Reviewed: December 16, 2006
Released: November 21, 2006
While you donít get to play the part of the great fictional sleuth Hercule Poirot you do get to help him in solving the great case of Murder On The Orient Express. While the video game of the same name as that classic literature from Agatha Christie does follow close to the story line things just do not work out so well with this murder mystery.
Agatha Christie: Murder On The Orient Express takes a few liberties with the story by adding in a character for your role. You must go about finding the clues and unlocking the mystery of this very close quarters who done it. Along the way youíll find a few added gems to the adventure genre but things get pretty routine quickly.
One thing that becomes very apparent from the beginning in Murder On The Orient Express is the cramped quarters you will be working in. While this may be a blessing not having so many places to hide clues it ends up being more of a curse in the way they conducted your investigations and the repetitive things you do. The sparse environs of the train and its immediate vicinity are not much help by giving few places to hide clues as they merely gave you more clues and objectives that are at opposite sides of the game for you to chase about for.
You start Murder On The Orient Express as Antoinette Marceau who works for the Orient Express company. She has been charged with ensuring the infamous detective Hercule Poirot has an excellent voyage on the Orient Express train. You must catch up to Mr. Poirot to introduce yourself and ensure he catches his train.
After a few scenes of introduction and setting the tone of the story you quickly find yourself pointing and clicking just to catch up to Mr. Poirot before you board the train. But alas there is no room on board and you need to decide how you are to fit yourself and Mr. Poirot onto an almost full train by juggling passengers.
After departure you really start into your murder mystery after a couple of other quick adventure stops to add to the game. The murder occurs soon after the train is stopped by an avalanche and you need to discover the clues that will lead you to the guilty party or parties.
The murder has occurred and the killer is on the train but the mystery will not be solved by Hercule Poirot alone. Mr. Poirot sprains his ankle when the train stops suddenly for the avalanche that is an integral part of the murder and uses you as his legman, er woman.
Along with the usual item combining and questioning people you have a few times when you get to leave the train to do a little searching for clues in the immediate environs of the train. You need to find tools and other items to help in your investigation as well as gathering the clues of the crime. You have a point system that you use as a check list to solve the various parts of the murder mystery and get that much closer to the solution.
The item combining works well along with the other parts of the gameplay like questioning and your inventory but the game gets very repetitive. You need to question everyone but there are no consequences to wrong questions or incomplete questioning. You just keep asking and reading the answers until youíre done with that person and move on.
You also have a neat time getting a radio working with things you find to get more answers to questions during your sleuthing. But the game uses the same standard point and click, questioning and finding clues as many adventure games. This became very boring very quickly with the having to continue to question the same people and having no choice but to follow the story line and unlock the next section of the game.
Finding the correct clues, questioning the correct people or going to the correct area in the train just to continue each part of the puzzle gets to be a boring way to solve a mystery. There is plenty in the inventory to help you with the clues and questioning like a timeline and lists of who youíve collected passports and fingerprints for. The various parts of your inventory are another gem of help in an otherwise sparsely enjoyable game.
The graphics for Murder On The Orient Express were just fine as well as the pretty decent looking cut scenes. There are some settings for quality, shadows and other graphical changes for your computer that allows for slower or faster computers to have better image quality.
There was nothing that was outstanding or even great and things worked fine for the graphics. Both the graphics and the sound were a bit above average but pretty standard fair for adventure games.
In Murder On The Orient Express the sound was another area that was about average but nothing spectacular. The voice acting was done well but there was very little background music or much of anything while you pursued your case.
The cut scenes had some music during their playing but the rest of the game just had the voices and sounds of things like a wolf howling when you disturb it on the path. There was nothing much above average in the entire area of sound and the only settings were for volume.
For the die hard fans of Agatha Christie and the PC games from The Adventure Company in her series Murder On The Orient Express is another adventure game that continues her book to game legacy. The game plays well without any problems but there is nothing much here to entertain or challenge adventure fans. The game has some pretty standard point and click gameplay but the problems of repetition and the same tired questioning of suspects gets to be annoying.
The storyline is fine but with no choices of how you go about solving the crime or having to follow the same path returning to the game would be pretty tiresome to say the least. Once you do complete Murder On The Orient Express there would be no reason to return, so there is little replay value.
When someone comes out with a different way to pull off an adventure mystery using something other than point and click, follow the line along the path of clues they will corner the market. Until then fans of Agatha Christie and her very well written books will no doubt enjoy this next installment of the murder mystery line.
They have stretched imagination and creativity in a few scenes with things like being outside the train while looking at a few of the doors to compartments instead of the standard inside view. Other than these occasional bright points Murder On The Orient Express is just not much above average.