There were several reasons why I decided to get a Sega Saturn, and one of them was to experience the unpredictable mind of Kenji Eno, founder of the dearly departed developer Warp. Never heard of Warp? I wouldn't be surprised. Their reputation has faded into nothing more than a piece of video game trivia from the mid-to-late 1990s. An esoteric Japanese game developer, Warp was helmed by Eno and taken in some rather interesting directions. Their first stateside release was Puyo Puyo rip-off Trip'd on the 3DO, which I guarantee no one here has heard of or played. Their second, however, was D.
D begins with an attract mode that explains the premise: Richter Harris, the director of a prominent hospital in L.A., has committed mass murder and locked himself inside the hospital with several patients as hostages. His daughter, Laura, hears of this and rushes from San Francisco to L.A. Upon reaching the hospital, she convinces the police to let her try to talk down her father. On the other side of the hospital doors, however, lies a portal to a strange, foreboding world.
The gameplay of D would be considered wafer-thin by modern standards. It's in the mold of games like Myst or 7th Guest, pre-rendered point-and-click adventures with copious amounts of CG to create ambiance and drive the plot forward. Just like those games, D is also populated by puzzles. Although it's an adventure game with puzzles, though, the puzzles tend not to be very difficult. The difficulty, I found, was in navigating the environment and finding cues to see what you could and could not interact with in order to find clues to solving the game's handful of puzzles.
There's only a few puzzles, because, you see, the game was designed with a time limit in mind. (Also maybe because Warp employed about six people at the time.) Laura's warned after stepping into the portal that it's only temporary, and that she has a limited amount of time to make her way through the game before it closes again. The player has two hours with which to complete the entire game. To this end, the designer starts Laura off with a pocket watch displaying the time. The game starts out at 3 AM, so the player has to be mindful of how long s/he is taking by checking it every now and again.
Another item that Laura starts out with is her mother's makeup compact (?!). Looking into its mirror gives Laura clues as to the next object she's supposed to interact with. It's only a flash, however, and after three uses the mirror breaks and the item can no longer be used. It's actually pretty useless, the flashes given are often too vague and brief to understand the direction the designer tries to push you in, so you can very well use up all three hints just trying to figure out what that blurry thing in the mirror was.
You most likely won't need it, however, because barring walking right past important clues, the puzzles are a snap to figure out. In fact, several times I found myself over-thinking a puzzle,...