Teen Priest is one of Draco's earliest works, falling between his first game, Hollywood Hooker, and between the iconic Edible Vomit. Teen Priest sits in the middle and over the years has become almost completely forgotten. It was enough of a success back when it was released. The reviews on it are pretty positive, and at the time people were interested in a sequel, and that's where the game gets brushed aside. Teen Priest 2 was a massively important release in the ZZT community, doubling down on the original's gratuitous violence and blasphemy, sparking debates within the community over whether or not Teen Priest 2 should be banned and removed from the ZZT archive. TP2's legacy also brought on calls for creating a rating system whether one actually enforced by staff or something voluntarily included on title screens and text files.
The end result of all this was of course that Teen Priest 2 was not banned. There was no creation of a ratings system, and while a few games released afterwards would tack on their own rating or warnings of swears and red fakes, ultimately the community continued on as it had been.
Today though, I'll be looking at the game that started all this, and while it didn't incite calls for ratings and parodies insisting that using red fakes for blood made games too violent there's still plenty to find crude here.
Just fyi. It's gonna get pretty wild. Wild enough that I'd rather just put a single content warning here for a variety of what we'll be seeing instead of putting several throughout the entire article.
The following content contains material which may be offensive to some audiences. It was most likely originally created by a teenager who has since grown up. This material does not necessarily reflect its creator's current opinions nor behaviors.
Specifically, this page contains depictions of or references to:
Police Brutality, Sexual Assault, Homophobic Slurs, Racial Stereotypes, Suicide
And I'm probably missing a few.
The title screen shows the game's protagonist, Johnny Danger in priest garb in front of a large golden cross. A little text animation on the bottom loops that the game was made by Draco and published under Chaos and Disorder.
Things begin with an introductory cutscene of a rooftop chase between Johnny Danger and a random bad guy. "Part-time cop, part-time student, and all around good guy" is all the information you need on Johnny. He's a teenage cop and he always gets his man. Also he's terrible as we'll soon discover.
The two have a brawl on the roof which is very well animated. Most fights like this in ZZT are the equivalent of slamming two action figures into each other repeatedly, but here both characters move rapidly and trade blows with the upper hand changing regularly. It looks really nice in action.
Eventually however, Johnny wins the fight, shooting the suspect multiple times and causing him to fall to his death if the bullets didn't kill him first.
I hope you like police brutality.
Teen Priest is divided up over a series of five days. Day one begins with control being given to you outside of the LAPD headquarters. The artwork here is a bit yucky, and Draco's art style hasn't really developed yet excluding his drawings of people. But the straightforward graphics never really harm the game any.
Johnny is immediately in trouble with his superior. Lt. Pansy is upset about something. Probably the extrajudicial murder.
Pansy: "Yes, I did. Word came 'round you
just wasted the notorious 'Ass Drugee'."
Pansy: "...Though i also heard that your
assault was unprovoked."
Pansy: "Look, Johnny. You're a good kid.
But you gotta stop wasting these criminals
Pansy: "If you weren't so good, we'd kick
you off the team. But since we need you...
I'll be forced to demote you."
Demotion! How rude! you just stopped a
notorious criminal! Does it really MATTER
how many innocent lives u put in jeopardy
in the proccess??
Pansy: "Well...not really a demotion. Just
a little case you'll work on. In which if
you fail, you're off the force. Whereas if
you succeed, I will *CONSIDER* giving you
back your old rank."
Pansy: "No 'buts', boy. I'm assigning you
to go undercover."
Pansy: "Yes. You're gonna be a priest in
South Central L.A."
Pansy: "Listen, Kid. We got a psychotic
killer on the loose...a religious fanatic,
actually. This guy is somewhere in South
Central L.A....his real name is unknown,
but his alias is `Juda.' Now, i need you
to keep a close lookout for this Juda--we
have no physical description for him. We
only know that he is very clever in
Pansy: "I want YOU to catch this guy. Him
being a religious punk he is, they say
he'll be at Sunday Mass...or maybe even
earlier, who knows. That's why you'll be
dressed as a priest."
Pansy: "Well. Go to the church on 1st
street. That's the church you'll be at--
and hopefully, him too. And go see Father
O'Flarrety there in his room. I talked to
him about the case, and he agreed to
Pansy: "...Oh, and here. Take this mini-
walkie-talkie. You can put this under your
habit so you can keep contact with us in
case something pops up, and vice versa.
Got that, Kid?"
Pansy: "Ok, then. Get outta here! ...And
remember: one more screw-up, and yer off
the force! i cant afford another screw-up.
Especially on a case like this. Now go."
• • • • • • • • •
Pansy is not happy with Johnny's actions, but reluctant to actually get rid
of him. Instead, he's demoted to a new case with the threat of being fired if
he can't solve it.
It's basically Zootopia.
So in summary, a religious fanatic dubbed "Juda" has been murdering folks in LA. He's so religious that they suspect he may be found by just investigating mass or the confessionals. Johnny has to go undercover as a priest. A teen priest.
Johnny leaves the police department, gets back in his squad car and drives to his new assignment.
And yes, the police car is parked in plain sight during this undercover assignment for the rest of the game.
The abbey is inaccessible to Johnny who refuses to go inside until meeting with Father O'Flarrety first. Fortunately the next building over is indeed the church with its very squat cross.
The inside of the church looks about how you'd expect with rows of pews, confessionals on the sides, and a big ole cross on the wall.
The one extra wide railing due to the width of the board being even bothers me.
Nevermind. The non-teen priest is pretty chill actually.
O'Flarrety: "Ahh, Johnny. I trust you've
been briefed on your mission already?"
O'Flarrety: "Well, good. My job here is to
make sure you be a convincing priest. To
do that, you'll have to undergo all the
duties of being a priest thereof."
O'Flarrety: "Oh, the usual. Serving mass,
giving confession, healing the sick..."
O'Flarrety: "Frankly, i couldnt care less.
MY job is to make sure you do all this,
and do it WELL."
O'Flarrety: "Well. I went through and
marked up a schedule for you. Its on the
wall over thar, so you can go check it out
O'Flarrety: "Oh, and one more thing. After
you've checked out your schedule, feel
free to roam the church. The confessional
you'll operate is the currently-unoccupied
one (green light means unoccupied, red
light means occupied). Confession will be
every night at 7:30. You will start
O'Flarrety: "The abbey is right across the
O'Flarrety: "There's a white lowrider
outside with the license plate `Bad Ass.'
O'Flarrety: "Alrighty, then. And dont
forget to get your brand new priest habit,
If Johnny's going to be a priest, he's got to do it right. Teen Priest's gameplay is split between doing policework and doing priestwork. Johnny receives the keys to a sweet lowrider and is pointed towards a list of work he'll be expected to do while undercover.
And it's a pretty busy day. Mass in the morning, teaching at the local high school, and confessions at night.
The room also contains a copy machine as well as this closet with the necessary clothes for going undercover. With all his supplies ready, Johnny can head over to the abbey and get some sleep for tomorrow.
But first it's important to check to the plants in case one of them happens to be a disguised wizard like in Defender of Castle Sin.
It would not be a Draco title without some drug references.
Johnny places his things in each of the drawers and can then head to bed.
At the end of every day you're treated to a score tally. It doesn't have any impact on the game itself but serves as a crude way to tell you if you missed anything. I say crude since if you don't get 100% or 90% the game just says you got an 80% regardless of how many points you have.
Day 2 starts bright and early with Johnny's sleep being interrupted by a new lead in the case.
Dispatch: "Father Danger. Father Danger,
please come in."
Dispatch: "Lietenant Pansy ordered us to
inform you of a possible informant in the
abandoned shack on Oak Street."
Dispatch: "This informant is expecting an
officer, so he'll find you, no doubt. You
may go in police uniform for this. Do you
Agh. and what a hellish time--7:00 in the
morning. No matter, though. You're needed.
• • • • • • • • •
Johnny grabs his gun (and police uniform) and heads out to meet with this informant.
I was expecting a board transition, but actually stepping outside on a board like this that was previous used solely for the interior space was a nice touch. Draco put good care into passage management to keep the game's time moving while also preventing having a bunch of passages which would essentially lead to the past.
Johnny arrives at the specified location only to find a bunch of troubled kids instead.
Loco: "Hey, pig! What the hell do you
think you're doing on MY side of town??"
Loco: "Up my ass, muthafucka!"
Loco: "Yeah, faggot? Hey, guys! This
little queer wants to feel me up!!"
Everyone: "Har har har!"
Loco: "I'm tired of you, bitch. I know why
Loco: "To fuck us fuckers up! That damn
Julius prolly narced on us... Hey, Tito.
Keep that name in mind: Julius."
Loco: "Before you WHAT, prick? Sic all
your pig friends on us? We'll mow 'em all
down, stupid fuck!"
Loco: "So do it!!"
Loco: "Right here, right now. Just you and
me. No pieces, no chains. Bare hands, and
Ill whoop your ass! What do you say, pig?"
• • • • • • • • •
Johnny does not make a good first impression. There's only one way to proceed of course.
'Bring it on!!'
The gang runs in, and Johnny can enter at his leisure.
Which is a good time to call for help.
And do some investigating as well.
As soon as you enter, you are jumped from
behind and thrown in the middle of the
run-down shack. You are surrounded by Loco
and his goons.
Loco toys with his butterfly knife. "Trap?
No trap. This is simply an all and out
Voice: "Come out with your hands up!
Tito: "Aww, fuck, man! Loco. What should
Loco: "Listen, fuckas! I got one of your
pig friends here, and he's about to bite
the big one! dont nobody do anything
stupid, or else i get medeival on his ass!
Enrique: "I wonder if they heard you,
• • • • • • • • •
Not surprisingly, it was all a trick. If Johnny didn't make the backup call he will be stabbed and killed. There's not really any time to make a save here so you can't really create an unwinnable situation (unless you have very good timing and save before the text pops up).
The shack suddenly fills up with smoke as the police throw in a smoke bomb.
With the gang temporarily blinded, Johnny is able to slip out undetected.
There's still a bit more going on when Johnny tries to leave the scene. The other cops have the situation under control now at least, and Johnny can report that the informant was a bust.
Then Loco runs out of the shack where a bunch of cops begin to beat him senseless. Now Johnny's free to leave.
As soon as you step out of the car, you
are greeted by a pissed-of father
O'Flarrety: "Where the hell were you?!
It's 12:45! You missed mass!"
O'Flarrety: "Aww, no matter. Right now,
you have to go teach class."
O'Flarrety: "Don't you ever read your own
schedule? You're teaching 12th-grade
O'Flarrety: "Here is the teaching guide.
Now go change into your habit and go south
of the parking lot here."
O'Flarrety: "Good luck."
• • • • • • • • •
If you were looking forward to how Draco would handled Johnny Danger giving mass, unfortunately you're on a path to disappointment.
I love the "Not MY homies" line.
Fortunately, the high school is in the same parking lot we're currently in? You can tell it's a high school because it says such in big letters.
Get ready for some 12th grade history. Also get ready for a lot of text.
Johnny quickly takes control of the classroom by throwing somebody through a window.
gangsta: "Who the fuck are you, esse?"
homie g: "We dont give a shit! We want Mrs
homie g: "Cuz you're a big fucking duck!"
All of a sudden, a crumbled up paper hits
the back of your head. You turn around.
Skanky ho: "You were in Vietnam??"
Asshole: "Aren't you a bit young to be in
Vietnam? How old are you, muthafucka?"
>>classroom oohs, ahhs<<
classroom: "ooh. ahh."
Homie g: "That was Juan. He's a bad ass."
Juan: "I don't know. I felt like saying
it. You got a problem with that, Padre?"
He licks his fingers for some reason, then
flips you off.
Juan: "Then DEAL with it, bitch."
Juan: "The name's Juan, fucker."
>>classroom ahhs, oohs<<
classroom: "aah. ooh."
Juan: "AWW, FUCKING SHIT!!! WHAT THE FUCK
IS UP WITH YOUR SHIT, YOU FUCKING SHIT?!"
The dad jokes are real. The homie goes into a fit of rage and chases Johnny around the classroom.
After exchanging a few blows the homie is disarmed and stops attacking.
But then another comes to the first's aid. Our hero, the undercover cop currently disguised as a priest holds an ice pick to the other thug's throat and tells him how his parents obviously give no fucks about them.
There's no time for a third attack, since the bell rings shortly afterwards.
The students rush out leaving Johnny alone to explore the empty classroom. There's only one object of interest there in the corner...
It's a lot of important documents about Father O'Flarrety. Perhaps there's more to him than we've been led to believe.
A considerable amount of time passes upon leaving the school, and it means that it's time for probably the most iconic scenes of Teen Priest: confession.