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Black Dahlia (Windows)

70
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Jeanne (75598)
Written on  :  Dec 29, 2002
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Summary

Challenging adventure and a treat for puzzle lovers.

The Good

It took me a long time to finish Black Dahlia. I think it is for that reason that parts of it still remain etched in my memory.

There is so much more to this game than what the screenshots, or even the game's main description, portray. The case is enveloped in suspense that you can almost feel as you play. The killer you seek is as mysterious as Sherlock Holmes' Moriarty. The murders are part of a deep, dark secret that opens the doors to an ancient, supernatural cult.

Although character interaction is handled with video cut scenes, you explore hand-drawn locations which are all very realistic. There is a World Map for travel to different places that appear after you hear or read about them. Numerous objects can be found while exploring. Your inventory items can be turn around, opened or closed and combined with others (which is sometimes the only way to solve a puzzle). PI Jim keeps a notebook where he copies down important information, but you can type your own notes in it too.

By far the most prominent thing about Black Dahlia is its puzzles. There are puzzles of every type and they range in difficulty from easy to hard. Luckily, easier ones are at the beginning of the game, easing you into the mode and provoking your logical side. Most of the puzzles have clues to them, but some of the more difficult ones do not. (For those who need it, there is an auto-solve option if you know the proper one-word code.)

You can die in this game. And decisions made at the end of the game can result in 2 distinct endings. Both endings provide a more than satisfactory conclusion to the game.

The Bad

As I eluded to above, some of the hardest puzzles in the game don't have any clues and, rather than being based on logic, they're mere guesswork.

I had some hang-ups and crashes while playing, even after applying the patch.

The Bottom Line

I think this game must be one of the most memorable games I've ever played. It is a good adventure game, especially if you really like puzzle-solving and mystery detective games. If you like games that test your logic and reason, enjoy adventure exploration and character interaction, play this game. You will find it as challenging as I did!