It's all very familiar, yet colourful!
“Good afternoon. Welcome to Déjà Vu II: Lost in Las Vegas.” And so we begin our trip through the adventure games of 1990! I’ve put an hour into Déjà Vu II, and it’s all feeling very familiar so far (yes, I passed up the obvious joke there). Waking up with a sore head is exactly how the first game began, but at least this time I still remembered that my name is Ace Harding, along with the events of the previous 48 hours. “You recall being abducted from Chicago by two thugs who then brought you to their boss, Tony Malone – the notorious Las Vegas mobster. According to the word on the street, there had been some kind of connection between Malone and Joey Siegel, the racketeer of whose murder you had recently been cleared. As you discovered last night, Siegel had been running rackets in Chicago as Malone’s leg man, and his untimely demise left $112,000 of Malone’s money unaccounted for. And since YOU are the logical scapegoat, Malone has now made you an offer you can’t refuse: either cough up his hundred and twelve grand in one week’s time, or it’ll be the classic “or else” for you! And just to make sure you don’t get any funny ideas, you’ll be watched closely by Stogie Martin – Malone’s personal Torpedo.”
Maximizing the dialogue window really helps when reading large amounts of text. Could I do this in original? I don't remember doing it.
With that I found myself in a bathroom, with an almost identical interface to the one I’d used in all three previous MacVenture games. Things have been moved around a bit, with the room display now in the centre of the screen, and the inventory now located on the left. The inventory is still a manually controlled area, where I can drag things in and out, and generally move things around however I please. I'm able to expand the size of the inventory window so that I can see everything, but nothing is going to stop me from despising it completely (I’ll explain why during my playthrough). The action buttons have pretty obvious uses, being EXAMINE, OPEN, CLOSE, SPEAK, OPERATE, GO, HIT and CONSUME. To use them I have to click on one of the buttons and then on an item in the environment. Unfortunately, as with the other games, I have a tendency to click on the item to make sure I can actually select it, before then clicking on the action button, which doesn’t work. The other important part to the interface is the Exits window, which displays all the possible ways out of the current location. Clicking on one of them allows me to see where it leads, or to open a door if that’s what it is. The window is critical since many exits are not visible on the screen elsewhere.
Selected items are highlighted (see the circular rug on the floor)
Right, let’s get to it! I began scouring the room, examining everything that I could select. The descriptions of the items are generally quite amusing, such as “This tub has more rings around it than Saturn”. When I smashed the window I was informed that “Breaking glass gets your adrenaline flowing and gives you a false feeling of power”. As with all MacVenture games, I’m able to pick up a LOT of items and put them in my inventory, despite the vast majority not being required in the slightest. I decided to take the same approach I always do, which is to pick up everything I can, and then start removing unlikely items one at a time when I’m informed that I can’t carry anything else. I picked up two towels with the words “Lucky Dice Hotel and Casino” sewed into them, and then added an empty bottle of scotch within which I’ve apparently “stuffed the cork back in so far that you can never get it out again”. As a further reminder of the first game, I found my coat and pants hanging on the back of the bathroom door, suggesting that I’ve been lying on the ground unconscious and pantless. I “opened” my pants, and found a wallet and a key inside, both of which I eagerly dragged into my inventory.
Expanding the inventory window is useful, but having one for the pants overlaying it, and then yet another one for the wallet in the pants overlaying that, just becomes unruly.
Opening things causes a second inventory window to appear on the screen, allowing you to interact with the items within or drag them into the main inventory window. It gets nasty when I can open something within something else and so on, and even more nasty when I need to get to an item quickly, only to have to open multiple “inventories” to get to it. Examining the key revealed that it was the key to my apartment, and opening the wallet revealed two newspaper clippings, some money, and my license. The first clipping was of me and my sparring partner, Rudy Kowalski, in a boxing ring, whereas the second clipping had an article describing my exploits in the first game. It finished by listing the address of Joe’s Bar, which is the location where Joey Siegel was murdered: “1060 S. Peoria St. Chicago, Illinois”. Addresses were very important in the first game, so I immediately created a document on my laptop where I could store any that I came across. I added my own address too, 1060 W. Addison Ave., which I found on my driver’s license. Finally, deciding it was best not to walk around Las Vegas half naked, I “operated” my pants to put them on.
Theodore!? No wonder I go by the name Ace!
Next I turned my attention to the trenchcoat, within which I only discovered an empty pack of Lucky Strikes cigarettes. I put the coat on, and since there was nothing else to examine in the bathroom, left through the only exit available. As I did so, a message appeared telling me that “Your pack of Lucky Strikes is empty. Your craving for a cigarette is unsatisfied.” Could the game’s time limit be based on whether or not I’d got my hands on a durry!? I considered how unhappy the Cancer Foundation would be if that really is the case. Through the door was a Bedroom, within which I immediately felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Stogie Martin, the man that Tony Malone had left to make sure I didn’t disappear without handing over the money. “Just remember pal, I got instructions to keep an eye on you. I wouldn’t get too many bright ideas if I was you.” I doubt this guy would get too many bright ideas at all, but thankfully he left the room straight away, leaving me to explore. The first thing I noticed was a small item on the floor, which turned out to be one of Stogie’s cigar rings. I dragged it into my inventory, and then did the same with the two pillows on the bed.
Stogie Martin: Not my friend!
Opening the nightstand next to the bed revealed a Gideon’s Bible, which I picked up. Opening it, I was taken straight to the Ten Commandments: “You wonder if Tony Malone ever bothered to do the same.” I then looked in the wastebasket that was lying on its side, and discovered a crumpled piece of paper inside. “Stogie, the payment from L.A. is overdue. Check it out a.s.a.p. and if it becomes necessary, lean on Gionelli for me. - - T.M.” The initials obviously stood for Tony Malone, but I wasn’t sure who Gionelli was. While I was looking through the room, Stogie came back in and tapped me on the shoulder once again. “Just a gentle reminder, pal. Your days is numbered.” He dropped another cigar ring too, making me think I was always going to know where Stogie had been, even if I hadn’t seen him. The next thing I picked up was an ashtray, within which I found a box of matches containing three unused matches. I was already filling up my inventory and I hadn’t even finished with the second room yet! The last thing of interest I discovered in the bedroom was a folded train schedule on the dresser. Opening it gave me a list of the one-way fares out of Las Vegas, which were New York City: $35, St. Louis: $15, Los Angeles: $15 and Chicago: $20.
I imagine this note will become important when I visit L.A.
I left the bedroom, reappearing in a Corridor containing three further exits. I wasn’t able to enter the elevator on the left or the hotel room on the right, so I opened the double doors at the end of the corridor and entered the Lobby of the casino. There I found an empty ashtray and an empty shot glass, but that’s about all. There was a spittoon in the corner, but thankfully I didn’t appear to be able to do anything with it. Apart from the doors through which I’d entered the lobby, there were two more exits from the room. One of them would take me outside the hotel, but I didn’t feel ready to leave just yet. I therefore took the other doorway, which took me to the Cashier’s Room. I looked at the woman behind the counter: “It’s a blond in a cage. What a good idea! Why didn’t you think of that?” Indeed! I tried talking to her, but she seemed to be daydreaming or ignoring me (most likely both). The logical thing to do was to trade some of my dollars for some chips for the casino, but I really wasn’t sure whether that was a good idea or not. I decided to go easy and gave her a single dollar bill, only to be told that each chip would cost me five dollars.
Oh God! Those doors are going to open aren't they...and then the blood is going to pour out!!!
Don't mind if I do!
What exactly is this suggesting!?
I gave her my ten dollar note, wondering how I might have given her $5 if I’d wanted to, and then collected my two shiny red chips. I made my way into the casino proper, and found myself standing in front of a blackjack table. The dealer’s name was Ziggie Schwartz, and dragging a chip onto the table started a game. I was dealt a three of spades and a nine of diamonds, so the obvious thing to do was to get another card. I typed “hit me”, and was given a nine of hearts, taking my total to 21!!! I typed “stand”, and watched in disbelief as the dealer played a five of clubs and a seven of clubs, then followed them up with an ace of clubs and an eight of spades, taking his total to 21 too! It was a push, meaning I won nothing for my superb piece of beginner’s luck. Long story short, my second hand resulted in a 20, and the dealer could only muster up an 18, meaning I now had three chips. I saved my game at this point and it’s lucky I did, as any attempts to play the same dealer from then on resulted in the same cards being dealt and me losing. I’d played cards in many Sierra games over time, and all of those seemed to randomise the results of each game, but it all seems to be more scripted in Déjà Vu II.
Woohoo!!! I've won!!! I've...oh come on!!!
The exit to the left took me to another blackjack table with another dealer named Curly Schultz. I had absolutely no luck with this guy, losing every game I played until I was forced to restore. It turned out that there were five separate blackjack tables to participate on, interspersed with two slot machine rooms. I tried inserting my singular quarter into the slot machines, but lost it both times. I tried my hand (pun intended) at each of the tables, and eventually came to a dealer with the name Rudy Kowalski on his tag. “Another Déjà vu flash! Why that dealer is your old sparring partner, Rudy!” Strangely, Rudy didn’t seem to recognise me, so I “operated” the newspaper clipping, that showed he and I sparring in a boxing ring, on him. “Rudy glances at the newspaper clipping, recognition appears on his face and he gives you a knowing wink. It looks like your luck has changed, pal.” Awesome! I put my three chips down on the table and was unsurprised when my next hand resulted in a winning 21. I then left all six chips on the table and repeated the process! Just when it looked like I was going to have a way to make infinite cash, Rudy’s boss told him to take a break, and another dealer took his place.
Just as in real life, I couldn't win on the pokies.
I guess I let him win a few fights at some stage
I started to drag my chips one at a time into my inventory, but after only shifting about four of them, the dealer said: “Sorry, pal. I warned you that you were takin’ too long. House rules, you know.” He then took all the remaining chips!!! Seriously!? Tell me this doesn’t happen in real life! I restored my game, got myself back up to 12 chips, and then tried to move them all off the table as quickly as I could. The best I could do was 7 before he took the rest away, which was pretty frustrating. I thought that maybe I could somehow select multiple chips at once, but couldn’t figure out how. Perhaps this is the game’s way of limiting the player’s cash? I read through the gambling section of the manual, but didn’t learn anything that would help. Reluctantly, I made my way back to the cashier and cashed my seven chips in for $35. I quickly realised that $35 was exactly what it costs to get a train to New York, which was the most expensive ticket. That seemed a bit coincidental, and led me to believe that the game is indeed limiting my available funds. At least for now!
Thanks but no thanks Alvin. I'll just collect my chips and I'll be on my way...
Haha, that's a good one! You really had me there! Now give me back my chips you bastard!!!!
Now that I’d been everywhere within the hotel, it was time to venture outside. On my way back through the lobby, I once again ran into Stogie: “Still ain’t come up with the dough, eh? Well, ya still gots some time - - but da boss ain’t real fergiven’ about tings like dis!” It seemed pretty clear to me that Stogie was my clock, informing me of how much time I had left before I would receive a premature game over message. No doubt I was taking way too much time on each screen, but I figured I’ll be restoring plenty of times anyway, so no real rush. I made my way outside to the Casino Entryway, where I was once again informed of my now serious nicotine cravings. That seems a very good place to end this first gameplay post. I’m enjoying Déjà vu II a bit more than I expected to so far, mostly due to the much better graphics meaning I don’t have to pixel hunt so much, but I have a feeling there are tough times ahead. The mechanics of the game mean that it’s inevitable that I will miss something important at some point. Who knows? Maybe I have already!
How can I be craving nicotine when I constantly have a cigarette in my mouth!?
Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutesTotal Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!