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About the StoryThey all stare at you expectantly, like children waiting to be told a bedtime story. And who can blame them? You are, after all, Antoine Saint Germain, the great French detective. No criminal has ever been a match for you, and everybody is looking forward to a description of your brilliant deductions.
There is just one small problem. One tiny detail that makes it different this time. A mere trifle, really. This time you have no idea who did it.
5th Place overall; 1st Place, Miss Congeniality Awards - 16th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2010)
Winner, Best Individual PC - 2010 XYZZY Awards
Since Parchment doesn't work well with glulx, I have also released a z-code version with no illustrations, for those who prefer to play the game in the browser. This release is 95% identical with release 4, with only some minor changes to the text.
- New cover art by Rikard Peterson.
- Implicit object and topic interaction. The player can now both examine and talk about objects, and abstract topics, by simply typing the name of the object. Typing the name of an unexamined object will examine the object. Typing the name of an examined object, or an abstract topic, will talk about the object/topic. The "examined" status of an object will, of course, reset when the object description changes.
- The game now includes an interactive tutorial, designed to familiarize new players with the modes of interaction.
- The usual fixing of typos, grammatical errors, and so forth.
- In-game illustrations.
- Android and Kindle releases.
- Removed the conversation menus when talking about characters. Talking about a character will now result in general remarks about that character. Motives and alibis can be referred to directly as “A’s motive” and “A’s alibi”, where A is the person in consideration. Talking about “Motives” and “Alibis” in general, will result in a disambiguation menu listing all the possible options, assuming more than one is available.
- Accusing characters is now handled by the new “Accuse” command, which can be tried at any time.
- Once the real murderer has been revealed, it’s no longer possible to accuse other people, nor to talk about their alibis and motives.
- Rewrote a lot of the dialogue, especially the expository monologues, to improve the character voices.
- The disambiguation system has been made explicit, as lots of people would miss it. Examining or talking about a character will place him in focus, causing objects, including abstract ones like motives and alibis, to be prioritized by the parser. The current focus of the player will be displayed in the status line.
- Fixed a bug where the parser would not recognize object names containing apostrophes.
- Fixed several problems with the dialogue not properly taking the player's current level of knowledge into account.
- Fixed a multitude of typos and grammatical errors.
- Anthony Saint Germain is now Antoine Saint Germain.
- Detective Goodfellow is now Constable Goodfellow.
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Number of Reviews: 6
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
A very nice concept. A surprising one. Wouldn't work with a more serious game, but this game is anything but serious. It's very light-hearted, and cheerfully throws in a huge number of staples of the genre, most notably the fact that no-one is what they seem. The writing is superbly adapted to the task - it's not meant to read like an Agatha Christie, it's meant to read like a much cheaper whodunnit you can read on your holidays when you don't want to think too much. And because it's also a parody of those very same paperbacks, it allows itself a little humour (such as continously talking about your moustache) which fits in perfectly well. In fact, it's what stops us from groaning *at* the game and start grinning *with* it.
I've seen mentioned, several times, that a potential problem of this game is the fact that the very final clue is, in fact, something that is clearly visible from the very outset *but* which the game doesn't allow you to interacti with until the very end, for no apparent reason. In a game where gameplay consists of carefully examining everything and then thinking about it...
...which I must say, is a superb way of conducting this particular story - every parser message I encountered was tailored to this specific situation, and because interaction was so limited there was a lot of detail to take into account. Which the author did. Often I had to examine things which more than one people had (Spoiler - click to show), such as hair, , and *every single time* the game correctly guessed WHOSE thing I was trying to examing...
...so, in a game where gameplay consists chiefly of that, it's natural to think that keeping the final evidence unmentioned *until the very end* and for no discernible reason is a show-stopper. I will have to disagree on that, and say instead that it provides further characterization for the PC(Spoiler - click to show), in that we realise that the PC was so trusting in his own ego and methods that he managed to overlook something as simple as the detective's uniform.
It's a light-hearted 30 minutes, that pokes fun at the wild twists such stories usually have; at the dramatic exposition in which, it seems, the "great detective" fumbles his way across, practically accusing everyone but the real murderer; at the peculiarities of such detectives, in this particular case some traits of Hercule Poirot with some magnification of his considerably ego; at all sorts of things that are revealed in the end, where relationships are conjured out of the blue.
Also, it constructs a fairly solid mystery, in the end. Not remarkable, but solid and entertaining. It also has some action scenes, in which the PC triumphs by (Spoiler - click to show)bluffing - a perfect conclusion to a whole bluffing game (even though had to "hint" my way through it). It simply didn't occur to me that the PC could be big-headed enough for that to work, but then, one should never underestimate the ego of some detectives...
The first time I was able to accuse someone, I didn’t because I didn’t think he did it. After playing some more and getting somewhere but still not able to accuse someone else (even though I’d started to figure out something of what was going on), I decided to save the game and see what happened if I accused the guy I thought was innocent. And it was a very nice ending. (Spoiler - click to show)The guy is obviously not guilty, but you ruin his life with the accusation, which eventually causes him to commit suicide. The ending part that usually says “You have won” or “You have died” instead says “You have saved your reputation.” Awesome.
One thing I’ve learned is to definitely type “about” or whatever if the author tells you to in the beginning. Some of these games would have been a lot more frustrating without a bit of guidance. In particular, the about text for this game outlines what the interaction is going to be like (mostly just talking about people or objects, with just a little manipulating the environment), which helped me enjoy it more. I certainly would have gotten more frustrated if I went into it expecting to be able to search for clues around the room, move objects, etc. and then finding I wasn’t able to.
The other kind of losing ending I found (Spoiler - click to show)(there are several versions of the “You have saved your reputation” ending, depending on whom you falsely accuse) was particularly great, too. (Spoiler - click to show)I had run out of stuff to do, so I started talking about my own moustache. It lets me keep talking about it, which is usually a sign from the game that there’s something interesting there. But I was saying stupid stuff, and then I was shot from behind while pacing around the room pontificating about facial hair.</spolier>
I highly recommend this game, and it makes me want to go look at some other murder-mystery IF games.
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