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Deadline

by Marc Blank

Mystery
1982

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(8)
4 star:
(24)
3 star:
(11)
2 star:
(3)
1 star:
(1)
Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 47
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- Nomad, February 16, 2021

- SørenStonewall, December 17, 2020

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Fun, groundbreaking game (but you will need a few hints), August 14, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: 10+ hours
I had heard and read about this game a lot before I played it, so I was expecting the worst as far as unfair puzzles go. In the end I thought that with a few notable exceptions, the game wasn't that hard, though I say that having played Zork and accepted my fate that any Infocom game would likely take a dozen playthroughs before you got close to beating it.

I loved the NPCs and their interactions with you and the environment. I loved that you couldn't just guess the right person as the murderer, that you had to gather evidence as well or you couldn't reach the ultimate ending. This game is ground breaking in introducing mysteries as an IF genre, and for a maiden voyage I think I did a pretty good job. You will need a few hints, but I think you will enjoy it.

(Spoiler - click to show)
It probably goes without saying, but digging around the holes in the rose garden for evidence, and the timing of catching George with an open safe in the hidden closet are the two puzzles that it would have been extremely difficult to solve without hints. Additionally, I think the final collection of evidence you obtain to "win" the game is a little thin when judged by the standards of modern murder mysteries.


- Zape, June 3, 2020

- Otheym, August 18, 2019

- Denk, September 26, 2017

- nosferatu, July 15, 2017

- Spike, February 26, 2017

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Intricate, beautiful, a bit unfair. Infocom's first mystery and realistic game, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: Infocom
I loved Deadline. I didn't get too far on my own in solving the mystery, but I spent a long time exploring and having fun.

This is a mystery game, where a man has been found dead, and you have to investigate the house and people in it. Everyone walks around, has scripted events, etc. I asked everyone about everyone else, examined the crime scene, etc.

I missed an important verb which is listed in the manual, and which you are supposed to know from the beginning; typing ANALYZE or ANALYZE [SOMETHING] FOR [SOMETHING] sends someone to analyze stuff for you.

Now so many other games make sense. For instance, Jon Ingold's Make It Good really borrows a lot from this game, and now I realize it must have been an intentional homage, meant to help and mislead the experienced gamer (which I wasn't when I played it).

Deadline was an early experiment in timed and scripted events, as well as extensive conversation.. Games like Varicella or Pytho's Mask may not have existed without this one.

It' s also very hard, in unfair ways. I recommend eventually settling on a walkthrough. Like the great novels of the 1600's-1800's, it was designed to last for a long period of time in the absence of other material.

- namekuseijin (anywhere but home), January 12, 2016

- CasualGamer33356, October 14, 2015

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Deadline, June 9, 2015
My dad bought a copy of this when I was about eight years old. I spent the next three years trying to complete it, and the following twenty annoyed at the fact I never did.
Eventually, I got to download it again and finally completed it last year.
I've only ever played one other IF game (so far) so I don't have much to compare it to, but I've never played anything else that kept me hooked for twenty years.

For me, the characters are believable, the plot makes sense and everything you do has some kind of purpose (rather than being some random action). It's difficult though, because there are some things that have to be done at certain times.

- Thrax, March 12, 2015

- shornet (Bucharest), March 23, 2014

- KidRisky (Connecticut, USA), December 20, 2013

- Hotspur, September 23, 2013

- Shadow Fox (Texas), April 17, 2013

- The Custodian (The Cloud), April 10, 2013

- ifailedit (arkansas), January 21, 2013

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Great Infocom mystery, November 13, 2012
The first non-Zork game Infocom did, which means the parser doesn't understand a lot of abbreviations which most of us take for granted.
However, don't let that stop you: the writing is where the game really shines.
You're a detective who's got excactly 12 hours to prove that the suicide of Mr.Robner was in fact a murder, and prove who did it. You do this by investigating his mansion and questioning the people there. These are some of the most fleshed out NPS's you'll see in a game of this era. They react to a lot of items you show them.
The puzzles are logical and satisfying to solve, but still quite difficult. I found myself using the InvisiClues a lot.
My conclusion: one of the best mysteries Infocom did, if not the best.

- Puddin Tame (Queens, NY), October 27, 2012

- AADA7A, September 22, 2012

- kala (Finland), May 26, 2012

- Nav (Bristol, UK), November 25, 2011

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
The Foundation of an IF Mystery Genre, July 11, 2011
Deadline is one of Infocom's most difficult games, and requires a number of playthroughs to win. Important events happen at specific times of day, and you have to know about them and be in the right place at the right time to take advantage. It's easy to miss evidence or misunderstand it. There's limited time to complete your investigation. And, of course, you can ruin everything by arresting the wrong person. It's really best to approach the game by recognizing that you need to thoroughly explore it in four dimensions -- getting to know what is going to happen at different times -- before expecting to reach a happy solution.

The things that make the game difficult are also the things that make it great. Instead of offering an underpopulated world full of set-piece puzzles, Deadline challenges the player to make sense of a coherent reality full of active people and sometimes misleading clues. Characters move around the house, pursuing their own agendas. People have a schedule and plans of their own. There are more conversation options than in most old classics.

The sense of a solid and coherent world carries over into the game's feelies. These are some of Infocom's best, with police reports and evidence establishing the backstory of the case, and unlike the feelies for the Enchanter series or Hollywood Hijinx, they're presented straight, not as joking riffs on the situation of the game.

Deadline is the first IF I ever played at length on my own. I didn't solve it until many years later, but I returned to it over and over again as a kid. What captured my imagination then, and still has a certain appeal, is the recurring sense of excitement from observing without being observed: listening in on phone extensions, looking for secret rooms, following people. There was always the sense that important and significant secrets were hidden under every surface.

While the depth of implementation and the complexity of character reactions aren't quite up there with modern mysteries such as Make It Good and Varicella, Deadline is a foundational work. It established a number of traditional features, such as the sidekick, Duffy, who can run lab tests on your evidence, and the use of ACCUSE to accost suspects, and laid the groundwork for the still-popular genre of IF mystery that focuses on evidence collection and NPC interrogation within a compact map.


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