Developer/Publisher: PolyEx/MP Entertainment
Game language: English
USK: NOT under 18 years
A review by André 24th February 2003
One of the at least in Germany at that time less considered adventures of 1998 is the 3rd-person-comic-adventure Hopkins FBI. Interestingly enough just now, while I'm writing this review, some players seem to be interested again in Hopkins. And I must confess, for me it was only love at second sight. On the one hand when first starting to play the game I was an absolute adventure beginner and the supposed high degree of difficulty put me off, since I was allowed to experience a Game Over after a short time, on the other hand I was discouraged at that time, since the game is completely in English.
But I probably gave up too early at that time, because when I recently had a warm-up for the second time, I found Hopkins, up to few exceptions, not difficult any more. And also the constantly really well understandable and simple English should be no obstacle for anybody with basic knowledge in the language. So I would have missed almost a really thrilling and extremely varied adventure. Even some really brutal pictures, which occur from time to time, didn't disturb me, but they might meet with disapproval of some players.
At the beginning of the game Special Agent Hopkins is in his apartment, when called to a hostage-taking in a bank, since he is working at the FBI, as one can infer from the title. Thus it is our first task to pack together Hopkins' bits and pieces and to terminate the hostage-taking with as less serious consequences as possible. During his investigations he does not only discover numerous corpses, but he also finds out that the dangerous criminal Bernie Berckson is behind the murders. Is Hopkin's friend and colleague Samantha also in danger? When Hopkins deals more intensively with the case, he encounters even illegal genetic experiments.
The game is really full of surprises and after Hopkins FBI to this point looks like a normal, if even quite brutal detective adventure, the plot takes again and again really unexpected turns. I must say that I was always surprised again about the great ideas of the developers.
However also two action and shooting sequences wait for the gamers, where you can die too. The first one is very simple even for absolute action-amateurs. The showdown towoards the end includes a somewhat larger labyrinth and the change of perspective to 1st-person-view. Then you have to fire your way free in ego-shooter-manner from room to room. That is somewhat more difficult. But after a short time I had got the hang of it, so that even this sequence did not represent a problem for me. After the shooting sequence the game switches to 3rd-person-perspective again and you can safely go on puzzling. I must admit that I actually enjoyed the shooting-sequence. Real ego-shooter players probably might grin quietly to themselves about the degree of difficulty. The puzzle/action-ratio can roughly be estimated with approximately 90% to 10%.
The graphics are really a work of art, very varied in character- and background design. But simply speeking only of background pictures would be not fair. Because constant characteristics are evident, that remind me a lot of the old Superhero comics. The different locations range from big city jungles, to the sky above, a dream island or a futuristic underwater world.
Particularly an island bar reminded me of Broken Sword a bit. Occasionally there are close-ups in the form of only few animated fixed images from the crime scenes, which are homogeneously integrated in the remaining design.
Mentioned close-ups could shock delicately strung people, as I said before. Thus one sees for example a corpse skewered on an enormous hook and large quantities of still dripping blood from the resulting wounds. There is a whole number of such animations of usually female corpses, and that is why we must be at least 18, in order to be allowed to play Hopkins. I can understand if the mentioned animations meet disapproval of some players, but they are no cheap showmanship, however fit in the artistic total concept and the story too. After all we hunt a mad serial killer and not a fare-dodger.
The numerous close-ups of beautiful women, who surrender, when Hopkins addresses them, are likewise noteworthy. The developers had really good taste (at least my taste) and I couldn't claim that any of the female characters were not appealing. Of course these are also drawn in the style of old comic magazines. There's not much facial animation, but it fits.
Who procures the game maybe lucky to get an issue in the original box. This too outstandingly fits the comic optics of the game. Unfortunately I sold the game in the original box in the past and now only possess the dearless made cheap DVD-box-version for buget price, which contains another game, but no more manual and unfortunately also not the original cover artwork.
First two important tips: It is particularly recommended to examine (search) and move really all objects etc.. I didn't do that in the beginning and was a little discouraged, since I did not find a bomb, what ended the game. If the bomb is not defused and one leaves the location hastily, it will explode and that means Game Over. Fortunately there are not too many puzzles like this.
Secondly: You should definitely cut the cable with the knife, if you are in the sky for the second time. You probably won't return later and there won't be a Happy End - however the resulting end is disappointing short.
The majority of puzzles consists of finding and using objects in the correct place or in leading conversations, to receive information. Conversations partly open new locations. One must also often serve machines as for example a film projector. There are no timed puzzles. Once you have to leave an area fast, in order not to be caught, but you are even told about that in advance. Most puzzles were great fun for me, since they are to a large extent really imaginative. So one must start e.g. a fire in one room, in order to divert a guard in another room. And often there was this aha experience, if a solution appears somewhat far-fetched, but one thinks on the other hand nevertheless that it could function and then it really works.
Occasionally some puzzles were quite difficult to comprehend, since there are very many locations and with that a lot of possibilities at the beginning already. So examining everything in every detail is very important. Besides, I didn't find one or another quite well hidden item and didn't find some solutions also. Thus I cribbed a few times from the walkthrough.
The music fits likewise very good into the total concept. The sound track is not only for the adventure genre but probably for other game categories unusual too. While the music in many adventures is quite nice, one really proved taste here and so you can listen to many quite fluffy Sixties Beat songs of The Troggs, Rare Earth and The Blue Magoos. Sometimes the sound track deviates and you hear some rather electronic sounds, which were particularly often used, when suspense or danger rise.
Speech succeeded very well too. And if the pretty women talk with squeaky cliché blonde voice, is that perhaps sexist and surely cliché-ridden, but just as cute. It is noticeable that the characters always speak extremely slow, clear and accent-free. I assume that the intention is to be able to sell the game in countries, whose native language is not English. Also the sub-titles can be seen not only clearly but also for a very long time. It fits, that special value is attached to use not too complicated words as well as long sentences with subordinate clauses. If other English adventure games would get along with so simple and well understandable English, probably not only I would play a complete English game more often.
Even if Hopkins behaves taciturn and cool, nevertheless quite nice humor shows through in some places.
Other sounds were rather sparingly used. But that is not all that noticeable, since there is enough background music and a multiplicity of noises would perhaps even disturb.
Two things were a bit irritating: To combine two objects, you must first take one object so that the inventory closes. Then you have to reopen the inventory to use the already selected item with another.
Secondly there are only six save games, which can be replaced of course but not labeled with text. Otherwise the handling is very easy and user-friendly. The popular and practical point&click control is used. Inventory objects can be selected with a mouse-click. With the right mouse button one can choose between usually three or four possible actions, whether one examines or takes items for example. With a double-click you can exit a scene at once without walking. Only the ego sequences towards the end of the game must be controlled by keyboard. But you need only six keys (up, down, left, right, Strg and space). The game options also do not leave open any desires.
From the previous review should be clear: I just like the game. This is probably not only connected with my preference for the Sixties (and also Seventies). Because the advantages, like the extreme lovingly design, numerous and varied locations, suspense, a varied story with many twists and turns, a lot of interesting puzzles and not least originality in this graphically very independent game, completely outweigh the few weaknesses. Since these can however actually be reduced to only one - some few not always comprehensible puzzles - I can nothing but give a high rating. Some players may have another opinion because of the sometimes brutal pictures.
At last it remains to note that a sequel is planned. I would be very pleased, if it really comes to a release.
Rating: 84 %
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements:
- Pentium 200
- Windows 95/98
- 32 MB RAM
- 20 MB free hard disk space
- 2 MB SVGA graphic card
- DirectX compatible sound card
- DirectX 5.0 or higher
- Win 98
- Pentium III
- 64 MB RAM
- Soundblaster Pro
- 40x CDROM-drive