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About the StoryTwelve 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.
(IFID refers to the commercial version of the game, though the port is available as source code from the IF Archive.)
-- Duncan Stevens
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?
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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
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
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.
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
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.
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Recommended ListsDeadline appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Detective and mystery games by MathBrush
These are games where you play a detective or someone else investigating a mystery. Most of them are realistic games which I am splitting off of my realistic list. Some are more magical or science fi-ish.
Active Non-player Characters by Emily Short
Games which make use of non-player characters that have a great deal of independence, often moving around and acting on their own, or taking the lead in conversation. Some of these are more successful than others, but all are likely to...
PollsThe following polls include votes for Deadline:
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.
Wandering NPCs by Fredrik
I have always been fascinated with games that have several wandering and independent NPCs, especially when you have the ability to try to order them around. This sets the stage for a game where no one session is like any other, and even...
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