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Death off the Cuff

by Simon Christiansen profile


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Number of Ratings: 51
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- Andrew Schultz (Chicago), May 14, 2012

- stadtgorilla (Munich, Germany), April 17, 2012

- Kendi, February 8, 2012

- Jaxcap (Arizona), December 10, 2011

- Hannes, November 12, 2011

- The Xenographer, November 1, 2011

- Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia), September 15, 2011

- Sophronisba, May 13, 2011

- Ben Cressey (Seattle, WA), April 16, 2011

- JohnW (Brno, Czech Republic), March 16, 2011

- ifwizz (Berlin, Germany), January 2, 2011

- eu, January 1, 2011

- Bernie (Fredericksburg, VA), December 19, 2010

- tungol, December 13, 2010

- Kake (London, England), December 7, 2010

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Floundering was never this fun, November 28, 2010
by The Year Is Yesterday (California)
Death Off The Cuff offers an intriguing premise: a famous detective, you've gathered all the suspects for that all-important scene in which you will reveal the true identity of the murderer. The only problem is that you haven't the first clue who that might be. In order to attempt to trick the culprit into a confession, you begin to spout off about whatever's at hand, using the command "talk about" for the majority of interactions, although examine and a few other verbs play a role. You can only talk about things that are visible in the room around you, a clever method of conflating the player with the PC, who is of course casting around desperately for any topic that might yield a confession. Nor is that the only way in which the player and the PC think alike: since neither of you know what you're doing, you'll spend most of the game suggesting random or arbitrary topics of conversation in the hopes that something sticks. The result is impressive in terms of putting you in the shoes of the detective; however, it's too arbitrary to be consistently enjoyable. The limitations on action, and the one-room nature of the game, keep things simple enough for the story to unfold tightly, and there are more than a few twists and turns. Typing "help" at any point will provide a hint on what to do next, and if you get fed up you can always accuse the wrong person. In all, a brief, linear diversion that's slightly more clever than it is fun.

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
A bit of light fun, November 27, 2010
by Kevin Jackson-Mead (Boston)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2010
I know that there are other murder-mystery IF games out there, but this is the first one I’ve played, and I have to say I really enjoyed myself. I really liked how it excused the fact that you the player don’t know what’s gone on. You are a detective with everyone gathered in the room to make the big-finish accusation, but the detective doesn’t have a clue who the murderer is. So you’re just making random observations about people, hoping that they will confess or in some way slip up.

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.

- Rose (New Zealand), November 23, 2010

- Wendymoon, November 17, 2010

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), November 16, 2010

- Mark Jones (Los Angeles, California), November 16, 2010

- perching path (near Philadelphia, PA, US), November 13, 2010

- Rhian Moss (UK), November 7, 2010

- Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway), November 2, 2010

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Just Like Sherlock Holmes, October 25, 2010
I must say, this one was difficult to get through. It is a murder mystery told from the point of view of a famous investigator. The story basically involves him (you) asking around a hotel about the death of a colonel. The main character is a Sherlock Holmes-type person, self-assured and witty. I finally had to use the walkthrough to try to get through it, and even then I eventually found myself blocked. It was interesting, both in concept and execution, but it quickly became tedious when I could no longer progress.

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