Suspect is a little different from the previous two Infocom mysteries. In both Deadline and Witness , you were the police, gathering evidence, questioning suspects, and making the arrest. This time around, however, you're on the other side of the fence: YOU are the suspect, and the police are gathering evidence against you, for a crime you didn't commit. The game is thus a race against time, as you desperately attempt to collect the real evidence before you're arrested. The adventure is centered on a critical point; until you realize that point, you really don't know what you're looking for, and much evidence can be overlooked or spoiled.
The critical point is the fact that Veronica is murdered before the game begins. That elaborate fairy costume, with its over-the-head mask, allows someone else to impersonate her, and thus provide an alibi for the real murderer. Also, you will notice that this is by far the busiest Infocom ever; people move around a lot in the game, and you're almost always running into, or seeing, someone or other. Most of the time, you don't have to worry about that (I think they just put that that in there to confuse you a little, and make you waste time following harmless people around). It is also necessary to collect ever last bit of evidence. Overlook one thing, and you'll never be able to get a conviction, no matter how sure you are of who is guilty. So, with all that in mind, let's get started.
So there you are in the plush Ashcroft manor on Halloween night, enjoying a costume ball being hosted by Veronica Ashcroft, and wondering what sort of story you can work up for your newspaper. As the game begins, you're invited to join Michael, dressed as a sheik, and a small group of people. You might as well go over there, and marvel at the performance given by the woman in the fairy costume, supposedly, but not really, Veronica. Having made sure she creates a fuss by spilling a drink on herself, she promptly leaves. Don't bother following her, you have better things to do. Go East to the bar, then North to the French Doors.
Unlock the doors, then open them and go East. Wow, it sure is pouring out there, isn't it? This is one of the crucial points of evidence in the game; you must note the rainfall now, and again in a little while. In the meantime, you can drop your costume receipt, pen, and notebook here; they are merely excess baggage, and you won't need them for anything. Ok, now it's time to head for the front door, to let in a late arrival who is on her way. Go West to re-enter the Ballroom, South to the Bar, then straight West until you reach the Long Hall South. Go South from there to where the Long Hall Begins, and West again until you come to the Front Hall. Now it's South to the Entry Hall. Anytime now, the front doorbell will ring.
When that happens, unlock the front door and open it. Alicia will comes in. After she does that, step outside South, and observe the rain. Hmm, looks like it's let up a little, only a drizzle is falling now. Having gained your first piece of evidence, you now go get some more, by heading to the office, where Veronica sits, strangled with your cowboy lariat. Go North to the Front Hall, West to the Hallway Intersection, South to the Corner, West, and then North. And here you are in a very messy office. Whoever did this sure did a good job! But there's no time to worry about the papers and other items strewn about. First, get the manila folder from the desk and the fairy mask from the floor. Look in the waste basket and get the business card.
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