Law & Order: Justice Is Served

Law & Order: Justice is Served Windows Front Cover

Publisher: Legacy Interactive
Developer: Legacy Interactive
Year: 2004
Platform: Windows

The final installment by Legacy using the original Law & Order series, they finally cleaned up all of the annoying little design problems present throughout the first two games in the series.  Sadly, they failed to clean up all of the glaringly large design problems I outlined in my reviews of Dead On The Money and Double Or Nothing. In fact, they managed to get worse.

John McEnroe “stars” in this episode where we find a blonde Russian-American tennis star has been murdered in the stadium’s locker room. Gameplay is as usual, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses. But there are a lot of improvements that make this part of the game more enjoyable than in the past. Jesse L. Martin has joined the crew along with the late Jerry Orbach, giving a more entertaining banter than that with S. Epatha Merkerson. You can no longer collect a gazillion red herrings, nor can you accidentally discard key evidence on accident. Submitting evidence is quicker and easier (though, I don’t particularly care for the new supporting actors, especially the one in the crime lab). Finally, putting together warrants is also less confusing.

Law & Order: Justice is Served Windows Map with locations

But as said before, the game’s two major flaws still exist. Interrogation still requires no skill, a talking-head guess-and-check exercise, made tolerable only by good voice acting. And yes, there are even more lock-and-key puzzles for the extremely polite cop that you are. One involves listening to a short song by a parrot and then playing that song on a piano, recognizing the sharps from the flats! But that pales in comparison to an adventure into the surveillance office. Your top guy has eavesdropped on two people but the tape got damaged before you could listen to it. Thankfully, it was just spliced and has to be reconnected. Does New York’s finest surveillance officer go ahead and do it himself? Nope. He asks Lenny Briscoe to do it. “It may not be your type of fun, but have at it anyway.” You’re right. It ain’t my type of fun.

The courtroom piece has remained unchanged. But for the first time in this series I realized a glaring problem. There is no drama in this part of the game! Part of it is due to Elizabeth Rohm’s undynamic acting. Sam Waterston can make the courtroom come alive. Rohm, not so much. But the material simply isn’t there, and it hasn’t been in any of the games. There are no surprises, no hot tempers, and no insightful monologues. All you do is present the evidence, ask the easy questions, and make the appropriate objections.

Law & Order: Justice is Served Windows In the court room

That said, this is still the best game in the series, due to its ease of play and likable characters. McEnroe’s role is very brief and probably the least important of any of the witnesses, but he does a decent job. And the story is slightly more interesting than those before it. But it’s still hard to recommend this game to anyone unless you liked the first two.

2 thoughts on “Law & Order: Justice Is Served”

    1. They went out of their way, though they had three years to perfect it. No FMV to be found. Orbach died two months after the game was released, and he looks way better here than he did in real life at the time.

      Also, welcome!

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