Daryl F. Gates Police Quest: Open Season (aka Police Quest 4: Open Season or PQ4) is the fourth installment of Sierra Entertainment's popular Police Quest computer game series. Released in 1993, it was created by retired Police Chief Daryl F. Gates after his retirement in 1992. He replaced ex-California Highway Patrol officer Jim Walls as the designer of the Police Quest franchise.
Police Quest IV differs significantly from the first three games, in both game engine and story. The player plays the character of homicide detective John Carey, rather than officer Sonny Bonds, and the game is set in Los Angeles, California rather than the fictional Lytton. Backgrounds for the game are scanned photographs rather than painted scenery, and depict real locations in Los Angeles. The Parker Center is a location used in the game, and is virtually unchanged from when the game was made. Similarly, characters and digitized sprites of actors.
Written text is replaced by audible narration and dialogues on the CD version, released in 1996.
The entire game, like Police Quest III and the 1991 re-make of Police Quest 1, is based on a mouse-controlled user-interface system. Icons such as "walk", "speak to", "touch", "use", and "look at" are used rather than the less-conventional text-parsing system used in the first two games.
The game starts in a South Central Los Angeles alley at around 3:00 AM. Carey finds his best friend, Officer Robert Hickman, murdered on the scene, alongside eight-year-old Bobby Washington. The seemingly random string of gang-related murders continues along, providing Carey with clues to find his killer(s).
After 5 people are murdered, mutilated and found in public places, Carey finally closes in on the serial killer. He stumbled across the proprietor of a second-rate movie theatre, who has a stuttering problem. The owner offers him some tea and invites him into the theatre to watch a film. Carey passes out and hallucinates that the proprietor is the cross-dresser seen near the body of Hickman. The owner wakes Carey up and throws him out of the theatre. Carey finds the killer's house (led there by his dog), only to find a severed head in a fridge. Carey finds a hidden passage that leads back to the theatre, and finds a woman passed out in the seats. When he returns, he sees the owner dragging the unconscious woman into a back room. Carey is subsequently knocked unconscious. However, Carey manages to scrounge up some hairspray and a lighter, finds the woman covered in blood with the killer looming over her, and torches the killer. Although the woman is limp and covered in blood, we can assume that Carey saved her because the mayor mentions that only 5 people were killed, as he presents Carey with the Medal of Valor.
The game's gritty realism greatly emphasizes a homicide detective's line of work, requiring the player to follow standard police procedures and thoroughly investigate crime scenes to every extent. As such realism is presented in the form of working to find and link clues, the game also depicts a gruesome photo-realistic nature including dead bodies and a severed head in the refrigerator. The CD version of the game contained copies of official LA police department employee and community relation polices.
At the beginning of the game, an eight-year-old boy is found murdered from gunshot wounds in a dumpster, close-ups of Hickman's body are revealed, and towards the end of the game, the player will find a severed head in a refrigerator before ultimately stumbling upon the killer, who is fondling a victim's corpse. It is believed the killer in the game is based on serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, noted for keeping body parts from his victims inside his house. The game, like several other Sierra games of the era, is also notable for the fact that the main character can be killed by many hazards; the game ends if a player constantly harasses female employees at the Parker Center, or if he shoots non-threatening people, or gets killed by a murderer or a guard dog.
Open Season also featured mature sexual themes. At one point, the player visits a transgender nightclub in West Hollywood, and learns about his friend's secret life, also a topless woman can be seen dancing in the nightclub. The realism is complemented by a unique reaction for inappropriate use of items in the player's inventory, rather than a generic "I can't do that" statement.
The game also depicts Dennis Walker as a Neo-Nazi decorating his apartment with a Nazi flag and Swastika symbols on his wall.
The PC game is notable for the use of profanity used by characters including Yo Money, Nicolette Rogers, Dennis Walker, Hal Bottoms.
this PC game was released in 1993 before the ESRB rating system was officially established in 1994.
Development and ReleaseEdit
The same year Police Quest: Open Season was released, ex-Police Quest developer Jim Walls released a very similar game called Blue Force. Although Blue Force is graphically more similar to Police Quest III, the storyline and completion time are shorter.
Also, for the 1996 release of the game, a two minute promotional video was included.
The game was promotionally called Police Quest 4 in early production materials. PQ4 appears in the installation menus, credits and file names. The name does not appear in the title screen however.
There are two versions of Police Quest 4 the Floppy version and the CD-Rom version. There are some differences between the two. The CD-Rom version includes enhanced graphics for inventory items, menus, and some of the close up scenes. There are also script and character name differences. Both utilize vesa drivers.
Some of the later releases, especially in collections (including GOG version) refer to this as Police Quest 4 or Police Quest 4: Open Season. Though references to PQ4 can also be found in the file structure and installations in several versions. The 2006 version's windows menu refers to as Police Quest 4 as well.
- Detective John Carey
- Mitchell Thurman
- Robert Hickman
- Malcom Allen
- Katherine Hickman
- Valerie Hickman
- Donald Block
- Kristy Bilden
- Hal Bottoms
- Sherry Moore
- Russel Marks
- Barbie Cann
- Emmo Jones
- Dennis Walker
- Wendy James
- Kim Chee
- Jim Varaz
- Yo Money
- Ragin' Paul
- Rosa Garcia
- Bill Linder
- Chief Gates
- Teddy Baker
- Julie Chester
- Phillip Jurica
- Bert Arnold
- Nora Bitteridge
- Bruce Woodbury
- LaSondra Washington
- Bobby Washington
- Bernadette Washington
- Joel Miller
- Billy Bob Strum
- Neal Schmall
- Don Hadley
- Raymond Jones III
The first Police Quest game not to feature Sonny Bonds.
The first Police Quest game to use voice acting.
Tammy Dargan authored and wrote the story. Gates was mostly an technical advisor for police tactics.
This game is notable for the use of uncensored profanity used by Dennis Walker, Yo Money, Nicolette Rogers, Hal Bottoms in 1993 a year before the ESRB rating system was officially established.
This game caused controversy for the portrayal of African American men in the game using jive talk. The script was written by Tammy Dargan, and Gates actually tried to advise against using the lingo saying that African-Americans speak like anyone else.
The first Police Quest game to take place in Los Angeles.
You no longer have to drive your car on the streets to your destination. So choosing a location will automatically get you there. However, this more has to do with the player being a 'Detective' and not a cop. His job is not to drivers for driving violations.
One of the first PC games to use the word "Fuck" and "Shit" in that same year in 1993 Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers also featured those words.