Originally released on PC last year – and you can find our original review here – FMV text adventure The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker has now made the leap onto consoles. While such a keyboard dominated title might seem an odd choice to be converted, developers D’Avekki Studios have refined a number of controller friendly options to ensure that you can bring the psychiatrist’s couch to the sofa in your living room. The result is an excellent port of what was already a standout adventure game that deserves to be appreciated more widely.
The game sees you replacing the titular Doctor Dekker in his psychiatric practice following his violent death. In order to find out what happened to him, you must question his former patients, treading the fine line between detective work and therapy. All of these patients, fully acted with a dizzying range of responses to possible questions, display various ailments that are weird and Lovecraftian. Mysterious submarine creatures, time distortion, and resurrection all feature heavily, with each patient being distinctive yet connected through the filter of Dekker’s madness.
The UI is well designed on console and unobtrusive, with textual information being clear but not getting in the way of the main focus, which is obviously the actors. I was impressed with the entire cast and felt they brought an air of barely controlled madness to their performances. Each patient slowly reveals the extent of their afflictions whilst mixing in small talk, flirtation, anger, and suspicion. The writing is similarly strong and manages to stay on just the right side of camp melodrama. This is important, as the game would fall down were it to feel too much like an am-dram or roleplaying party.
All of the above is retained from the original PC version, as reviewed so glowingly last year. What is new since then is the introduction of pre-set questions that help you to navigate through the interviews, and can turn the game into more of a visual novel than a text adventure should you so wish.
It’s refreshing to play a visual novel that gets away from the static reading that so often holds the form back, and this approach is perfectly tailored for playing with a controller. This is necessary, since trying to type your own questions with the onscreen keyboard quickly proves frustrating and is not an enjoyable experience. Should you wish, though, the original text adventure experience can be replicated if you plug in a USB keyboard.
The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, therefore, brings an excellent adventure game to a wider audience and comes highly recommended. The changes and innovations made by the developers enable either an authentic text adventure experience or an interactive movie to be enjoyed at your leisure, whilst the random selection of the guilty party each time means that repeated playthroughs will turn out differently. I played the game with my wife and we had different conclusions about who was the murderer, despite having witnessed the same evidence and conversations. Whilst by its nature a niche title, I would happily recommend surrendering yourself to The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker.
Version tested: PS4
Also available on PC, Xbox One and Switch