The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker is a strange game; if the title didn’t clue you in. Taking a page from Her Story, this is a FMV-driven title where you have to solve a mystery, but this time you have a cast of characters to help you.
The story is that you are the psychiatrist taking over from Dr. Dekker: A doctor who was murdered while seeing a group of people. Your job is to figure out who killed Dr. Dekker and what’s happening to the patients.
Each person has something wrong with them, but these aren’t your usual issues. For instance, one man claims that he’s living the same day over and over again. Having actual people talking vs. animated figures helps to add a different feel to the game. Figuring things out will require an investigative mind, and being a good speller won’t hurt.
The gameplay of The Infectious Mind of Doctor Dekker is all about the text parser. Just like in Her Story, you will have to figure out what to type in order to solve more of the mystery. Each patient has a story and clues to uncover. As a really great twist on the genre, each time you start a new game, the murderer will be selected at random.
By now, you should have decided whether or not you’re going to enjoy a game like Doctor Dekker, and all the pros and cons are the same for games of the visual novel genre. The text parser seems to be on the basic side, but I’m not an expert on visual novel-styled games and don’t know for sure.
Often, it’s not what question you’re trying to ask, but how you ask it. This can lead to situations where the player won’t know if they have the right line of questioning, but the wrong phrasing.
For instance, I was trying to learn more about Dr. Dekker with a specific topic, but the parser kept thinking I was asking the same basic question about him. Basically, anything that is a specific topic is going to cause you some trouble. The hint system does help if you get stuck, but the cooldown can drag things out.
For players wanting to go for max completion, there are bonus things to ask each patient. These additional questions are often esoteric to the point of requiring the hint system.
If you’re a fan of visual novel games, especially Her Story, The Infectious Madness of Dr. Dekker will be an interesting rabbit hole for you to go down. As with other games of the genre, you are either going to love or hate it.
For more on the game, you can watch my partially spoiler spotlight over on the Game-Wisdom YouTube channel.