De Zaak van Sam - translated review

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goldenband
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De Zaak van Sam - translated review

Post by goldenband » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:44 pm

The September 1997 issue of CD-interactief had a cover story & review of De Zaak van Sam (The Case of Sam) that piqued my interest, though it's in Dutch (a language I don't speak beyond a few words here and there). Fortunately, Archive.org has scans of the magazine and OCR that's about 80% accurate but has a lot of typos.

After cleaning up the OCR, I ran the results through Google Translate, and fine-tuned the translation a tiny bit to deal with any untranslated words. It's still far from perfect and a native Dutch speaker with English skills could probably do a lot better, but given how little is available about this game, I thought it was worthwhile to post.

So, here it is!

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De Zaak van Sam - CD-interactief, September 1997

(Table of contents blurb on p. 4)

It was quiet. Too quiet. I knew it was only a matter of time before the door opened and everything would change. I looked around in the oasis of calm, which others also called "office". A knock on the door interrupted my thoughts...

(Feature/story beginning on p. 20)

De Zaak van Sam

Since the introduction of CD-i, an interactive feature film has never been created. Of course there are games like Dragon's Lair and Litil Divil, but those are cartoon films. It was high time for a feature film that the viewer himself can determine. The Film and Television Academy of Amsterdam added the act to the word. Sam's affair is a detective story where the main character can use your help properly.

- Rom Helweg

A film for Private Eyes

The Case of Sam is about the private detective Sam D. Philips. Wherever the 'D' stands, nobody knows, Sam does not know. And like the classic P.I. implies, Sam brings most of his time to the office. Let's be honest: you will not be a detective to work hard. Grinding pencil points - to break them down again - is a great day job? Then it will be knocked on the door.

The Kidnapping

Frank, Sam's lingering and always caring assistant, comes in with a very lucky client.
It is Mafia boss Antonio Baresi from the city whose wife has been kidnapped. Probably by his big enemy, the owner of a nightclub with the clunky name 'The Nightclub'. Sam gets the time to find her back until midnight, otherwise it will be bad for him. That's what you get with this kind of customer, they pay well, but woe is you if you do not succeed. However, with a gun on your forehead you do not say 'No' quickly and the abduction of Monica Baresi is from now on Sam's Case.

Parking problems

Sam is in his jacket. Put up his indispensable hat and look for his gun, which he naturally hid somewhere he can never find back. Franka stretches her board well, closes her buttons again and puts a cigarette on him and that while she does not even smoke. When Sam wants to get into his car, his windshield prints the two thousand and ninety-four disapproval for wrong parking. There will be many more, because how small a Fiat 500 is, it simply can not stand at Sam's place.

Dead end

That's how Sam finally gets on its way to solve this difficult case. But where should he start? At the Nightclub where he still has a lot of outstanding bills? At the warehouse he still knows about the murdered harbor worker's case? Time seems terrifyingly hard and everything seems to lead to a dead track. Although? If he disapproves back to his office, Franka is waiting for him back at the back door. She has new information and the case can be opened again. If he did not have Franka ...

Philip Marlowe style

Sam's Case is a Detective in the Philip Marlowe style. Everything seems as if you're playing in the fifties. The streets are always a bit foggy and it seems to be a rainy evening all day. Something like the experts can remember from The Singing Detective. Also the music does a bit of thinking about that time. A Miles Davis-like trumpet plays music that seems to be written for L'Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud. A perfect atmosphere to solve a kidnapping case.

Voice over

We are triggered by the story by a voice that tells Sam's thoughts, as is customary in the Marlowe tradition. For this voice, use was made of perhaps the most famous voice of the Netherlands: that of Jiskefet actor Kees Prins. Prince is usually cast as a voice in which the necessary amount of cynicism must not be lacking. Almost always you get a smile on your face when you hear his voice and thinks of it.

Isa Hoes

The actors are largely unknown to the Dutch public, apart from Franka, played by GTST superstar Isa Hoes. Of performance performance, this feature film does not really matter. They are not bad, but not great either. That is to some extent due to the lack of good scriptwriters in the Netherlands. The scripts are so little open for their own interpretation that the actors are forced to quit their text instead of a role. However, this contributes to a happy form of surrealism, which you encounter in some English and German comedies. 'Look Amazed', 'Do Interested' or 'Try a Bored Look'.

Dutch imagery

These beauty errors are not in the visual aspect of this interactive film, Dutch filmers have a great talent in creating images. For example, there are two camera people who have been very far off in the international scene. Robbie Muller (Paris Texas, Down By Low) and of course Jan De Bont (Speed, Twister, Robocop). With small means like a little smoke on the set and a few simple filters, a very illustrious atmosphere can be instantly set. That's what the makers of De Zak van Sam know very well.

Styling

The styling and set dressing look more than looked after. I think the art directors had a great deal of fun in the rubbish of Dutch flea markets and curiosity shops. Ever I had the pleasure of going to jumping with Peter Greenaway's set dresser. You have to imagine how fun it is to find exactly that pencil sharpener in your mind, somewhere on the sale of a rubbish attic.

Cinquecento

Speaking of styling: who would not like such a Fiatje 500? The only car that can pass through all the traffic jams of the whole city, and if not, then you only have a few strong men over there. Admittedly, this trolley makes a whole raid and the longer people among us may better get the front seats so that you can send more legroom from the nerves, but what would that be? He drives one to twenty and it fits a couple of shopping bags. The 'Bugzak' is therefore the best name for this little wonder of design.

Student creativity

This interactive feature film, which we have renamed feature film, has been made by students of the Amsterdam Film and Television Academy. The films made here are part of the graduation process, which implies that the quality is less. In fact, it seems that these "schoolprojects" are made more attention than the films where a normal budget is available. And of course, there are still enough room for the "fresh" student creativity in these projects.

Interactivity

The choice of director for an interactive film is anything but the easiest. A seemingly simple solution has been chosen to allow the viewer to choose between different options. When Sam walks from his office, you'll see a map of the city, from which the various possibilities light up. By pressing the button at the moment of your choice, the next scene begins. When Sam arrives at the destination, he looks around and sees all the options from his point of view. One press of the action button is sufficient.

Many possibilities

It is almost impossible to keep an eye on all possibilities. The beginning seems easy; Sam is from the office and can then go to three places in the city, so also to three places in the movie. But what happens if someone wants to go to the same place twice? Do you get another video? Thus, there are a lot of possibilities to walk through this movie and all scenes must be filmed in different ways. Has Sam already put the knife in his pocket? It's a hell of a job to calculate all of that.

Movie lovers?

There is a general tendency for Dutch film lovers that they do not love the Dutch film. In a large number of cases, they are best kept alive. Scrumptious scripts, ramming action and spacious surpluses at cinema sites. Even the film Antonia, who won an Oscar, disappeared in the absence of a few weeks after a few weeks from the main venues of the cinemas. Due to the lack of interest in the cinema visitors, there is thus less money for making a good film. And so the circle is around again. The only ones who can break this circle are we: the public.

Little sermon

If the Dutch public is not going to stay home for a while again, until there is a new boxer from the United States, but the Dutch product gives the benefit of the doubt, maybe something could change. After all, it is worth paying extra attention when a few fanatics (in spé) express their neck to make a beautiful product. Not to stole their own self, but especially for the Dutch public. In my opinion, a desire to deserve all praise.

A movie you can do something with

The makers of the case of Sam have made every effort to give the Dutch viewer something they can literally do with. What's more fun now than a movie, where you decide how the main character will solve the matter. A movie you're watching for hours without bothering you. And if you're on the wrong track and end up at the hospital, you have to start all over again, but then you can click on every scene. If you want that at least, for personally, I can see Sam's expired head and Kees Prince's sore quarrel countless times.

Sam's final word

Sam D. Philips' alter ego, Kees Prins, would say, "It was such an evening, outside it was cold, bitter cold, and my gas stove burned gently. My gaze went through the room again, Of course, I could take my remote control back on my hand and tear me away on the television through all the misery, but in one way or another, it stopped me tonight. A small box on the television drew my attention, who had laid it down? Curiously I did the shiny silver disc in the CD-i player. At that time I could not know that this action would change my life forever. There was a knock at the door..."

Sam's Case can only be ordered via CD-interactive. Look into the bar quickly!

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BTW I own De Zaak van Sam now and can confirm that (1) it does have English subtitles, but (2) the English subs are offscreen when played in NTSC. Fortunately, I have an Atlona PAL>NTSC converter and a CD-i unit (LG GDI-700M) that can output true PAL, but even then the bottom edge of the second line of subtitles gets cut off a bit. Haven't played the game yet, but am looking forward to it.

Alan_Eng
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Re: De Zaak van Sam - translated review

Post by Alan_Eng » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:51 am

Thanks so much for your time in giving us this English translation. Really great to read this.

I too have the game, and reviewed it for my CD-I FB page ''Philips CD-I Zone'' - come and have a look and see what you think..

I think the game has good humour, but I wish the difficulty level had been a bit higher. Nevertheless, it is another little gem in the CD-I's crown, and fairly ''below the radar''.

Thanks again,
Alan

goldenband
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Re: De Zaak van Sam - translated review

Post by goldenband » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:42 pm

You're very welcome, Alan! :D

I did some nosing around just now and found the Zaak von Sam review on your FB page. But I'm hesitant to look at it until I've actually played and beaten the game, lest there be any spoilers (even minor ones).

BTW have you ever considered putting the content of your FB page on a website? It looks like there's a lot of great stuff there, but I sometimes have to scroll back through years of content to find a particular entry. Still well worth it, though.

Alan_Eng
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Re: De Zaak van Sam - translated review

Post by Alan_Eng » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:07 pm

Thank-you Goldenband for your kind feedback on my FB page. I'm really pleased you like it.

Probably the best way to navigate is to go to 'albums' within the photos and then you can see all of the reviews I've done, plus other fun bits (e.g. CD-I Catwalk, featuring clothing items!)

Hope to see you commenting on there :)

Enjoy playing De Zaak Van Sam!!

goldenband
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Re: De Zaak van Sam - translated review

Post by goldenband » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:56 am

Ah, that's a great point! I hadn't thought of that approach, but going straight to the photo albums would work well. :)

Yes, you have tons of terrific information in there, including reviews of several games that weren't in the spreadsheet list I'd been keeping, like Peugeot 406 - En Vale De Loire, P.A.W.S., Challenge: the CD-i, and Steelwood: Private Eye (which I guess isn't really a CD-i game per se). Too bad there aren't disc images of those floating around, as they'd be fun to play but I don't see myself spending big bucks on them -- it was already hard enough to convince myself to pony up the cash for De Zaak van Sam!

I'd like to comment on your page, but unfortunately the downside of using Facebook is that I'd have to do so using my real name, and for reasons having to do with my career I don't make video game-related posts under my real name: all my video game work (including reviews on other sites, contributions to a few homebrews, etc.) is done under a pseudonym or screen name. So, at least for now, I'll just enjoy reading your page. :)

goldenband
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Re: De Zaak van Sam - translated review

Post by goldenband » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:00 pm

My wife and I finally got around to playing through this a few days ago. It ultimately turns out to be very short and simple, but it's good fun while it lasts.

We were confused at first by the near-total lack of a UI, but once we figured out that we simply needed to press a button at the right time to select our choice, we understood why Sam kept looking confusedly between the same three or four doors. :D We were also surprised at the remarkably risqué ending (really a false ending) you can get if you make the "wrong" choice near the end of the game!

The tune that plays in the jazz club has been stuck in our heads ever since we beat the game. "Sugar, don't think twice...You've no idea what's on my mind..."

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