AGATHA CHRISTIE – Evil Under The Sun


by THE ADVENTURE COMPANY; CHORION; AWE GAMES

Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics: *****   Player participation (PP) ***** Satisfaction Factor (SF) *****   Frustration Factor (FF) **

This is the best of the Agatha Christie Games so far – technically and graphically – while being sufficiently challenging and at times frustrating.  As you see, my ratings for it are high, but there are still FF to contend with.

  • Strangely enough, despite opening and working well in Windows 7, it still seems to need the Game Disk to open.  This of course could be because I am using Windows 7, rather than XP or Vista.  I could try resetting it to XP to see what will happen, but am loathe to do it as I am not sure if I can get back out of the reset setting!  I will experiment with another Game and get back to you about that.  The graphics are clear – though in my case a little pixellated I think due to the size of my large screen.
  • There is a little glitch that can occur as you enter the Main Menu.  The Cursor is sometimes confined within an invisible frame that won’t allow you to reach the bottom ‘buttons’ on it or the Load menu.  If this happens, press ESC to return you to the MAIN MENU, then press Ctrl Alt Del which will return you to your Desktop.  Then click CANCEL which will return you to the Game MAIN MENU.  You should now find that the Cursor is moving freely.  This also happened with the MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Game, but not as I recall in the AND THEN THERE WERE NONE Game.
  • The Manual included with the Game is comprehensive and user-friendly.  If you download the Game online I suspect that there should be a manual file that you can access readily, or print if you need a hard copy.  The Drop-Down Task Bar at the top of the screen is excellent – hidden away when not in use to allow no interference with the location visually, but readily accessible when you need to check your Notebook, use the Stopwatch, transfer back and forth between the Island and Poirot’s office, access the Inventory – though you can do that by Right clicking – and exit to Save and Main Menu via the Hotel icon.
  • As with the other two Games by AweGames, this Game opens, with a 3D CG movie, in Poirot’s apartment during an air raid blackout at the onset of WWII.  Poirot invites Hastings to attempt to solve the case of Murder at Smuggler’s Rest Hotel on Seadrift Island that Poirot had already recently solved.  In a unique approach, the player moves between the two locations as Hastings/Poirot, the former directing the actions of the latter as the investigation proceeds.
  • At the outset, you are asked to choose whether to solve the crime yourself with odd promptings from Poirot, or to watch as he solves it.  At the ending, the denouement, when Poirot explains the crime and reveals the perpetrators to the assembled characters, you are also given the opportunity to either take it on yourself or stepping back and allowing Poirot to complete the Game.  I have always done it myself – naturally – hence so much FF at odd little moments just when I am getting smug about how well it’s going!  I don’t know how it plays when Poirot takes it on with you just as observer.  I suppose I should try it out of curiosity.
  • Once again the Game stays fairly close to Agatha Christie’s novel.  In accordance, the creators and graphic artists have depicted the settings with close attention to details, both temporal and physical – they have portrayed the characters and locations exactly as it would have been in 1940.  The interior settings of all locations and true to the time, and carefully, imaginatively furnished.  They use of colour is excellent thoughout, including the land and sea scapes.  The night sky is wonderful, the ocean magnetic, the vistas from the high hill so realistic.  It is terrific work and greatly adds to the pleasure of the Game.  SF!
  • There are still a few little graphic flaws in the character depictions re their movements and set of limbs, but they are so minimal as to not mar their overall appearance or interfere with Gameplay.  The voice-actors are great, with good variety, and suit their characters so well.
  • You can fast forward through Dialogue if you find you are getting the same answers you have already had – or if you find that you forgot to Save before Quitting and have to repeat from the previously Saved spot when you return to the Game.  And the Dialogue set-up is great as it permits you to ask questions in your own order.  Of course the logical order is the way to go here.  All detection is based in order and method!
  • You can ask Poirot for Help – but he is not much help!  Or you can ask his Finger of Suspicion gadget, and that is marginally a little more help.  But the best help is via the Hints and Walkthrough Link – which allows you to look up just one step at a time so you don’t need to spoil the Game unnecessarily – that is below this Blog.  I keep its file in my Favourites folder, and open it prior to play, so I can go out to check the next step if I am really stuck.  Of course this is where you need to remember to SAVE before you EXIT!
  • Here lies the greatest FF of all – when you know what needs to be done, what is the next logical step, even what you have been instructed to do, but for some inexplicable reason nothing works.  You can spend all day going around and around the island looking for people, only to find that they are not actually available for access!  Or if you find them where you left them, they don’t wish to speak with you – they “want to be left alone”!  Very FF! 
  • The key is to go through your Inventory using the Magnifying Glass on every item, no matter how silly you think it is.  You will hear a sound that will tell you when something of significance has been found and often added to the Inventory – for example, to take the magnetic metal fragment off the spanner.  Another key is to recheck all the rooms again, including looking in luggage, under pillows etc, that you have previously done.  Sometimes there are items that have been placed there since your first search.
  • Tips:  1. Make sure you explore Poirot’s office before your first jump to the island.   2. If you double-click at edge of screen with ‘walking cursor’ it will jump you to the next location so you don’t have to wait impatiently for Poirot to walk across the screen.  3. Go to the water’s edge at the Bathing Beach – there are things to collect and to do there despite Poirot protesting that he will not go swimming.  4. Recheck desks and luggage in the afternoon of the second day.  5. Collect evidence from the body’s hat at the crime scene.  For more specific Tips use the Link below.

This is a really ingenious Game, challenging, logical, frustrating, satisfying, with plenty of Red Herrings to be solved and eliminated before you can finally solve the Main Crime.  There are so many enjoyable elements throughout this Game that your computer won’t need to end up in the Koi Pond!  High SF and high PP!

For Walkthroughs of this Game go to UHS Hints at:   www.uhs-hints.com/

(C) Copyright Jud House 1/07/2011

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About judsartwork

I write reviews of Adventure and Hidden Object games that are Crime, Fantasy, SciFi, Renovation, Travel, Quest and/or Mystery by genre. I have a Masters in Writing (2006) and have been writing novels, both crime and fantasy for many years; plus Haiku, verse, and prose both fictional and literary. I am also an artist of modern, Acrylic, textural and hard edge work, underwater, fantasy, expressionist, and Cosmos paintings. I use mixed media (Acrylic, Watercolour, Pastels) in textural Monoprints, finding surprises to expose within each work. Having both an analytical and creative mind has meant that I have strong powers of observation, and the persistence required to follow computer problems through till I solve them. Of course I am not always successful, but am willing to ask for a little help in order to then unlock the main problem myself. My Troubleshooting Blog, 'Problems and Solutions', was the result of my tenacity.
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