The Dame Was Loaded
is a first person, point-and-click adventure game for the PC platform created by Australian developer Beam Software (now Melbourne House) and first published in 1995 by Philips Interactive Media domestically, then in 1996 world wide. The game is a detective Film Noir
set in the 1940's and combined live action cinematic's with pre-rendered point and click game play much like previous games in the genre like Under A Killing Moon
. The live action was outsourced to Vixen Films and at the time was the largest multimedia production ever made in Australia.
The game is non-linear, having nine possible endings, featuring over thirty characters to interact with, and over an hour of FMV cinematics.
This game contains examples of:
- Abandoned Warehouse: Joel Jones' goons interrogate you in one after they kidnap you. Your arms are tied, but luckily there's fire alarm with glass cover nearby...
- Anti-Frustration Features: A tuxedo is needed at one point to get into the Blue Angels nightclub. If you miss it the first time, theres an alternative route planned to save you from having to reload.
- Bad-Guy Bar: Jakes Joint. Its number one target for police raids for a reason.
- Bait-and-Switch: Late in the game Louise Creel will offer you to have sex in your car ... only to shoot you with a gun she has hidden in her purse if you accept.
- Blatant Lies: When you're kidnapped by Joel Jones' goons, they will ask you where you hid the diamond. You can name any of the places you went to during the game, including the police station. They're not impressed if you choose that option.
- Checkpoint Starvation: Youre only allowed to save in the protagonists office. This would be fair enough in most adventure games, but here the entire game is timed, and going back to save takes up time. On the plus side, this approach deals with Save Scumming.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: You find Carl Brewer's corpse early on in the game, crushed under some equipment in the foundry.
- Cruel Twist Ending: Mixed with Sudden Downer Ending: in the second part of the game, you have the chance to get yourself a gun, and you are subsequently allowed to shot almost every character you meet. Everytime you try that, you get a Non-Standard Game Over in which you are thrown into jail (or killed yourself in at least one instance), often with an hilarious comment if you killed a particularly inoffensive character. Given that, after you rescue Francine and she returns to the newspaper, it's just natural that one would try to shoot her and see if something funny comes out of that...but what you get instead is a full-fledged ending during which Anger sadly explains that he shot her for revenge, as Francine killed Angela the same way. Oops! Cue the credits.
- Dialogue Tree: Used for some conversations. Mostly there are only semantic differences, but particularly bad decisions net you an instant Game Over.
- Donut Mess with a Cop: In order to covertly find information in a cops office, you need to buy a donut in a diner and give it to him. This will get him to leave for a lunch break and leave you alone in the office. Notably, if you carry it for too long, itll get stale and cop will refuse it!
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Toward the end of the game, you will eventually find out that while Freddy Creel killed your partner, the ambush someone tried to pull off on you and failed was ordered by Joel Jones. Which means that two different parties in competition to get the diamonds agreed in part on the necessity of take you out.
- Femme Fatale: Louise Creel.
- Fixing the Game: One of the Joel Jones criminal activities is fixing horse races. You can discover a note where a race has been rigged so that the slowest horse on track would win.
- Flung Clothing: Your detective will toss his hat at the rack Sean Connery-style every time he enters the office. Theres a random chance of missing, in which case you can try again and doing so saves your life at Day 6, as shadow of the hat distracts a person who would otherwise have shot you dead.
- Hairpin Lockpick: The one you get will always work on any lock. However, it will also only last three times and the game becomes Unwinnable by Mistake if you use it too often. A pity you can't just buy a new one.
- Honorable Marriage Proposal: It is possible to ask Francine to marry you and give her your engagement ring at one point in the game. In the end, you can choose to follow through with it.
- Hyperspace: Averted: theres an inventory limit of 15 items. Luckily, surplus items can be stored in the drawer or in the Dan Smalls locker at the railway station.
- Infallible Babble: Downplayed with Macks barber shop. Your character can get fresh news and rumour from him every morning. While some of it is useful, most of it is just generated for fun.
- Intrepid Reporter: Francine is said to be one and behaves like one initially. however, things do get a lot murkier later on...
- Jump Scare: During the second part of the game, Mack the barber will perform one on you. And will work quite well because at that point the player will be accustomed to a fast and uneventuful shaving.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: You can interact with over 30 main and supporting characters, ranging from the humble hotel concierge to femme fatale Louise Creel.
- Limited Wardrobe: Averted with the main character, who can also wear a tuxedo, which is needed at one point to get into a nightclub. Played straight with most other characters.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Of all the surnames he could have chosen, Dan Klein went for Small, which is direct translation of Dutch word Klein.
- Multiple Endings: Nine endings in total, which stem from the combination of these three variables:
- Fate of Francine: either you let her turn herself in for shooting Angela or keep quiet about her involvement and leave. There's a third option where you will marry her and live in peace. And a fourth one where you shot her!
- Whether you get Red Randall Hannah arrested for his crimes.
- Whether you let Louise Greer go after she attempts to kill you or get her arrested.
- Murder Mystery: You are initially contacted to solve one, before the plot grows more complex.
- Non-Standard Game Over: If you fail to solve the first part of the game in three days, your partner will take the case and send you away from the city to work on another. Or he will furiously fire you if don't show up in time to get that case. Also, if you don't pay your landlord the second time he will come to ask you the rent, he actually throw you out after some days (you can however evade him by getting in and out of your office by the back door). Finally, trying to shot someone will invaribly send you straight into the jail, barring the specific cases where you get killed for it or get one of the endings.
- NPC Roadblock: A variation. In the first part of the game your partner will prevent you to consult the office's archive, because he wants you to work on the case at hand and not to linger in the past. Later, you will not have this problem, because your partner will be shot dead almost in front of you. And the first time you access the archive Anger will even point out that he would like Ralph to be still alive to stop him.
- One Steve Limit: Averted: the two goons that work for Joel Jones and kidnap you unsuccessfully are both named Charlie.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Averted. In order to enter the Blue Angel Club undetected you need to have four things done: wear a tuxedo (and make sure it's in good condition if it got damaged earlier), get your beard shaved and wear a fake mustache. Finally, you also need to cover upthe bruises you got from being beaten by thugs with make-up.
- Police Are Useless: Both played straight and averted. Generally, while Denton provides Anger valuable informations from time to time, he will not hesitate to take you in for several hours if you are so stupid to show him proof that you meddle with police's property or other cases. Also, showing him the ransom note will cause the police to think YOU kidnapped Francine, which again will make you lose quite a bit of hours. However if you bring him certain bullets and certain guns, he will discover several interesting things for you, most notably that Francine killed Angela, Anger's former lover. In the end, however, Anger will have the chance to singlehandedly solve quite a bit of cases, all connected to each other to different degrees, with minimal or zero help from the police.
- Private Investigator: The main character is one, and theres also Carl Brewer, who was killed earlier doing the same investigation.
- Robbing the Dead: You can pick up Carl Brewers money, gun and PIs licence from his corpse.
- Tap on the Head:
- Youll get hit on the head and knocked unconscious for two hours at the Palm Tree Motel if you try to force your way into a room instead of lockpicking. It remains the preferable option because there are no further ill effects from it, while lockpicking requires the use of hairpin, which breaks after its used the third time.
- Later, you get knocked out by two goons and wake up in a warehouse. Again, no ill effects.
- The Many Deaths of You: Several. If you try to shot someone in Jake's Joint or show him the diamonds, he will kill you. If you disregard Anger's warnings and fail to provide him some rest, he will have a fatal car accident. If you sneak into Louise's house at the wrong time, she will shot you. If you fail too much times to tell Joel's goons a sufficiently plausible place where the diamonds could be hidden, they will kill you. If you fail to escape the warehouse after said goons are gone, Freddy Creel will show up and kill you. And others.
- Timed Mission:
- The entire game is timed. Initially, you're given three days of game time to solve the case and youll get a Game Over if you dont make it in time to the next section of the game. Said next section is timed too as you're ransomed with the life of Francine.
- Smaller segments of the game are timed too. Had that donut with you for too long? Too bad, its now stale and Denton will refuse it from you. Delivered it in time, but was too slow in his office? He returns and catches you in the act. And that is just the very beginning of the game.
- Time Skip: Turning your watch forward will let you skip to the time you chose.