by Matt Scarpino


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Number of Reviews: 2
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Good fun, some interesting ideas., November 16, 2009

This is a fun if fairly short game. The setup is nothing too unfamiliar. You play a private eye, disgraced and penniless after a disastrous court case with an evil corporation. The evil corporation has now kidnapped your wife and is about to unleash a diabolical scheme of world domination. Naturally, only you can stop it.

The game is not enormously difficult, mainly because with each section completed, it is made fairly obvious where you need to go next and who you need to speak to. It’s mainly a matter of simply following the cues. One complication is that the game rather unexpectedly contains riddles! Which to my mind rather breaks the suspension of disbelief. I must also say that one of the riddles stumped me, and it seems that I wouldn’t ever have got it without using the hints as it required cultural knowledge that I lack (Spoiler - click to show)(when on earth is a hearse white? I’m going to guess Asia, but I used to live in Asia and I never saw a white hearse, so it can’t be that mainstream a reference).

However, the game also contains alternate routes to victory. Following the fairly clear cues as outlined above will take you through the “main” route. But you can also behave quite differently to find the “saboteur” route and, best of all, the “dancing man” route. I followed the walkthrough for the dancing man, but it would probably be possible to work it out without help – although a lot of experimentation, undoing, and restarting would probably be necessary. (At least this route doesn’t involve any riddles.) I found this way through the game to be very interesting. The “dancing man” route is so-called because it achieves victory without any deaths, leading to a happier victory – but as you go down the route, the game plays with what you’re doing. There has been much discussion of games where the player must do things that the player character would never do, or never have any reason to do, since the player has knowledge (perhaps derived from previous attempts at the game) which the PC should lack. This is certainly the case with the dancing man route through Resonance – but the game comments on it. As the game progresses and the PC does increasingly weird things the purpose of which is not immediately clear, other characters comment on it and wonder what is going on. The PC himself begins to act rather strangely, inexplicably literally dancing his way through the scenes and telling other characters he cannot be beaten.

I thought this very interesting, simply as a comment on how PCs behave when the player knows all the strange actions required for victory, and it added a lot to the game.

The game is well implemented and largely free of errors. There were one or two minor ones that I spotted. I got an error message when examining the cabinet. At one point I was told that I had dropped something, but in fact I had not. And there’s the occasional typo (e.g. “get his” instead of “get this”).

Overall: the game is fairly short and relatively easy. The main point of interest is that you can choose to follow the not-too-difficult route that is clearly cued, or strike off on your own and try to find one of the alternatives. Doing that leads to interestingly postmodern stuff along the way.