Member Reviews - A Party to Murder
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Sun 10th Jul 2011
By David Whyld - See all my reviews
DuoDave’s entry for the 2002 IFComp, A Party To Murder is a thoughtful, well-written piece of interactive fiction which is nicely accessible from the word go. Indeed, most of the locations can be reached with a minimum of trouble. The puzzles lie in other directions.
Starting with an introduction which sets the feel of the game well, A Party To Murder comes across firstly as a straightforward murder mystery. Tony Ravine, the head of the local homeowners’ association, has been hitting you, the player, with penalties and fines for years and his latest move is to put a lien on your house. A party thrown at Ravine’s house seemed as good an opportunity as any to speak to him and get the matter sorted out. Only now you find yourself sitting in a police station being questioned in relation to Ravine’s murder. Needless to say, things are not as they appear…
The majority of the game is set within the confines of Tony Ravine’s house, a fairly large number of locations populated by the other guests attending Tony’s party. Describing locations which are all pretty much the same (i.e. a room in a house) is never easy, but the writer pulls the feat off with ease. Clever use is made of static items, with a good number of dynamic items (often essential to the plot) hidden carefully away in places you might not at first think to look.
As with Menagerie, the puzzles are logical, though often not that easy to figure out. One involving placing certain books on certain bookshelves had me stumped until I took a look at the walkthru, because while putting books on bookshelves might be the sort of thing you’d do in real life, it’s not really what you expect to do in a text adventure.
A Party To Murder boasts quite a range of characters, a few of whom have the annoying habit of wandering off to different locations when you’re trying to speak to them. The majority of the characters do not really have anything essential to contribute to the plot but it’s a nice feature that they are all outfitted with a proper set of conversations so you can interact with them. So many times, characters are only included in games when they have something vital to add to the plot; the characters in A Party To Murder are there to add depth to the game and this is a feat they handle easily. Some hidden extras involving certain characters (flirting with the detective and losing yourself points, flirting with Bunny and gaining points) added some humour to the game and also made attaining the maximum possible score more difficult than finding out who murdered Tony Ravine.
A few more than difficult puzzles (placing the books on the bookshelves) did little to mar an otherwise excellent game.
Logic: 8 out of 10
An impressive use of static and dynamic objects equalling a nicely logical game.
Problems: 10 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
Story: 7 out of 10
While the murder mystery idea is hardly new it’s an interesting one all the same and beginning the adventure with the implication that maybe you are the killer was a neat twist.
Characters: 8 out of 10
Interaction is possible with all of the characters in the game and they’re both well drawn and believable.
Writing: 8 out of 10
As is usual in Duo’s games, well above average.
Game: 7 out of 10
All in all, I didn’t enjoy this game as much as Menagerie but it’s still a superior piece of interactive fiction.
Overall: 48 out of 60
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