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And Then There Were None

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: The Adventure Company
Developer: DreamCatcher Interactive
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Ok, I am almost ready. I have my magnifying glass, my revolver in my pocket, my doctorís bag, and a telegram from Holmes saying to meet him at 221B Baker Street as fast as I can. What am I talking about, you ask? Well, for so long, the main character I read about in the world of mystery novels was Sherlock Holmes, and I always felt like Dr. Watson. When I was asked to review And Then There Were None based on the worldís best selling mystery novel by Agatha Christie, I was really excited. I have never read one of her books and I donít know why. I could tell this was going to be a real adventure. An adventure as only The Adventure Company can deliver.

What has always impressed me about The Adventure Company is the detail of the world they immerse you in. The 3D environments and cut scenes really establish a look and a mood, to get you ready for what is coming. From the opening cut scene of And Then There Were None, you are introduced to the world of ten very different people that are summoned to an isolated island by an unknown host. The graphics of the scenes and of the various characters on the train is highly detailed, down to their lapels. The detail of the characters was extraordinary. Itís not photorealistic in any way, and they do move very stiffly, but for a mystery game, I would rather have more computer power dedicated to the main character and allowing him to explore almost every aspect of each room, than have it dedicated to photorealism, so that all you can do is look at a pretty picture. I was also quite impressed with details of the house and of the island. I could see various little things, and I began to wonder if they were clues that I was going to need later. You do have the option to turn off things like the rain and lightning, shadows, animated water, etc., if you need to save CPU power.

The sound was done very well with atmosphere and music that matched the game. I am sure that any sound engineer working for the The Adventure Company could work for any movie production and fit right in. They did one thing that I was glad to see. So many times in games and in movies, the dialogue is drowned out by the sound effects or music. I left the sound levels at the default setting for the music and effects and it was perfect for the game. If you happen to disagree, you do have the option of raising or lowering each separately.


Gameplay:

In And Then There Were None, you are the eleventh and un-expected guest Patrick Narracott, who is the boatman who ferried the ten guests to the island and to their unknown host. You have to stay on the island because your boat was scuttled before you could return to it, stranding you and the guests on the island in horrible weather.

I donít want to give away too much of the plot and what youíre expected to do, because if you are not familiar with the book, or with the movie that was made, you are in store for a real treat. I will say that your character is more than he seems, has more history than you realize, and is just as big of a suspect as anybody. The first five minutes of gameplay is described for you in the instruction book that came with the game. Read this carefully, as it kind of gives you a direction to go, a beginning. With so many games, you are just thrust into the action and you wander around until you figure things out. Like I said, I have never read the book or seen the movie, so I appreciated the hint at the beginning. If you are an uber-gamer, please feel free to ignore the instruction booklet.

The most important thing to remember is to examine everything - every room, every object that you can pick up, talk to every character. You will have an inventory listing where you can examine many objects you pick up more closely, and a notebook where you can write down important aspects to different characters and clues you will need later.

And Then There Were None provides you with a map of the house in the instruction booklet, but as for a map of the island, you will have find that yourself.


Difficulty:

And Then There Were None's difficulty totally depends on you. Do you have the ability to decipher puzzles? Do you have forethought to pick up the sewing needles because you might need them later to save your own life or somebody elseís? Do you have the patience to wander around and investigate? I think one of the game's strong suits is it not taking you along for a ride; you have to drive the game yourself. You have to go find the clues; go talk to the people, the game is not going to do it for you. So many games are too easy because they lay out the whole thing in front of you and just want you to go from point A to point B. In And Then There Were None, you have to figure out most of your steps. It will kind of give you a hint if you wander around for too long without getting anywhere, but it wonít be a big hint.

Game Mechanics:

One of the things that makes And Then There Were None stand out in my mind is the ease of movement in the game. It is a standard point and click environment with a very well designed game cursor. Too many times, the game cursor has some symbol on it that you have to look in the instruction booklet to find out what that cursor means or does. In And Then There Were None, if you want to talk to somebody, the cursor has a little picture of a talking mouth. If you want to go through the door, there is a little picture of a door in the cursor. So very easy. I appreciated this because I donít want too many things to bring me out of the world of the game I am playing. Looking in the instruction booklet for what some little squiggle means does just that. If you happen to be in a hurry, like when you have to deliver a doctor's bag to one of the guests, you can double click on the place that you want to go to have your character pick up the pace.

An extra treat was the paperback version of And There There Were None packaged along with the game. A great companion to the game!

Once again The Adventure Company takes me on an exciting adventure with And Then There Were None. I must confess that I am still playing and canít wait to find out who did it? Was it me? I donít remember.


-Wickserv, GameVortex Communications
AKA Eric Wickwire

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Pentium 3 800 MHz, 256 MB RAM Memory, 32 MB RAM Video Card, 16X (or PC DVD-ROM drive), 16-bit Sound Blasterģ Compatible, 800 MB Hard Drive Space, Mouse and Speakers
 

Test System:



Windows XP, 3.00 GHz Pentium 4 Processor, Integrated 5.1 channel audio 1 GHz of RAM, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 9002

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