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D review

D - The D Stands For...

WARP's 1996 D is a 1st-person point-and-click horror mystery game surrounding a young university student named Laura Harris and her deranged father, Dr. Richter Harris, the general director of a hospital in downtown Los Angeles. A tragic shooting has occurred at the hospital, and your father was the gunman. But what in hell's name has caused him to snap? You rush from your university in San Francisco to the hospital and enter it, hoping to find out just that.

Despite this prologue, the plot does not take place entirely in the hospital. Entering the hospital, you are actually guiding Laura into a hell of sorts in which doorways do not open up to offices but to dungeons and other dimensions somehow connected to your father's madness. Laura explores all of these strange rooms, navigating traps and collecting hints here and there before making her way to the top of a tower and confronting her father. But before that, throughout your exploring, you are given the chance to find four hidden scarab beetles that, when located, reveal scenes of Laura's past and the history of her family. While these secret cutscenes aren't necessary to beat the game, collecting them not only explains the motivation behind Richter's insanity but also opens up the game's Best Ending.

Graphically, D is one of the most attractive games in the Playstation catalog. Very few games look as detailed, as carefully crafted, as D. Each room was pre-rendered to be as photorealistic as possible. The characters themselves, however, look bulky and Laura herself looks something like a pre-op shemale with a flare for early 90s fashion. Fortunately, you don't see much of her in the game.

D is essentially built around puzzles. You progress by avoiding traps and solving these mini-tasks until you reach the end, and the game's ending itself is determined by how you solve the last of these puzzles. Difficulty is not much of an issue, but because you are unable to skip the animated movement sequences between clicks, doing something as simple as going upstairs to retrieve a key takes an unjustified amount of time. The puzzles all have only one solution and if you know these solutions, you will be able to breeze through all 3 discs in less than one hour. Three of the four hidden scarab beetles are always in one of two locations, meaning there are only six locations in the game world you need to check. And the fourth scarab is always in the same location. As I mentioned, finding all four scarabs is key to getting the Best Ending, which isn't much different than the game's "Good Ending." There is also a "Bad Ending" which occurs if you fail to find the four scarab beetles and also fail the final task at the end.

View the trailer for D.

D was not the first game to offer pre-rendered point-and-click horror (see my Mansion of Hidden Souls review for Sega CD), but WARP brought it to the next level. It offered gamers the chance to experience the adventure in real-time, as if you were truly in Laura's shoes. It does this simply by not having either a SAVE or pause option. There is an in-game time limit of three hours (which, by the way, you cannot access) and if you go beyond it, you get a gameover. It backed up these innovations with the power of the Playstation, a console much superior to the Sega CD in every way.

You may notice that D is eerily silent. There aren't many loud moments in the story and there's little music to speak of. Interestingly, WARP would later go on to make a game for the Sega Saturn in which you are haunted by a silent enemy: Enemy Zero (1997).

Click here to read my review of Enemy Zero.

Also in 1997, WARP would come out with another Sega Saturn exclusive called Real Sound: Kaze no Regret, a unique audio adventure game and first-of-its-kind for blind gamers. This sort of innovation and attention to audiovisuals is truly the hallmark of WARP's games.

Added by astro_man23
13 years ago on 23 April 2010 17:36

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