Law & Order II: Double or Nothing Review


Law & Order II: Double or Nothing is structured just like the TV show that inspired it. A crime occurs and the police are called in to investigate the crime, identify a suspect, and gather the evidence. After an arrest is made, the District Attorney’s office takes over and attempts to convict the suspect in a court of law. While these two phases of criminal prosecution are handled by different teams in life and on the TV show, in Double or Nothing you will have the chance to play both investigator and prosecutor.

Screenshots
Interviewing a suspect.

Double or Nothing plays a lot like a traditional adventure game. You’ll spend a lot of time in locations related to a crime moving the mouse around the screen looking for objects to click on and collect. You’ll also spend time questioning suspects and witnesses by selecting from lists of canned questions. However, the game does try to add an element of skill to the gameplay. It may not add the level of puzzle-solving that adventure gamers prefer, but it does prevent the game from being simply a linear series of mouse clicks.

Double or Nothing begins by presenting you with a list of four skills from which you can choose up to two. Skill at evidence collection will add a highlight to your cursor when moved over key evidence at a crime scene. Skill at conducting interviews will reduce the number of questions from which to choose when conducting interview, eliminating those that will not yield valuable information. Skill at case organization will help you to discern between key evidence and useless items. Finally, skill at teamwork will cause members of your team to periodically check in with helpful advice on a case. The skills are helpful to those not used to playing adventure games while not being overly so, removing any challenge from the game. Veteran gamers can choose not to select a skill so that they can make the game a bit more of a challenge.

Each case in the game plays like an episode of the television series. The case opens with the events leading up to the discovery of the crime, at which point you and Detective Lennie Briscoe are called in to investigate the scene of the crime. Crime scene investigation is carried out in true adventure game form – you move the cursor around the screen clicking on the objects that you want to collect and add to your inventory (case file). Double or Nothing adds a slight variation to the formula in that not everything that you collect will be useful to your case; you’ll need to determine which items to keep and which can be disposed of.

You’ll also need to interview any witnesses and suspects at the crime scene to learn more about the crime. When interviewing a person, you must select from one of three questions to ask. Some will be pertinent to the case and yield useful information while others are irrelevant. Since you can only ask a finite number of questions, selecting the wrong ones can hurt your ability to solve the crime. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your view on challenge in games, the irrelevant questions are pretty easy to spot. Still, if you think that you’ve wasted some of your questions, the game will allow you to re-conduct the interview immediately after you finish.