by Infocom, and was released at about the same time
as Hitch Hikers, which may explain why people
didn't take much notice. Hitch Hikers might have
a high market profile, but ol' Whitey reckons that Suspect
is a better game.
plot is ingeniously simple. As a young reporter, you
attend a flash society ball given at the Ashcroft mansion.
It's a fancy dress party, so you turn up dressed as
a cowboy. When the game starts you're standing in the
ballroom, having left your lariat in the hall cupboard.
first few times you play all you want to do is to hang
around in that ball room and marvel at the way the program
copes with your inputs. There are a number of guests
milling about, all in fancy dress, and you'll have your
time cut out finding out who they are. You do this,
of course, by talking to them, using such phrases as
'Werewolf, tell me about yourself' or 'Batman, who is
the Fairy Queen'. Many of the responses you get are
quite extraordinarily apt, and for the first time in
my life I actually felt, when playing an adventure,
that I was partaking in a real conversation.
time goes by, however, news reaches the ballroom of
a hideous murder in the study. Veronica Ashcroft has
been strangled with -- ooops! -- YOUR lariat! The aim
of the game is to find the real culprit and prove your
innocence before the law arrives and clamps you in irons.
a testimony to the sheer inventiveness and complexity
of the program that I have no hesitation whatsoever
in printing a map of it here for fellow Wizards to peruse.
Even if you play the game, which you must, you'll find
that the map can only help you enjoy it more. As in
real life, the thrill of the event comes from the people
involved, not the whereabouts of various rooms.
map is significant however, because it's small! There
aren't that many locations, but there are a dozen major
characters in the game, and many minor ones besides.
Some of the larger locations -- the ball room, for example
-- are split up into sections, so that you can be in
the ballroom near the bar, or in the ballroom near the
band. When you're at one end of a location you can look
across the room and see what's happening and who's talking
to who. The degree of realism is really quite remarkable.
shan't spoil Suspect for you by giving too much
away, except to say that during the game you will find
yourself indulging in all sorts of tricks and treats
-- from hiding behind curtains and in garages, to chatting
up your host on the subject of race-horsing. This is
a tremendous game, and I seriously warn you not to go
anywhere near it unless you want to spend Christmas
at the keyboard.