Black Dahlia

aka: Black Dahlia: A Game of Adventure and Dark Mystery, Black Dahlia: Il Fiore del Male, Black Dahlia: Um Jogo de Aventura e Mistérios Obscuros
Moby ID: 1174
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Description official descriptions

Black Dahlia is a suspense thriller based loosely on the unsolved California murder of Elizabeth Short, nicknamed "Black Dahlia" for her favoritism towards black clothing.

Taking place in the 1940s, the game puts the player in control of a rookie government agent, Jim Pearson, whose first case involves investigating Nazi propaganda. The case is not as simple as it sounds, however. Before long, Jim uncovers information and evidence that the Nazis have connections to the supernatural, occultism as well as some very bizarre and ritualistic killings. Jim meets Elizabeth Short who possesses a strange engraved stone known as the "Black Dahlia", an artifact coveted by the Nazis as a source of ultimate power. When her brutal murder occurs, the stone disappears. During Jim's search for the missing item, he uncovers a web of evil, deceit and intrigue. Will he get out alive .. and uncorrupted?

The game is a point-and-click puzzle-solving adventure with live action cutscenes. Full 360 degree horizontal and limited vertical panning allow the player to scan each scene with the mouse. Jim's in-game notebook acts as a journal as it records everything of importance that he has examined.

Black Dahlia has over sixty puzzles dispersed over nearly as many locations. They range in difficulty, style and type including jigsaw, manipulation, code breaking, mazes and object based. Well publicized bypass codes can be used to "auto-solve" them without compromising the game, since no score is kept.

Spellings

  • 凶兆2:黑夜追緝令 - Chinese spelling (traditional)

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Windows version)

274 People (261 developers, 13 thanks) · View all

Walter Pensky
Madame Cassandra
Jim Pearson
Running Boy
Bully
William Sullivan
Detective Peter Merylo
Hank Finster
Eddie
Dick Winslow
George Hansen
Louie the Fish
Ernie
Helen Strauss
Delivery Boy
Jones
Bellhop
Maid
Wilhelm von Hess
Nurse Adams
Joseph Muhlhaven
Eliot Ness
Gladys
Alice Casey
Loretta
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 71% (based on 27 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 26 ratings with 2 reviews)

One of the last greats in the field, highly recommended to adventure fans/movie buffs

The Good
From start to finish this package was incredible. The cast was hand-picked from Hollywood, the virtual sets were the finest ever, sound and music were totally spot on, and the story was a masterpiece. Even the standard adventure engine featured some nice tweaks that kept me interested in the game without breaking the illusion of reality. The music especially helped set the tone, and was at a constant low in the background, just on the edge of concsiousness and pushing the story forward as necessary. The virtual sets, as stated, were incredible. There were many times when I forgot completely that they were computer generated, that the actors were working with blue screen technology. And the actors themselves worked well in front of a blue screen, something which normally hurts a performance.

The Bad
Perhaps the only real issue to put an adventure gamer off about this one is the difficulty. This was hands down the HARDEST game I've ever played. The puzzles involved have a certain logic behind them, but I only tended to pick up on it in hindsight. Also, of course, is the fact that this is an FMV game; The bane of the common gamer. This is definitely for those who want a story and enjoy film clips interspersed along the game, and this constitutes a small minority at this point.

The Bottom Line
Excellent all the way through, pick this up for a great cinematic, mind-bending experience, but be ready to flush a little bit of pride when you have to go look up a walkthrough.

Windows · by Vance (94) · 2000

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!

Windows · by Jeanne (75929) · 2001

Discussion

Subject By Date
DOS eXo (346) May 20, 2013

Trivia

Hidden movies

  • Spin around quickly an any direction, you'll see a short video of Jim Pearson
  • At the Santini home, hold shift when exiting the room after the mother has left and you'll see a short video of Santini's mother and a large firearm.
  • In ABC's office, when clicking through the files in the file cabinet, click the wrong file 13 times. You get a mini movie of Jim looking at you and saying "Do you have any idea what you are doing?"
  • Get to the scene where Jim enters the underground wine cellar after finding (and losing) the Dahlia in the German bunker. Go forward towards the steps. There's a wine rack there. Shift-Left-Click on any bottle of wine in the rack and watch the movie.
  • When you are in your room at Sunset Arms Hotel, click on the phone and then on yourself to hear the line "That's me , Jim Pearson!".
  • Also in the Sunset Arms Hotel, click on the phone, hold shift and then click on yourself to make a prank call.

References

A brief wink to adventure game fans is firmly embedded in here: Near the end of the game your character enters "Gabe's Diner." Listen carefully to the background conversation between the chef and the waitress... she calls him Gabe and he calls her Gracie... Gabriel and Grace, lead characters of the Gabriel Knight series.

Information also contributed by Itay Shadar

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  • MobyGames ID: 1174
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Shane k.

Additional contributors: Vance, Jony Shahar, Jeanne, formercontrib, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 27, 2000. Last modified August 30, 2023.