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Déjà Vu

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Déjà Vu is a "point-and-click" adventure game set in the world of 1940s hard-boiled detective novels and movies. It was released in 1985 for Macintosh – the first in the MacVenture series – and later ported to several other systems.

Gameplay

The game takes place in Chicago during December 1941, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The game character is Theodore "Ace" Harding, a retired boxer working as a private eye.

The player awakes one morning in a bathroom stall, unable to remember who he is. The bathroom stall turns out to be in Joe's Bar. A dead man is found in an upstairs office, and Ace is about to be framed for the murder. There are some clues as to the identity of the murdered man and to the player himself. A strap-down chair, mysterious vials, and a syringe are found, suggesting (together with a needle mark on the player's arm) that some kind of elaborate torture has taken place.

The streets of early 1940s Chicago are an unsafe place for a man with no memory. There are muggers, an old acquaintance with a grudge, not to mention the police. Here, the player's history as a boxer is a much more valuable asset than the smoking gun picked up in the game's beginning. Using addresses found around Joe's bar, Ace is able to make taxi rides to a few locations, including his office. A story unravels of a kidnapping in which Ace has played some part, but his memory lacks important details.

Ace's memory and mental condition get progressively worse, but eventually he is able to obtain an antidote to the drug that caused the memory loss. His recurring flashbacks now become filled with information. The police are still on his back, but with this new information the player is better able to evaluate the evidence and take action accordingly.

This game and its sequel, Deja Vu II: Lost in Las Vegas, require significant lateral thinking. Some situations are based in common detective techniques, while others require simple violence. Overall, they are more logically disposed than the two other MacVentures titles (Uninvited and Shadowgate), because there are no supernatural events involved.

Technology

Déjà Vu was the first game to use ICOM's trademark MacVenture interface and engine. It was awarded Software Publishers Association excellence in software awards in 1986 for Best Entertainment Product and Best New World, and inspired similar point-and-click games such as Maniac Mansion from LucasArts.

Numerous ports were made, including versions for several home computer systems in 1987 and one for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990. Versions of the game and its sequel containing new graphics and sound were released for Microsoft Windows in the early 1990s, and later as a combined single-cartridge release for the Game Boy Color (under the title Déjà Vu I & II). The GBC game is currently out of print.

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