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The Darkside Detective


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Rating: 4/5 (72 votes)
Comments (4) | Views (13,344)

The Darkside DetectiveThose of us old enough to remember the early 1990's (sadly, I do) may also remember playing the original Monkey Island series. At the time a heavily-pixelated Guybrush and Le Chuck were at the forefront of design and a list of controls on screen were praised as a flawless innovation in Adventure gaming. 25 years later thankfully the world of graphics has moved on and those images are a fond memory of what life used to be like, however Monkey Island's low-res animation appears to be coming back into fashion. Amongst many other games we've had The Last Door series and three installments of CGDC winner Deep Sleep, and now we have The Darkside Detective to get our teeth into.

Francis McQueen cuts a lonely figure. As a young cop his family vanished into thin air, most likely swallowed by a Talisman he'd stolen from an odd crime scene. Blaming himself McQueen becomes obsessed with the paranormal, much to the derision of his colleagues on the force. That is until Chief Scully asks for his help with an apparent possession of her husband. McQueen is able to rid Mr. Scully of his demons and, with a new ally at the precinct, is moved to the woefully underfunded Darkside Division to keep the town of Twin Lakes safe from all that lurks in the shadows.

In the detective's first case - Malice in Wonderland - McQueen is tasked with finding Jenny Jones, a privileged seven-year-old who has gone missing. Her distant Father, hysterical Mother and shifty Nanny are being less than helpful with your investigation but you won't let this slow you down. You've already seen one family ripped apart in strange circumstances, you won't let it happen again, dammit! Lending a helpful pair of hands - or at least offering some company - is officer Dooley, the Yin to McQueen's Yang. Dooley is the more skeptical of the pair but trusts the detective's bloodhound nose for sniffing out the paranormal and follows him willingly throughout the story. Think Mulder and Scully only with more sarcasm and less sexual tension.

Whilst the graphics are cute they aren't enough to keep your attention by themselves and the game needs more to keep us interested for a long period. Thankfully it has a genuinely interesting story-arc that presumably runs through the entire series (6 episodes according to the Twin Lakes Police System), plenty of character interactions and fun puzzles to overcome. Best of all though it has comedy in bucketful's. It doesn't just look like Monkey Island it feels like it too, if someone told you it was part of the Lucas Arts portfolio you'd have no reason not to believe them.

So what does the future hold for Detective McQueen? Will he and Dooley save Jenny? Will he ever find his family? Will his waste paper basket get emptied before Chapter 2? Who knows but I'm looking forward to finding out with him. The developers at Spooky Doorway promise the series will be available on Steam this year so, either way, we don't have long to wait.

Play The Darkside Detective

4 Comments

Walkthrough please :)

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This game requires the Unity plugin, if anyone's having trouble loading it in Chrome, Edge, Opera, or Firefox v53 or higher. You're limited to either Safari or IE in the near term.

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kktkkr November 20, 2016 4:10 PM replied to Paul

I can't be bothered to get Unity installed on Chrome, so I wrote this walkthough based on the downloadable demo, which I believe has exactly the same gameplay. The walkthrough skips over all the optional dialogue and items, so you'd still enjoy the game best by exploring for story and humour.

The Darkside Detective (Case 01: Malice in Wonderland)

    Controls: Point and click, click to advance dialogue.
    Starting the game: Wait for the title to fade out. Click on the desk area (Casebook) to start, click on Case 01 and then Yes.

  1. Outside - Click on the door (Go Inside).

  2. Living Room - Click on Mr Jones, and ask "Where were you last night?" This gives you matches. Click on the door (Hallway).

  3. Hallway - Click on the left door (Study). It's locked. Click on the middle door (Closet).

  4. Closet - Click the box of junk. This gives you the blacklight bulb.

  5. Click the door (Hallway), then click on the right door (Living room), then click on the stairs.

  6. Upstairs - Click on the left door (Master Bedroom).

  7. Master Bedroom - Click the bed. This gives you the strange page.

  8. Click on the nanny and choose "Say, you're the nanny..." (You need to have tried the study door already.) This gives you the study key. Click the door (Leave), then click the right door (Daughter's Bedroom).

  9. Daughter's Bedroom - Click the pens on the drawer. This gives you the marker.

  10. Click the door (Leave), then click on the stairs, then click on the door (Hallway), then drag the study key to the left door.

  11. Study - Click the lantern on the bookshelf. This gives you the lantern.

  12. Click the door (Hallway), then click the right door (Living room), then click the stairs, then click the rope above the telephone (Attic).

  13. Attic - Click the can next to you. This gives you the paint thinner.

  14. Drag the blacklight bulb over the broken lamp on the floor.

  15. Drag the strange page over the darkside doorway.

  16. Drag the 3 matching symbols from the top over the darkside doorway.

  17. Drag the matches over the lantern.

  18. Drag the lit lantern over the darkside doorway.

  19. Talk to Jenny. At the end of the conversation, ask "What about Dooley?"

  20. Drag the paint thinner over the doorway.

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I can't get it to play in IE at all.

Who designs a game that can't be played in popular browsers?

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