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Cursor  Member Reviews - A Party to Murder

5 Ratings
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2 of 2 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)

Fortunately none.

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


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
 
  Good but mostly forgotten, Mon 17th May 2021
By Denk - See all my reviews

First:
Please do not play this game with the ADRIFT 5 Runner as it will only work properly with the ADRIFT 4 Runner and perhaps also with the Scare interpreter included in Multi-interpreters such as Gargoyle etc.

This is a pretty good mystery game where you must find evidence on who is the killer at a party, otherwise you will become the main suspect.

Looking at some reviews, I think this game is a bit underrated. Sure, it has a few issues, but nothing critical. The only "puzzle" I didn't like was that I had to:(decrypt with www.rot13.com)
CHG GUR OBBXF BA GUR NCCEBCEVNGR OBBXPNFRF
Before I could do something hardly related. That wasn't very logical. Otherwise, puzzles were fair. And the game includes a walkthrough if you get stuck.

The game may require that you have a bit of experience with text adventures, but if you have that, there are no real technical problems. For instance, books couldn't be referred to as a book, e.g. GET BOOK wouldn't work, you would have to type e.g. GET RIGGING BOOK. Not really a problem as you will quickly find more books and you would have to be more specific on which book you want to read anyway. Stuff like this may annoy some, but not me. Also, the game accepted the use of "it" in a few places. However, sometimes using "it" gave a different response than using the noun, which is of course a problem but that didn't happen very often (this problem is mostly gone in ADRIFT 5 games, if the authors apply specific tasks whenever possible).

Despite these few niggles, it was quite entertaining. I hope to play more of David Good's games soon.

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