Sunday, August 01, 2010

Game Review: Dames Are Trouble

Hello there. Your name is Jim Novek, private investigator. You're a pretty upright fellow, but you've got your a little vice: you keep falling for them dames. And it's gotten you into trouble. This time you went head over heels for Vivienne; initially, everything was peaches and cream. That is, until the the dough ran out, at which point, so did she.
Dames Are Trouble is an interactive fiction game released in 2006 for Palm devices running OS 3.0 and up; it's reminiscent of older text-based adventures, and based in what seems to be a 1940's city (maybe Chicago). The entire game area is played in a single city block, and you about exploring, seeking information about the whereabouts of Vivienne, the titular dame, who, of course, has proved to be trouble, stealing your money, your car, and stuff that you generally value.
You've managed to find her apartment (the game starts there) but you can't enter until you know which apartment she's taken to living in. You thus decide to start doing what you do best: investigating.
I, the reviewer, do not want to give away too much information on the game (or how you solve it) but I must say it takes some patience, particularly if you're unfamiliar with interactive fiction titles. Unlike most IF (interactive fiction) titles, instead of a parser that you can type commands into, all possible actions (i.e. go west, climb fence) are right out there, simplifying things, although if you're used to IF like Zork, where everything is typed, it may seem a little dumbed down. On the other hand, it's a lot easier if you have a Palm like mine, a Tungsten T|5, which lacks a physical keyboard (though, if you can find an external secondhand in the year I write this review, 2010, congratulations).

I won the game in about 25 minutes. Graphically, it was pretty impressive considering it was intended for Palm OS 3 (and I'm currently running OS 5). The story, while not anything to dial home over, was still quite amusing, and a nice little reminder that this genre can go much, much further.

Download Dames are Trouble Here:

 and in case the first link is broken, here:

Dear readers, I understand that I have promised you a full on special on video games. I trust that you'll be pleased to know that said special is still underway, delayed on account of life, but by no means canceled.

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