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Video Game / Emerald City Confidential

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Emerald City Confidential is a point-and-click adventure game created by Wadjet Eye Games and released in 2009.

Petra is a Private Detective in a Darker and Edgier Emerald City. After a disastrous night involving destroyed evidence and a nasty confrontation with Lion, Petra is approached by a woman named Dee, who hires her to find her missing fiancé. However, as Petra delves deeper into the case, she becomes engrossed in a hunt for a magical MacGuffin and the struggle for power between the Ozians and the Phanfasms. As she travels throughout the different lands in Oz, Petra encounters some famous Oz residents, although they're not the same lovable characters you remember. At the same time, Petra is also driven by her need to find her little brother, who has been missing and presumed dead since the Phanfasm War.

You can view the game's listing on the Wadjete Eye Games site here, and on Steam here.

This work provides examples of:

  • Ban on Magic: Type A2. Magic is banned for everyone except those who are licensed users typically working for Queen Ozma.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Happens on a number of occasions.
    • Betsy Bobbins refuses to speak with Petra in regards to Anzel.
    • Captain Bill is so drunk that he can't give a reliable account of the ship's explosion.
    • Although Petra offers to collaborate with Jinjur to investigate the explosion, Jinjur refuses to share any knowledge of the incident with Petra because she claims she doesn't need Petra's help.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: All of the original Oz characters count. Lion's courage turns him into a corrupt political fixer, Scarecrow's knowledge turns him into a jaded advisor, and the Tin Man's heart turns him into an ineffective and bitter governor.
  • Beast Folk: The Phanfasms, who have animal heads, but human bodies.
  • Because I'm Good At It: One of the justifications that Petra can give the Scarecrow as to why she is a private investigator.
  • Blackmail: Jack blackmailed Bill into smuggling magical items into Oz.
  • Car Cushion: Petra luckily falls into a passing Gump taxi when she slips Lion's ropes and falls from the bridge.
  • City Noir
  • Clear Their Name: Because Jinjur is convinced that Bill is responsible for the ship explosion at the docks, Trot hires Petra to investigate who the real perpetrator is.
  • Colour-Coded Characters: The residents of the different parts of Oz wear colors that are representative of their home city or country. This makes it easy to see who is a foreigner—for instance, the completely-dressed-in-green Petra in the middle of all yellow Winkie Country.
  • Crapsack World: Oz is run-down and riddled with crime and corruption, magic has been outlawed, and Oz is at threat from attack by the Phanfasms, since Oz's magical protection is out-of-balance due to the death of the four witches.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The only way you can beat Mombi on the first try is by obtaining these miscellaneous and completely unrelated items: the Heavy Cake, the Magic Rope, and (installing) the Copper Rod.
  • Darker and Edgier: The setting in Oz. See Crapsack World above.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Petra's dartboard is a portrait of Ozma that the Ozians are required to hang in their homes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Petra mostly, but everyone else has their moments, too.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Petra defeating Mombi in the ring. Mombi calls her out after the match for using parlor tricks rather than just magic to win.
  • Dystopian Oz: Oz is a Crapsack World riddled with crime and corruption. Magic has been also outlawed and Oz is at threat from attack by the Phanfasms, since Oz's magical protection is out-of-balance due to the death of the four witches.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When Dee mentions tornadoes, Petra makes the connection that Dee is in fact Dorothy Gale.
  • Evil Gloating:
    • Lion gloats about successfully getting rid of evidence when he has Petra hanging off a bridge.
    • First and Foremost gives Petra a particularly long winded one when he throws her in prison.
  • Film Noir: Emerald City Confidential was described by the producer as follows: "Harsh city streets, grey rainy skies, femme fatales, tough guys, trenchcoats, fedoras and plot twists. It's Oz, seen through the eyes of Raymond Chandler."
  • Fountain of Youth: Petra deliberately does this to William to save him from life imprisonment and his memories of having been a Phanfasm spy.
  • Friendly Address Privileges: Dorothy asks Petra to call her Dee.
  • Functional Magic: Namely Rule Magic and Device Magic.
  • Genre Shift: A relatively subtle one, beginning after Chapter 2. As more magic gets used, the story becomes less and less noir-ish. It even has a genuinely happy ending, which isn't noir-ish at all.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Although Petra is the protagonist, she isn't always morally upstanding. And although Ozma is first seen as the antagonist, she turns out to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist who's trying to save Oz from an even worse threat.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Tik Tok leaves Petra unsupervised when he turns around to clean up the rotting food, allowing her to sneak out of her cell.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Eventually happens when Cutter accesses the magical powers of the Spirit Rod and realizes he is William. This leads to him helping Petra to defeat the First and Foremost.
  • Hellhole Prison: The dungeon in the Emerald City palace, which has no windows, an uncomfortable bed, and tasteless mush for food.
  • Instant Sedation: By way of poppy dust.
  • I've Got a Notebook and I'm Not Afraid to Use It!
  • I Will Find You: Petra's main motivation is to find her lost brother, which takes precedence over her need to protect Oz.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Petra defeats the First and Foremost.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall/Recursive Reality: Upon seeing L. Frank Baum's bust Petra remarks, "I don't know who he is, but I feel like I owe him a lot."
  • The Lady's Favour: Nimee Amee gives her locket to Nick Chopper. Deconstructed when he refuses it because it reminds him of their breakup, and he tells Petra to tell Nimee to stick the locket "where the sun don't shine."
  • MacGuffin: The Spirit Rod and the Keystones.
  • Mage Tower: Glinda's tower.
  • Magic Mirror: Ozma's all-seeing mirror in the throne room. Petra tries to use it to find her brother William, but oddly, it shows her nothing.
  • No Yay: In universe example. In considering the UST between the Wizard and the now dead and ghostly Glinda, Petra exhibits this reaction.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Ozian Royal Guard seems to consist entirely of Tik Tok and Jinjur. The Phanfasm nation only seems to have a few people too. It's assumed that there are more characters off-screen.
  • Off to See the Wizard: Emerald City Confidential plays with the canon from both the Oz films and books, casting Oz through a Film Noir lens.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Characters swear by Lurline, a fairy queen whom fanon has apparently upgraded to goddess status.
    • Well, a fairy queen responsible for the canon creation of Oz as a fairyland, but still...
  • Only in It for the Money: Petra's first case, finding Dee's Runaway Fiancé, is this to her. Subverted though, once Dee offers more money for Petra to get involved in blatantly shady dealings.
  • Portal Picture: Frogman's painting, where he keeps all of his files on his illegal activities.
  • Pun: Anzel, who's been transformed into a crystal decanter, remarks that, "I'd like to help you but I decant."
  • Private Eye Monologue: As expected from Petra.
  • Screw Learning, I Have Phlebotinum!: The knowledge pills at the university allow students to acquire knowledge on virtually any topic automatically, from elocution lessons to public records.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Petra proves that she has limits when she refuses to get any more involved in obtaining illegal magical items, even though Dee offers to pay her more.
  • Shout-Out: The busts of L. Frank Baum and Dave Gilbert (the game creator) at the university.
    • Petra's office is on Plumly Street, referencing Ruth Plumly Thompson, who continued the book series after Baum's death.
  • Surveillance Station Slacker: Jinjur falls asleep next to the prison entrance, assuming that no one can be quiet enough to get past her. She doesn't count on Petra escaping when her footsteps are magically muted.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Jack Pumpkinhead denies that he saw or heard anything before Petra even asks him a question about her investigation.
  • Taken for Granite: In true Oz fashion, there's a spell that turns people into inanimate objects. The Living MacGuffin turns out to be in the bar, hiding out in plain sight as a decanter. Unfortunately he's not partial to being human again while everyone is hunting him, so in order to talk to him Petra has to let the bartender turn her into a coat rack. Naturally this goes south, as Ruggedo gets arrested immediately afterwards and he's the only one who knew how to reverse it...
  • Unwilling Suspension:
    • When Petra is first captured by Lion, she is tied up and suspended on a bridge with only one arm overhead.
    • Also happens to Anzel, who is suspended by chains around his wrists in the Phanfasm prison.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: To end the Phanfasm War, Ozma gave up Petra's little brother in a peace treaty between the Ozians and the Phanfasms. Deconstructed when Petra points out that instead of restoring balance to Oz, this has created a corrupt Crapsack World.
  • We Help the Helpless: One of the reasons that Petra can give the Scarecrow for having become a detective is that she wants to help those who no one else is willing to help.
  • We Meet Again/We Will Meet Again: Petra keeps running into Lion, and she eventually needs to ask for his help in order to become ambassador and travel to Phanfasm Island.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Petra and Jinjur seem to have this dynamic, with Jinjur being bitter because Petra abandoned her post and duties to find her missing brother, and Petra acting bitter because the guard never helped her search for him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: So what becomes of Dee, Anzel, Bill and Trot at the end of the story?