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Video Game: Déjà Vu
Your past is such a black hole, it has its own accretion disc.

The first of ICOM Simulations' "MacVenture" Adventure Games, Déjà Vu: A Nightmare Comes True!!, originally released in 1985 for the Apple Macintosh, was the first Adventure Game with a fully mouse-driven interface. The game is in the mode of '40s film noir, and begins with you waking up in a toilet stall in a dive bar with a raging headache and amnesia. Who are you, what happened to you, and why's there a dead body upstairs?

A sequel, Déjà Vu II: Lost in Las Vegas, was released in 1988.

Not to be confused with the 2006 film starring Denzel Washington.


Déjà Vu and its sequel provide examples of:

  • Badass Longcoat: You. Your coat is helpfully waiting for you, right on the first screen.
  • Ballistic Discount: Doesn't work. The gunshop owner has a shotgun, and he's faster than you are.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • In the first game, Even if you do get your memory back and uncover the plot to frame you for murder, Sternwood and Vickers planted more than enough false evidence to make sure you'll look like the more likely suspect if you go to the police. Fortunately, you can dispose of the false evidence against you.
    • You have to do one yourself in the second game. You are trapped in the basement of the rival crime gang's laundromat business front. If you cut your bonds and escape out the front door, the thugs will quickly track you down and kill you. But if you cut your bonds, open the front door, and then go back and hide in the basement, the thugs will think you've escaped, and run out to look for you, giving you free reign to explore the laundromat and uncover clues and evidence.
  • Betting Minigame: Both games feature one and both are mandatory to play at least once. Luckily, it's nigh impossible to completely run out of money in either one, and the blackjack table in part II has an easy way to drastically improve your odds by proving to the dealer that you're an old buddy of his.
  • Bottomless Sewer: The best way to get rid of pesky evidence. Just watch out for that gator.
  • Bound and Gagged: Mrs. Sternwood in the first game. Also, you prior to the start of the game (See Strapped to an Operating Table below).
  • Bowdlerise: In the NES and GBC versions of the first game, the empty syringe is changed to empty capsules.
    • Which doesn't make much sense: you need special equipment to put medicine in capsules, and it is difficult as all get-out to give capsules to unconscious or sleeping people.
    • Not to mention that the NES and GBC versions replace the mention of Sugar Shack's prostitution with attempted blackmail.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : You can be in the most far-off parts of the game world, but shooting someone will always result in being arrested, even in a spot that explicitly states that the police avoid! Except in one instance where you have to.
    • If you use the syringe to kill, you won't get arrested until you go to the police.
  • Combat Pragmatist: It's possible to try just shooting the other person, but this will usually just get you arrested. Though it works nicely on both the alligator and that pesky hitman in your office.
  • Compilation Re-release: The GBC version.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Going through the bar in the sequel without the flashlight on or a lit match can randomly kill you.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The narration is pretty deadpan, but it will give you a lot of snarky shit if you try to do unusual actions, like eating non-food items, or using objects in a strange way.
  • The Dragon / Drop-In Nemesis: Stogie, in Déjà Vu II.
  • Enemy Civil War: The only way to beat the Mafia in the sequel is to get the two factions too busy killing each other to go after you. You have to instigate this.
  • Everybody Smokes: Surprisingly averted for a game set in the 1940s. Offering the pack of cigarettes to other people in the second game will cause them to mention how they don't smoke, and/or how someone will find out that smoking will kill you. Smoking in the original game will have the narration mention how you will probably get cancer, and consulting your file in the doctor's office shows that the doc is trying to get you to stop.
  • Evil Plan: Turns out to be an elaborate plot for Sternwood to knock off his wife and get with Vickers, Vickers to knock off Siegel and get with Sternwood, both of them to end up rich, and you, the poor amnesiac who can't remember his own name, let alone enough to defend himself, to take the fall. Phew.
  • Femme Fatale: Sugar Shack. And Vickers.
  • Flashback: You are plagued with them.
  • Foreshadowing: In the second game, the building you start in has a painting of two friends, who were tricked into killing each other. This is exactly what you have to pull at the end of the game on two Mafia bosses.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Your weapon of choice is a punch to the face. Justified, in that he used to be a boxer, prior to the detective gig.
  • Guide Dang It: Due to a rather awful last minute glitch, you'll probably need a guide to determine just what evidence to keep and what to ditch. Dispose of everything except the diary (motive), the ransom note (method), and the memo with the timetable (corroborates the other two).
    • You have to dispose of: Gun 1, the murder weapon with your fingerprints on it. Map, a fake set of instructions on how to kidnap Mrs. Sternwood. Note 1, a fake IOU giving you a motive. File 5, a fake proposal for you to carry out the kidnapping in exchange for being let off the IOU. However, the game won't let you dispose of Gun 1 if you haven't used it to shoot open the bungalow, the doctor's cabinet, and the hitman in your office.
  • Have a Nice Death: The game has no shortage of snark for avoidable deaths.
  • Hit Flash: "BLAM" and "SOCKO"
  • It's Always Sunny In Miami: The first game supposedly takes place in Chicago right after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor (which places the timeline as December 7th, 1941). Yet, there's no indication that it's winter and everyone is dressed for warm weather.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Your big difficulty in life.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to its sister games. It's still fairly violent and has plenty of ways to die, though.
  • The Mafia: Your biggest worry in the sequel.
  • The Many Deaths of You: A lot, even some that you wouldn't expect. For example, offering a lit match to a bum in the second game causes him to explode, killing him and yourself.
  • Must Have Nicotine: Carrying around the empty pack of cigarettes in the second game will invoke this for your character.
  • Naked on Arrival: Almost—you begin Déjà Vu II wearing only your underpants. Fortunately your clothes await on the bathroom door.
  • Nintendo Hard: Less so than Shadowgate or Uninvited. A determined player can conceivably beat this one without ever consulting a walkthrough.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: The reason you're relatively safe around the gun-toting mugger. He'll catch on eventually, though...
    • The mugger is clearly using a revolver (which lacks a safety), and the game tells you after the third attempt that you're dealing with a bluff artist (though he WILL shoot you the fourth time). The only options that don't result in death are to either punch him (works three times) or give him some money. He'll be happy to leave with just a $20 bill.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Stogie uses this to be SUPREMELY annoying. Run into the desert? Nope, he'll get you. Hop a train out of town? Nope, he'll get you. Basically, if he wants you, he'll magically find you.
  • Peek-A-Boo Corpse: Hi, Joey.
  • Press X to Die: You could "Use" a weapon item with anything in the interface. Including the button that represents yourself.
  • Private Detective: That'd be you.
  • Sewer Gator: You can be attacked by an alligator while in the sewer.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: A better way to put your gun to use than on people, actually.
  • Shout-Out: Stogie remarks that he'd never seen anyone wearing purple underwear before. At least he didn't call you "Calvin."
    • If you look at the frying pan in the first game, you'll get a message that's a parody of one of Nancy Sinatra's songs:
      This pan is made for frying, and this is what you'll do if you don't stop wasting time!
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Siegel, oddly enough, has a chair with restraining straps on the top floor of his bar. Yes, it was put to use. On you.
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: The sequel has one which is used in the bar. Justified, as the game mentions you took poor care of the flashlight, causing the batteries to be corroded, not to mention that the battery technology of the 1940s is a bit poor.
  • Timed Mission: From the beginning of the game, you have a limited number of moves to discover the antidote before the amnesia drug you've been injected with turns you into a drooling vegetable. Once you manage to find the antidote, though, you're free to Take Your Time. In the sequel, you have a limited amount of time to win the game before the Mob makes good their threat to find you and kill you.
    • The NES and GBC versions remove the time limit. As long as you don't enter your office, the amnesia won't kill you.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay
  • Unsound Effect: "SOCKO"
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: At one point, you'll gain access to a doctor's office, and all manner of drugs, from heart murmur medication to nerve gas antidote. Said medications have rather lethal side effects for anyone who does not have heart murmurs or nerve gas poisoning. You can apply them to any character who will hold still long enough for you to jab the syringe into them. Yep. Best of all, this doesn't draw the attention of the cops, so you can potentially go around murdering multiple characters with no immediate consequences. It does prevent you from getting the good ending, though, as you are immediately condemned as "a dangerous lunatic armed with a loaded syringe" the moment you try to clear your name.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: You start the game with a pistol and three bullets, and are free to shoot anyone you want with it. Doing so pretty much results in an instant game over, though, either due to the arrival of the cops or the other guy being quicker on the draw.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Yep, but since she Would Shoot an Amnesiac Gumshoe, you have no choice but to deck her one.
  • Wrongly Accused: You'll probably want to be avoiding the police.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: There are plenty of ways to die, many avoidable.


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