Many adventure games have used amnesia as a premise with varying degrees of success. Amnesia is really a cheap way out of some design work since the developers don't have to explain any background story or provide your character with any motivation.
Many games developed under these parameters don't turn out so well, perhaps due to a general laziness in development caused by the lack of necessary depth. Some, however, do manage to transcend their cliché openings to become enjoyable gaming experiences. While Déjà Vu: A Nightmare Comes True may not be the best amnesia game available, it certainly holds its own.
The game's strength lies in its design as a point-and-click adventure but it's also the game's primary weakness. For fast typing gamers used to playing text-based adventure games, the limited "click verb" then "click noun" picture interface system will feel very restrictive and slow. But, for those who can't type quite as fast, the game is essentially a basic text-based adventure with graphics that lets you do 99% of the interactions with just mouse clicks.
If you fall in the latter group, you'll find Déjà Vu: A Nightmare Comes True's interface to be quite well designed. The game is structured so that each element has its own window that you can reposition anywhere you want on the screen and, when you examine objects that might contain items, a new window opens up to display its contents. The graphics, though not particularly well drawn, are effective in letting you get a picture view of the room's description.
You can get and drop items simply by clicking and dragging and easily determine where the exits are by use of the exit window. One problem, though, is the game's tendency to lean a bit too heavily on its graphics and its failure to mention everything relevant in the room descriptions. Most of the time you can easily determine what's interactive on the screen simply by clicking with the mouse but using this method can make it easy to overlook very small items.
The game's puzzles are sufficiently complex that most gamers will find the game challenging; however, experienced text-based game players may find them both formulaic and a little on the easy side. Likewise, the plot is interesting enough to keep you playing but not engaging enough to make it memorable. Despite these relatively minor weaknesses, Déjà Vu: A Nightmare Comes True's gameplay is solid and enjoyable.
This is an adventure game that successfully rises above the cliché of its premise to offer a good gaming experience. Hardcore adventure fans may want to play Amnesia instead, a game that is entirely text-based but offers a more engaging storyline and more interesting puzzles. Anyone new to the genre, though, will find the interface to be ideal and the gameplay sufficiently challenging.
Graphics: Clean and effective graphics embellish the game's textual descriptions.
Sound: No sound used in the game.
Enjoyment: Interesting puzzles with a decent degree of difficulty, presented with a very user-friendly interface.
Replay Value: The linear plot and single solution puzzles dampen the game's replay value.
Deja Vu was the first game ever made by ICOM, the makers of such famous adventure games as Shadowgate and Uninvited. It featured mouse support, a multi-window interface, and bitmapped graphics at a time when text-based interactive fiction was the norm.
In Deja Vu your character wakes up in a toilet stall of a sleazy pub with no memory of who you are or what you're doing there. To make matters worse, you soon stumble upon a very dead corpse upstairs with three bullets buried in him. Sure enough, you find there's a gun in your pocket with three bullets missing. From there you have to figure out what happened and who you are before whatever is happening to your brain turns you into a mindless vegatable. To make matters worse the cops would very much like to have a word with you about that stiff.
In 1991 a remake of this game was made for Windows, featuring improved graphics etc.
People who downloaded Deja Vu 1: A Nightmare Comes True have also downloaded:
Deja Vu 2, Darkseed, Discworld 2: Mortality Bytes, Déjà Vu I & II: The Casebooks of Ace Harding, Darkseed 2, Death Gate, Daughter of Serpents (a.k.a. The Scroll), Discworld
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