Paranormal PI: Darkside Detective

One of my favourite films of recent years is the relatively obscure black comedy Skeletons. Treating the paranormal as a pseudo-science, it follows two weary and tense investigators who are somewhere between bureaucratic civil servants and metaphorical exorcists. If Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter had collaborated on a Ghostbusters film, it would probably have looked a lot like Skeletons.

Darkside Detective looks like it might be a nineties Lucasarts take on Ghostbusters, by way of Columbo. A demo is available.

The chunky pixels and small sets remind me of The Last Door, which is an undemanding but effective episodic thriller. Darkside Detective plays its paranormal activity for laughs, however, and some of the jokes don’t quite work. That may be partly due to the demo’s short running time, as most of the humour may eventually stem from the main characters, a hapless policeman and the titular dick.

At times the interplay is effective but the entire demo case can be solved in around five minutes. There’s not enough space for the characters to make themselves known and the best jokes in the entire sequence poke fun at the game’s structure rather than playing with the paranormal theme. Still, I find the art style attractive and reckon there’s hope for some stronger puzzles and writing in the finished game,

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3 Comments

  1. Monggerel says:

    If I remember, the first Blackwell game wasn’t super amazing either and it did have a downright idiotic puzzle where you had to get a dog to tie itself around a lamppost by its leash.

  2. Milos says:

    I haven’t heard about or seen Skeletons (I will now) but it sounds like you might enjoy The Laundry Files books by Charles Stross. It’s lovecraftian horror meets the tedium of government bureaucracy. It’s rather splendid.

    As for the game, I’ll download the demo it sounds interesting.

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    Jarmo says:

    Thanks for the “Skeletons” heads-up! It sounds rather interesting so I ordered it.