No matter who you are, the urge to solve problems, and uncover mysteries lies within us all. Secretly, we all love the idea of being the hotshot detective who solves the impossible crimes. Now you is your chance to step up and be counted. Chicken Police – Paint it Red! allows you to fulfil that investigative instinct from the comfort of your own home.
Developed by The Wild Gentleman and published by HandyGames, this detective adventure title will transport you to the slow and mobster ruled world of the 30s. This film noir inspired story is far from your standard crime tale. Yes, you have the stereotypical character models; The washed up gritty detective, the mobster boss, the trustworthy but foolish partner, and the femme fatale. Yet, you quickly discover the twist, as each person is part animal and part human.
I will not lie, it’s bloody odd looking at a rooster with an ageing mans body, or an impala who is in incredible shape. It plays with your mind and is reminiscent of the cartoon image of Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. People shouldn’t find her attractive, but it doesn’t stop them. Once you get over the shock of the random creature/human creations, you admire the artistic approach, and the striking style that has been implemented. The use of the noir theme works perfectly with the character models, and the seedy and dark nature of the plot takes shape from the first scene.
Chicken Police – Paint it Red! follows traditional mechanics.
For all its weird and wonderful ways, Chicken Police – Paint it Red! plays it safe throughout. The game is all about observing each area you are in, gathering clues, and questioning the surrounding people. This is nothing new, and can be found in any point and click game or detective title. What makes this standout, however, is the need to match the investigatory questions with the character’s personality. Your line of questioning must match each person’s traits; shy, confident, scared and so on. A meter records a level of success, and too many wrong questions impact the relationship you have with the witness, and the information given. You are awarded a grading between 1 and 5 stars based on your success. Only the best and most observant detectives will obtain the maximum level with no mistakes.
You control Santino “Sonny” Featherland, he is a gritty alcoholic close to retiring cop. He lost his marriage to the job and is currently on paid leave because of an incident. His partner Martin “Marty” MacChicken is not talking to him because of an accident involving the pair and Marty’s shotgun, yet their relationship draws them together for another case. Natasha Catzenko the girlfriend of mob boss Ibn Wessler needs your help, she has a dark past that has caught up with her, and cannot seek help from official channels. Then there’s Ibn Wessler, the mobster boss who seems to have turned over a new leaf, but appearances can be deceiving. The story takes place in the dark and colourless city of Clawville. The people have lost all hope, and crime has taken over, the police are second-rate citizens, and no-one trusts them.
It’s a bad time to be a cop, so it’s a good job that your badge has been taken away. You must use all you have learned to get to the bottom of this latest case, while staying friendly with the city’s biggest mobster. It’s a tricky balancing act, but if anyone can do it, Sonny can do it.
A simple premise to follow.
What’s the point of being a detective if you will not look at the finer details? This is the key principle of Chicken Police – Paint it Red! You must explore every portion of each scene you encounter, observing each interactive object, hoping to find clues. If your investigatory partner alters, the information you obtain from any area will change. This forces you to revisit areas you have already explored, causing possible frustrations. It was a little annoying when key information could have been missed simply because I overlooked an area I had already investigated.
With finer details being essential, it was also annoying when you discovered that you accidentally skipped clues. There is no way to repeat a conversation, and unlike other games in the genre that store all the poignant information in a journal, The Wild Gentleman didn’t think this would be important. Though it didn’t stop me from playing, it felt that I was guessing the right response to a line of questioning because I hastily pressed the skip button.
Though wrong answers will not stop you from progressing, it almost undermines the main concept of this game. It’s all about fact finding and questioning relevant suspects and witnesses, but these ideas are weakened when you may simply guess your way to the answers.
Chicken Police – Paint it Red! is spectacular to look at.
There is no denying it, Chicken Police – Paint it Red! is absolutely amazing to look at. The grainy black and white imagery is reminiscent of a 30s film, with attention paid to both the background and the character models. Using lighting and smoke effects helped to create a seedy atmosphere that goes hand in hand with this underworld environment.
The merging of animals and humans was unusual, but the highlighting of key animal characteristics was both intelligent and amusing. The gameplay itself is broken down over two perspectives, the city map, and the investigatory screen. These are clear, easy to navigate and allow you to know exactly what you are doing. I experienced some issues with the clarity of clues and some missing textures. This was overcome using the “Extras” menu from the main screen. Sadly, each time I had to do this, it broke the immersive cinematic feel of the game play.
Talking of immersion, the audio is the gateway to this 30s crime ridden realm. A brilliant jazz filled soundtrack sets the scene perfectly, with some amazing sound effects helping to create a sense of realism. The expertly acted dialogue brought every character to life, even if there was an issue with the text failing to keep up with the spoken word. The delivery of the lines and the witty approach have to be commended. The developers did a wonderful job of presenting a game that would easily transport us back 90 years.
It wants you to focus on the crime, not the controls!
Whenever I look at this genre, I always worry that it will be tricky to play on a console. Most are best suited to mouse and keyboard, but I was pleasantly surprised. A well laid out setup allows you to interact and move around each fixed scene with ease. The D-pad selects the submenus, ensuring you don’t get confused. Though it’s good, it’s not perfect. The use of a radial menu for interactions was a great idea, but if you hover over a selection for too long, it automatically chooses it. That’s annoying, but not game breaking. As previously mentioned you can accidentally skip through poignant moments and miss clues, this is unforgivable in a detective game and makes the story feel disjointed.
Sadly, this genre isn’t renowned for its replay value, and Chicken Police – Paint it Red! follows suit, mostly. No matter how you progress in each interview, the plot continues, regardless. But each conversation is rated between 1 and 5 stars, so players who wish to score the highest points will have something to aim for if they decide to return. A challenging achievement list requires perfection if you wish to get the 100% status. This certainly adds replay value, but I can’t see it adding any elements of enjoyment.
You’ll have a clucking good time with Chicken Police – Paint it Red!
There are so many great and mediocre detective titles on the market that sometimes it’s hard to choose which to play. With its fantastic style, excellent music choices, brilliant acting and comedy laced dialogue, you can’t go wrong with this. I recommend you give it a go, and a copy can be purchased here! Will you help Sonny uncover all the dark secrets from Natasha’s past? Will you find yourself attracted to each of the half animal/half human characters you encounter? These are but some of the questions you’ll face when you enter the dark and gritty city of Clawville. Remember crime sits still for no-one, especially not a rooster/man with a suspicious mind!