[T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ★

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[T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ★ 

Message par Bad Player » Mer Avr 02, 2014 9:17 pm

So this is me and Rune's entry.

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^ Artwork by MercurialSK ^


Note: Play in Firefox, and there is an automatic checkpoint system in-game, so no need to save/reload. (Seriously... Please save/reload as little as possible.)
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par Ferdielance » Jeu Avr 03, 2014 4:09 am

I just finished this. Non-spoilery review first, spoilers in the cut.

BP and Blackrune's latest collaboration is a satisfying mystery in the Dickson Carr mold. If you like those, you will almost certainly like this case. There are several clever tricks, and some nasty ones. The rules of fairness are usually preserved, but not always, and when they break apart - as they do near-catastrophically in an early puzzle - the result is not pretty. There is no trolling here on the level of Turnabout of Courage, but expect to have to remember small details for a long time, even from scenes presented out of context and out of order. (And presenting scenes out of order is a fantastic way to make it near-impossible to remember their contents unaided). I suggest playing with a notebook handy and using it.

On the other hand, when the puzzles work, they work fantastically well. One comes about as close as possible to allowing the player to play at being Sherlock Holmes, making a leap in logic that's clued... but just barely. Another involves a really elegant trick that I can't spoil here, and one of the main ones is well-clued, well-presented, and quite smart.

Compared to Turnabout Pairs, this represents a step up from an already impressive trial. The puzzles cohere better, the story gels, and there are far fewer loose ends floating around. Graphics and music are deployed smartly, and no segment goes on longer than it needs to. The writing is much, much punchier than either author's previous work - the dialogue is functional and gets to the point, without excessive meandering. While the characters never get developed as much as they could, adding any more character development would raise the difficulty even more - since it would have the effect of hiding certain needles very deep in a large haystack. In spite of a few moments of genuinely arbitrary difficulty - the odd dicey contradiction - this is the puzzle mystery raised to as high a level as we can ever expect to see, at least until we get another BP/Blackrune collab.

Several places could use post-comp polish, though, in that the player can be heavily penalized for essentially reasonable answers, sometimes heavily, breaking the flow of the game. But the option to retry after losing without reloading the trial turns out to be a lifesaver. I address these logic issues below; all comments from this point on are spoilery.

Spoiler : More comments :
What reminded me most of Dickson Carr here was the use of two related crimes that shed light on each other, the locked room tricks, and, of course, the false solutions. The false solutions were handled fairly for the most part, and it was a good authorial choice not to dwell on them for too long.

Several contradictions, however, are exactly the sort of thing Enth and I parodied: hidden assumptions are needed, the contradiction is a matter of opinion or conjecture, and so on. The early badge contradiction stalls the case's momentum badly for several reasons:

* We need to assume that the guard's memory works like no human being's memory does. Even "photographic memories" are reconstructive, and seeing someone with a slight change in their clothing later on can influence recollection. The comment about how Helene seemed like a lawyer could, barring further edits, simply reflect on the guard's current state of mind. "I saw she was one of those crazy lawyers" would be more fair than a comment about how lawyers dress crazy; it's a subtle distinction.

In addition, chloroform is not something it's easy to carry around without notice on a cloth. It's volatile and smelly and dangerous. That the guard didn't see any chloroform bottle, or smell the scent of it, is more severe of a contradiction than the badge.

This comes back to haunt you later when "needing to dispose of the chloroform bottle" is a step in Henry's plan that would allow him to be caught, but isn't addressed.

* At one point, it's necessary to present the lighter to show that a fire was happening at a certain time. Presenting the fire alarm that went off at that time? Penalty!

* The general reliance on memory contradictions without any link to the CR is extreme in the absence of a mechanism for revisiting earlier scenes. There's nothing on the level of the window-washers here, but it gets very close. In addition, no explanation is given for why the maid's prints on the fire alarm aren't a valid answer to what is otherwise a crazy memory contradiction. Other answers that seem plausible but are wrong: Helene identifies the pendulum as a "Foucault pendulum" even though the CR says "pendulum" only, and the room was kept locked and private.

* One possible way to reduce the need for detailed memory on the lighter would be to explicitly mention how the detective added it into evidence in its CR profile. Another, more pointed way: Instead of "probably belongs to Regina," try, "According to Detective wossname, nobody at the scene recognized it." This reminds the player that the maid handled the lighter without SAYING so.

Obviously, if I can't even remember the DETECTIVE'S name without the CR open in front of me, I'm not going to like that puzzle as is.

* This is doubly important when the penalties get huge. A mysterious videotape that's supposed to prove something and could very well be a security video, and massive penalties for presenting it to compare to someone's face? Either a notice should be added that the video doesn't need to be used yet, or a special convo should be added to deal with video presents in that cross-exam.

* Helene takes off her sunglasses in that final exam, revealing that her eyes have a different color from Titania's, implying contacts. You do not want to know how many times I got penalized trying to prove this. In a case where I'm expected to be obsessed with detail, it's kind of frustrating to lose because you noticed one.

* At the time the key swap is presented, there's a solution that isn't recognized:

1) Plant key to another apartment/fake key/old key on body before room is opened, use victim's key to leave and lock door.
2) Swap it out after body is discovered with the victim's key.

In this case, the killer would need to access the body briefly during the investigation, and it's not as elegant as the "don't return the spare" solution.

That said, there's another issue, which is that there's no reason (at that point in the trial) for the player to believe that the key from the old case would really be used by the murderer, when any other fake of a similar make with a similar tag would do.

* The smoke detector stretches fairness to the limit, and possibly beyond. Why wouldn't he wipe the prints on something he touched in the room? What if he just pushed the button that resets it, rather than removing the batteries? The added misdirection raises the difficulty from "very hard" to "totally brutal." I solved it without hints, but could not believe THAT was the answer even as I presented it.

One issue is that there's a lot of misdirection here. For one thing, how on earth were the ashes on the key faked convincingly after the prints had been wiped? For another, was Henry wearing clothes that were totally flammable, all the way to the shoes? Nobody noticed that? What about parts of his costume that don't normally burn, like his badge or bracelet, where a luminol test might reveal blood?

* In one testimony, we effectively have to say "I am ignoring these claims and raising a difference of opinion, not a contradiction, because my story can't explain X and you are giving it too much credit." This is... stretching the way contradictions work pretty far.

* Only the key proves it wasn't self-defense? Not... the autopsy report showing repeated stabbing after death? The knife taken from the kitchen (BP cleared up later that this was because OBERON attacked with the knife, but that's ambiguous at first)?

Even the chloroform gives an instant game-over-retry. Really?

"Oh, sure, I always carry around chloroform in case someone attacks me and I have to frame someone else! Yep, NOT PREMEDITATED!"

Pretty much the entire CR - at least, things related to this incident - show that it wasn't self-defense, whatever it was.

That said, there were some truly great puzzles here, as I said in the review above. Both locked rooms were quite good, and the last locked room puzzle with the key swap was elegantly done.

Added:

For the locked room trick, there's no way to really eliminate a Numa + Henry collaborative attack. I suggest the following lines:

Henry: "If you're going to pull accomplices out of nowhere, you'd better be ready to back that up."

Helene: "I don't need to. This trick was possible without any accomplices!"

Added:

* The houseplant contradiction early on isn't really a contradiction. It asks us to accuse the witness of being either mistaken or lying about Oberon's vacation on the basis of the houseplant... but that's not really true at all. In short, it means forcing the player to make an obvious mistake - the assumption that Oberon wouldn't ask someone to water the plant. Combined with the misdirection in the testimony, it's clear why many players find it iffy.

There's a way to resolve this, though, as I discussed with BP on Xat. Pressing Mint about the spare key could raise the question: "And you never used the spare key before? Say, during the week Oberon was away?" And Mint would reply: "Of course not! Why would anyone visit an empty apartment?" Add this to the testimony.

This would ACTUALLY contradict the plant's survival. If nobody visited, then it would have been dead. Now, the next problem becomes: how do we get to the "plant swap" theory if Helene already is raising the possibility of a visitor? There are several ways. Here's one possibility I raised to BP:

Henry: "The security office keeps records of the spare key. She never borrowed it."

Helene: "Well, maybe some unknown person used it!"

Henry: "I've checked that, too. I can assure you that the only people to visit the apartment were us three."

Helene: ...

Helene: "(...Wait. Maybe I was too hasty here.)"

Helene: "(Is there another way to explain why they saw a live plant instead of a dead one...?)"


---BP'S SPACE---
Since this is basically a list of suggestions you've given us... I'm just going to edit your post and put stuff here so it's all in the same place for the time being ^^"

-Every time the player fails on the final testimony, add in a bigger hint (since they're guaranteed 3 tries)
Dernière édition par Ferdielance le Sam Avr 05, 2014 6:26 am, édité 10 fois.
"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par Bad Player » Jeu Avr 03, 2014 4:42 am

Thanks for the review! Glad you liked it... for the most part ^^" TPairs was really focused exclusively on the crime/logic, and while I think TPairs does it slightly better than TSotST, I think TSotST is a lot more "well-rounded" than TPairs. So I'm glad that paid off.

As I said in xat, I agree with a lot of what you point out in the spoiler tag. While there are ways to explain away a lot of the alternate possibilities you present, they definitely deserve acknowledgment on exactly why they're wrong, so we'll definitely add in those conversations soon.
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par ForTheLoveOfGodot » Jeu Avr 03, 2014 5:16 am

Loving the trial thus far, but stuck at
Spoiler : :
the locked room testimony. You know, the long one where you have to crack the locked room Oberon was found in. I can't figure out what evidence to present for what was used to lock the door and the other evidence required to crack the locked room. I figure that there was some sort of key swap using the old apartment key and the new apartment key, but I don't know exactly what I need to present. And due to how the trial is structured, I can't look at the code for the answers. Any help you could give would be appreciated!
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par Ferdielance » Jeu Avr 03, 2014 5:23 am

TFLoG:

Spoiler : Hint :
I had that idea at first, too. It is very close, but not quite there yet. Would it really be possible to swap the new apartment key on the corpse with the old key during the investigation without being noticed? Remember that the key on the corpse would have been checked by the police, and really would open the apartment door. There's a better way to do this without the risk.

Is there an easier way to pull off a key swap? When did the key swap occur? Focus in on that point. The key on the corpse would be hard to use... what else might work instead of messing with the victim's key? Who would have had the opportunity to pull off that swap, assuming there were no accomplices involved?

Try thinking about where the keys are at different times... and what assumptions you're making.
"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par Zohar the Shiny » Jeu Avr 03, 2014 5:41 am

Hah, I was just wishing earlier today for some "Carr-styled mysteries" (my own words) similar to Turnabout Pairs (I'm currently reading "Three Coffins", or "The Hollow Man" for you non-Americans, but it's just not the same as playing through it yourself). Funny that this pops up as soon as I log on!

I've never been drawn to the motive or relationship based cases so often relied upon in modern crime procedural novels or television shows, so I'm always excited to see an "impossible" puzzle mystery (or even a possible one, to be honest; it's the puzzle that matters). I'll be sure to play through this as soon as possible!
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par Gumpei » Jeu Avr 03, 2014 11:14 am

You managed to keep me up till 4 AM on a school night. Excellent work, gentlemen. (oh god I've got a paper due first thing and a physics test in a few hours and calculus homework and what am I going to do)

also I'm sorry but once I saw it this was all I could think about
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par JackKudos » Jeu Avr 03, 2014 4:53 pm

I've tried playing the case in Google Chrome and the case just jumps from one part to another.
Like, one moment I'm at the trial and then suddenly the game jumps to the part about the waitress.
I'm wondering if that's really how it goes or if Google Chrome just messes up the frame progression.
Why can't life be like and ANIME!?
Also, why aren't there enough murder mystery games in the world!?
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par wrightattorney » Jeu Avr 03, 2014 4:56 pm

I'm stuck

Spoiler : :
it's the testimony where the girl and henry discovers the body. I got the statement added but I can't find the contradiction. help
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par Bad Player » Jeu Avr 03, 2014 5:08 pm

wrightattorney a écrit :I'm stuck

Spoiler : :
it's the testimony where the girl and henry discovers the body. I got the statement added but I can't find the contradiction. help

Spoiler : :
The added statement is a red herring ;)
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par Blizdi » Ven Avr 04, 2014 12:24 am

Bad Player a écrit :
wrightattorney a écrit :I'm stuck

Spoiler : :
it's the testimony where the girl and henry discovers the body. I got the statement added but I can't find the contradiction. help

Spoiler : :
The added statement is a red herring ;)



That was SUCH a big middle finger to us XD, and don't you think the solution is a bit TOO obtuse?
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par Bad Player » Ven Avr 04, 2014 12:25 am

*shrug*
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par Blizdi » Ven Avr 04, 2014 12:27 am

Bad Player a écrit :*shrug*



I like your attitude XD
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par Blizdi » Ven Avr 04, 2014 1:31 am

I need help, I can't solve...

Spoiler : :
The showdown with the "Inside/Outside" choices and the multiple paths, PLEASE HELP ME D: :fran:
Dernière édition par Blizdi le Ven Avr 04, 2014 11:57 am, édité 1 fois.
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Re: [T] Two Sides of the Same Turnabout ● 

Message par wrightattorney » Ven Avr 04, 2014 1:35 am

got passed it after a lucky guess but I'm stuck again. (yeah, I'm usually not good at using logic, suprised I made it this far without a walkthrough)

Spoiler : :
the testimony where you have to prove that henry did one of the things for the murder to work. A hint will do.
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