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The original Deadline is a commercial game not available for download, but a remake in Inform is available.
deadlineinv.z5
Invisiclues in Z-code format
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
deadline.zip *
THL hint file
Sols3.zip *
solution
Sols1.zip *
solution
Deadline.inv
transcribed Invisiclues hint book
sample.from.deadline
sample transcript from original documentation
deadline.txt
solution
* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.

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Deadline

by Marc Blank

Mystery
1982

(based on 40 ratings)
4 member reviews

About the Story

Twelve hours to solve the mystery. One false move, and the killer strikes again.
It's been called "part of the latest craze in home computing (TIME magazine), an "amazing feat of programming" (THE NEW YORK TIMES) and the "Best Adventure of 1983" (ELECTRONIC GAMES).

It's Deadline, and it puts you, the keen-eyed sleuth, against a 12-hour time limit to solve a classic locked-door mystery. Armed only with the clues inside this package and your own wits, you must sift through myriads of evidence and motives to track down the killer. No easy feat, for all six of your suspects exercise free will - coming and going, scheming and maneuvering independently of your actions. And some of these personalities are so treacherous that, should you make the wrong move, one of them may do you in.

Difficulty: Expert.

(IFID refers to the commercial version of the game, though the port is available as source code from the IF Archive.)

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Release 3
License: Former commercial
Development System: Inform 6
Forgiveness Rating: Cruel
Baf's Guide ID: 1244
IFIDs:  ZCODE-27-831005-54FC
ZCODE-19-820427
ZCODE-21-820512
ZCODE-26-821108
ZCODE-27-831005
ZCODE-18-820311-0000
ZCODE-22-820809
TUID: p976o7x5ies9ltdh

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide


A port of one of Infocom's better games, with the permission of Activision. Not on the archive in compiled form, for some reason (possibly at Activision's request--it's not clear). The game itself is a mystery--you're solving a murder--and it's very, very hard; it's easy to miss important events simply by not being in the right place at the right time. Still, the character interaction is pretty extensive, a remarkable feat for 1982, and as a game it's pretty solid--there were some bugs in the NPC movement daemons in the original, but this port appears to be cleaner.

-- Duncan Stevens

Just Adventure
Can you find the guilty party or parties and solve the crime? Is it a crime? Arresting someone before you have a tight case can mean the death of a jury verdict. Playing Deadline to a successful conclusion requires concentration and diligence. It is not an easy game. But you will find that it is well worth your effort. Deadline can be purchased new or used at Amazon.com as part of the Infocom Adventure Collection. These games could turn your long, hot summer into an exciting trip into your imagination. Why not give this one a try?
See the full review

SPAG
The six main NPCs (not counting the attorney, who only plays a minor role) are really fleshed out; they act reasonable and consistent to their character and motives. You can show a lot of things to them and study their reactions, you can ask them about many topics, you can follow them around, you can accuse them and listen to what they have to say. Only few i-f games have such complete NPCs, I would say.
-- Volker Lanz
See the full review

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(8)
4 star:
(20)
3 star:
(8)
2 star:
(3)
1 star:
(1)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
The Foundation of an IF Mystery Genre, July 11, 2011
Deadline is one of Infocom's most difficult games, and requires a number of playthroughs to win. Important events happen at specific times of day, and you have to know about them and be in the right place at the right time to take advantage. It's easy to miss evidence or misunderstand it. There's limited time to complete your investigation. And, of course, you can ruin everything by arresting the wrong person. It's really best to approach the game by recognizing that you need to thoroughly explore it in four dimensions -- getting to know what is going to happen at different times -- before expecting to reach a happy solution.

The things that make the game difficult are also the things that make it great. Instead of offering an underpopulated world full of set-piece puzzles, Deadline challenges the player to make sense of a coherent reality full of active people and sometimes misleading clues. Characters move around the house, pursuing their own agendas. People have a schedule and plans of their own. There are more conversation options than in most old classics.

The sense of a solid and coherent world carries over into the game's feelies. These are some of Infocom's best, with police reports and evidence establishing the backstory of the case, and unlike the feelies for the Enchanter series or Hollywood Hijinx, they're presented straight, not as joking riffs on the situation of the game.

Deadline is the first IF I ever played at length on my own. I didn't solve it until many years later, but I returned to it over and over again as a kid. What captured my imagination then, and still has a certain appeal, is the recurring sense of excitement from observing without being observed: listening in on phone extensions, looking for secret rooms, following people. There was always the sense that important and significant secrets were hidden under every surface.

While the depth of implementation and the complexity of character reactions aren't quite up there with modern mysteries such as Make It Good and Varicella, Deadline is a foundational work. It established a number of traditional features, such as the sidekick, Duffy, who can run lab tests on your evidence, and the use of ACCUSE to accost suspects, and laid the groundwork for the still-popular genre of IF mystery that focuses on evidence collection and NPC interrogation within a compact map.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Deadline, June 9, 2015
My dad bought a copy of this when I was about eight years old. I spent the next three years trying to complete it, and the following twenty annoyed at the fact I never did.
Eventually, I got to download it again and finally completed it last year.
I've only ever played one other IF game (so far) so I don't have much to compare it to, but I've never played anything else that kept me hooked for twenty years.

For me, the characters are believable, the plot makes sense and everything you do has some kind of purpose (rather than being some random action). It's difficult though, because there are some things that have to be done at certain times.

Intricate, beautiful, a bit unfair. Infocom's first mystery and realistic game, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: Infocom
I loved Deadline. I didn't get too far on my own in solving the mystery, but I spent a long time exploring and having fun.

This is a mystery game, where a man has been found dead, and you have to investigate the house and people in it. Everyone walks around, has scripted events, etc. I asked everyone about everyone else, examined the crime scene, etc.

I missed an important verb which is listed in the manual, and which you are supposed to know from the beginning; typing ANALYZE or ANALYZE [SOMETHING] FOR [SOMETHING] sends someone to analyze stuff for you.

Now so many other games make sense. For instance, Jon Ingold's Make It Good really borrows a lot from this game, and now I realize it must have been an intentional homage, meant to help and mislead the experienced gamer (which I wasn't when I played it).

Deadline was an early experiment in timed and scripted events, as well as extensive conversation.. Games like Varicella or Pytho's Mask may not have existed without this one.

It' s also very hard, in unfair ways. I recommend eventually settling on a walkthrough. Like the great novels of the 1600's-1800's, it was designed to last for a long period of time in the absence of other material.

See All 4 Member Reviews

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Deadline:

Really hard puzzle/adventure games by Silius
You know like with lots of puzzles you have to solve.

I'm looking for mysteries. by MCCLUTCH32
I like a game with a good story, good puzzles that aren't too difficult to understand and a good mystery. I was thinking more along the lines of horror, but murder mysteries work as well.

Cool Murder Mystery/Detective Games by Christopher Caesar
Hey everybody. I am looking for a murder mystery text game. I finished An Act of Murder a while ago and want to play more games like that, where to get to solve the murder yourself. If you could tell me some of your recommendations that...

See all polls with votes for this game

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This is version 11 of this page, edited by scolapasta on 15 November 2014 at 11:23pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item