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Deja Vu I & II: The Casebooks of Ace Harding (Game Boy Color) artwork

Deja Vu I & II: The Casebooks of Ace Harding (Game Boy Color) review


"Deja Vu appeared years ago and was a minor classic. Shortly after, Deja Vu 2 appeared. Now, thanks to the wonders of modern technology (and possibly voodoo magic - this I was unable to confirm) both games are available on one GBC cart. Therein lies not only the main selling point of the game, but also the main fault. "



Deja Vu appeared years ago and was a minor classic. Shortly after, Deja Vu 2 appeared. Now, thanks to the wonders of modern technology (and possibly voodoo magic - this I was unable to confirm) both games are available on one GBC cart. Therein lies not only the main selling point of the game, but also the main fault.

You see, both games are short. Without aid, you could finish them in about 5 hours each. With the help of a guide of some sort, then the two games could be done in an afternoon. Had the games been released individually, then this would have been very bad value for money, but placing the two together does not make value for money either - they are very similar. I mean, really, really similar. Both games start with Ace Harding, the main character, waking in some seedy establishment unsure of what is going on. The second game features many of the locations of the first. The final puzzle in both games is even solved in the same way (albeit using different items). Never has a game's title been more suitable.

That isn't to say that either game is bad, on the contrary they are both great fun, but you may want to wait a few weeks between playing the first and the second chapter of Ace Harding's casebook. But would you really want to pay for a game that you would leave for a few weeks after five hours of play? If you would, then read on, as it is time to examine the finer points of the game...

The graphics, while for the most part stationary, are very impressive - they seem to be using the capabilities of the GBC at close to it's limit. This is a game that is certainly easy on the eye.

Gameplay itself is kinda similar to games such as Cosmic Spacehead, Grim Fandango and the seminal Monkey Island Series, only without the presence of the main character on the screen. Seeing through Ace's eyes, you can 'open', 'use' and 'examine' to your hearts content. While veterans of the genre will fall very easily into the swing of things, newcomers may find the gameplay daunting at first. However, the learning curve is no more than ten minutes at the most. Although some of the puzzles may leave you frustrated, having to make your way back across the city to find an item that you missed (in the second game you may even need to revisit other cities) on the whole this game shouldn't tax you too much.

There is a nice film-noirish atmosphere in the games - you can almost here the faux-Bogart accents on the characters you meet, and this makes for a very immersing and enjoyable experience.

All in all, only the questionable value of the game detracts from giving this game a perfect score - if you can stomach paying for two near-identical and short games, then there is plenty to be enjoyed in this little package.

Rating: 7/10

tomclark's avatar
Community review by tomclark (March 07, 2004)

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