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Borrowed Time

by Activision

Mystery
1985

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Number of Reviews: 1
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Old-school detective game, January 16, 2009
You play Sam Harlow, a private investigator. The game begins in your office where you receive a phone call and you must escape thugs who want you dead.

The problem with the game is that scenes seem to be tied to locations, not to each other. If you visit the locations in the order the game expects you to, then everything works fine, but if you explore the city in wrong order you miraculously stumble into places you should not be aware of yet and get scenes that would belong to later parts of the story. This makes following the plot a bit like watching Memento.

True to its era there are also random sudden deaths and places where doing anything other than the right action will end the game in death. Another annoyance is that the exits are not described anywhere. Presumably the game came originally with a printed map.

There are some fun parts too in the game. I especially liked a chase scene in the beginning that has speed and action. There's a graphics window that depicts the surroundings in relatively accurate details instead of being just a static location image and the parser is a bit more sophisticated than a simple two-word parser. It recognizes left, right, forward and back (in relation to the graphics shown).

Annoyingly the parser pretends to be smarter than it is: examining a word that the game doesn't know always says "You see nothing special" which suggests that the word was right but it doesn't have a description. Only examine seems to do this, other commands reply correctly "I don't know the word x."