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About the Story
For Madame L'Estrange, contacts with beings from the ghost world are everyday routine. This case, however, is not. Did Dr. Taverner really kill himself? If not, who did it? And what about that beast?
Nominee, Best Story - 1997 XYZZY Awards
17th Place - 3rd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1997)
Strange is right. You're an Sydney psychic investigating weird doings involving a big nasty animal on the loose and an apparently unrelated murder of a scientist. This feels like a short story that was inexpertly converted into IF--you get long, long chunks of text with no interaction potential, most of which is in the third person, past tense (whereas the parser still thinks it's in second person, present tense, of course). Spelling and grammar problems abound, as well as other bugs--it's hit or miss whether SAVE crashes the game or not. Yet the story is pretty good, and some aspects are well-implemented, for instance a TRAVEL TO feature that whisks you around town. Try it if you're in a forgiving mood. No hint menu, but there's a walkthrough included (via a HELP menu).
-- Duncan Stevens
Whoever did the writing here did a LOT of it; there are several situations where many full screens of text go by between inputs. Often, those scenes include fairly complicated dialogue by your character, handy in a way--since this game certainly isn't up to much in the way of parsing input--but also a bit destructive of the interactive element. Most of the characters have a two- or three-screen spiel to tell you, and once you've found that, you're generally safe moving on to the next character; the authors did not conceal the relevant information under a variety of topics. That speeds things along, I guess, though it does make the whole thing feel mechanical.
-- Duncan Stevens
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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
Madame L'Estrange and the Troubled Spirit (hereafter called MmeLTS) is a frustrating game, because it builds such a slipshod house upon a very promising foundation. The game is riddled with what I would guess are at least a hundred grammar and spelling errors. It flipflops seemingly at random between past and present tense. It can't seem to decide whether to address the player in the second or third person. It consistently causes a fatal crash in at least one interpreter (WinFrotz). All this would be easy to evaluate as simply the product of incompetent authors if it didn't take place in a game that starts with an interesting premise, executes a number of great interface decisions, and manages to unroll a complicated mystery plot along the way. As it is, MmeLTS is a great mess that could've been a contender if only it had been written with more care.
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This game is a murder mystery with a twist. The game is written in third person, with the protagonist being Madame L'Estrange, spiritualist detective.
The focus here is the story, and it's what got the game nominated for a '97 XYZZY Best Story award. You travel to various locations and get big text dumps spinning a marvelous tale of murder, Australian animals, and the occult.
The rest of the game is a bit spotty. There are numerous typos and spotty implementation. Sometimes you talk to people automatically when you see them; you almost always have to 'ask about' something even if you want to tell, except for one spot in the game where you have to 'tell' several things. A lot of guess-the-verb, but you can do most of the game on your own before using the walkthrough (you don't get any points at all until you're about 3/4 of the way through the game). Even the inventory has a typo with a misplaced colon.
Overall, a great game if you're into a good story, which I am.
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Detective and mystery games by MathBrush
These are games where you play a detective or someone else investigating a mystery. Most of them are realistic games which I am splitting off of my realistic list. Some are more magical or science fi-ish.