As with previous Fergus McNeil games (The Boggit,
Bored of the Rings and so on) this is a three-part/load
Quillustrated game with a sharp sense of parody. As
Private Eye Spillade your job is to solve a number of
crimes or mysteries, banking your clients cheques as
you attempt to avoid both bankruptcy and the numerous
threats of death and destruction that you encounter.
graphics are excellent (although there aren't an enormous
number of them), and combined with the copious and well-written
text they give the game a very attractive feel.
are a couple of things about this game that left the
Wiz slightly less impresses than he might have been.
Mr McNeil writes some pretty good prose when he relies
on taking the mickey out of the American detective story.
However, when he drops in one of his many risque jokes
(about private 'dicks', or shoving dynamite up a pig's
backside) things seem to start going downhill a bit.
don't think I'm being prudish (perhaps I am), because
we're not talking about anything particularly rude.
It's just that it seems so easy to make people laugh
by mentioning private dicks, or whatever. Okay, 'so
what's wrong with that', I hear you cry -- if people
laugh, then it must be funny. Perhaps it is -- but only
for the first time you read it, whereas the pleasure
the player gets from a well written, witty take-off
of Mickey Spillane tough-guy prose is more enduring.
Luckily there's a lot of the latter, but I do wish there
was less of the former.
other thing that annoyed me was the way the vocabulary
had been set up. I suspect that there was a memory problem
or something, because many of the essential actions
in the game do not have enough synonyms. For example,
when you find your car in the street, you might quite
naturally enter ENTER CAR. Unfortunately, 'You can't'.
That's a little misleading, since of course you can
-- but only by typing GET INTO CAR.
when you blow up the pig with the dynamite, you might
type LIGHT DYNAMITE, but again you can't -- you must
LIGHT FUSE. The latter case seems even more unfair,
because a close examination of the dynamite doesn't
reveal a fuse to light.
this is really as much of a reflection on the system
that Fergus McNeill uses to write his games. They're
good games and give a reasonable return for your investment,
but perhaps it's time Fergus chose another system.