My First Day On Patrol With: Police Force

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to able to really get stuck into any kind of municipal simulation in my day job, so I was delighted to realise that there was nothing better to do today than crack open my copy of Police Force and “experience law enforcement like never before”. Join me for the first day on the beat with Marc Angel and his implacable sidekick, Susan. (Yes, that is actually what they are called in the game.)

The first trick of policing we get to learn about is the “PDA”, which I believe was what people used before they had phones and portable laptops. With this neat piece of recently-obsolete computer technology Marc Angel is able to bravely to walk around the streets of his city, scanning people to figure out if they are involved in crime. We test it on the nearest subject. Goodness! He’s a criminal! We’ll have to get him, of course, and that means handcuffs. Marc Angel and Susan run after the fleeing criminal and auto-cuff him. Once I’ve called the police van, he’s taken away, presumably to be executed.

But it’s not all about handcuffing surprised enemies of justice in broad-daylight, no. We have twenty minutes (real time) in which we must patrol the city. And that’s as interesting as it sounds. As you’d hope, nothing happens for several minutes, until suddenly there’s call to arms. An old woman has escaped from the old people’s home (I’m not even making this up) and must be stopped. Using the PDA we scan a number of people to see if they are an escaped old woman. Finally, one of them is! Alarmingly, however, she collapses to the ground. Heart attack? Just playing dead? Maybe. We call an ambulance. She’s taken away, presumably to be executed.

So that’s done… More time to drive around this lovely city. Except no – there’s even more excitement to be had. Two cars have conveniently had an accident just down the road from where we parked the police car. We can stroll on over and get the tow trucks in. Ah, that’s good. Now we’re really helping people. Good job, Marc Angel.

On the way back to the car I think about the seventeen minutes of my shift that remain. Since driving around didn’t seem to produce much excitement, I wonder whether we should use that PDA to uncover bonus criminals.

The first few times we scan an old lady fail to produce results…

…but finally there’s a man in black!

And FUCK he’s got a gun! Fumbling for how to deal with someone who is actually a danger to my life, I look at my other options. Pepper spray? That’s greyed out… Baton, ok, maybe, ooh, a gun! Marc Angel gets out his gun and shoots the baddy. This seems to have no effect. Perhaps Susan will help? No, she’s just standing there. Watching. Unmoving. Hmm. Fortunately Marc Angel is pretty tough and – after taking a bullet and a kick in the leg – is finally able to beat the man in black down with his baton. We call an ambulance, and the unmasked threat to society is driven away. Presumably he’s already dead.

Now, though, my attentions turn to Susan. I think she fancies me, as you can see from her body language and general interest in pushing the boundaries of personal space:

My real concern, however, is that she didn’t help me while I was being attacked. Why, Susan? Why? Is is secretly because she is ONE OF THEM? As I attempt to scan her with my PDA I find control switching from Marc to Susan. Aha, naturally, a playable Susan. I should have realised. This also explains why the pepper spray was greyed out. Susan can’t be trusted with a baton or gun, of course, but she can have pepper spray, which is a kind of food.

We continue our patrols. It’s uneventful, with just one other traffic accident to deal with….

Until: RIOTERS! Holy policing motherlode! Those rioters need to be stopped, and Susan is just the empty vessel of player control to do it. Come on Marc, we’ve got a riot to stop!

Arriving on the scene is, well, disappointing. I am not sure if three men waving their arms in the air really counts as a riot. Oh, it does count as a riot now? Sorry. Anyway, needless to say, that pepper spray soon gets an outing and the baseball bat-wielding rioter is unable to attend to his streaming eyes because we’ve cuffed him. The two other “rioters” flee in a dramatic but ultimately nonsensical circuit around the area, and Susan – running around 20% faster than the rioters – temporarily incapacitates for all she’s worth. The lawbreakers are quickly cuffed and put in the back of the van. It feels pretty good.

Actually, discovering that the pepper-spray, like the PDA, can be used on anyone in the city, feels pretty good too.

And I suspect there’s some kind of satirical potential in that. But it’s too late for such jokes. My shift is over, and we’ve been promoted!

All in a day’s work for Marc Angel and Susan, hero-protagonists of: Police Force!

*Music from The Bill*



  1. Meat Circus says:

    Fart Cops?

  2. ran93r says:

    I don’t know why this even exists but I might try eating pepper spray now.

    • MCM says:

      Perhaps I am off base, but what Jim referring to this particular clip:

      link to

      In which Fox News tells viewers that pepper spray is a “food product, essentially” and thus pretty safe to spray indiscriminately into the face of citizens?

    • Kdansky says:

      link to

      There you go, recommendations for pepper spray.

    • Josh W says:

      That’s brilliant, “you can do that, and it’s very american, but it may also happen to break the law” leading to indescriminate pepper spraying. Clears things up nicely!

    • Roshin says:

      I’d love to see Bill O´Reilly volunteer for a peppering, just to show how harmless and tasty it is.

    • Bhazor says:

      The best bit is
      “The cops were threatened” cut to the shot of a cop slowly walking back and forth spraying a group of protestors on their knees.

    • n3burgener says:

      I was thinking of this clip from the TV show Dead Like Me, where Mason puts pepper spray on his eggs.

  3. faelnor says:


    • Was Neurotic says:

      I was confused by the names and the first few screenshots, then when I saw that first close-up of their black nylon-looking uniforms and white hats, that’s EXACTLY what went through my mind too! My feet even did a quick shuffle door-wards! :D

  4. Firkragg says:

    This needs a Robocop mod.

  5. Vexing Vision says:

    That sounds amazing.

    I wish to play this. (Only to be presumably executed, of course.)

  6. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. says:

    GOTY, Every Year.

  7. Griddle Octopus says:

    Amazing. Sounds like a Hot Fuzz parody, right down to the name Angel. Nice write-up, Jim.

  8. skyturnedred says:

    Finally a new game police game that makes SWAT3 obsolete.

    • WMain00 says:

      What about SWAT4?

    • Fadobo says:

      “What about SWAT4” <- I do not see this having any impact on the position that SWAT3 has both in my heart and the history of video games.

  9. Abundant_Suede says:

    This still doesn’t let you off the hook for that Street Cleaner cliffhanger.

    • theleif says:

      I’m waiting for “Sausage Factory Worker 2011: Conveyor Belt Controller Edition”

      Could be something like this:

  10. HoosTrax says:

    Nice show of empathy there, in the second screenshot. Nonchalantly ignoring the sprawled out retirement-home-escapee lady in distress.

    What country are these police supposed to be from anyhow? Not US I’m guessing, our cops don’t usually go around dressed in track suits (chav suits?).

    Btw – Susan the sidekick might be a distant relation to Lydia from Skyrim…

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      The number plate in the last screenshot is for an EU country, not sure which one though

    • sneetch says:

      Germany, I think.

    • ArcaneSaint says:

      It’s Germany, says so on the main site: “Battle on the front line of crime as you take command of the policing for a thriving German city. ”

      source: link to

    • c-Row says:

      Massive texture fail I’d say.

    • Christian says:

      Hey, that’s how German police rolls. Why tend to an old lady when there’s civilians to pepperspray? Sad they didn’t use Bavarian police though (although that might have been a bit too much gore).

      But: You can tell it’s from Germany because of the uniforms (they recently got those new ones which is a huge improvement because they finally fit) and the phone booth.
      Fun fact: Those yellow towing-trucks belong to the ADAC, not the ABAC..maybe licensing reasons for the change?

      p.s.: although the number-plate looks more Polish or French..

    • Keymonk says:

      Speaking of Lydia, my nephew once watched me play Skyrim and I had Lydia following me. He noted how useless she was, apparently, because when I was playing online with a friend of mine in some other game and said friend of mine consistently died, my nephew started referring to my friend as ‘Lydia’, on the grounds that they died equally much. I could not stop laughing.

    • Okami says:

      It’s a shame they don’t read ACAB..

    • Was Neurotic says:

      The license plates look about as Polish as an Afghan rug, and anyone who’s heard of the now-legendary street-cleaning simulators know that Excalibur are about 90% of the reason behind the cultural cliché of German pedantry. :D

  11. Jumwa says:

    This oddly makes me want to go back and be a criminal in Saints Row the Third some more.

  12. BAshment says:

    baseball caps quick arrest them.

  13. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Why can’t real life have a PDA that reveals criminals? We’d save BILLIONS in crime investigation.

    • Jonny Stutters says:

      The Newton could but no-one could ever get the handwriting recognition to scan “has he done a crime?” properly.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      I bet Axe Cop has one. Although he doesn’t need one, he can tell if you’re a bad-guy by your front-kick.

    • sinister agent says:

      They do exist, but officials banned them when it was revealed that they don’t differentiate between white and blue collars.

    • Davie says:

      @rustybroomhandle — And if he’s unsure, he’ll probably just chop your head off anyway and wish you back to life if you turn out to be a decent person.

  14. Rinox says:

    I hope you can play as a police medic, healing people with your magical welness baton

    link to

  15. McDan says:

    Wow, just wow. This is amazing

    *Is taken away, presumably to be executed.*

  16. John Connor says:

    Fuck I miss The Bill.

    • Dr. Evanzan says:

      @ John Connor,

      It was taken away, presumably to be executed.

  17. pepper says:

    So, did you have the rioting people executed?

  18. Anthile says:

    Don’t move, you’re surrounded by armed bastards!

  19. Elltot says:

    Looks like you may have to alter your advent calender for this gem.

    • Dozer says:

      If I know RPS, they’ll take this request away, presumably to be executed.

  20. Inigo says:

    Loose cannon, plays by nobody’s rules, turn in your badge, this is not your personal war, gets results dammit, etc. etc. etc.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      Marc Angel is too old for this sh*t.

    • Durkonkell says:

      I must say, I’m very disappointed in this so called ‘police story’. The protagonists weren’t suspended from the force even once! That’s how I knew it wasn’t real.

    • jonfitt says:

      Marc Angel is just 2 moths from retirement.
      He just needs to keep his head down and try and stop loose cannon Susan “Pepper-Spray” Hollister from getting them into trouble.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Marc Angel has gone 25 years without drawing his weapon in the line of duty, I’m sure his last day on the job will be just fine. He even drove his wife’s’ new car to work today.

  21. tinners says:

    More of this please, this game reminds me of Police Quest.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Indeed. Favourite post this month. Reminded me of one of my favourite posts from Quinns.

    • Buttless Boy says:

      It reminds me more of Police Squad.

    • sidhellfire says:

      This is nothing like Police Quest -> PQ was somewhat realistic. This simulation is so “sketchy” that I guess has more in common with… well nothing decent.

      I wish we could get a proper Police Sim game. I wouldn’t mind if it were a bit too colorful like ie. american drama “Third Watch”.
      Imagine something like sandbox GTA game, with you on the different side, yet you do not run’n’gun bandits that in most police games turns out to be a just being a criminal in a uniform. The acutal policing job done. With the need to get suspect alive, and secure evidence, and do not put civilians into the risk (gosh how I hate games, where you’re in a police car and you’re encouraged to hit pedestrians while on a chase). And make it Multiplayer co-op. Like proper role-playing game.

      T_T I’ve been dreaming about game like that for years.

    • renolc says:


      Check out the LCPD mod for GTA4. It’s basically exactly what you described right down to the online co-op. :)

      EDIT: well, ok, it’s not quite as in-depth as your description. But it’s surprisingly fun and the closest thing I’ve found.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Does the sim or the mod feature hours of paperwork? Lovely, lovely realism.

    • sidhellfire says:

      @renolc Thanks! I’m diving into it!

    • McDan says:

      Ross Angus, thank you so much. I had completely forgotten that article by that boy quinns. Brilliant stuff.

    • Ross Angus says:

      (pours one on the sidewalk, for my homie Quinns)

  22. sneetch says:

    I recommend re-reading the whole article with the music from The Bill playing in the background, it’s even more exciting!

    Also, in the “pushing the boundaries of personal space” screenshot, I don’t know if the position of Susan’s left hand is entirely suitable while in uniform (or indeed in public).

  23. Althilor says:

    “My name is Marc Angel. I had an accident, and I woke up in a video game. Am I mad, in a coma, or judging by the graphics, back in time? Whatever’s happened, I’ve landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home.”

  24. Danny says:

    These police chappies need some augmentations (That they never asked for) in order to do their job better.

  25. Ross Mills says:

    Is this better or worse than APB?

  26. Jimmy Jazz says:


    Lt. John Pike Simulator?


  27. Elltot says:

    “Carried away by a moonlight shadow”

    Oh sorry, wrong Angel.

    • Bart Stewart says:

      Well, that explains Susan’s inappropriate lack of respect for personal boundaries: she couldn’t find how to push through.

    • Koozer says:

      Heh, first Angel I thought of too. Does that mean we’re friends now?

    • sujumayas says:

      “Susan can’t be trusted with a baton or gun, of course, but she can have pepper spray, which is a kind of food.”

      This was too much :D
      I loved this post.

    • 3lbFlax says:

      Well, that’d be Shirley, not Susan.

  28. Lambchops says:

    Salicious Susan the sidekick siezes the day
    Pleasingly playing with pepper spray
    For Marc Angel the skies have bcome less grey
    He wonders if she likes the films of Michael Bay

  29. Zeewolf says:

    The worst thing is, Excalibur actually published some cool games before they got obsessed with crappy “simulators”. They were the ones who originally published Space Rangers 2 in Europe, for instance.

  30. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    Simon Phoenix, lie down on the ground… OR ELSE!

    • Koozer says:

      You have been fined 20 credits for violation of the verbal morality statute.

  31. Dizzard says:

    This sounds like it could actually be fun, in a sort of pathetic way.

  32. Network Crayon says:

    So it’s like The Wire?

  33. vecordae says:

    I don’t understand why they didn’t make this game turn-based. Also: Where are the dungeons?

  34. utzel says:

    Even if you don’t understand German, you need to watch this test video: link to
    Yes, most of the people they pepperspray and handcuff are innocent.

  35. Sup says:

    The german magazine Gamestar made a video about it link to . It’s in german, but it shows all the beautiful bugs.

  36. Romtos says:

    That was hysterical.

  37. Koozer says:

    I thought it read Police Squad for a second. The account didn’t actually disappoint.

  38. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    Shouldn’t this be called “Police Service”?

  39. sujumayas says:

    Maybe if you make an MMO with real old ladies scaping from their houses, and ppl robbin cars and that.

    Why not just make GTA a MMO with the option to be part of the Police?

  40. Ahtaps says:

    Well, Australian law used to state (I hope not now) that three men walking abreast constituted a riot. Clearly this is what happened here and these men were asking to be taken away and executed. All in a days work for those who respond the Carl of Duty.

  41. Miked says:

    Amazing article. Along with the bldgblog posts these are my favourite Jim postings. Rock on Jim, rock on.

  42. gordy the gopher says:

    Even my non-gamer partner found this review hilarious. The best game review since Time Stone stopped writing his entertaining, surreal reviews and went all mainstream and dull.