Discworld Noir, developed by Perfect Entertainment and published by GT Interactive, is the third game to be based on the novels of that series by Terry Pratchett. The books have a certain dark depth to them, as does this game; the script of the book is used as a backdrop to this individual tale but does not give too many clues away for the sophisticated and authentic noir story found within.
As expected, all of the pulp fiction narratives are here, as well as the assorted cliches of busty blondes, dirty detective, dark streets and double-crossing citizens. However, a major part of this interesting game is the music and how it is used. Its variety gives the game a life of its own, one that rises above the story and its limited script and gives the whole proceeding a depth that makes it worth playing.
You play as the character Lawton, a private investigator who is called in to solve a mystery. It's all point-and-click after the introductory sequences and yet a novel and unique approach has been taken regarding the storing and future use of clues; they are automatically written into a notebook for using in interrogation or solving the various challenging puzzles throughout the game.
If you're a big fan of this adventure genre, the game will give you many hours of fun and intrigue. If you're an aficionado of Terry Pratchett and his work, then the elements of Discworld Noir will give you a familiar buzz, although a true fanatic may not agree with the way in which the city of Ankh Morpork is portrayed here. Having said that, there is plenty of plotlines, intrigue, 3D graphical excellence and gameplay to keep almost everyone happy.
Graphics: 3D and pre-rendered to look good and assist scene-changing speed
Sound: Witty and mature music gives the proceedings an air of mystery and adventure
Enjoyment: Easy on the eye; lots of wandering around needed to pick up clues
Replay Value: Probably could only be re-attempted once more after completion
Discworld Noir is the third and last PC game based on Terry Pratchett's popular fantasy universe. It is also my most favorite, even though Rincewind (the hero from the other two games) is nowhere to be found, and light-hearted humor has been replaced by forboding atmosphere and shady characters. The one thing that Discworld Noir has in common with its predecessors, though, is the sharp British wit... and droning dialogues that seem to take forever.
Discworld Noir is set in the most depraved city in the Discworld, Ankh-Morpork, where the sun never shines (because it is always night). You play Lewton, a downtrodden P.I. who was once a member of the Watch (i.e. Discworld police) until he was fired for accepting a bribe. The beautiful and mysterious Carlotta just hired you to find Mundy, her ex-lover. As you start looking into Mundy's disappearance more missing persons cases present themselves to you. Missing persons start turning up dead with yours truly as the prime suspect. Throw in a missing artifact, some shady underworld characters, and the ex-girlfriend who broke you heart, and you have all the elements of classic Raymond Chandler noir novels.
In a refreshing break from the recent trend of 3D adventures, Discworld Noir is a traditional third-person adventure with a few novel twists. In addition to the standard point-and-click interface, you have a notebook that contains a list of suspects and clues. You can use the clues and suspects' names just like any other inventory item: by clicking on its name, then clicking on something else in the environment that you think relates to it. If the two things are related, you will gain new insights that often lead to new clue(s) appearing in the notebook. This way of simulating the deductive process is highly effective, and fool-proof -- since there are dozens of names and locations, it is nearly impossible to deduce new leads by simple trial-and-error. There are also many other pleasant surprises that keep gameplay fresh and fun, such as a special ability that you also use via the inventory screen, and many unexpected plot twists.
Since you are a P.I., it only makes sense that you will spend a lot of time talking to suspects. Unfortunately, this is one of the game's few weaknesses. While most of the conversation is witty, they are also excessively long -- not unlike the previous two Discworld games. The same criticism also applies to most of the cut-scenes, which end up being mere showcases of the game's 3D effects rather than integral to the plot. The voice acting is also overdone, although it is somewhat appropriate for the game's tongue-in-cheek noir style.
Despite all my nitpickings about the weak use of multimedia, though, Discworld Noir is an excellent adventure. Its interesting plot and characters, great interface, and challenging puzzles really brings Lewton's world to life, and make the game's weaknesses seem trivial. Similar to Adventuresoft's Feeble Files, all 3 CDs of the game are packed with a lot of solid gameplay and great plot development. A must-have!
People who downloaded Discworld Noir have also downloaded:
Discworld 2: Mortality Bytes, Discworld, Day Of The Tentacle, Curse of Monkey Island, The, Escape from Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Blade Runner, Full Throttle
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