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Written by  :  Terrence Bosky (5459)
Written on  :  Aug 17, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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The stuff that dreams are made of.

The Good

In The Witness, you are a detective called by a wealthy importer/exporter who has received a death threat from his deceased wife's lover. Unfortunately he dies in front of you, leaving you to solve his murder within twelve hours. This game has a small cast, but all are likely suspects. You'll need to interview witnesses, test alibis and gather clues.

Collecting evidence and having it analyzed is one of the best features of this game. Sgt. Duffy, your assistant, will send evidence down to the boys in the lab for a quick analysis. Using their forensic interpretation, you'll have to establish motive and opportunity for the murderer. Fail to do this and the criminal will go free.

This is one of the few Interactive Fiction games I've played in which characters move freely around the house. You'll need to follow them, watch what they are doing, or lay in wait for them.

The Bad

There is very little not to like about this game. Once you have successfully solved the case, there is little replay value except for some experimentation. There aren't too many characters and after a while the house will seem small. Technically there are multiple endings, although only one successful one. My biggest complaint is the amount of waiting required in the beginning. Once the scripted death scene occurs, you can begin your investigation however you choose.

The Bottom Line

A fun mystery set in the 1938's California. Very enjoyable and one of my favorite Infocom games. This one is well-written, has a great parser and excellent conversations.