Merk's Review: An Act of Murder

The “official” version can be found at my website:

So, who was your murderer?

It was Alex the first time (most of my play time). On my second (quicker) play-through, it was Elinor (which kind of seemed like an awkward spelling to me).

I got Benedict the first time and Deborah the second. I think I played it once more, but I forget who the murderer was that time.

I enjoyed Act of Murder too, but some of the conversation topics were less than obvious. Also, I found the little IF in-jokes really annoying, because they seemed so completely unrelated to the game. (Did you find the DM4 in someone’s pocket? But there isn’t a computer in the house…) YMMV.

Furthermore, I’m still having trouble visualising the layout of the house. When I start a game, I tend to imagine myself facing north, so I envisaged the house facing south. But it’s actually the other way round in Act of Murder. Every time I went to move somewhere, I either typed the wrong direction or had to stop and think about it.

The hint menu explains this joke (giving us another slightly painful pun in the process). It’s a painting of a Victorian actor named Askew.

Ooooh. No, I didn’t find (or recognize) as many IF in-jokes or references as others did. Just the “Twisty Passages” play, and of course, the XYZZY verb (but boo for killing me – heh).

I got Elinor once, Deborah three times (my bad luck, I think), and… Alex? once? (The scenarios start to blend together a bit after several plays. But it did stay fun enough to play several times, so I guess that shows there was some value in making it all replayable, after all. At least, I thought so.)

I was curious about what Deb’s motive would be. In my two play-throughs, I never had an impression she had any motive. So it must be something completely new and just didn’t mesh with the others.

Did anything else change on those particular ones? Different murder weapon or alibis, when it was her each time?

Yeah, other aspects of the story changed while it remained her. Her motive is that she doesn’t want the musical to go un-funded.

Thanks! I’ve been following your reviews, and they’ve been great, so thanks for that too.

Chief Inspector Duffy is in no way related to the Sergeant Duffy of Infocom fame; he is, however, a second cousin once removed of the Sergeant Duffy from “Sorry, Wrong Number”. Yeah. That’s the ticket…

Have you tried >xyzzy anywhere else in the game? It doesn’t always kill you…

Oh, it didn’t even occur to me that the death sequence only makes sense outside (otherwise, at a minimum, it’d have to be rewritten). In short, no – I didn’t! I should have.

I’ve seen you lurking but not posting, so I figured one of the games must be yours.

Well done!