Sunday 26 April 2015

Game 53: Hugo II: Whodunit? - Introduction

Written by Deimar

And here we go again one more time. With a game that comes back just like me. With a vengeance. Brace yourselves for the continuation of 1990’s worst game… Hugo II: Whodunit?

Carmen Sandiego, no doubt. That fedora and suspicious behaviour are unmistakable

There is little to add to the introduction of the first game. By this point, David Gray had left his previous job developing software for UK Ministry of Defense to go fully self employed. “Hugo II: Whodunit?”, also called “Hugo’s Mystery Adventure” or even “Hugo’s Who Done it?”, was his first game after going independent and seems to keep the same level of excellence and charm as the original. Whatever that level you think it is. I will simply say that is a commendable effort for a single-person project.

After the success of the first installment, Gray almost immediately started to think in a sequel. In this interview he admits that he was trying to come up with a clever rhyme or alliteration for the name and ended up deciding between “Hugo whodunit?” and “Hugo’s there?”. As a non-english speaker I’m missing the point of the pun in the first one, but as the second one is lame even by Hugo’s standard, it was the chosen one. And being a fan of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels, it was decided that the second game would be a murder mystery game. I bet the murderer was Bensonmum.

See the magnifying glass? MYSTERY!! (image source)

The story takes off where the first one ended. After rescuing his girlfriend Penelope and fleeing the House of Horrors, Hugo decides to take Penelope to visit his Great Uncle Horace, at his English country-side secluded cottage. Well, at least is not a house in the middle of a swamp or else I might become suspicious.

Ok, I regret anything I said. This an acceptable picture of a house.

Inside the cottage, the saucy-looking french maid welcomes them and invites them to a room upstairs. The name of the maiden may be Fifi or may be not, as she doesn’t say any other phrase than “go to your room”. But it is lovely seeing how she blocks any movement that doesn’t involve going up to the room.

And… the graphics go full paint-mode inside.
Almost as horrible as the maid’s french accent.
I’m starting to miss the House of Horror’s decoration...

In any case, Hugo reluctantly obeys and goes to his room with Penelope, who immediately goes to sleep. Being the curious and adventurous type, Hugo starts to loot the ro… erm… search what can he do to pass the time when he touches a yellow book in the bookcase which opens it and makes Hugo disappear.

Bye. bye Hugo. We will miss your startling personality and good taste in clothing

And here is where the game really starts, as we take control of Penelope which is awaken by a heavy noise to an empty room. Giving absolutely no attention to Hugo’s disappearance, I guess he must disappear quite frequently to seek a secluded spot and cry while saying “Bullet!! Bullet!!” , she decides to peek through a keyhole to see what’s causing the noise. And then she becomes the only witness to uncle Horace’s murder.

Sadly, I have to say that any person wearing that jersey deserves to die

I’ll be playing the DosBox version, included within the Windows trilogy. I can see that the game is already at the bottom of everyone’s guess for 1991 so we are probably starting the year with something that will make anything else look amazing. We will see in the following posts but if anything I have to wish this game to be as short as the first one or else I’m in a lot of trouble...

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's 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 CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introduction post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance: remember to use ROT13 for betting. If you get it right, you will be rewarded with 20 CAPs in return. It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw.


  1. This isn't really related to the game, but I wanted to mention that Michael Berlyn of Infocom fame is currently struggling with paying his Cancer bills (due to the US's stupid healthcare system) and could use some help with it. He also created "Tass Times in Tonetown" and "Altered Destiny", which should be familiar to people here. So if anyone is able to chip in a bit here's some more information:

  2. I put it at the bottom mainly because I remember it being very similar to the first game, which by comparison to the big games of 1991 will look quite poor.

    I'm going to suggest 26 for the final score.

  3. I'll be playing along, and I have to say, based on how far I've got, it seems to be even worse than the first game. Gubfr zna-rngvat cynagf ner whfg yvxr sebz n onq Fvreen avtugzner! Naq gura gurer'f n sernxvat znmr! I just wish it is over quickly.

    Right now, I am sure it won't get more than 20, so that's my bet.

    1. There's zna-rngvat cynagf in this game!? Uh-oh...

  4. 21.

    I wanted to vote 20, but Ilmari got to it first. Shame, because I finished this game and I'm confident it will not go past 20.

    1. Different people can vote for the same score. But if you do want to take 20 all by yourself, I could switch my guess to 21. The rest of the game wasn't that excruciating (except for the oevqtr bs qbbz, which is worse than even Sierra at its worst could go), so I could see it getting few points over 20. The plot was still quite nonsensical (although I liked the completely hapbaarpgrq cvrpr jvgu gur Qbpgbe naq gur Qnyrx) and I had to check the walkthrough to get who was the killer (seriously, is there anything in the game even hinting the solution?), but at least it was over soon.

  5. Broken Age part 2 finally released!

  6. I'll guess 25, I assume they will have improved something, somewhere. Maybe they dropped the Roy Rogers trivia? That'd be worth a point at least.

  7. I'll guess 99, because it's easy to use - just type WIZ!

  8. Oh! I played this game. However, due to my learning disability (I could read full adult books before grade 3, but was my spelling was years behind my age up through high school due to how my brain processes words) I couldn't get very far in a parser-based adventure game. I did get both characters out of the bedroom as I recall, before my parents got sick of telling me how to spell things.