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Deja Vu: A Nightmare Comes True (NES) artwork

Deja Vu: A Nightmare Comes True (NES) review

"After the release of the hit game Shadowgate for the NES, Kemco realized the potential there was in the point-and-click genre of games. With this new-found knowledge, Kemco sought to release yet another game of the same style. This led to the release of the game Déjà Vu, another masterpiece coded by Icom Simulations. This game, along with the few other point-and-click games by the same company, helped to open up the world of games where sly thought and keen observation is a must. "

After the release of the hit game Shadowgate for the NES, Kemco realized the potential there was in the point-and-click genre of games. With this new-found knowledge, Kemco sought to release yet another game of the same style. This led to the release of the game Déjà Vu, another masterpiece coded by Icom Simulations. This game, along with the few other point-and-click games by the same company, helped to open up the world of games where sly thought and keen observation is a must.

You are Ace Harding, well-known detective mastermind. Unable to remember who you are or what you were doing, you wake up one day in a bathroom stall. And if amnesia isn't bad enough, the police are after you on murder charges! The most obvious solution remains to explain this uncanny turn of events: You have been framed! This leaves only one question remaining, one who's answer can help clear your name -- Who is the real culprit? With most of the city now against you, you're on your own to gather all of the facts, at the same time you must suffer under the painful influence of an amnesiac memory.

The screen where all of the strategy takes place is split up into three different sections for your use. A large box in the upper-left corner of the screen provides you with a graphical first-person view of the area you are facing. To the right of this box is the notepad, which records the names of items you are carrying, as well as keeps track of all the addresses you will gather and need for future reference. The last box, stretching across the bottom of the screen, is used to issue commands, like ''Push'' or ''Take,'' and to give you a briefing of anything that is happening at the moment, including giving you information of an object you wish to observe.

The main means of control is a pointer, which you move around the screen with your control pad. With this pointer, you can click the commands to execute and the objects to carry out certain commands on. As you use this pointer to gather items and move around, you'll find yourself traveling all over the seemingly small city as the plot thickens, becoming more and more complicated for you to figure out. Fortunately, even with the complicated plot, you are given enough of a chance to crack the case, because very few opportunities to die will present themselves in the game; usually when you do, it's in the form of being arrested by the police or being shot by a mugger. And also, the game contains battery-backed memory, allowing you to solve the mystery without having to play through the whole game all at once.

Having to move a mouse pointer around with a control pad may take a little bit of getting used to, but I'm sure you'll find it to be very simple once you get the hang of it. The control when moving the pointer around the screen is very tight, moving at one constant speed and stopping as soon as you take your hand off of the button, making it difficult to miss an object you're trying to point to. On the other hand, the pointer can many times seem to move too slow, causing the game to seem to take longer than it should to play through.

The graphics in the game are, surprisingly, very good, something I didn't expect to see in a game with little-to-no action. Almost every room is shown with even the smallest details formed. There are a few things that the graphics lack, though. When you perform a simple command, such as opening a door, no animation is shown, but the screen just changes from one picture, with the door open, to the next, with the door closed. In addition, the colors used through most of the game are basically dull and drab. A little bit of animation of any kind, as well as some more vibrant colors, would have pushed the graphical quality up a good amount.

The music in Déjà Vu flaunts a very small variety. Songs typically change depending on the area or the situation you are in. Some of the music has a good detective-like tone to it, but others seem to be there just to give you something to listen to, without much consideration to setting the mood of the scene. Plus, most of the songs are just tunes that last only a few seconds and continue to loop around continually. Some of the songs themselves are pretty good, but more work could have been put into the others.

Sound effects have even a smaller variety. Just about the only sounds that'll ever reach your ear are the sounds of a slap and a gunshot. Even these sounds are sometimes barely audible, and the gunshot sounds more like a slap than it does a gun. Many more effects should have been thrown in to the mix, especially since there were a few parts of the game that would have done very nicely with some effects but didn't have any at all.

Yet surprisingly, even with the complicated plot this game contains, Déjà Vu isn't very hard and actually seems quite small. The solutions to many of the problems you face in the game are almost blatantly obvious. Many of the streets you visit will consist of only one house or building with very few areas to explore. While a small challenge presents itself in trying to figure out what to do all the time, by the time you have the case solved, the whole game can seem to have been rather short.

The game, altogether, is fun for the first time around, but it can lose it's appeal after you beat it once. After the first time around, you'll know exactly what to do from then on, leaving you not little reason to replay the game much, unless you want to discover the many ways you can die. Perhaps they should have allowed multiple strategies to solve the case, so a player can return to the game soon after completion, just to try to figure out the case in a different way. But since they didn't do that, you're left with a game who's secrets are known after your first try.

Overall, Déjà Vu is a great NES game that doesn't deserve to be overlooked. It was one of the few point-and-click games on the system, and it was most certainly one of the best. It is great to add to your collection and is a must-have for any strategy game fans. This game is a perfect example of how a game can become successful if the developers would spend the time to develop an excellent plot to use.


Story (9/10): The detective story used presents a great plot to motivate you in the game.
Gameplay (8/10): The point-and-click style used in this game proved to be very successful.
Control (8/10): Very tight controls with the only problem being a slow pointer.
Graphics (7/10): Nicely detailed graphics, but some animation and more vibrant colors are needed.
Music (6/10): Merely small songs that repeat themselves and sometimes fail to set the mood.
Sound (2/10): The sound effects are too few and, many times, too low in volume.
Challenge (4/10): The puzzles are usually easy to solve, and the game seems rather short.
Replay (4/10): Excellent game for the first time around, but it loses its appeal afterwards.

Overall (8/10): Though it's more of a one-time-only game, it sure entertains well.

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Community review by royalranger (Date unavailable)

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