IF Comp 2010: Death Off the Cuff

All right, let’s try another one here, and hope I can avoid failure this time. Next on the list is Death Off the Cuff, by Simon Christiansen. Death Off the Cuff.zblorb is 311 kB in size, and was coded with Inform 7 (build 6E72).

Spoilers begin after… actually I haven’t got any idea what this one might turn out to be. I’ll guess a Grim Reaper of some sort.

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…Huh! Well okay then.

Oh man, this looks like it could be a fun one. I’m a fan of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Columbo, so this seems right up my alley.

 >x me
You are as good looking as ever, but your confident demeanor hides a gnawing uncertainty. Hopefully, no one will notice. You are wearing your trademark black bowler hat, and your moustache is impeccably groomed.

>xyzzy
You don’t need magic to solve the case; only logic.

Very nice.

>i
Your brain is all that you need.

Hell yeah it is.

Some nicknames for the characters would be appreciated. Both of Jonathan Allington’s names are long, and I can’t call him ‘Jon’.

Gasp! A revelation! Intrigue! You know, I’m kind of impressed with the subtle guidance given toward inspecting people’s facial hair. Hmm, but now what…

You know, it seems a bit too limiting, not being able to discuss things that aren’t in the room. I want to talk about the Colonel, and the hotel, and Shane’s book. I know this isn’t an engine limitation, because I’ve done something similar in the game I’m working on. (Possibly it required an extension the author might not be aware of, though. I don’t remember for certain.)

Man, stymied. What am I missing… Aha! More intrigue!

[…]Perhaps his German nemesis had managed to track him down. Or maybe his illegitimate son had decided to seek revenge for being abandoned. I continued my investigations with renewed vigor.”

Wait a minute, wait a minute. How did I know the previously-mentioned abandoned illegitimate child is a *son*?

Oh huh, the doctor seems to have moved while I wasn’t looking.

>x jonathan
His emotionless facade has dropped and he is now looking tenderly at Shane. His nose squats from his face like a beak.

Huh? That’s a weird mixup of tone.

>x nose
You never noticed how long Jonathans nose was before. His uncharacteristic display of emotion somehow makes it stand out more.

What? You know, it bothers me a little the way important things sometimes appear with no warning or reason like that. Another example is suddenly being able to look at the detective’s coat. It’s plain that the player can’t be allowed to hit these triggers early, or the story won’t work, but there has to be a more graceful way to accomplish this.

Woohoo, and the case is solved. I could do with a little more fanfare at the end, actually. A little more preening and moustache-twirling.

All in all, this is a damn sweet little game. I can’t give it a 10, due to occasional little grammatical errors and the slight clumsiness of the plot railroad, but it is certainly a strong 9. I completely love the concept of a classic consulting detective totally bluffing his way through the big reveal. Well done, Simon Christiansen.

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