by Oberon Games, SpinTop Games, I R M, Chorion

Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics:      Player participation (PP)      Satisfaction Factor (SF)

Frustration Factor (FF)

These fall into two categories – 3D play with characters walking through the landscape at your command; and 2D Hidden Object play with fixed scenes and mini puzzles to solve clues.

There is nothing wrong with the latter – as far as Hidden Object games go, they are okay – okay enough that I buy them anyway.  And that is because I keep hoping they will improve, and I am an Agatha Christie fan in all formats – novels, movies, games.  The storylines follow Agatha Christie’s as written, which is always a plus, as, in earlier days, movies made of her novels often deviated greatly depending on the Producers’ and Directors’ whims.

But the Hidden Objects in some of the Games are often tiny and the locations are also viewed with deep perspective creating distance from the front to back of location contributing to the size of the objects.  This makes game-play really difficult for visually challenged players, and annoying for those who are not.  These games have therefore a rather high FF.

Another problem is that the bigger screens these days, and the higher Processor Power, make the graphics and text fuzzy.  You can reset the PP  through Control Panel/ Troubleshooting/ reset older versions of games/programs and this will help a little to a lot.  Of course this fuzziness of graphics contributes to the FF as well, so it is recommended that you try to minimise it if you can.  Visit my Problems and Solutions blog for further help with this.

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However the 3D format games, all involving Hercule Poirot, are terrific, graphically, and for player participation.  You feel a part of the game, are actively involved in deciding where to search and when, as you can go anywhere at any time during the play-session.  You can leave it and come back and go over it again, or go on from where you left off, whichever you like.  This enables you to refresh your memory if you have left a game partway through, then had a significant break before returning.

Indeed your search for clues will take you back and forth over the same ground many times, as you open locked sites, with items from your inventory.  You also combine items in the inventory to make new ones that you can use.  Some items are placed as significant clues to the final solution of the crime by Poirot.

The other characters are much more believeable because they also move through the Game in 3D – they are well-rounded in the full sense of the word.  You see them, hear them, and follow them or they follow you; they inhabit the locations and move around within them in real time; your questions direct their actions, their answers direct yours.

The locations are also authentically presented, panoramic both internally and externally, with ever-changing vistas according to the panning viewpoint.  the attention to detail is excellent, in all areas – land/seascapes, structures, machinery, rooms and open internal spaces, furniture, accessories, fabrics, clothing, cutlery … the list goes on and on.  Storms are particularly well done – weather details like snow and rain, time of day or night, skies and seas are wonderful.  It makes the Game a joy to play.  SF to the max!

Like him, you have to use your ‘little grey cells’ to work your way through the ‘red herrings’ to get to the truth of the crime.  It is totally interactive – like the CSI games, but even more so – as you get to physically move Poirot from location to location, clue to clue, interrogating characters back and forth as you go.  While there is some FF due to player impatience and/or the missing of crucial evidence, the SF is really high as when you finish the game it is because you have really succeeded.  You and your ‘little grey cells’ have triumphed!

(C) Copyright Jud House  20/05/2011

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