Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist is a short game with an almost annoyingly long title that was released as a complimentary title in an effort for Crows Crows Crows to give themselves free advertisement (but at a cost to themselves) and generate hype for their future endeavours, which is a pretty damn good idea because it’ll keep people pretty interested. I know it’s got me. The whole thing runs approximately fifteen minutes — though it can be extended by thorough exploration of the rooms as you enter them — and is voiced almost entirely by one of Britain’s most beloved stand-up comedians: Simon Amstell. Or, at the very least, he’s a comedian I quite like and was quite happy to hear in almost any form. Oh, and it’s also directed by William Pugh, who is known for designing the Stanley Parable.
It’s a pretty adorable adventure where you play as a character who is attempting to play a game but finds that the staff who operates the game’s internal mechanics have all gone on strike. As a result of being understaffed, you’re kind of pushed into doing multiple jobs to ensure the Current Player is capable of completing the heist without a problem, even when they’ve made decisions that the Stage Manager (Amstell) isn’t quite prepared for.
Throughout the whole thing, there are a series of signs and notes that manage to give this game a lot of depth despite being so (understandably) short. There are resignation notes littered throughout the rooms; some of them are coherently written while others become a range of I QUIT, I QUIT, I QUIT and are reminiscent notes scribbled on the pages inside of a severely frustrated high school student’s notebook. These are all things that Previous Players have seen, which can explain why the Current Player seemingly alters their path and deviates from the intended story. Interestingly, that’s not really a thing your Player Character can do, as there are few options within the game and certain tasks must be completed in order to move on. You know, much like the vast majority of other games.
There are a couple decisions that can be made throughout the game which do change the dialogue, and they’re mostly found within Lighting. You can press buttons marked as either ‘lasers’, ‘secondary disruptive’ or ‘unknown’ to get different dialogue in the game. The Stage Manager will immediately chastise you for your curious nature and pushing any of the three, though his level of shock is a bit different depending on which one you choose. Somewhere down the line, he will chastise you for having played with them at all because of how you interfered with the Current Player, who may’ve not been prepared or ready to handle what would be thrown at them as a result of pushing them.
In order to find certain things, replaying is a requirement. If you’re a bit of an achievement hunter, you must take the tape player that’s left in the first room; as you move through the game, you can collect old cassette tapes with different stories of people who had previously been involved in the game’s operations. All of these tapes are voiced entirely by other people, which gives you a slight break from Amstell’s voice (though I can’t imagine who would want that), and give you a moment to just stand around in a quiet room after completing the objectives. One of these tapes is left behind some bizarre child (adult?) who left pretzels in every nook and cranny of the studio, which you can search for later.
Dr. Langeskov is actually really easy to replay, not just because it’s a fairly simple game; it’s enjoyable, particularly as you get the feeling that your character is annoying to the Stage Manager. I can’t help giggling at the scenes where he’s getting frustrated by your actions, even if he isn’t being mean about it. I adore many of the papers strewn throughout the studio, and I love the art within the game; even after playing it a few times to collect all the achievements, it felt as if there was something new I’d not noticed prior. It’s fantastic for a free fifteen minute adventure, and it makes me look forward to the work Crows Crows Crows plans to do.
Also, I find it hard to disrespect a game that includes this: