Defunct Games
  1. 1987
  2. 1988
  3. 1989
  4. 1990
  5. 1991
Deja Vu
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Deja Vu Deja Vu Deja Vu
  • Review Score:

  • B-
You might not think that a slow-paced point and click graphic adventure game would do well on the Nintendo Entertainment System, but you would be wrong. Thanks to its strong box art and months of promotion from Nintendo Power, Shadowgate managed to become a
minor hit on the 8-bit system. It gave Kemco the confidence to release Deja Vu, a follow-ups of sorts to the unexpectedly successful puzzler.

Don't expect any continuity between this and Shadowgate, Deja Vu is its own self-contained story. You play a private investigator with a very serious problem -- he can't remember anything. All he knows is that there is a dead body and you are being framed as the murderer. Or are you? It's up to you to put the pieces together and solve this very personal case.

Deja Vu (NES)

Fans of Shadowgate will feel right at home here. While the interface looks a little different, the core mechanics remain the same. You go from room to room picking up items, sussing out clues and doing everything in your power to remember something ... anything. Instead of learning magic spells, our private dick uncovers new addresses and the names of suspects. He doesn't have much time before the cops catch up to him and he spends the rest of his life in prison.

Urgency aside, there's a lot to like about Deja Vu. The story may be generic noir, but that doesn't stop it from having some effective twists and turns. There are also a few memorable characters, though nobody is as fleshed out as I would like. And thanks to the friendly cabbie, our hero will see all kinds of interesting locations.

Unfortunately, it's that friendly cab driver that causes the most problems. It's possible to run out of money, leaving the player unable to complete the game. There's a casino to earn more cash, but that involves a lot of luck. Even more frustrating are the muggers, who will take your money and leave you unable to finish the game. This added obstacle feels like an artificial way to increase the difficulty.

Deja Vu (NES)

It's also worth noting that Deja Vu does very little to improve the gameplay over Shadowgate. I'm not looking for Kemco to radically change the interface, but it would have been nice for the company to listen to the criticism and make minor adjustments. As it is, I still ran into the same sorts of control problems that plagued the first game.

Interface issues aside, I had a good time with Deja Vu. The concept isn't as fresh as Shadowgate and the story never quite reaches the heights it aspires to, but that shouldn't keep you from having a good time with this graphic adventure. Gamers not enamored by Shadowgate's slow pace may have the unsettling feeling that they've done been here before. I know there's a term for that, what was it again?
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