Black Dahlia

Posted by: Gameman007

Black Dahlia - 04/08/01 10:23 PM

This could possibly be one of the best games ever created (Iknow I'm going to be in for it here, LOL). The whole game is an adventure game lovers work of Art.
Briefly, you play an agent for the OSS (what will later become the CIA)whose predecessor mysteriously disappeared while investigating a series of serial killings by the torso killer, as well as trying to find more about and possibly find,a mysterious gem known as the Black Dahlia, sought after by Hitler for it's supposed secret occult powers.
The game engine is a 360 degree mouse controlled environment, similar in a lot of ways to the Tex Murphy games, particularly Pandora Directive and Overseer. It could very well be that the creators realized the Tex games for the innovative classics that they were, as they used the FMV approach in a 360 degree environment. Also the method of traveling from one location to the other is extremely similar.
As stated the game is done in the interactive movie format and is extremely well done. You really feel like you are the central chacter in a movie trying to solve the case. Dahlia is a wonderful mix of really great acting, including one of the most obnoxious characters in the history of gamedom, and a fantastic sound track (only wish it was available as a separate CD, like the soundtrack CD that came with Tex Murphy Overseer). It would be advisable throughout this game to follow that old adventure game rule, save and save often, as you can get killed in this game.
The puzzles in this game range from relatively easy to figure out to some of the hardest to ever be included in a game. They are not thrown in just for the sake of having puzzles, however, and each solution advances the game. I must admit that I had to use a walkthrough for some of them (unfortunately I didn't know about this fantstic site and all you wonderful people out there at the time I played this game)

Now for the part that's probably the most controversial part of this game. The endgame is either really liked or hated with hardly any middle ground. I thought the 2 possible endings were both really well thought surprises. Yes people, life does not always have happy endings, and sometimes it's refreshing to not have everything work out the way you'd expect or hope them too. But then again how many times have we seen movies that ended on a down note as a setup for a sequel, hm interesting thought there!
To wrap up let me say if you want to play a game that has it all, great story, acting, music, and some really great innovative puzzles, then Black Dahlia is the game for you! By the way torso killings actually happened in Chicago exactly as decribed in the game. There also at the time was a bit part actress in California known as the Black Dahlia (her fiancee was killed or died, I forget which and as she always wore black from that time on she got that name)whoi was killed in the same fashion as the Chicago Torso killings and many feared that the Torso Killer had come to California to start a string of killings there. Everything stopped after the Black Dahlia murder and the case was never solved. For further info go to any search engine and type in Black Dahlia, which will yield many sites pertaining to the case.

[This message has been edited by Gameman007 (edited 04-08-2001).]
Posted by: gatorlaw

Re: Black Dahlia - 04/08/01 11:13 PM

Well you've got a believer here.

Black Dahlia was the first game that I waited for a year to come out. They had a great web site with increasing levels of background information on the torso slayings, nazis and mystisism... I took copious notes before the game was released and was rabid for it.

I played it night and day with my son and as we were among the first, played without a walkthrough or help. We only knew about the AOL game board and exchanged hints with a few other players who were first on the game.

I loved the intricate plot, the puzzles, the macabe tension and the seamless interweaving of fact and game fiction. We even missed most of the Dennis Hopper FMV because of the glitch and there was no patch out yet. Didn't matter one whit - we had a blast. I replayed it recently and enjoyed it as much as the first time. I know the ending is a sour note to many and I too wanted a happier conclusion - but Hopper was a crazy man and your character as his successor really couldn't have expected much better. I did wonder if there wasn't a sequal intended as the ending was somewhat at loose ends. However as weird as the plot was and as evil as the powers opposing your character was - well somehow the devil's choice finale seemed appropriate. You know damned if you do damned if you don't.

Great choice and great review. I liked that you pointed up the historical overlay, which was meticulously researched in developing this title. I think it's what gave the game it's core strength. Similar to JJenson and the GK games.

I do know this game isn't for everyone, the subject matter is definitely dark, and there are disturbing elements to this game. But if you like Lovecraft, crime stories and other such stuff - this will be a deeply involving story.

Posted by: Mammamu

Re: Black Dahlia - 04/09/01 10:23 AM

I agree, I agree, I agree!

I love it too!

A great review!!!

Posted by: Rick36

Re: Black Dahlia - 04/12/01 07:30 AM

Does anyone else have just one game in their collection which seems to be jinxed?

For me, this game is 'Black Dahlia'.

I spent an eternity just getting to disc2 and then the whole game crashed. This happened several times before I decided to uninstall and reinstall. This done, same thing happended.

I then saw the light and contacted the publisher who sent me a patch.

Thus with 'Black Dahlia' reinstalled for the umpteenth time plus the patch, I was ready to go.

Still very glitchy and buggy and I crash on disk2 prompted another reinstallation.

On to disk3 this time before my hard drive cratered, reinstall system CD etc. Back to square 1 and admitting final defeat and the poor box has been sitting on my shelf gathering dust thereafter.

I agree with much of what has been said and I shall make an effort to give it a final spin.

I don't know about you guys but I found some of the 'rubiks' style puzzles extremely difficult and frustrating.
Posted by: Gamer

Re: Black Dahlia - 04/17/01 02:43 PM

I bought Black Dahlia when it first came out
and had alot of problems with it too, a few months ago we bought another new computer and its working just fine now, but I STILL
havent finished the game, ( Im in the middle of TLJ right now) but after reading all the good reviews I feel like continuing on, I am a little ways into the game, Thats my problem I always have to many games going at once. cant help myself.
Posted by: tigger

Re: Black Dahlia - 04/21/01 06:22 PM

I loved the game, apart from the mazes, I hate them!! It seems to be taking ideas from so many sources, the idea that Hitler was a follower of Alistair Crowley, the Torso murders in US, too many to mention!!

I haven't finished it yet, I suppose I am saving it for later when I am really jaded!!

EDIT: Thanks for your initial review Gameman, you encouraged me to finish the game. Some of the puzzles were nigh on impossible - such as putting the Daliah together as my bits kept getting jumbled on top of one another, luckily I didn't have any more mazes to do, another one would have really put me off. Two endings? Just did one, maybe I need to go back...

Posted by: Josie

Re: Black Dahlia - 04/25/01 10:12 PM

I couldn't finish the game, I got on the train. I saw the bad guy and was following him down the hall and somehow couldn't do anything I became part of the wall. I tried rebooting the game, computer anything I could think of except get a patch. One day with a walkthrough up to that point I'm going to play the game again and see if with a patch I can get past that point. Josie
Posted by: burpee

Re: Black Dahlia - 08/15/01 09:39 PM

Hey Bill, as you promised, this is a good review of the game and how I felt about it too. I especially like the bit of history that you added at the end of the review.

The puzzles in this game demanded that I use help, I'm just not clever or patient enough for such hard puzzles. I must have tried that house lockbox puzzle a bizillion times!

This has about the best integration of puzzle and story of any game I've ever played and feel that the great story line helps make this game a classic.
Posted by: Jenny100

Re: Black Dahlia - 08/16/01 12:33 AM

The game worked OK for me with the patch. No crashes. But I could never get it to access more than one page of saves (total of 9 saves). You're supposed to be able to get more than that.

Most of the game I liked OK, though I thought the first part was the best. But I hated the ending. I don't play games to be exposed to real life. It was a difficult game and I think the player should be rewarded with a more positive ending than the choice of those two very bleak ones. If I ever replay the game, I'll just skip the ending.

EDIT: Black Dahlia is a Windows game. It says 1997 on the game CD's.
My game said Windows 95 or DOS on the box. I played it with Windows 98 and didn't even realize it had a DOS install until just now when I looked.

I've seen it not long ago in game shops. You may be able to find it in a bargain bin.

Be sure to download the patch if you get it. As far as I know, there aren't any prepatched versions, though I may be wrong.
Posted by: Jude

Re: Black Dahlia - 08/19/01 02:03 AM

I certainly got my monies worth with Black Dahlia. It took me over 4 months to play (with a walkthru).

I hated some of the puzzles but the game was so atmospheric, I loved the acting so I bought it a 2nd time after I had traded it on. The game evokes very strong feelings from all who play it (either love or hate!) but it is definately a classic.
Posted by: chrisdist

Re: Black Dahlia - 05/26/02 09:21 PM

When I think of my favorite games: Amber, Zork Nemesis, X-Files, Beast Within, Dracula 1........all of a sudden BLACK DAHLIA springs to mind!
It really has everything. The best.
Posted by: Laurette

Re: Black Dahlia - 02/11/05 01:25 PM

I totally agree this was the best game I have ever played. It was a very difficult game and I did need to use a walkthrough for help. But, together with "real" people, which I think is wonderful, it was lots of fun. In fact, I have been selling a lot of my games and I will not sell this one.
Posted by: blondie_bc

Re: Black Dahlia - 02/15/05 05:22 PM

Black Dahlia is one if not THE all time favorite of mine too! Loved it and have re-played it at least once.
Nightlong was pretty good too once I got past the glichy part (for me) of the sub station.
One I never did get to play was Broken Sword 111-- sold it I was so ticked at it - Me the great game hoarder of all time!btw -- whoever bought it from me ..... I FOUND THE BOX and will send it on to you if you want?