SFPD Homicide Case File: The Body in the Bay


Grolier Electronic Publishing

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Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes not only had in common their amazing and extraordinary ability to solve the most inextricable crime puzzles, but also their origin from fiction inspired respectively by Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle. These two famous detectives, although from another age, would have loved playing with "SFPD Homicide: The Body in the Bay", the first game from 3 Prong Plug. This new division of Grolier Electronic Publishing designed a murder mystery game based on a real crime affair that happened in the San Francisco Bay. The names of the characters involved in this case have been changed to protect the innocent while the evidence and facts you will gather during your investigation are real.

In SFPD: Homicide, you will play the role of a new detective in the Homicide Division of the San Francisco Police Department. When you choose to begin the case in the main menu, you will watch Inspector Manserro, your partner, telling you about your first case you have been charged with. An unindentified body has been found floating in the bay near Pier 91 and it clearly appears that it was not an accident.

Once your partner requests that you go to Pier 91, you will have to select the map and choose your destination. As you will see, there won't be many places to visit in the beginning with only the police office and Pier 91. As you progress in your investigation, new locations will be revealed on the city map of San Francisco. Notice that when you arrive at Pier 91, the watch on the left of the screen no longer indicates the same time that you left the office. No wonder, it takes time to go from one place to another and this makes the game even more challenging as you have been given exactly ten days to solve the case.

At Pier 91, you will meet several people such as the witness who found the body, photographer, doctor and a police officer. Each one can be interviewed by moving the cursor over them and clicking. In this first scene, only the witness and the doctor will have something interesting to say for your investigation but try out the others too. When you interview someone, a close-up video of the person will appear on the screen with a summary of his or her statements being written automatically into your casebook. Over 80 minutes of Quicktime videos are included in SFPD and although it is only in 256 colors, the quality remains very good. If you want further information about specific statements a person has made, just click on previous statements he or she said. It is even possible to question a witness with previous statements made by other witnesses. For example, if one witness claims he arrived at a restaurant around 7pm, you can go to the restaurant, ask for the person who was working the same day at this time and thus, verify if what the witness said was true! It is simply done by clicking on the witness statement saying he arrived at the place around 7pm when talking to the person of the restaurant.

What you will also have to look for is the physical evidence. Most of it will be found at Pier 91, on the body itself, and also in the victim's apartment. However, before you can visit the apartment, you must find out who the victim is. With the body's autopsy, the doctor will be able to provide you with enough physical information about the victim to let you search into the missing persons reports. Back at the office, turn on the computer on your desk and select the missing persons files. With the information given by the doctor, you will fill up a series of criteria with the estimated age, height, weight and race to identify the victim. For each query, several names will be displayed and you will need the help of the families to identify the body. Each identification requires time so if you want to progress quickly in the case, closely examine the missing report files before calling the families.

The various physical evidence you will collect during your investigation can be sent to the laboratory for testing. For each evidence, you can ask for five tests: Fingerprints, Blood, Fiber, Chemical and Imprint. Some items however can't be tested with all five tests. For example, you won't find fingerprints on a cloth but you will be able to test for fibers, chemicals and blood. You must also remember that the tests need time to be completed and if you ask for too many of them, the laboratory won't be able to give you the results in time! The documents you will discover constitute another kind of evidence on which three tests can be performed: Blood, Fingerprints and Authenticity/Handwriting.

When you start suspecting a person you have interviewed, you can bring him or her to the police station for an interrogation if you have enough evidence against the suspect. At all times, you can decide to make a witness into a suspect directly from the Witness Statement page by choosing the physical evidence, the documents and eventually the other witness statements that made you think he or she was guilty. Your partner will then decide whether or not you can interrogate the suspect.

Obtaining a search warrant is based on the same process, but even more evidence will be requested before you can use the search warrant for additional evidence. Finally, to arrest a suspect, you must gather sufficient proofs to persuade your Lieutenant. Once your suspect will be in detention, you will have to build your case and find the means, motive and opportunity. Again, you will have to select the evidence for each category and present them to the District Attorney, if you feel you have found the criminal. The DA will tell you if you have sufficient evidence to go to trial or instead if you need to look for more. Remember that each time you will meet the DA, it will cost you four hours, so you better be sure!


Overall, SFPD is exciting, well done and mind-challenging. It is a chance to be in the exact place of the real detective Frank Falzon, who solved the case in the same conditions. He will be providing you with advice during the game if you click on your badge when it turns gold.

System Requirements:

486 DX-33 MHz or higher,
Min 8Mb memory,
MS-DOS 5.0 or later,
Hard drive required with 10MB free space,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
256 colors SVGA video graphic card,
Microsoft mouse and 100% compatibles.

Windows supported sound card.

Windows 95 or Windows 3.1 required.
Multiple platform game (PC & Mac)


3 Prong Plug


In North America:

Grolier Electronic Publishing,
90 Sherman Turnpike,
Danbury, CT 06816

Technical Support: 1-800-356-5590
FAX: 203-797-3130
BBS: 203-797-6872

Customer Service, Sales and Product Information: 1-800-285-4534

Web site: www.grolier.com


Graphics: 90%
Sound: 85%
Music: 75%
Gameplay: 89%
Interest: 90%

Overall: 87%


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