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I'd like to identify a game I played on my first PC (x386, 2MB RAM) which I built in 1991. It was also one of the first, if not the first game I ever played on a PC.

The game was heavily, and I mean heavily based on Blade Runner. It was set in a futuristic city that was a mix of US and oriental culture. Set at night, lots of neon signs. I remember the character you played was some kind of cop, and I think there was a scene where you saw a very Bladerunneresque flying car.

It was an adventure game, I think it was a 'point and click' interface, but the screen stayed static and the characters didn't move around like in the 'Monkey Island' or other SCUMM games - I think you just received text dialogue in windows as you clicked on things. I remember each location as a pre-rendered image which you interacted with in order to progress. The graphics were fairly low-res, but nowhere near as cartoonish as the SCUMM games. You could travel freely between locations but I think the story was quite linear. I believe the storyline was that you were a cop trying to solve a murder, but I can't be sure.

That's all I can recall. It definitely wasn't an official Blade Runner game but the likeness was deliberate and obvious. I don't recall anything about the packaging, I worked in a computer shop at the time and my boss let me take games home to 'try', but only the disks. I have tried Googling of course, but the mention of 'Blade Runner' brings up so many pages about official Blade Runner games. I'd be really pleased if anyone can recall the title of this game so I could research it properly.

Games it definitely isn't:

  • Geisha - this doesn't have the cop / mystery elements. I've seen screenshots, it isn't this game.
  • Beneath A Steel Sky - this wasn't released until 1994, and in any case, this used the SCUMM interface which definitely was not this game's style.

Edit: I originally wrote that the game featured Japanese culture, specifically Geishas. I also remembered a scene involving taking a photograph through a telephoto lens. I now believe I remembered these two elements from the game Geisha on the Amiga, which I didn't play but may have seen demoed as I worked in a computer game store from 1991-1992.

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    It sounds a bit like Beneath a Steel Sky. – DarkDust Nov 13 '20 at 12:38
  • @DarkDust It isn't Beneath a Steel Sky - I think I mentioned that the characters don't move around like 'Monkey Island'. I didn't play Steel Sky but pretty sure that is a SCUMM game. – Astralbee Nov 13 '20 at 12:57
  • @StephenKitt Definitely not either of those. Flashack was an action game if I recall? This game had fully-rendered locations, nowhere near as high-res as say Myst, more pixelated, but not cartoonish like the SCUMM games. – Astralbee Nov 13 '20 at 13:03
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    @StephenKitt Rise of the Dragon... I just watched a playthrough on YouTube and this might be it. I definitely played this game and had forgotten about it. It was out on PC in 1990, but it was also out on the Amiga in 1991 and it was late 1991 that I transitioned from Amiga to PC. It's possible I played it on the Amiga. It has the flying car I remember, but I don't see anything about geishas and I'm almost positive that was an element in this game. I think you should put an answer together though, because barring any better suggestion this could be it. – Astralbee Nov 13 '20 at 15:18
  • There are some Asian characters in Rise of the Dragon, but no Geishas. However, there are definitely some Asian "ladies of easy virtue" dressed like Geishas in Heart of China from the same studio. Maybe you played it also and mix them together in your mind. – scrollbear Nov 14 '20 at 23:55
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I suspect this could be Rise of the Dragon. It was released in 1990 for PCs (and several other platforms), and is a point-and-click adventure game with a first-person view and pre-rendered, static backgrounds. The protagonist is a private detective who used to be a police officer. The game starts as a murder investigation. It is set in Los Angeles in the future (2053) and is reminiscent of Blade Runner in a number of ways.

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    Thanks for helping me remember this game. Rise of the Dragon is definitely the game I played on my first PC. I've revised my question slightly because I now realise I remembered a couple of the elements incorrectly. – Astralbee Nov 15 '20 at 16:24
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Some details aren’t exactly the same but it really reminds me of Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum. It’s still available on GOG.

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That description also matches SNATCHER, a Hideo Kojima classic, pretty much exactly.

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  • I’d thought of this too, but Snatcher was never released on the PC. – Stephen Kitt Nov 17 '20 at 14:34

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