You groggily aweken from a stupor on the floor of a grimy bathroom stall. There's dried blood on your hands and a major pain in your head. You have no idea how you got into this predicament. You also have no idea who you are. The only thing you do know is that you better get some answers, quick! So begins the 1940's murder-mystery, Deja Vu the latest adventure/puzzler from Kemco-Seika (creators of the 1989 hit, Shadowgate).
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Taking a completely different approach is Kemco-Seika's Deja Vu, which is based on a compu ter game by Icom Simulations. Kemco-Seika also released the popular Shadow-gate for NES, and Deja Vu is played almost exactly the same way. An on-screen window shows a picture of what your character sees while you select your actions from a menu of commands. Deja Vu is "role-playing" in the strictest sense, because you play a single characr ter in what is essentially an interactive story.
The setting is Chicago in the 1930s, when gangsters were running wild. At the beginning of the game, your character wakes up - in a restroom stall, of all places - and you can't even remember who you are. There's a needle mark on your arm, and you feel as if you've been drugged. It seems obvious that your lack of memory is the result of foul play, not cheap gin, but who's responsible? If you were that much trouble, why didn't they just kill you? And just who are you in the first place?
Deja Vu has a definite storyline. Little by little, you figure out not only who you are, but also who left you in this sorry state and why. It's a classic RPG - as you move through the game, you find the right item that leads you to the next piece of the puzzle.
Actually, this game is so structured that you can't progress unless you find all the clues. When you get stuck, it's usually because you're looking for something that's small and easily missed, or because you haven't figured out the right way to get the item using the game's commands.
The story in the NES version is very similar to that of the PC version, although it has been adapted slightly to fit Kemco-Seika's player interface. The game has colorful graphics and a good sense of humor, and it's not very difficult. Because the route you have to take from clue to clue is so rigidly defined - A leads to B leads to C - all you have to do is find the right item. Deja Vu is thoroughly enjoyable, but RPG veterans will probably find it little more than a snack.