From Philips Media and Beam Software
It's the 1940's and you are Scott Anger private detective. You recently failed one job (and lost a beautiful client) and so have been boozing it up lately. Just another detective having a run of bad luck. Business had been slow lately but this dame walks into your office and starts you on one of your biggest cases. She gives you an advance and asks you to find her brother.
The Dame was Loaded is a good detective game. You have to go around interviewing people and looking for clues. Some of the joints you need to visit are pretty sleazy. Some of the things you'll find may be helpful in making people friendly towards you and others will be clues.
The game features full screen real-life graphics. Sometimes it is just a picture, but other times it is full screen video. The interface is the cursor which changes over significant spots.
As a side note, the game has been out long enough to have hit the serious bargain basement prices. I had wondered before if I should play an Australian-made multimedia game and at $10, I had to. It was a very good deal indeed. The other note is if you can't find it, please don't ask me. I do not have a hotline for finding out-of-stock games.
There is not a single solution or pathway to this game. There are many places that you can solve a puzzle in different ways. This becomes particularly obvious when you look at an online walkthrough. The order in which you accomplished some tasks may be very different from the order that the walkthrough suggests.
The first part of the game requires you to solve a certain amount of the puzzle or you lose the case to your partner. This basically means that you have to find clues and figure out what are the significant things you can research. Then start over and accomplish these things as quickly as possible. It may take a few iterations of this before you solve enough of the case that it won't be taken from you.
Of the extras you can do, you should get a daily shave from the barber. You only need visit Meg's for one reason. Scott will start complaining if you keep him on his feet too long (in other words, he likes his shuteye).
Time counts in this game. Some events only happen after a certain amount of time passes, there are places you can go only during work hours, there are others you can only visit after 6pm. You use a map to determine where to go and the game tracks if everything useful has been done at the locations (or if the police have been and removed the evidence).
The cursor changes when you are over significant spots. You carry around a notepad, and keep notes on general things you discover in the game and specific notes about people. To bring up the notepad and your current inventory click both mouse buttons. You actually have several spots to store things, but it is so annoying to swap items around that you probably won't bother.
You can only save the game in the office. This is such a pain that you may not save as often as you should and have to replay parts. In fact, I had to go through one heart-tugging scene three times. The same happened to me in Gabriel Knight and the scene didn't get easier to bear in either case. Then there are also a couple of places where it is very easy to die, and since you can only save in the office, this gets very annoying.
It is annoying that the game alternates between some scenes being full-screen movies (very nicely done) and the rest of the time you view just a still with a little animated sound icon. Given the age of the game, the movies are very nice, but I find mostly interviewing pictures very odd.
I found one bug. There is a fire that is supposed to have happened the night of August 4th. I found evidence from the fire on the *morning* of August 4.
You are told that you need to pay the rent by a certain date. I have the money to pay the rent, but there is no obvious way to actually do it. I can't hang around the office all day hoping the landlord will turn up. Actually, he turns up at your office at some point before he'll throw you out. In my case, it was the day after the rent was due, but that might be another side-effect of such a non-linear game.
The game has a good story. It is very non-linear in play, and it is quite possible to get yourself too far along in time without having solved enough of the game. You can also die in this game, at least one death is probably inevitable. However the game puzzles are fair, if you've been reasonably observant. There are no pixel-perfect type puzzles but there are several points in which your timing needs to be good.
All up, it is still entertaining and a good play. If you can find it at a good price, buy it.
If you enjoyed Under a Killing Moon for the detective story and the general style, you should also enjoy this game. This one isn't nearly as advanced in some ways as Moon, they are both good detective stories.
In spite of the premise of the game, it was actually created in Australia.