A murder has been committed and you, the story's prosecuting attorney, are to interview the witnesses, review VCR tapes, view documents, and examine crime scene pix. When you feel that you have completely examined everything and everyone, you head off to court to try and convict the suspect with a charge of 1st Degree Murder.The Review:
To begin, I want to say that this was a really good game. Both my wife and I enjoyed playing it and wish we had more time to do such. I felt that the quality of the graphics was superb! The still pictures are crystal clear, like watching TV, and the video tapes of previous conversations are smooth and realistic. This realism added quite a lot to the game. In the cut scenes, the newscasters on the television set appeared to be real newscasters and I think this really helped me get into the story. The sound quality was equally good on both counts - detailed and realistic. However, sound is sound so I can't say much more about it.
The user interface of In the First Degree is designed differently for different parts of the game. During the interviews, selected topics are presented at screen bottom and when you select one the suspect gives audio and visual replies. The questions about the topics can be previewed "in your mind" before presenting them to the witness, which allows you to get a better understanding of how your character is going to say them. Dirty Harry's famous quote wouldn't have been quite as intimidating if he had said it with an imposed question. The preview allows you to get an idea of what type of inflection should be put on the statement. You may ask why this would be so important. The reason is that every question you ask changes the way you interact with that person. Just like in real life, if you push a person too far by asking the wrong questions, they will just refuse to talk. It was a really complicated decision branch. They even went as far as to make the questions vary depending on which person you interview first. By clicking on Tape Mode you can view edited blips that are relevant to the case. When you select a name from the list, another list of topics appears to pick from. The tapes are recordings of interviews or conversations that were taped earlier in the game, and will help you get an idea of what happened in the crime.
The Documents section reveals pertinent information about the crime period before, during, and after the event. This will assist you in deducing who really is guilty. The pictures are very clean, and the written documents clear and concise. They also looked very real - a smudge here, a coffee cup ring there - also adding to the overall game. The only problem I found with this game is one that makes it embarrassingly similar to a good mystery novel. You get so caught up in trying to figure out "who done it", you forget to look for evidence to help you prosecute your suspect. You are so busy trying to see the bigger picture that you fail to look at your one goal, which is to get the sucker in jail. I don't know if this is a problem that real prosecuting attorneys have, but I know that it was one for me. I would also like to commend the game on the fact that it was actually difficult. The replay value on it was not really high, but it was high enough that I could have played it a couple more times (I only got a theft charge on my first try). Overall, my rating for this game is "very enjoyable for armchair detectives" and worthy of a place in the software library.