Police Quest II: The Vengeance

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Police Quest II: The Vengeance
Police Quest II The Vengeance Front Cover.jpg
Developer(s)Sierra On-Line
Publisher(s)Sierra On-Line
Designer(s)Jim Walls
Writer(s)Jim Walls
Composer(s)Mark Seibert
SeriesPolice Quest
Platform(s)MS-DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, NEC PC-9801
ReleaseNovember 1988
Genre(s)Adventure game

Police Quest II: The Vengeance (also known simply as Police Quest II) is an adventure game produced by Jim Walls for Sierra On-Line, and released in 1988. It is the sequel to Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel and is part of the Police Quest series.


A text parser interface is used to control the player character in Police Quest II. Commands are given in a verb/noun combination (e.g. "Unlock Door" or "Take Keys"), though some keyboard shortcuts are available. The player is required to follow correct police procedures to effectively complete the game and achieve the highest score.

Unlike the first game, driving sequences between destinations are automatic, accomplished through the parser interface (i.e., "drive station" or "chase car") and the player is not required to control the car directly.

Sonny Bonds has access to a firearm. The player is required to use the gun at times throughout the game and will need to make sure the gun is sighted properly as well as loaded with ammunition. There are no action sequences in the game as such, though some hazardous situations are time critical. So long as Sonny is properly positioned (facing his target) and his pistol is sighted, he will fire as accurately as the plot demands.


Setting and characters[edit]

Police Quest II: The Vengeance is based in the fictional town of Lytton, California in 1988, as well as in the town of Steelton, USA (state is not mentioned in the game: PQ1VGA places Steelton in California &, the Police Quest Casebook states it is in New Mexico[1]). Players can visit various locations in the city of Lytton including the Detective Division of the police department (where Sonny Bonds is stationed), the Jail and Cotton Cove, a picnic area running along the Clear Water River.

The player character is Sonny Bonds, a detective with the Lytton Police Department. The other main characters are Bonds' partner Keith, Bonds' girlfriend Marie Wilkans, and Jessie Bains, an escaped convict who Bonds arrested in Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel.


After arresting Jessie Bains in the original Police Quest, Bonds is promoted to the homicide division. He begins dating Marie Wilkans, who helped him in his undercover work in exchange for the dismissal of prostitution charges against her. Their peaceful life is however short-lived: when Bains is returned to Lytton for retrial, he manages to escape from prison, taking one of the guards hostage using a makeshift knife.

Bonds and his partner Keith Robinson gather evidence at the jailhouse and locate the kidnapped jailer's car. They are then called to the riverside, where Bains has apparently been spotted. Bains appears and a brief shootout ensues, culminating in Bains' escape. In the aftermath Sonny dives into the river and finds the submerged body of the guard. Locating Bains' getaway vehicle near the airport, Sonny investigates and finds out that Bains has since assumed the dead jailer's identity, but still cannot determine Bains' next move. Bonds concludes his shift and goes off-duty, then has a dinner date with Marie where they discuss the unfolding menace.

The following day, police discover the body of Woody Roberts, former bartender at Hotel Delphoria in the original Police Quest and a witness in Bains' trial. Evidence at the site directs Bonds and his partner to a motel in town, where the two storm Bains' room assisted by the local S.W.A.T. unit. While Bains himself is not present, Bonds finds Donald Colby's business card (who now lives in Steelton) in the sink, along with a tube of Marie's lipstick under the bed. Hurrying to Marie's house, Bonds finds signs of a struggle and clear indication that Marie has been abducted by Bains. Worse, he finds a hit list naming those that Bains intends to take revenge on, including Bonds, Marie Wilkans, the already murdered Woody Roberts, and Colby, a former small-time drug dealer now in the witness protection program. The Lytton PD concludes that Bains set a trap to ambush Bonds and is using Marie as bait.

Bonds' detective work and the accumulated evidence lead him to believe that Bains has flown to Steelton where he intends to kill Colby. Alerting both Colby and the local police, Bonds and his partner take a flight there as well. On the way, they avert an attempted terrorist bombing of their plane. Arriving at Steelton, Bonds learns that Bains has already murdered Colby before the local police could react. A phone call to Colby's office is traced to a local park, and Bonds heads there to investigate, quickly tracking Bains into the sewer system below the park. After navigating the dangerous, methane gas-filled sewers, Bonds finally confronts Bains in a shootout, during which Bains is shot dead and Marie is rescued.

Bonds is subsequently placed on a mandatory, three-day administrative leave while the Lytton PD Internal Affairs Shooting Review Board investigates his actions. Ultimately, the board rules that Bonds acted in self-defense, and is thus decorated by the department, takes off for the Bahamas with Marie, and successfully proposes to her on the plane. All of the preceding leads to the events of Police Quest III.


The 1988 sequel, developed with Sierra's new SCI engine, focused more on detective and forensics work than the traffic-cop beginning of the original, while keeping the same realistic setting. The proper procedures for collecting and handling evidence are the main focus of many of the puzzles in Police Quest II. It was released for the IBM PC, Amiga, Atari ST and later for the NEC PC-9801 (using redrawn sprites in Anime style).

The scenarios present in the game are based on situations designer Jim Walls or his friends were in while in the police force. The antagonist Jessie Bains is based on a convict who did escape and was on the loose at the time the game was released.[2]


The first four Police Quest games totaled 850,000 sales by late 1995. However, Markus Krichel of PC Games noted that "interest on the part of the gamer fell slightly" with Police Quest: Open Season, which led Sierra On-Line to experiment with a new direction for the series with Police Quest: SWAT.[3] According to Sierra, combined sales of the Police Quest series—including SWAT—surpassed 1.2 million units by the end of March 1996.[4]

In its June 1989 issue, British magazine Atari ST User called the ST version "excellent in every respect – the graphics, plot, detail, humour and story telling are of first rate quality", awarding it 9 out of 10.[5] Computer Gaming World also gave the game a glowing review, saying, "The advanced graphics, intriguing story, and flowing animation make this story come alive. The whole package leads us toward a new apex in interactive game fiction!"[2]

Retro-gaming websites Hardcore Gaming 101 and Adventure Gaming both praised the title, calling it the highlight of the series, with Hardcore Gaming 101 stating that "if there's any one title (of the Police Quest series) that deserves attention, it's this one. It's well-paced, fairly exciting, and more interesting than any of the others, and something of an overlooked classic."[6] Adventure Gamers concluded similarly that "(t)he Vengeance is an entertaining and intense retro adventure that is not only the best of its series, but one of the very best of Sierra's Golden Age."[7] In 2011, Adventure Gamers named Police Quest II the 24th-best adventure game ever released.[8]


  1. ^ Scisco, Peter (October 1, 1992). Police Quest Casebook. McGraw-Hill Osborne. ISBN 0078818230.
  2. ^ a b Chaut, Michael (Feb 1989), "Curse of the Fallen Angel", Computer Gaming World, pp. 42–43
  3. ^ Krichel, Markus (November 1995). "Spezialeinheit". PC Games: 40, 41.
  4. ^ Sierra On-Line Form 10-K (Report). Bellevue, Washington. March 31, 1996. pp. 7–9. Archived from the original on April 16, 2018.
  5. ^ "Brillig" (1989), "Breakout brings a treat", Atari ST User, Database Publications Ltd., 4 (4), pp. 106–107
  6. ^ Kalata, Kurt (2010-01-22), "Police Quest", Hardcore Gaming 101
  7. ^ Dickens, Evan (April 17, 2009), "Police Quest 2: The Vengeance review", Adventure Gamers
  8. ^ AG Staff (December 30, 2011). "Top 100 All-Time Adventure Games". Adventure Gamers. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012.

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