Ladies and gentlemen, I have found law gaming nirvana. And it comes in the form of a digital version of the late, great Jerry Orbach.
I spent a few hours playing ‘Law and Order: Dead on the Money’, the first in a series of video game adaptations of the incredibly diverse and longlasting Law and Order television show.
Oh, did I mention it also has the voice (and disturbingly weirdly proportioned body) of Elisabeth Röhm, who as you will all know played Assistant District Attorney Serena Southerlyn on the original Law and Order show until she… um… I can’t remember. Did she go into the witness protection program, or something? Anyway.
This game just oozes 2002 video gaming quality, which means lots of low resolution video, limited voice recordings so Mr Orbach seems to say the same things again and again, and multiple CDs (apparently – I played an online digital version and so should you).
Everyone will remember the opening monologue to each episode of Law and Order:
In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.
And that is pretty much how the game is structured. You start off playing the sidekick to the absolutely amazing Jerry Orbach, and are investigating the murder of a stockbroker. Then, once you have a suspect, you switch over to Ms Röhm to live out your fantasy of being an ADA for the city of New York.
To make things more interesting, your initial investigation is subject to an overall time limit. So regardless of what you’re doing, if that time limit expires and you haven’t arrested someone, you’re out of luck. Or if you have arrested someone but spent too little time gathering up all the required evidence, you won’t be able to prosecute them successfully. I know, STRESSFUL.
The game itself is pretty much your standard adventure-style game in appearance, where you click at random things on the screen to interact with them (say, clicking on evidence to collect it), or selecting from various dialogue options when talking to other characters (say, interviewing a suspect). The style of game is actually pretty simple and straightforward, and if you’re at all familiar with the show you’ll be pretty used to the narrative arc the storyline takes.
I played it with a walkthrough as I am a dirty cheat, but I challenge anyone who is not a US lawyer to beat the courtroom scenes without one. I’ve said before that I am not a litigator and hate court work down to the very deepest part of my being, and this game makes you learn about US court process and rules in order to beat the court scenes. It is kinda crap, or at least less exciting than hanging out with digital Jerry Orbach.
You can still buy the actual original copy for investment purposes, and with the improving Australian dollar I strongly advise you to do so. Available here, thank me later.
Rating? 5/5, because Jerry Orbach.
PS – all photos credited to http://www.metzomagic.com/showArticle.php?index=465, with thanks.
PS – check out the system requirements. Does anyone under 30 even remember the Pentium CPU?
Pentium II (or compatible) 400 MHz, 96 MB RAM, DirectX-compatible 8 MB Video Card, 12x CD-ROM Drive, 700 MB of Hard Drive Space, DirectX 8.1 or later (on CD).