A man with an alias is a man with a secret.
Scott Anger is a detective. A month ago, his unfaithful girlfriend was
shot by an unidentified man before his eyes in an alley behind his detective agency. He’s
spent the interim drowning his
sorrows. Now, however, he has a case. Dan Klein has disappeared, and Scott
Anger has been paid to find him. The Dame Was Loaded is a
caricature of every film noir detective movie in existence. On the outset,
it sounded promising, but it doesn’t deliver. Instead of laughing as Anger
delivers his lines, I cringed. Every time Anger leaves Meg’s Diner, I am
forced to endure:
“Where’s the tip?”
“Where’s the service?”
Anger is not funny or profound,
just annoying. After hearing the dialogue for the first time, I expected to
instruct you to forget about this game and to go rent Chinatown, a brilliant
40s detective movie starring Jack Nicholas; it’ll cure your thirst for film
noir and entertain you at the same time.
Yes, I had intended to advise you of this, but then something odd happened. The intrigue of the game grabbed me. The plot lures you in with quick finds
and obvious developments, and then the time comes to dig in and really
think. I discovered that it is actually an intelligent game in a disappointing wrapper. So, with my
left index finger poised on the Escape button (it skips the immediate
dialogue), I ventured forth into Anger’s plot.
Everyone in the game is out for
themselves, and you are left to ask yourself, “what is hidden here?” “why is
that important?” and “how can I get him to speak with me?” The mystery would
be easy, if there weren’t a time limit. You have 3 days of Scott Anger time,
then the game ends. Saving your games isn’t a very effective strategy, as the
only way to move forward is to notice something you hadn’t noticed before —
and that’s obviously not going to happen while the game is saved and your machine
is off. Although I wound up playing a lot of poker and eating tons of donuts,
somewhere in all the monotony, the game caught my attention. It is now my sworn
mission to one day find Dan Klein!
The Dame Was Loaded is live-action and pretty good looking. Keeping in mind that sound is of the utmost importance in this game (all information is relayed vocally), sound is unfortunately what ruins this game. Whether it’s horrible jazz or trite sayings, I just wanted to rip out my sound card. The control is quite simple. The game is geared to what you do, not how fast you do it. It’s easy to maneuver, except in the office. For some inexplicable reason, you can only reach the couch immediately after entering the building. If you sit down at your desk, the only way to get to the couch is to go to the car
and come back in. Though it’s not very important, it’s still annoying – possibly a sloppy oversight by the design techies who worked on the game.
All in all, The Dame Was Loaded was a decent idea that was poorly implemented; entertaining but badly made. Mediocre actors and terrible dialogue almost wrecked a fairly good game. When the dialogue gets too annoying, just remember that the
escape button is your friend.