89: Déjà Vu

Genre: Point-N-Click

Developer: ICOM
Publisher: Kemco/Seika
Year: 1990

Basic Idea:  You wake up with fiction’s most beloved plot device (see: amnesia) and try to catch the real murderer.

Review: ICOM had three of their games in this vein reach the NES.  Point-N-Click is a difficult endeavor on a console, as the control pad isn’t near as fast as the mouse (not to mention most console gamers want something a bit faster).  With that said, the story and atmosphere must be amazing to make up for it.  Uninvited was brutal.  Walking dead situations.  Insanely illogical puzzles.  Laughable haunted house plot.  Déjà Vu makes the cut.

Of the three games, this is the only one that has a plot that develops as the game progresses.  It’s pretty much your typical ham-fisted film noir dialogue and situations, but it’s improved by a pretty decent sense of tension throughout.  The puzzles seem fairly logical as well.  However, there’s a bit too much randomness in the game to keep me from being annoyed.  There are thugs who randomly steal your money, and if they do, you’re pretty much in a walking dead situation (but at least an obvious one–hope you saved!).  Also, the sound and graphics are probably the worst in this series of games.

It’s probably not worth much of a play these days, even if you loved Shadowgate or other adventures.  But if you do, there’s plenty of well-executed sections that should keep you entertained.

4 thoughts on “89: Déjà Vu”

  1. I vaguely remember this game’s existence, but I think Shadowgate was the only game of this type that I ever played for the NES. In fact, I don’t think I’ve played more than five point and click adventures, ever, on any console.

    1. so when I do my Top 50 Adventure Games list, you’re gonna be bored out of your skull.

      I’ve read some opinion articles that state the point’n’click genre is so tiny now not because people want explosions and guns, but because people want to feel immersed in their games, and solving puzzles one step at a time with a mouse doesn’t cut it anymore. I feel that a bit. While I still love adventures, when I have the option to play a game like Portal that has great immersion and a great story, it’s hard to pick up the alternative.

      I’ve even lost most of my love for text-only adventures. While, like a book, the great ones allow you a level of immersion not possible on the screen, it’s take a really special game not to make you lose interest when it doesn’t understand a verb or two you’ve typed in.

      1. Yeah, I feel all of that. By the time I found myself slightly interested in the point’n’click genre, the current generation was happening and things are finally cinematic to the level I desire.

        And yeah…text only adventures. I was stuck on a game for ages where I knew the solution was to knock down a wall of rocks. I was there for quite literally a year before I decided to fire it up and try “collide rocks,” which worked. I was so angry that it worked that I almost couldn’t keep playing. What kind of phrasing is “Collide rocks?” Someone at the time tried to tell me that the difficulty of finding the right word was part of the fun. I’m not sure how I see a game of semantics – particularly one where the phrasing is mental – being fun.

        Text adventures would be amazing if they could always be played in person. I suppose that’s essentially D&D…

        1. as I mentioned, there are some games that have little difficulty with word finding, as they have many, many synonyms for each verb or can steer you in the right direction. but as one author has stated repeatedly, most games are more fun to “have played” than to “be playing.”

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