The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker is the latest FMV game from Wales Interactive, who seem to be leading the charge to bring back a gaming genre that at one stage seemed pretty dead. The Bunker was the first effort and although it had a great story it was hampered by some lacklustre acting in places as well as a story that concluded far too quickly. Late Shift was the next release and improved on the many flaws found in The Bunker, with a well scripted story that kept you entertained and had me playing it multiple times to see the many different endings. The announcement that The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker was coming to Xbox had me eagerly awaiting its release, however the time I spent playing left me with an unsatisfied feeling.
The premise of The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker is simple enough, you play as an unnamed psychiatrist who is questioning the patients of the recently deceased Doctor. One of the patients murdered him and it is your task to find out who. This is done by asking a series of questions to try and get as much information out of every patient as possible before you come to your conclusion and make your accusation. You can literally ask them whatever you want via a custom chat box although typing questions in with a Xbox control pad can feel a little cumbersome. Fortunately there is smartglass integration so you can type them using a pc with Windows 10 or use the Xbox app on iOS and Android.
A nice feature that I can appreciate is that the murderer of Dr Dekker is different each time, as it is randomised at the start of every game. I had to play through this twice due to an issue with the game crashing right at the end so it was fun to at least know that I wasn’t guaranteed to be dealing with the same murderer. The UI itself is nicely laid out, almost everything is accessed via the d-pad so if you get stuck and need suggestions for questions you can look here. You can also see what questions you have already asked each suspect, and see if you need to ask more about a certain subject as anything that can be elaborated on is marked with a *. If you get completely stuck you can use the hints feature to suggest topics and questions for you to ask although I found that most of the time I could simply ask questions about the last part of the sentence each suspect had said, and that would normally suffice.
One thing I did take issue with is the lack of locations within the game. Apart from a few cutscenes you will spend the entirety of your playing time looking at the green sofa in the room. The different people you interview will mill around the room when you have them highlighted for questioning but that is pretty much all you see. Some of the acting in the game is good, however for every good scene there is one that is equally as bad, which made it difficult for me to fully take in what was being said. The accents in particular are rather wonky, some of them sound perfectly natural whereas others are rather hammy but for the most part they work well enough.
Now, to some of the issues I have the game. First of all it can be very tricky to progress unless you don’t use any hints. It seems that some of the questions you ask have to be very carefully worded for it to register and trigger a response. Another complaint that I have is that if you play this as you should (without using the hints) it can feel like quite a slog. There are 5 acts to go through before you can make any sort of accusation regarding the murderer and with six or seven people to question in each act you can spend a lot of time trying to work out what to ask and who to put the questions to. You can skip the answers if you want to get things moving quicker but even this is a little cumbersome. You have to pick a question, hit A to ask it and then hit A a couple more times to get it to skip. Doing this also means you’ll not really be paying any attention to what is being said though which could make solving the murder even trickier.
When I solved the murder it never felt like I did it from correctly deducing it after going through all the answers. The first guess seemed like a sure thing after reading some of the answers but I got it completely wrong so I picked again which also was a bust. I eventually got it on my fourth attempt purely by guessing, and the reason for why they murdered Dr Dekker wasn’t anything I picked up on the four hours it took me to go through everything to reach the conclusion.
After playing all of the FMV games that Wales Interactive have released I have to say I am disappointed with The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker. Although there are some good parts to the game and questioning the patients can be pretty interesting there ultimately wasn’t enough here to keep me interested for more than one playthrough. Those who like to sit and analyse every answer will get a kick out of quizzing everyone but I would much prefer to play the other games that Wales Interactive have released.