AGATHA CHRISTIE – MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

by THE ADVENTURE COMPANY; CHORION; AWE GAMES

Jud’s Game Rating:

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

This is the first of the 3D CG Agatha Christie games and it is great!

  • I was really pleased to see that the Game opens in Windows 7, but you do need the Disk to open it.  You can reset it, if you think the Graphics would be better in XP or an older setting, using the Control Panel/Troubleshooting/Earlier Versions prompts.  See the details for this in my Problems and Solutions blog.
  • The Graphics are well done, with good lip-syncing, although the movements are a little jerky and the shoulder-armpit area is a little odd at times – similar to the early CSI 3D CG Games.  The train interiors are well laid out, with authentic Orient Express details; the surrounding landscapes are terrific; and the Train Station and market-place in Istanbul are exotic.  The Character Voice-Overs are excellent – with David Suchet as Poirot – and the Dialgue is interesting, provoking, and always leads you towards the solution.  At times in my Game there was a little pixellation due to my large screen.
  • There is sometimes a Glitch with the Mouse upon Starting or ReLoading the Game. The Mouse won’t move freely around the entire screen – seems to be held inside a slightly smaller area making it impossible to click on the low control buttons. Press ESC which will take you back to the MAIN MENU – or it might drop you out to the Desktop. If the former, then click on START or LOAD again, and the Mouse will be released from its restriction and will continue to work properly for the rest of the Game. If the latter, click the Game Icon in the Task Bar to return to the MAIN MENU and continue as above.
  • You enter this Game as Mademoiselle Antoinette Marceau, an employee of the Turkish office of the Orient Express Train Company, who needs to ensure a berth for Hercule Poirot on the fully booked train.  From the immediate aftermath of the crime, you get to choose whether you will attempt to solve it on your own, with the voice of Poirot in your ear occasionally with hints; or will just assist Poirot to solve it. I have always opted to solve it myself, naturally, but wondered if I should have let him solve it this last time in order to see what the differences are – in case there is info I need to pass on to you.
  • The Interactive elements of this Game are really easy to use – are really user-friendly!  Moving around is simple, as are picking things up, looking at items, interacting with other characters, using Dialogue and asking questions.  You fall readily into a pattern of handling the logistics of the Game.  Once you have worked out how the Inventory works – explore it early and thoroughly – it is also very logical.  If it tells you things don’t fit then try something else together, because it is always right.
  • There is a very comprehensive Manual booklet accompanying the boxed Game – and I am assuming that if you download the Game online, there should be a Manual file, that would be well worth your while exploring, if not printing.  I usually put a copy of those files into my Favourites so that I can call upon them easily if I should need to check things.
  • Within this Manual are given the floor plans of the sleeping coaches, and room for Notes if you wish to make them.  I used this, plus notepaper to jot down info as I proceeded – this I will pass on to you.  Across the top of the screen there is a Mouse activated Pop-Down of all the coaches of the train, that when clicked allows you to jump there to save time.  However there are times when they are not available to you – for example, when you are outside the train, in order to access the coaches you must first climb back on board.
  • Because of the manual, I am not going to give you How To Play step-by-step details as in my previous CSI Reviews.  Rather I am going to give you some of the general Tips (below) to help you along a little, without actually giving you a detailed Walkthrough.  You will find one of those on the website provided at the end of this blog.
  • Make a list using the floor plans of the Calais and the Athens-Paris Coaches; put the name of the characters in the tooms they occupy, and Vacant in the other rooms; leave room to add whatever items of evidence you find in them; and for Fingerprint and Shoeprint details you might want to add.  Also make a note of evidence found in the Baggage Car, Salon, Kitchen, Restaurant and Hut if any.  that should set you up to keep track of things as the Game becomes more complex.
  • In Inventory, click on an item, then on magnifying glass, then on eye at bottom to turn the item over.  Info is given about it below, and a dramatic chord is heard if there are significant details to be seen.
  • To leave the train the first time, you must climb out the window of Ratchett’s room.  After you have carried out the activities you need to do, then go back along the outside of the train to the end of the Athens-paris coach, enter through that door and ask the Steward for its key, so you can use it from then one.
  • On your first trip into the forest, make a mud-map of the paths – so you know where they lead for future trips – and collect any evidence as you go, marking them on the map as well.
  • Make a point of collecting ANYTHING you find at ALL locations, no matter how odd it seems.  Make sure you check all connecting bathrooms between rooms, closets, luggage, and the rooms themselves for items stashed away.  Sometimes things appear in them later, so you must revisit the rooms several times, as Poirot is quick to tell you.
  • Make sure you read any notes that go into your notebook – there are clues to follow there – to unlock the safe for example.
  • Assemble things – to create power for the radio, or make a reading device for the fragment of paper – on the table tops once they have been modified in the Inventory.  Keep trying until you get the order right, then make a note of it for next time.
  • You need to use this Assemble/Dissemble facility within Inventory in order to make your Fingerprint gathering dust applicator.  You will then need to go back through all the coaches collecting prints wherever you can.
  • You will need to take prints from all the passengers and staff in order to check them against found prints.
  • There is an Order to do things in – you might need to return to an earlier Saved position to do so if you are really unable to make game move forward – if you get Stuck:  Turn on heat; talk to everyone; collect evidence; collect fingerprints and passports; match footprints; open safe; then report to Poirot. I found that as long as I made sure I had done all these things, that I didn’t get stuck this time.  So perhaps the order in which they are done is no longer applicable.  It was suggested in a Walkthrough just after the Game came out, so I have made a note of it, and kept it handy – just in case.  I pass it on to you so you can do likewise.
  • The Game is divided into Sections, with the Prologue starting before you have reached the train.  Make sure you assist anyone who asks for your help, despite your need for haste, otherwise it will just slow you down.  Bsides it is preparation for the Game ahead.  In the Final Section, Poirot provides several solutions to the crime from which you, as the Representative of the Railway, must choose the one that will be the official version to pass on to the Police at Blod.
  • NB: If you are having problems and you can’t find the answers through the supplied Hints and Walkthrough site below, then ask me in a COMMENT on this Blog, and I will Reply to you giving you the info you need.

This Game is very interactive, and takes concentration and time for your first attempt.  If you are aware of the storyline already, then it will be a little easier – but not a lot!  I highly recommend it!

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

(C) Copyright  Jud House  20/06/2011

* * * * *

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