Publisher: Erbe Software
Developer: Delphine Software
Platform: DOS, Amiga, Atari ST
A decent mystery wrapped up in sloppy game design, the only corpse to be cruised for is the shell of a game that’s been left rotting on the promenade. On board a cruise, invited by the wealthy owner, you’re soon knocked out cold after coming upon the dead owner’s body. When you wake up you have the rest of the day to interview all of the suspects (read: everyone on board) and pin the murderer.
Because there are so few positives, let’s start with those. Delphine Software introduced their vector graphic engine that became popular in the Alone In The Dark series. While it is impressive, it is unnecessary (especially in an adventure), and the more polished sprite-based artwork of the time would have been sufficient. Some cut scenes add good flavor to the story. The dialogue is fairly banal, but it is translated from French so I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. The plot itself is also fairly deep, with each suspect having a motive. At the end of the game, you have to accuse the perp, with the ending changing based on who you pick (with one ideal ending, of course).
The game itself has a Gabriel Knight time system, with the clock advancing every time you do something important. This is fine, and actually a system that I prefer, as I become frustrated when I miss a clue because I didn’t happen to be in the right place at the right time. However, the logic the game uses to advance the clock is ridiculous beyond compare. For example, you can ask a lady about a topic at 2:00 in the afternoon and nothing happens. But talk to her about the exact same thing a half hour later and the clock advances. Perhaps even worse, every time the clock advances, characters and items get distributed seemingly at random throughout the ship. Check that drawer and 10:00 and there’s nothing in it. Go back to that drawer at 12:30 and you’ll find a key item you need. Why is that item now in the drawer when it wasn’t before? That’s an even greater mystery than the whodunit.
What these failures in logic amount to is tedious and aimless wandering throughout the ship, ruining continuity and interest in the story. Thankfully, you can bring up a map of the ship to warp to any (unlocked) place you like, but that’s little consolation. Even playing with a walkthrough did little to relieve the boredom of this meandering investigation. Unless you have completely run out of games to play, don’t touch this corpse with a ten foot pole.