Crabshot: Semi-Great Police Anarchy, Private Eye

Special eye

From 2010 to 2014 Richard Cobbett Crapshoot wrote a column about rolling the dice to bring random, mysterious games back to life. This week, who’s in the mood for something … annoying?

The inevitable smoky jazz echoes across the dark street of Los Angeles. Somewhere, a man falls to the ground with a snow pickaxe in his neck. Girl puts the finishing touches to her fake look. A crucial clue is captured from the ground and shredded by a painter skilled in genre. In his dark, cramped office, Philip Marlowe waits to be told the lie that will draw him into the middle of it all.

Yes. Time to return to the golden age of detectives and look at a game that – while not classic in any way – deserves better than diluted in its current obscurity.

Proper detective games have always been weak on the ground. Sure, there were a lot of games where you are play Detective, but this is not necessarily the same. A flat-footed person can find some hidden objects on the screen, or push a few newspapers under the door to retrieve the key on the other side. To truly feel like a detective is to enter a world and give you a chance to investigate; To work on whodunnit instead of having to tell them. Half the fun of watching police fiction is trying to get one step ahead of Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Jonathan Creek, or anyone else.

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