer in a small, quiet town. During another uneventful day of patrolling the beat, you come across your brother, Tommy, who has recently become increasingly fixated on a young schoolgirl living in the nearby suburbs. Concerned for both the safety of the girl and for your brother's ailing mental health, you decide to follow them, and sneak into the family home. As you do, a gunshot rings out, and in a matter of seconds you see a large, angry man standing over your dying brother. Enraged, you pull out your pistol and shoot the man dead. When you come to your senses, you find yourself standing in the living room with two dead bodies and a smoking gun. No sirens are blazing, and it seems it's up to you to deal with the consequences of your actions. From this moment on, "you and you alone are the law in this building" and the game begins.

After such a jarring opening sequence, the player is immediately asking questions of the game. The senseless shooting of your brother, and your own rash actions have placed you in a very tense situation. Immediately, you are compelled to find out more; who is this man, and what drove him to KILL your brother? Are there others in the house - did they hear you fire? Where should you go from here?

All in all, a highly effective intro, which sets the tone of things to come. Make no mistake; Rogue Cop deals with life and death - how we, and those around us, react to extreme circumstances. Inevitably, a foreboding atmosphere haunts this quiet family home throughout and it soon becomes clear that, unlike many other AIF games, this is going to be no jaunty romp.

At this point, the player is given the option of exploring the house, and only that option. No thought has been given to facilitating otherwise reasonable actions, such as leaving the house or calling an ambulance. You can't even radio for backup, so you'd best play the cards you've been dealt.

There's a lot to be said for the enclosed, confining nature of the house; after all, the player is always only two or three rooms away from a couple of dead bodies. Initially, this serves as a constant reminder of the player's actions, providing tension and driving him along to hunt out the clues all by himself, like one of the great solo detectives. However, one or two exterior locations wouldn't have been amiss and the omission of a telephone in the house stands out. Probably the most glaring break with reason, and surely an unintentional piece of comic relief, occurs when you begin thoroughly examining your surroundings, e.g. flicking through the different television stations in the living room while two bleeding corpses lie at your feet, rotting silently.

As the player progresses, it becomes apparent that the remaining members of the family are either hiding upstairs, or simply didn't hear the grisly events in the living room. Thankfully, talking to each family member is an important part of the game, and each person clearly has a past, present and future, along with information they may or may not be willing to share with you. You must gain the trust of each character, calming them down if necessary. As you learn more about events in the house, and the type of people you're dealing with, the pieces of the puzzle gradually come together.

The sex scenes are, of course, where Rogue Cop excels. From the first sexual description, it's clear that this game is all about hot, heavy, hardcore fucking. The one-on-one nature of each encounter (under traumatic conditions) can at times provide a strange sense of intimacy, although the writing itself is definitely explicit - nothing is left to the imagination. The author has struck a good balance between cut-scene descriptions and arcade-style (e.g. Moist) flexibility, although the girls don't reciprocate as much as they could, and there is an air of male domination in places. This, coupled with the graphic detailing of the physical acts, means that this game will simply not be to everyone's taste.

The most questionable moment is perhaps when the player finds himself with no option but to seduce an underage girl; I certainly had trouble with this concept when first playing the game, since there is no other way to advance the plot. However, as events unfold, vague clues are introduced that there is more to this character than meets the eye (specifically, that she's actually older/more manipulative than first portrayed) and by then end of the game I thought that things had evened out to an acceptable level. Overall, though, the scene is clunky, and not one I go back to very often.

Far more enjoyable are the encounters with the other girls/women. I particularly liked the scenes with the neglected mother; another stereotypical character, but one we've seen little of in AIF. The task of seducing someone more sexually aware was a little bit more involved, and certainly more satisfying. One of the other sexual NPCs, who could be considered 'supporting cast' (found towards the end of the game), has obviously been added as an afterthought, although she provides the player with critical evidence and is integrated fairly seamlessly into the plot. Unfortunately for me, she was also the source of a particularly frustrating 'Last Lousy Point' quandary...or rather, Last Lousy Ten Points.

In summary, Rogue Cop has many technical faults, all of which could have easily been rectified by more thorough beta testing (Choices has stated that there is a v1.05, although it's never been made publicly available.) The lack of usable items mentioned in room descriptions, the ridiculous use of the 'LIE TO' command, and the unsubtle handling of controversial subject matter all play against it. However, if you are willing to put morality/ethics to one side and accept the game as a work of pure fantasy, it quickly becomes engrossing, with well-written prose and few spelling or grammar errors. The highly charged sexual atmosphere and genuinely interesting NPCs go a long way to making it one of the heavy-hitters of the AIF scene.


 


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