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Tabletop Game / Clue VCR Mystery Game

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First published in 1985, Parker Brothers designed a new medium of gaming; combining videos played on the VCR with board games. A sequel game, Clue II: Murder in Disguise was published in 1987, with all-new mysteries.

In the first installment, your host is the butler, Didit, and each player takes on the role of one of the suspects. Unlike the original board game, players must solve at least two murders, possibly as many as five to win the game. Players are each given a collection of cards to help them keep track of clues and suspects, as well as investigate to gain more clues, but investigating actions are limited by a separate action deck.

The second installment, Clue II: Murder in Disguise, goes international, with the suspects now pursued by the game's new host - Inspector Pry, of Interpol - through Paris, Tangiers, and Rangoon. The gameplay is improved with the removal of the action deck for a standard menu of actions that can be used on any turn, and the clues are sorted and indicated so that a player can ask specifically for a hint about a Murderer, Victim, Weapon, or Room.

The footage from the first game can be found here and the second one here.

This game contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Context Change: In the second game: the Billiard Room, the Lounge, and the Dining Room are used as parts of three different hotels. The dining room and hall are the only locations that is used in both games.
  • Blackmail: In the first installment, Mr. Green and Professor Plum find a Diary of information collected by Mrs. White. and use it to extort the others.
    • In the second installment, Mrs. White says that it's her particular criminal specialty.
  • Black Widow: Mrs. Peacock is implied to be one. This gets confirmed later.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the sequel game, the suspects seem to have gotten a bit of Medium Awareness.
    • When Peach asks Brunette where they are early in Chapter 1, Brunette points to the title on the screen indicating they're in Paris.
    • One of the characters explains what they've been through since the last part. When the others remark they already know since they experienced it as well, the first character explains that she was telling the audience.
    • In Rangoon, Miss Peach writes a diary and narrates her writings in voiceover. At one point, Madame Rose hears the voiceover and tells her to stop, because it's annoying.
    • Rose ends up complaining again about the diary voice-over - except this time it's actually Mustard listening about a mission from a self-destructing tape.
  • The Butler Did It: Averted, the butler named Didit is the only person who is never one of the suspects or victims.
  • Canon Immigrant: Madame Rose, M. Brunette, Miss Peach and Sgt. Gray are all introduced in Clue VCR. They end up reappearing in Clue: Master Detective - a true board game with more options for suspects, weapons and rooms, that makes for a longer, more difficult game.
    • The Butler Didit and Inspector Pry of the first and second game respectively.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Hints of Miss Scarlett being a spy and Mrs. Peacock being a thief and Black Widow happen in the first game. The TV also mentions the threat of a homicidal maniac running around and a second one confirms that this person is Sergeant Grey.
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: Madame Rose talks to her teddy bear as if it's an actual person.
  • Crazy-Prepared: After Mr. Boddy's will is burned, it's revealed there's another. After that will is also burned, it's revealed there's a third one.
  • Cut Phone Lines: So many people do this that it's a wonder that nobody noticed bits of cut phone wire all over the carpet in the parlor.
  • Difficulty Levels: There are three chapters with five scenes each and have a color coordinated set of cards to go with them. Each set of cards have 6 different sets of clues for different mysteries. The higher the card number, the more difficult the mystery. On the blue cards, the clues on number 1 only pertain to the intro scene.
  • Disguised in Drag: In the second game, Prof. Plum and Mr. Green steal Mrs. Peacock's and Madame Rose's suitcases and put on their clothes (respectively). This event helps kick off a Satchel Switcheroo.
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: In the first game, the intro scene shows each of the characters and are blatantly Name Dropped. The classic six characters are presented as normal acquaintances but the new four characters are all introduced by the butler.
  • Everybody Did It: There are multiple variant puzzles for each chapter, which have X people murdered by Y killers, including such variants as one killer killing multiple people or one killer ending up a victim themself. One variant involved half the cast being killed by the other half, with the manual then wondering, if everyone left was a murderer, who called the police?
  • Expo Label:
    • Various objects like Plum's formula, the salt container and especially the poisons are all clearly labeled as such.
    • Whenever the room changes, an open caption will indicate where the characters are so the players can solve the mystery.
  • Foreshadowing: When Sergeant Grey helps Mrs. White make dinner, neither of them can tell a green pepper apart from a red one, revealing they're both color-blind.
  • Game Between Heirs: The third will is a contest for who can reveal the most secrets about the others. Mrs. White claims that the contest was geared towards her since she has been cataloging secrets about the others in her diary.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The Butler Didit and Inspector Pry are both characters in the story and tell you how to play the game.
  • Interpol Special Agent: Inspector Pry, the host of the second game.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Sergeant Grey tries to kill everyone in the first game but the gun is unloaded. Colonel Mustard distracts them by telling where ammo is located and taking advantage of the fact that the attacker failed to realize he had bullets on his gun belt.
  • Lost Will and Testament: After the Tontine will is burned, it's revealed there's a second one, but no one knows where it is. Cue the search.
  • Master Poisoner: Prof. Plum does research in poison and has killed several people with his knowledge.
  • Meaningful Name: Miss Peach is implied to be from Georgia (the state, not the country), which is famous for its peaches.
  • My Card: During the video, Mr. Green hands Professor Plum a card that says "Lyman Green, business", parodying business cards in general.
  • Mythology Gag: When Mr. Boddy speaks in a seance in the first game he he was killed by the lead pipe in the billiard room, two elements from the original board game that aren't used in the VHS game.
  • No Kill like Overkill: In the second game, they try to poison Inspector Pry with three characters adding a dose of stuff to try to do him in. They are unsuccessful.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: All the characters demonstrate amazing skills offscreen, ranging from the crime they committed prior to the events of the game, using Madame Rose as a battering ram to escape from a time bomb, to surviving 14 days from Tangiers to Burma in poverty.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: During the dinner scene.
  • Poison Ring: One makes an appearance in both the original and sequel games.
  • Pretty in Mink: Miss Peach sometimes wears a white fox wrap.
  • Punny Name:
    • Didit, the butler, is a pun on The Butler Did It.
    • Miss Peach's first name is Melba, as in Peach Melba.
  • Race Lift: The earliest version of the board game has a European woman for Miss Scarlet, but later versions depicted Scarlet as an Asian Dragon Lady. This version stayed with the later depiction and cast an Asian actor as Scarlet.
  • The Reveal: Wouldn't be a mystery without one...or several in this case:
    • Miss Peach is actually a French con artist and M. Brunette's daughter. Or so she thinks...
    • M. Brunette isn't actually Mr. Boddy's lawyer (or a lawyer at all), but a con artist as well. However, he's not Miss Peach's biological father, having adopted her, and is not actually French, only pretending for her.
    • Professor Plum is revealed during the second will reading to have been married to Mr. Boddy's daughter (who's now deceased). But the reveal of secrets includes how she died. It turns out that he had to conduct an experiment on a new poison he concocted and was out of rats...
    • Sergeant Grey is not a real police officer, but actually a homicidal maniac who escaped from an asylum and stole a police uniform. He's also the long lost love child of Mr. Boddy and Mrs. White.
    • Miss Scarlet being a spy is more of a Captain Obvious Reveal. On the other hand, Colonel Mustard is a former spy forced to retire after getting a steel plate implanted in his head. A magnetic steel plate.
  • Running Gag: The Terrible Ticking of Mrs. White's timer in the first game and appears once in each chapter.
  • Satchel Switcheroo: In the second game there are several identical suitcases, one containing a time bomb and another with a ton of cash, get swapped around with each other in Paris.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: The second game has the group travel around the world as they are running from the authorities.
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: How Mrs. White got her job as Mr. Boddy's maid. She got pregnant from the affair and gave birth to Sgt. Grey.
  • Skewed Priorities: In the second game, when Mister Green checks the case where he has stored the money, he finds there is a bomb inside it, instead. He's more bothered by the money being missing, than the fact he has a ticking bomb sitting in front of him, which he just casually tosses to the side.
  • Shout-Out: Madame Rose states that Mrs. White came recommended from a pair of brothers in Massachusetts, the Parker Brothers.
  • Sigil Spam: Poison, no matter what container it's portrayed in, has a skull and crossbones on it. Justified as players of the game need to know what specifically is being referred to as poison so the mysteries can be solved.
  • Southern Belle: Miss Peach is portrayed as a rich woman from the Deep South in this game. It overlaps with Meaningful Name, since Georgia is famous for its peaches.
  • Strolling Through the Chaos: At the end of the first game, Didit is casually cleaning parts of the house while the other characters are trying to kill each other.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: During the dinner scene in Mr Boddy's mansion, almost all of the guests end up poisoning something that is served for the table.
    • In the second game, they try to kill Inspector Pry by putting poison in his food but fail.
  • Tap on the Head: In the second game, Sgt. Grey changes personalities after getting hit on the head and alters himself depending on what he hears immediately after recovering.
  • Token Good Teammate: In the second Game, M. Brunette is trying his best to be legit, and tries to convince the other Characters that their lives would all be much better off if they all went legit, too.
  • Tontine: Mr. Boddy does a variant in his latest will where the last surviving person among those who attended the reading would claim the entire inheritance. Naturally, all sorts of attempted murders occur.
  • Troll: Didit is this in the first game, acting as though he's just been murdered, as well as cutting the lights just when Mister Boddy is about to reveal who murdered him during a seance. He claims he does this as a joke to give everyone the push to get started.
  • Useless Accessory: M. Brunette's eyepatch is unnecessary as in one scene we see him lift it up to read part of a Will.
  • VHS Game: An adaptation of Clue, by Parker Brothers. The regular game of Cluedo, minus the board, gets elements brought to life via live-action actors. Players compete to try to find out which suspect killed which victim, in which room with which weapon. Trope Maker and Ur-Example of the VHS Game.
  • Video Game Tutorial: Well it's a game on video... After an expository intro scene, the Butler Didit or Inspector Pry explain how to play the game by using the intro as an example game. It's skippable via fast forward and not truly necessary as the rules are also available in the game instruction manual.