Retrospective: Discworld Noir • Page 2

Dark humour. 

But no matter how all over the place his voice may be, the delivery is spot on. And it's packed with jokes, most of them hidden for when looking at background incidentals.

There's one particular line I distinctly remember from playing this through in the decade before last, and it still works now:

"The river Ankh - probably the only river in the universe on which you could chalk the outline of a corpse."

Works for me.

Unlike a lot of Discworld Noir. Just getting this working on a modern machine was quite the trial, eventually finally loading in a virtual machine running Windows 2000, with a registry hack, and forced to play it in a tiny window. But less literally, the game itself is surprisingly poorly structured despite its pleasant turns.

The game features so few puzzles, instead opting for you to trudge about, chatting to people based on the increasing numbers of clues on the pages of your notepad.

Ask about one subject to the right person and it'll unlock a new conversation option to ask of someone else. But worse, doing this will occasionally trigger something to change elsewhere, with no connection.

For instance, you'll need to read a note from a client in order to progress at one point, which requires you to guess that you need to head back to your office, and then notice the few pixels that had changed on the screen since the last time you were there.

And that's pretty much how it trundles along. In the first chapter you solve literally two puzzles, each so simplistic that a passing bee completed them for me. The rest of the game is spent having a chat.

It's a surprisingly impressive merge of 2 and 3D, for the time.

But it's a good chat! And that's why, despite itself, I still find a fondness for Discworld Noir. It avoids so much of the grating knowing tweeness that haunts the previous games, while remaining very silly and offering lots of Pratchett's pleasing turnings of phrases.

There's also some really splendid music. An excellent score is accompanied by songs. Songs! So few games have songs, and if they do they think they're a novelty for the closing credits. Today I take this platform to cry that more games must include incidental songs.

So, I guess I am saying that it's unDiscworldness is what makes me fond of this chat 'em up, and so I'll still incur the wrath of gentle, dedicated fans and one fierce daughter. And I feel I should add that I have a massive amount of respect for Pratchett, his dedication to writing, and his extraordinary work within the Alzheimer's community since his diagnosis.

Still, the first two games were crap, eh?

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John Walker

John Walker



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