aka: Deadline: An INTERLOGIC Mystery, Was It Murder?, Who Killed Marshall Robner?
Moby ID: 30
PC Booter Specs

Description official descriptions

You have 12 hours to solve the murder of Mr. Marshall Robner. If it was a murder... Mr Robner was found locked in his library, dead -- from a lethal dosage of anti-depressants. Friends and family are calling this a suicide of a depressed wealthy industrialist. As Chief of Detectives, you find something just doesn't smell right about this case. You go out on a quest to find a suspect, his motive, method, and opportunity.

Difficulty Level: Expert

Groups +



Credits (PC Booter version)




Average score: 86% (based on 12 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 60 ratings with 3 reviews)

An Early Infocom Game

The Good
This was one of the first text adventure games I ever played (thus, why I never beat it, I suppose) but I remember there was a lot of 'action' packed into it -- the npc's wandered about, there was a lot to explore, and you could do some really neat detective command like ANALYZE '[crime scene object]' or 'ARREST [suspect]'. The game also came with some really cool documentation with a coroner's report and a bunch of background info.

The Bad
It was really hard.

The Bottom Line
If you're into text adventures, or Infocom, this game is definitely worth a look. Also, I don't think there's a difference between the booter and the dos version, but I may be wrong.

PC Booter · by rs2000 (13) · 2001

A great mystery and game

The Good
“Deadline” is a mystery text adventure or interactive fiction produced by Infocom. You are a detective assigned to investigate what has been labelled the open-and-shut suicide case of Marshall Robner to see if you can reach different conclusions. Each action in the game will advance the clock by a minute and the deadline to solve the case is 12 hours. The case proves to be an intriguing mystery and author Marc Blank has done an excellent job of developing and tying together a number of threads into a complete game. The game box includes an impressive array of documentation and objects (and was the first Infocom game to include these “feelies”), which help build the story and introduce the characters.

A solid mystery relies on an interesting cast of characters to make it work. “Deadline” meets this criterion with interesting and well-developed NPCs. Not only are the characters well-written with interesting backgrounds and dialogues, but they actually follow their own schedules. Depending on what time the game is at the various characters will move to different locations and engage in unique activities. On top of that, the characters will at times alter their actions and moods based on actions taken by the player. The effort put into developing the NPCs is a critical element in the success of “Deadline”.

The puzzles in “Deadline” are well-constructed and logical. The game still poses a challenge, but players have a clear goal that they are working toward. One of the interesting options the player has is to have objects analyzed by the trusty Sergeant Duffy.

The room and object descriptions in “Deadline” are well-written and the details inserted into the setting enhance the game. A nice finishing touch on “Deadline” is a summary of the story written by the author given to the player once they have cracked the case.

The Bad
The parser in “Deadline” is generally responsive, but at times it may be difficult to communicate with the game when there are multiple objects with similar names in an area. However, the main point against “Deadline” is its difficulty. The time limit of 12 in-game hours to solve the case means that most players will likely have to restart the game if they want to explore the game area fully and solve the case. Another reason players may have to backtrack significantly by reloading a saved game or restarting the game is that certain parts of the game hinge on being in the correct location in the correct timeframe. Overall, though, the difficult of the game does not prevent it from being enjoyable.

The Bottom Line
“Deadline” is an intriguing mystery game where you play a detective that has to find evidence to overturn the conclusion that Marshall Robner committed suicide and was actually murdered. The game builds an interesting mystery where a number of threads combine to make a memorable story. The NPCs are a key element in the game’s success, as they not only prove to be interesting characters, but move around the game area according their own schedules and respond to player actions. The game’s puzzles are logical and the player has a clear objective throughout the game. “Deadline” proves a challenging game because the player has a finite time to solve the case and must efficiently compile evidence and ensure that they visit certain locations at key times. The fact that time progresses with each move the player makes means that players will likely have to restart the game at least a few times before they can complete “Deadline”. However, the challenge does not diminish the fun of the game because of the strength of the story, NPCs and well-constructed puzzles.

DOS · by Ingold (119) · 2009

The one that broke the mold

The Good
Deadline on the surface looked a lot like the other adventur games that Infocom had published, but deeper inside lied a classic locked door mystery to be solved. To do so, a "timetable" of character movements was created, as well as ways for you to analyze clues to get more info. Brilliant, to this day.

The Bad
It was HARD, for all the reasons listed above. But, thanks to some hints, I was able to crack the case.

The Bottom Line
The best murder-mystery game I've every played.

DOS · by Tony Van (2797) · 1999



A bug in the program made it possible to follow a certain set of instructions that resulted in Ms. Dunbar committing suicide while another Ms. Dunbar continued to walk around the house. Upon hearing the gunshot fired by the now-dead Ms. Dunbar, the alive version of Ms. Dunbar executed her AI script faithfully and ran into the room to see what had happened. This led to an amusing exchange with the game parser:

examine dunbar

Which Ms. Dunbar do you mean: Ms. Dunbar, or the body of Ms. Dunbar?


One of the characters in Deadline, Sargent Duffy, also appears in Infocom's later mystery games The Witness, and Suspect.


Infocom gave Deadline a difficulty rating of "Expert", largely due to the abundance of evidence and false leads to be sorted out within a short timespan.


This was Infocom's third game but the first one to include "feelies". The feelies include typed interviews, 3 pills in a small bag (found at the crime scene), a photograph of the crime scene, the coroners report, and a note from the family attorney.


Infocom's famous 69,105 number is used in this game to refer to the serial number on the pharmacy label on the tablets.


(From The New Zork Times Vol.3 No.2 Spring 1984)

Some statistics about Deadline: * Apparent number of rooms (those seen by the player): 49 * Number of rooms: 51 (for various arcane programming reasons, some rooms are inaccessible to the player) * Number of different ways to die: 2 * Number of words in vocabulary: 656 * Number of takeable objects: 37


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #104 in the "150 Best Games of All Time" list

Inmformation also contributed by Nélio, Ricky Derocher, saladpuncher and Sciere


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Related Sites +

  • Infocom homepage
    At this site you can find information on ALL of Infocom's interactive games, Infocom related articles, sample transcripts, InvisiClue hints, walkthroughs, maps and information on buying Infocom games today.
  • The Commodore Zone
    All about Deadline - introduction, images, related links and comments area.
  • The Infocom Gallery
    High-quality scans of the grey box package and manual of Deadline.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 30
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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Brian Hirt.

TI-99/4A added by S Olafsson. Apple II added by Droog. Atari 8-bit, CP/M, Amstrad CPC added by Kabushi. Macintosh, Amiga added by Terok Nor. Amstrad PCW added by Игги Друге. Atari ST, Commodore 64 added by Belboz. TRS-80 added by me3D31337.

Additional contributors: Dietmar Uschkoreit, Belboz, Sciere, Pseudo_Intellectual, Nélio, mo , c64fan, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 1, 1999. Last modified June 22, 2024.