Emerald City Confidential is a 2009 alternate Oz computer adventure game conceived by Dave Gilbert, developed by Wadjet Eye Games and published through PlayFirst. It follows the protagonist, Emerald City's only private eye Petra, as she is approached by a strange woman named Dee Gale. Dee's fiancé, Anzel, is missing,and she is willing to pay Petra above the going rate in order to find him. Lacking any other prospects, Petra agrees. What starts off as a simple missing person case soon takes Petra deep into the seedy underbelly of the Emerald City's criminal underground and beyond. She encounters many characters from the Oz canon, such as the Scarecrow, Tik-Tok, and Jack Pumpkinhead, and some new characters, learns several magic spells, and uncovers the answer to a dark secret that has haunted Petra all her life.
The game is set in the magical Land of Oz, as written by L. Frank Baum, but put through the gritty filter of 1940s film noir. Harsh city streets, grey rainy skies, femmes fatales, tough guys, trenchcoats, fedoras and plot twists. It's Oz, seen through the eyes of Raymond Chandler.
The game begins as Petra tries to break into a warehouse for possible evidence that would connect Lion to crimes. She sets off a poppy gas alarm and is knocked out only to wake up with her hand tied to a bridge as she is dangling from it. The Lion taunts her and reveals that he covered up the warehouse evidence against him. He leaves as she looses the rope and happens to fall onto one of the Gumps (working as a taxi). She goes to her office and is visited by Dee Gale (Dorothy) who needs help finding her fiancé Anzel who was last traced as being in Gillikin Country. Petra talks to Tik Tok who is stationed at the North Gate towards Gillikin and learn that Anzel came into the Emerald City using a false name. Since he went to Betsy Bobbin's house, but however when Petra goes there, Hank the horse tells her that he only lets Betsy's boyfriends and those bringing deliveries in. She goes to the store called Scraps which is owned by the Patchwork Girl to buy some flowers for Betsy but encounters Lion as he settles a mafia-style agreement before he leaves. Petra buys specfic flowers (red and blue) and goes into Betsy's house to talk to her. Betsy says that Anzel did come briefly to hide out from authorites, but she called the guard Jinjur as that made him run away. Petra heads for the Royal University as Betsy tells her that Anzel works there. She speaks to the Wogglebug who tells her that Anzel works with his assistant named Cutter who plans field trips. She then talks to Tik Tok who tells her that Jinjur is investigating a case at the dock. When Petra arrives there, she finds Jinjur interrogating Captain Bill and Trot as their boat exploded possibly due to magic. Petra finds a ruby cufflink near the scene that can't possibly belong to Bill or Trot so Jinjur lets them go. When asked about Anzel, Jinjur notes that he is a smuggler so that leads Petra to go to Jack Pumpkinhead who has never been busted for such. He claims to know nothing about Anzel so Petra heads back to her office to find Trot who wants to hire her to investigate the boat explosion so that Captain Bill is not arrested. Petra goes to Ruggedo's bar to ask Captain Bill about the explosion but he can't tell her much. She speaks to Ruggedo who the alibi that Bill and Trot were both there during the explosion. Petra heads back to the Dock and uses an umbrella she found left at the bar to pick up a piece of a pumpkin floating in the water. She asks Trot about this and reveals that they ship pumpkins to Gillikin Country for Jack Pumpkinhead. Since the area is known for illegal magic, she gives the sample to Toto who sniffs it finding traces of magic only after Petra sneaks out a knowledge pill by tricking the Woggle-bug with candy. He gives her a dog whistle to call him later and she goes back to the bar to confront Bill. He reveals that he only ships pumpkins for Jack because he gave him an illegal magic amulet to cure Trot from sickness and when the contraband was found, Jack testified at his trial which resulted in Bill being found not guilty. Bill also states that he helped hide Anzel for Jack, and when Jack is asked about his whereabouts, he refers her to the Scarecrow. It turns out the Scarecrow has been standing in front of her office and telling riddles about his identity and he sent Anzel to Ruggedo. He admits to transforming Anzel into a crystal decanter, it being the only spell he knows. In order for her to speak to Anzel, Ruggedo turns Petra into a coat hanger but Jinjur witnesses the magic leak out and arrests Ruggedo. She briefly talks to Anzel who admits that he isn't really engaged to Dee. Since the mirror happens to also be a transformed person, she tilts to help Petra read the spell called Ornamentov and change back to human. As she leaves the bar, a Gump waits as Dee requests to see her at the royal palace. Petra tells her everything but Dee mostly knows all except for the explosion and that Anzel was turned into a decanter. She reveals that she sold the spell to Ruggedo as she tells Petra to transform Anzel back and retreive a magic amulet. Since the spell only works if the person is willing to be human again, Petra needs to use a special potion that she gets from Scraps after getting a tip from Jack.
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Emerald City Confidential is a third-person, mouse-driven, adventure game in which the player must solve various puzzles and follow certain procedures in order for the linear storyline to proceed. As a pure graphical adventure game, Emerald City Confidential follows certain guidelines: it is impossible to die or to get stuck at any moment in the game, which allows the user to fully immerse him/herself in the universe without the fear of making a mistake or the constant need of saving the game. With this in mind, there are no save game functions, but the player's position is automatically bookmarked and restored when the game is restarted.
The game has 12 unlockable achivements or medals to collect as the player progresses:
- Chapter One: Reach the end of chapter one
- Chapter Two: Reach the end of chapter two
- Chapter Three: Reach the end of chapter three
- Chapter Four: Reach the end of chapter four
- Emerald Button Collector: Collect all the emerald buttons
- Ruby Button Collector: Collect all the ruby buttons
- Topaz Button Collector: Collect all the topaz buttons
- Master Collector: Collect all buttons
- Frequent Flyer: Become a regular Gump flyer.
- Big Winner: Beat Mombi on the first try
- Ambassadorship: Become ambassador of Oz
- Finish: Finish the game
Most reviews of the game have been positive, with particular praise for the story, even where the rest of the review has been less glowing. It has also topped PlayFirst's own chart for weeks after its release.
- Petra lives on Plumly Street, this might be a reference to Ruth Plumly Thompson
- Magzines for sale in the Scraps store include: Witches Weekly, The Gillikin Gazette, and The Munchkin Mirror
- Ruggedo still has most of his memory except for his magic as he was granted political asylum for surrendering. He mentions the Nome Kingdom has a new Nome King (Kaliko), but he does not appear in the game.
- Inside the University there are two head busts, one is L. Frank Baum as Petra replies: "I'm not sure who that is, but I feel that I owe him a lot" and the other is of the game creator D. Lewis Gilbert as she replies: "Never heard of him. He can't be that important".
- The University also has a selective animal student policy as Lion was able to become a lawyer while they would not admit Toto.
- Ozma is referred to as a Queen instead of Princess, another game that does this is Oz: Broken Kingdom
- Ozma's portrait must be displayed in each business and home which is slightly authoritarian.
- Tik Tok has been in the royal guard for sixteen years.
- Captain Bill says that he recently went to the Fountain of Truth but he was referring to the Truth Pond
- There are timeline notes that would indicate that the story might take place in the 1940s as
- Dorothy Gale came to Oz over forty years ago via a magical storm.
- The story takes place twenty years after the "Phanfasm war" and it was falsely claimed that Glinda died in it.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Emerald City Confidential: Story, Wadjet Eye Games, Retrieved on March 4, 2009.
- ↑ Review: Emerald City Confidential, Adventure Gamers, Retrieved on March 4, 2009.
- ↑ The Dame Wore Ruby Slippers, Yesterday's Salad, Retrieved on March 4, 2009.
- ↑ Emerald City Confidential: Dames, Double Crosses & Clark Gable Disrespecting Women, Immoral Gamers, Retrieved on March 4, 2009.
- ↑ Destructoid Review: Emerald City Confidential, Destructoid, Retrieved on March 4, 2009.
- ↑ PlayFirst Top 100 Games, Playfirst, Retrieved on March 4, 2009.
|Console, handheld and Computer Games||The Wizard of Oz (1993) • Oz No Mahoutsukai: Another World-Rung Rung (2000) • Emerald City Confidential (2009) • Fiction Fixers: The Curse of Oz (2010) • Color-Changing Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love (2009) • The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road (2009) • Towers of Oz (2012) • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (2014) • Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (2014)|
|Browser and mobile games||Infinite Oz (2007) • Road to Emerald (2010) • The Wizard of Oz (2010) • Oz Run (2012) • Temple Run: Oz (2013) • Legends of Oz World (2013) • Flying Monkeys of Oz (2013) • Good Witch Run (2013) • Wicked: The Game (2014) • Oz+ Shall We Date? • OZ Chrono Chronicle (2016) • Oz: Broken Kingdom (2016)|
|Educational games||The Wizard of Oz (1985) • Oz: The Magical Adventure (2000) • Rugrats: MunchinLand (2002) • Oz Challenge (2016)|
|Other games||The Sword of Etheria (2005) • Crusaders of the Lost Idols (2015) • OZombie (????)|