Hotel Dusk: Room 215
Sherlock Holmes once showed how it’s done, Hercule Poirot managed to do it like no other. Now it’s your turn to follow their footsteps in the brand new ‘Hotel Dusk: Room 215’ from the fairly unknown development studios ‘Cing’. Do you have the all-seeing eye and the everything hearing ears to solve the Hotel Dusk mystery? Become a detective and sort it out!
I say there are way too little of this kind of detective games out there and those that are mostly suck enormous monkey balls. Hotel Dusk on the other hand is one wonderful game. The story is dated in december 1979. You play the part of a typical ex-cop, named ‘Kyle Hyde’, whose brains seem to have left earth. Sloppy clothes, often wandering off to somewhere in his mind, … Let’s say it’s a Columbo type of guy. After he was fired from the New York Police Departement he joined Red Crown. Red Crown is a door-to-door sales company, at least that’s what it looks like. Next to selling cleaning products and stuff like that, the organisation also does some undercover private-eye and clean-up jobs for rich people, trying to cover up a scandal which might damage their image. Next to all the cleaning up, you’re also thinking about your old partner at the force. He disappeared mysteriously, causing you to get fired from the corps.
For one of your assignments you’re sent to Hotel Dusk. There you’re supposed to retrieve a pin-up magazine and a little red box and make them disappear. This was left behind earlier by someone important and, of course, if proven this ‘merchandise’ is his it could cause a big scandal. How bizarre it may seem, as you enter the hotel and check in, the person in the lobby tells you someone with the same name stayed in there a couple of months ago. Next to that you also meet someone you know from the old days at the force, an ex-convict you arrested many times for picking pockets. He now works in the hotel as a bellboy. You also get a room which is said to grant wishes. Apart from the crazy stuff, the fact someone with your name stayed in the hotel earlier asks for some extra investigation.
The plot goes even deeper and gets more complicated than what you can read above and that’s what makes this game so unique and a true pleasure to play. You really get caught up in the story! The entire thing is shown on your two DS screens, but not in the conventional way. You have to turn your DS 90° so your holding it on its side. A bit like a book. This has its use! The normal screen shows you the images while the touch-screen is being used to do all the interaction. You can walk through the corridors of the hotel with it, get into conversations, look at different items in the hotel a little closer, take notes and many other things.
The conversation system is pretty elaborate. Although you’re still stuck to pre-programmed sentences, you do have the power to interrupt the discussion when the other person says something weird or possibly important to your investigation. When doing so you can get even more facts on the hotel and its occupants which can help your search for the truth even further. As I said, you can take notes of everything, even during conversation. I recommend you actually do this since the notes you take may help you to get back on track when you’ve had to stop playing for a while. This way you won’t forget where you were at when you quit last time.
You can also interact with different objects in the hotel and it’s quite important too. You’ll have to pick locks with an iron wire, break codes, get a piece of paper from under a heavy metal cabinet without tearing it up, … There really are a lot of possibilities.
The nearly-perfect gameplay is being accompanied by a very typical detective-movie soundtrack. Some jazzy seventies tunes add a great deal of atmosphere to the game. There’s another form of sound too, the sound effects. These are somewhat less in quality than the music, a bit distorted sometimes. Still, the effects aren’t all that bad. Not bad enough to be annoying at least. It is and remains a DS game! Same goes for the graphics. Although not stunning, they do actually contribute to the atmosphere. You can see what kind of hotel Hotel Dusk really is. A dark, old, messy and worn out place in the middle of nowhere.
Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is a top game when I compare it to any other I played or saw within the genre. The atmosphere is being created in such a magnificent way together with a very strong storyline (like you’re reading a good book). A very big ‘MUST HAVE’ for any DS owner. If you liked Phoenix Wright (although not completely the same kind of game) you’ll certainly love this!