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Crime Stories

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: The Adventure Company
Developer: Artematica
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Crime Stories is based on the characters and settings created by the renowned Italian author Alfredo Castelli (famed for the creation of the characters Martin Mystere and Allan Quatermain -- Sean Connery's role in League of Extraordinary Gentleman).

From a visual point of view, Crime Stories has a lot of eye candy. Pre-rendered environments (at least I'm pretty sure they are pre-rendered, they look good enough to be) are pleasing and extremely well detailed. Locations from New York City to dense forests all come off beautifully and the in-game character models fit into their backdrops almost seamlessly.

As good as the graphics were though, the game's audio left a lot to be desired. Voice-overs tended to be a bit clipped and never quite seemed to sync up just right, which made the overabundance of dialogue a little hard to bear. Background music was so-so, but ultimately forgettable and could be tuned out without losing any of the game's feel.


Crime Stories puts you in control of Professor Martin Mystere who has been asked by the FBI to help in a murder investigation. Judging from Mystere's artifact-filled home and wide range of knowledge, the character has a very Indiana Jones feel to him. In fact, there were plenty of times when Crime Stories reminded me of the classic LucasArts adventure title Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. The games resemble each other mostly in the interaction of characters and the way the environments are conveyed.

Anyway, one of Mystere's colleagues, Professor Eulemberg has been shot and now Mystere will have to figure out what it was Eulemberg was working on that could have gotten himself killed. As the story progresses, you will not only control the adventuring prof, but also his busty wife, Diana. As your small band of mystery solvers travel the globe, you will find yourself not only in New York City, but also deep in Aztec temples following clues that the late professor left behind.

In general, the story is okay, but nothing really wonderful. The developers did a fairly good job in getting me hooked and making me want to find out what the big secret was. Unfortunately, the journey to the game's conclusion was riddled with little issues that kept distracting me from the gameplay.

One such issue that kept cropping up was the translation problem. There were several occasions when the text that popped up over an item-of-interest was very obviously not what the item actually was. A case that stands out very clearly was when I hovered over a statuette of a griffin and was told it was a police car. There were other instances where the phrases the characters used just weren't correct, but they were not nearly as bad as some games I have seen (Midnight Nowhere is an example that springs to mind).


Crime Stories has a nice average blend of puzzles. Most of them can be figured out with a little determination, in fact, most of the time the answer was all but given to you if you paid attention to some conversation you had earlier in the game. What shocked me most was the sparsity of the puzzles. Compared to most adventure titles, Crime Stories was a bit skimpy on the problem solving. This was a bit of a disappointment, but maybe that was to help open up other non-adventurers to the genre.

Game Mechanics:

Crime Stories follows your standard point-and-click set up, making it easily accessible for adventure-veterans and newbies alike. Like most titles of this genre, you move your character around the screen by clicking in the areas that he can go. Thankfully, Crime Stories didn't have the typical pixel-hunting issues that many similar games exhibit, and it was usually easy to figure out which items I could interact with. Okay there where a few exceptions, but all-in-all it was handled better than other games.

When all is said and done, Crime Stories is only for Martin Mystere fans, or those adventure gamers out there looking for some mildly challenging puzzles and a fair story.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/2000/X, 850MHz Pentium 3 or Equivalent, 256 MB RAM,700 MB Disk Space, 16x CD-ROM, 32 MB DirectX 9.0c Compatible Video Card, 16-bit DirectX Compatible Sound

Test System:

Windows XP Professional Ed., AMD Athlon XP 2400+ 2GHz, 2 GB RAM, DVD-RW, Radeon 9800 Pro, DirectX 9.0c

Windows Beezzle Sony PlayStation 2 Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated