Black Dahlia is an Adventure Game released by Take 2 in 1998. The story begins in Cleveland in 1941, where a brutal serial-killer known as "The Torso Killer" terrorises the population. The main character of the game, Jim Pearson has recently been assigned to the COI - "Co-ordinator Of Information"- unit. Jim's first mission is to investigate a complaint from a businessman who claims that one of his former employees left subversive propaganda at his factory. During the investigation Jim learns about The Black Dahlia; a mysterious artifact that according to legend will grant whoever possesses it the power to rule the world. It soon becomes evident that The Dahlia is somehow linked to "The Torso Killer".
Black Dahlia is easily, in terms of scope, one of the greatest adventure games ever made; featuring a huge cast of characters and a complex, epic plot that spans over several years. A comparatively more believable storyline than Ripper, Take 2's other noted Full Motion Video Adventure Game, although it doesn't boast as illustrious a cast list, with "just" Dennis Hopper and Close Encounters of the Third Kind's Teri Garr.
The Game provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Dick Winslow who continues to act chummy and cheerful towards the main character even after being revealed as a monster.
- Alternate History: Did you know The Cleveland Torso Murders and the murder of Elizabeth Short were really the fault of Those Wacky Nazis trying to unseal some Sealed Evil in a Can?
- CIA Evil, FBI Good: Averted. Winslow's an arrogant glory hound, whereas you're just trying to do the right thing.
- Downer Ending Both of them, although if you do the right thing, you at least get the satisfaction that you saved the world.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: At one point, Jim gets a vision of himself wearing an SS-uniform. This foreshadows the really bad ending to the game, where Jim Actually, Winslow in Jim's body has turned America into a fascist dictatorship.
- Grand Theft Me: At the end, if you choose to shoot Dick Winslow instead of the dahlia, the ceremony will be completed and Winslow will use the dahlia's power to transfer his soul into Jim's body.
- Historical Domain Character: Real-life historical figures Eliot Ness and Elizabeth Short (the historical "Black Dahlia") both appear in the game, with their names kept intact. Their roles however, are pretty minor.
- Nice Hat: Jim sports a fedora for the majority of the game.
- Shapeshifter: Winslow near the end of the game. Although, whether he always had this ability or if he gained it by possessing the dahlia is left unexplained.
- Wolverine Publicity: Dennis Hopper and Terri Garr are both labeled as the stars on the box, despite the fact that they only appear in minor roles.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Happens to Al King, who is killed by Winslow in a particularly brutal fashion.