From: "Bozzie" (edharel@eden.rutgers.edu)

NAME: The Witness PARSER:Infocom
AUTHOR:Stu Galley PLOT:30's mystery
EMAIL:??? ATMOSPHERE:Very Good
AVAILABILITY:LTOI 1, Mystery Col. WRITING:Good
PUZZLES:Few, but well done. SUPPORTS:Infocom ports.
CHARACHTERS:Excellent DIFFICULTY:EASY/MEDIUM

You've been hired by Freeman Linder, a businessman who is scared for his life. After you arrive to his home, he tells you his story, just before he is shot. Now you've got a murder to solve, before its too late.

This is an excellent game. But then, as it was the first game I ever played, more then 10 years ago, I may be somewhat partial to it. It features one of the most coherent, realistic mysteries, and possibly one of the most consistent stories all together. Mr. Galley worked hard on this one and it shows. There are no plot holes, and the game makes complete sense. That is one of the vital things about a mystery, and even more so an interactive one, where you have to consider every possible storyline, and every tangent you can take. [For example, try not going to the house one time and see what happens]. He also is careful to place clues in the writing. You could just follow the "obvious" beginning path and get at least 2 clues without examining or questioning anybody.

Another important step is having good, believable characters, and this is where Mr. Galley truly shines. The characters here are as believable as they have ever been in text adventures. They lie, bluff, change their minds and more. They move around with reasons, and will keep in mind you (The detective) when considering their actions. I'll admit, I fell in love with Monica, despite her calling me a masher consistently. I would, however, have liked at least one more character to have had. Three is never a good number to pick when making mystery suspects. I would have liked someone from Mr. Linder's business, for example. Still, I won't be too choosy.

The puzzles in this game are standard mystery type. You question the mystery suspects. You read the prose carefully for clues. You spy on characters and their actions. You try to search every room and examine every evidence you find, with Sgt. Duffy by your side to help assist when you need his help.

The Atmosphere is well done, if sometimes overly cliched. But, for some reason, I think Mr. Galley may have wanted that effect. You were watching an old 30's mystery movie, not conducting a criminal investigation. Still, while most people think that it has the atmosphere of the Maltese Falcon, I would tend to think it was more like the Charlie Chan movies. You weren't heading off everywhere to look for clues, just remaining in a somewhat restricted area, questioning people.