Part 1Jack Orlando was made by a Polish developer, Toontraxx, who wanted to develop adventure games using hand-drawn animation. It's not definite, but they were probably inspired to do so by the success of Broken Sword, which came out the year before and featured animation with a similar art-style. Broken Sword was a big hit, and Toontraxx likely wanted to capture the same sort of audience for themselves. Unfortunately, all the effort is front-loaded -- the opening cutscene is the only real animation showcase in the game, and it pales in comparison to Revolution's own. Still, they clearly put effort into it, and screenshots wouldn't quite do it justice, so here you go: the beginning of Jack Orlando.
Jack is a pathetic drunkard, and pretty much everyone hates him. As you'll see, though, they're not wrong to -- there's rarely been a less likeable protagonist in videogames, adventure or otherwise. Right now, though, he's under arrest.
You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
Major Pete Reynolds, United States Army. Hmm, this is a heavy one.
You've got the wrong guy! You'll never get promotion this way!
We don't need a promotion. We're happy just gettin' guys like you off the streets.
I'm the victim here! I'll lend you a handkerchief if you take these cuffs off.
It's clear that the developers were inspired by American noir films. And, sure, noir protagonists are cynical and sardonic, and they probably drink a lot too. On the surface of it, then, Jack Orlando gets some things right; the soundtrack, for example, is limited but has some nice jazz bits in it. The problem is the dialog, and I don't know how much of that is the developers' fault, and how much is the translation. Whatever the reason, everyone in the game -- and especially Jack -- comes off as an asshole.
Listen Alex, take this guy down to the station before I lose it. I'll wait for the inspector.
Jack is now in prison, but his cellmate has something to say:
Orlando, nice to see a familiar face.
Should my onetime best informer be in the shit?
Only a little temporary difficulty.
So you'll be in for a year again.
Ha, ha, Orlando! I'll be outta here in an hour at the latest.
In an hour? I'd like to see that but I'll be out real soon now.
You seem pretty sure of yourself.
You know, I seldom make mistakes.
So you'll be walkin'outa here pretty soon, huh? I can't wait to see that, bighead.
Finally, we get control of Jack Orlando. Everything that follows from now until we get out is necessary -- without doing it, the police will never let you out of the cell. Just remember that.
First, we have to use one of Jack Orlando's greatest gameplay features:
Start talkin', while you still can.
Jack Orlando has a dedicated "threaten to punch people" command. It gets the same prominence as regular adventure game actions like looking, or moving, or picking things up. In this case, it's useful, but it is possible to threaten any NPC you want, anywhere, at any time. It's fantastic.
What do you want?
Who killed Reynolds? Spit it out!
I don't know. I only heard that Scarletti had something to do with it.
Who is this Scarletti? And tell me ev'rythin' you know.
Don Scarletti. He's too big for you, Orlando. He's the boss of all the organized crime in this city. Guns, gambling, everythin' that makes money for him.
I hope you're not hidin' anythin' from me, or I'll be back... to feed you to the fishes.
Dammit, Orlando, I don't know any more!
Huh? You getting rid of surplus energy?
We need this spoon. It's the only spoon in the world.
Since we have done everything in the cell, they finally let us out.
Shut up, Orlando! You're up to your ears in shit and still talkin' crap! Are you aware of your situation or has your brain finally turned to jelly?
I'm bein' serious. You really lost weight.
Watch your own ass, Jack, or the judge'll tear it wide open.
So, no help?
I didn't say that. Why do you think you're here? You've got 2 days, 48 hours, to catch the real killer. Do that and you help us both. Otherwise we're both in the shit.
I know how long 2 days is. I been countin' since kindergarten.
Then you better count on yourself, Jack. Johnson, take off his cuffs and show him the way! Jack, before you start sniffing around, go have a wash. You look as tho' you've been sleeping in a trashcan.
The cops let Orlando off by his apartment building.
Jack's door is locked, and he doesn't have a key. He doesn't have the key to his own apartment, because this is an adventure game. The solution, of course, is to tell Jack to pick up the doormat.
The key was under the doormat. I am sure someone will ask, so I will just tell you right now that no, there is no indication of this. I had to consult a walkthrough on the first puzzle in the game.
Anyway, with key in hand, Jack finally unlocks his door. Suddenly, his neighbor opens her door and starts talking to him:
Believe me, Alice, this is the worst day in a while...
Tell me what happened.
I ran into some bad trouble.
C'mon over and we'll talk about it. But go see to yourself first, you look awful.
Yeah, I gotta check if everythin's still there.
Jack's apartment, which is also his office, is probably nicer than any film noir hero's home has ever been. He even has a little painting of a horse, which we can examine.
A reminder of my ol' grandaddy, on my Mom's side.
But what is that orange thing next to the bookcase?
A typical woman's toy. What the hell's it doin' here?
Checking the inventory identifies it as a "Duster." There is no indication of what any of the things you pick up are, so you just have to go by the tooltips in your inventory.
After taking a shower (if you don't, nobody is willing to talk to Jack Orlando due to his poor hygiene) we search the apartment. Under the bookshelf, we find a key in one of the drawers.
We also get Jack's notebook.
A guy could do somethin' good with that.
Thank you for the commentary.
Finally, the key unlocks a drawer on the other side of the room, which contains Jack's revolver.
But the gun is not just another inventory item, oh no. Look:
Yes, just like his fists, Jack's gun is a general action that can be used on the world. He will happily point the gun at anyone, though this is useful maybe twice in the whole game. But more on that later -- Jack has a murder to investigate, and his name to clear! There is no time to waste!
I'm not disturbin' your dustin'?
Only forty-eight hours!
No, I was just going to start, but I couldn't find my stupid duster.
He who seeks will find, they say.
Very funny Jack.
Was it? Was it really?
I've mislaid my duster and I thought you could lend me one. You don't need yours anyway.
If the duster belongs to Jack, why was he so surprised to find it in his apartment? Whatever, he doesn't want it, she can have it.
Oh thank you Jack. Do you have a spoon?
We give her the spoon Jack stole from his prison cell, because adventure games are terrible.
I'll make fresh coffee when I'm finished with dusting.
She leaves. We steal her "nail set" and an apple, and Jack insults her choice of decor.
That thermometer displays a lack of taste. And Alice never really appreciated art.
And I don't know what he's talking about here. Let's go rob someone else! (Jack steals the mop from the hallway on the way out).
That old scrapheap belong to you?
No, it's my neighbor's car.
Great. I need to borrow his crankin' handle.
Forget it, young man. Biff never lends anything.
Jack is a fine adventure protagonist, and is not bothered by concepts like "ownership" or "ethics."
Hi, how are you?
I was OK till you showed up, asshole. Beat it, or you'll hear the sounda your little nose breakin'.
Can't a man have a look around here.
Ain't nobody call me dummy!
Well, ok, so stealing the car crank at that time isn't what you're supposed to do -- Biff kills you if you do (and really, he seems like he's in the right here). So that's our second puzzle: how do we steal Biff's belongings without him killing us in the process? Tune in next time to find out, probably!