Written by  :  Kurt Sample (1044)
Written on  :  Nov 27, 2001
Platform  :  Windows
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Decent game with bad interface

The Good

1999 saw the release of two adventure games that blended Film Noir with other genres. Grim Fandango was a fantastic mix of Film Noir, art deco and Mexican Day of the Dead. Discworld Noir blends Noir with medieval fantasy, which is perhaps a little less original but still entertaining. There's just something funny about a private eye in a trench coat and fedora working a city of pirates and dwarves and trolls. The voice acting in Discworld Noir is thankfully excellent (there's a lot of voiceover) and the artwork and overall atmosphere is dead-on Film Noir. As far as actual gameplay, the game introduces an innovative dialogue system that lets you use the notes you've taken in your detective's notebook to question NPCs.

The Bad

I realize and appreciate the fact that everyone has a different sense of humor. That said, I have to confess that I didn't find much of the humor in Discworld Noir all that funny. It's not that it's tasteless or offensive or anything...it just falls flat. It falls short of being groaningly un-funny and settles into a place where you can comfortably ignore the fact that the jokes even exist.

The interface is clunky and really shows the game's roots as a PSX title. The traditional inventory-interaction of almost all adventure games is present, but calling up your inventory and interacting with objects is a bit of a pain. The most frustrating aspect of Discworld Noir is that it requires the worst kind of screen trolling (moving your mouse around the screen looking for objects with which you can interact) - the hotspots don't stand out or change color or glow in any way when you mouse over them. There is a (plain white text) popup label for each item, but they are extremely easy to miss.

The Bottom Line

Bottom line: it's no Grim Fandango, but the story is cohesive and compelling enough to keep you interested and some of the puzzles are pretty good.