The Detective game was published in 1986 by Argus Press Software and written by Sam Manthorpe. The year is 1976, you’re a detective called to a mansion on the outskirts of town to investigate the suspicious death of it”s wealthy owner Mr McFungus. However, as the post funeral gathering with his former staff, friends and relatives goes into the early hours, some of the guests at the mansion are murdered. Can you piece together the clues and figure out who the murderer is?
If you can’t, I have sympathy. This game is very, very tough. It’s no word of a lie that it’s had me stumped for 10 years. When I received this game as a magazine mount, I played this constantly. However, I couldn”t figure out what to do in it. This is by no way a bad thing. This is a murder mystery. You are told what the icons do on the screen, and that”s it. You have to use your brain in a way that”d make Zelda Twilight Princess look like a piece of cake. Like Zelda however, if you give it time to get going, you are rewarded with a very engrossing game. Lateral thinking and cunning are the key to solve this game, as you get very few precious clues.
The other reason which hampered me completing this game is that it”s scary. As an 8 year old kid, knowing when the murders in the game occurred and hearing the eerie music when you saw a dead body brutally decimated, I got scared. So much so that writing this review and replaying the game I still pause to enter a room knowing that I’ll see a murder. You may laugh, but it does actually scare me.
So, from the above, what deemed it worthy of it’s inclusion of it’s introduction in Retro Garden? Simple. The storyline for one, when you figure it out, is brilliant. It is very clever and after wading through a spoiler free walkthrough here , when the identity of the murderer is revealed, I simply thought “Brilliant”. It doesn’t make sense at the beginning, but as the small clues come together to assist you, you’ll learn a vital twist. Once that twist is made, then it all makes sense at the very end. Trust me. If Lost finishes half as clever as the way this game finishes, then nobody will be disappointed. For that reason alone, it’s worth spending time going through the game.
Worth 10 years? No. But (no pun intended), it killed me that I didn’t know who the murderer was. I hope it does for you too. Anybody who wants a game in a unique genre that delivers into one of the most clever stories in video game history, then play this. But be prepared to put the hours in.