Andy tack­les an FMV mys­tery.

PC GAMER (US) - - CONTENTS - By Andy Kelly

Hard-boiled noir had some­thing of a re­nais­sance in the late ’80s and ’90s. There was James Ell­roy’s ac­claimed L.A. Quar­tet, a se­ries of dark crime nov­els set in post-war Los An­ge­les. On the big screen, Cur­tis Han­son’s film L.A. Con­fi­den­tial (it­self adapted from an Ell­roy novel) won two Acad­emy Awards. And a new genre, neo-noir, came into its own with films such as Michael Mann’s brood­ing crime hor­ror Man­hunter, Alan Parker’s sin­is­ter oc­cult mys­tery An­gel Heart, and David Lynch’s be­guil­ing Blue Vel­vet. Af­ter the flashy ex­cesses of the early ’80s, it seemed peo­ple were ready for a re­turn to the dark­ness that filled the pulpy pages of Black Mask in the ’40s and ’50s. Cyn­i­cal pri­vate dicks like Philip Mar­lowe walk­ing the streets of Los An­ge­les solv­ing mys­ter­ies for $25 a day, plus ex­penses, and stum­bling into con­spir­a­cies in­volv­ing se­duc­tive women with dark se­crets. These well-worn cliches were of­ten sub­verted, no­tably in The Big Le­bowski, where the Coen Broth­ers span a dense Chan­d­le­rian mys­tery, but re­placed the de­tec­tive with a stoner. The Dame Was Loaded, on the other hand, rev­els in these cliches, am­pli­fy­ing them to a com­i­cal de­gree.


De­vel­oped by Beam Soft­ware and re­leased in 1995, this point-and-click adventure game de­lights in an­other pop­u­lar ’90s trend: Full-mo­tion video. You play as the pre­pos­ter­ously named Scott Anger, a de­tec­tive from the Sam Spade mold with, yes, a tragic past and a drink­ing habit. “I’d been out of the of­fice for a month do­ing a lit­tle too much think­ing and a lot too much drink­ing,” he mono­logues over FMV footage of him walk­ing through a dark al­ley, haunted by ghostly im­ages of scream­ing women and laugh­ing men. “Now I was out of the gut­ter and back at my desk I needed some­thing to get me back into the swing of things, then she walked in.”

The story leans hard into noir tropes from the very be­gin­ning, with a sad, beau­ti­ful woman walk­ing into Anger’s of­fice and shar­ing a sob story. Her name is Carol Klein, she’s from Ore­gon, and she wants you to find her brother. But there’s a catch: You have an im­por­tant job in New York com­ing up, leav­ing you with only three days to crack Klein’s case. While FMV games are of­ten fairly static, dull af­fairs, in­volv­ing lit­tle

One of sev­eral loaded dames you’ll meet.

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