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A sister game to Shadowgate and Uninvited just instead of taking place in a castle, it's in 40s film noir, starring an amnesiac detective. Lighter on the Nightmare Fuel. Also spawned a less well known, but nice in its own right sequel.

Compare to Uninvited, also by the same developer.

Not to be confused with the 2006 film starring Denzel Washington.


This game provides examples of:

  • Badass Longcoat: You. Your coat is helpfully waiting for you, right on the first screen.
  • Ballistic Discount: Doesn't work. The gunshop owner has a shotgun, and he's faster than you are.
  • Bottomless Sewer: The best way to get rid of pesky evidence. Just watch out for that croc.
  • Bound and Gagged: Mrs. Sternwood in the first game. Also, you prior to the start of the first game (See Strapped to An Operating Table below).
  • Bowdlerise: In the NES and GBC versions of the first game, the empty syringe is changed to empty capsules.
    • Which doesn't make much sense, you need special equipment to put medicine in capsules, and it is difficult as all get out to give capsules to unconscious, or sleeping people.
    • Not to mention that the NES and GBC versions replace the mention of Sugar Shack's prostitution with attempted Blackmail.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': You can be in the far off most parts of the game world, but killing someone will always result in you being arrested. Except in one instance in which you have to.
    • If you use the syringe, you won't get arrested, at least not immediately.
  • Combat Pragmatist: It's possible to try just shooting the other person, but this will usually just get you arrested. Though it works nicely on both the crocodile, and that pesky hitman in your office.
  • Compilation Rerelease: The GBC version.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Going through the bar in the sequel without the flashlight on or a lit match can randomly kill you.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The narration is pretty deadpan, but it will give you a lot of snarky shit if you try to do unusual actions, like eating non-food items, or using objects in a strange way.
  • The Dragon: Stogie, in the sequel. A really annoying one, too.
  • Drop in Nemesis: Stogie in part 2.
  • Enemy Civil War: Only way to survive in the sequel is to get the two Mafia factions too busy killing each other than to go after you. You have to instigate this.
  • Everybody Smokes: Averted for the most part with a lot of the NPCs in the sequel. Offering the pack of cigarettes to other people will cause them to mention how they don't smoke, and/or how someone will find out that smoking will kill you. Smoking in the original game will have the narration mention how you will probably get cancer, and consulting your file in the doctor's office shows that the doc is trying to get you to stop.
  • Evil Plan: Turns out to be an elaborate plot for Sternwood to knock off his wife and get with Vickers, Vickers to knock off Siegel and get with Sternwood, both of them to end up rich, and you, the poor amnesiac who can't remember his own name, let alone enough to defend himself, to take the fall. Phew.
  • Femme Fatale: Sugar Shack. And Vickers.
  • Flash Back: You are plagued with them.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Your weapon of choice is a punch to the face. Justified, in that he used to be a boxer, prior to the detective gig.
  • Guide Dang It: Due to a rather awful last minute glitch, you'll probably need a guide to determine just what evidence to keep and what to ditch. Dispose of everything except the diary (motive), the ransom note (method), and the memo with the timetable (collaborates the other two).
    • You have to dispose of: Gun 1, the murder weapon with your fingerprints on it. Map, a fake set of instructions on how to kidnap Mrs. Sternwood. Note 1, a fake IOU giving you a motive. File 5, a fake proposal for you to carry out the kidnapping in exchange for being let off the IOU. However, the game won't let you dispose of Gun 1 if you haven't used it to shoot open the bungalow, the doctor cabinet, and the hitman in your office.
  • Hit Flash: "BLAM" and "SOCKO"
  • Invincible Minor Minion: There IS no good way to deal with the mugger in the alley. Shoot him, the police will get you. Do anything else, he'll beat you up, take your money and render the game Unwinnable. Your only options are to avoid that alley entirely, or shoot him, eat the Game Over and continue.
    • Not so, money is only really needed in the form of quarters for the taxi, and free quarters someone "left behind" respawn in the slot machine, and if you are low on quarters you always get a jackpot.
    • The correct response is to give this mugger a 20-dollar bill. Then he goes away and never reappears again.
  • Its Always Sunny in Miami: The first game supposedly takes place in Chicago right after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor (which places the timeline as December 7th, 1941). Yet, there's no indication that it's winter and everyone is dressed for warm weather.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Your big difficulty in life.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to its sister games.
  • The Mafia: Your biggest worry in the sequel.
  • The Many Deaths of You
  • Must Have Nicotine: Carrying around the empty pack of cigarettes in the sequel will invoke this trope for your character.
  • Naked on Arrival: Sort of -- in the second game, you begin with naught but your purple underwear. Fortunately your clothes are on the bathroom door at the start. Removing all of your clothes in certain areas will either get you kicked out if you are in the hotel, or arrested if you are in public.
  • Nintendo Hard: Less so than Shadowgate or Uninvited. A determined player can conceivably beat this one without ever consulting an FAQ.
  • Not with the Safety On, You Won't: The reason you're relatively safe around the gun toting mugger. He'll catch on eventually, though...
    • The gun toting mugger is clearly using a revolver (which lacks a safety), and the game tells you after the third attempt that you're dealing with a bluff artist (though he WILL shoot you the fourth time). The only options that don't result in death are to either punch him (works three times) or give him a 20-dollar bill.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Stogie uses this in the sequel to be SUPREMELY annoying. Run into the desert? Nope, he'll get you. Hop a train out of town? Nope, he'll get you. Basically, if he wants you, he'll magically find you.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Hi Joey.
  • Press X to Die: You could "Use" a weapon item with anything in the interface. Including the button that represents yourself.
  • Private Detective: That'd be you.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: A better way to put your gun to use than on people, actually.
  • Shout-Out: In Deja Vu II, Stogie remarks that he'd never seen anyone wearing purple underwear before. At least he didn't call you "Calvin."
  • Strapped to An Operating Table: Siegel, oddly enough, has a chair with restraining straps on the top floor of his bar. Yes, it was put to use. On you.
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: The sequel has one which is used in the bar. Justified, as the game mentions you took poor care of the flashlight, causing the batteries to be corroded, not to mention that the battery technology of the 1940s is a bit poor.
  • Timed Mission: From the beginning of the game, you have a limited number of moves to discover the antidote before the amnesia drug you've been injected with turns you into a drooling vegetable. Once you manage to find the antidote, though, you're free to Take Your Time. In the sequel, you have a limited amount of time to win the game before the Mob makes good their threat to find you and kill you.
    • The NES version removes the time limit. As long as you don't enter your office, the amnesia won't kill you.
  • Trial and Error Gameplay
  • Unsound Effect: "SOCKO"
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: At one point, you'll gain access to a doctor's office, and all manner of drugs, from heart murmur medication to nerve gas antidote. Said medications have rather lethal side effects for anyone who does not have heart murmurs or nerve gas poisoning. You can apply them to any character who will hold still long enough for you to jab the syringe into them. Yep. Best of all, this doesn't draw the attention of the cops, so you can potentially go around murdering multiple characters with no immediate consequences. It does prevent you from getting the good ending, though, as you are immediately condemned as "a dangerous lunatic armed with a loaded syringe" the moment you try to clear your name.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: You start the game with a pistol loaded with 3 bullets, and are free to shoot anyone you want with it. Doing so pretty much results in an instant game over, though, either due to the arrival of the cops or the other guy being quicker on the draw.
  • Wrongly Accused: You'll probably want to be avoiding the police.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Even if you do get your memory back and uncover the plot to frame you for murder, Sternwood and Vickers planted more than enough false evidence to make sure you'll look like the more likely suspect if you go to the police. Fortunately, you can dispose of the false evidence against you.

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