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Evil Under the Sun

Score: 89%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: The Adventure Company
Developer: AWE Games
Media: CD/3
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Evil Under the Sun takes one of Agatha Christie's most cherished Hercule Poirot tales and brings it into a game that does a fairly good job of conveying the complex mystery involving the murder of a movie star.

When creating adventure games, there have been everything from 2D to full 3D engines used. Evil Under the Sun takes a 2.5D approach (also commonly seen) to help mix the detailed scenery and backgrounds with the character models. This isn't anything new by any means, but the game does do a good job of conveying the festive and secluded feeling of the hotel where the intrigue takes place.

I do have to say though, I was somewhat disappointed to realize that, unlike Murder on the Orient Express, David Suchet does not reprise his role as everyone's favorite Belgium detective, nor do they get the actor who played Poirot in the film version of this mystery, Peter Ustinov. That isn't to say the portrayal of Poirot was wrong, I actually enjoyed it, and while the model didn't look exactly like either of the actors, it still conveyed the plump sleuth pretty well. I had just hoped to see Suchet as Poirot once again.

Anyway, besides the disappointment of not hearing Suchet, the audio aspects of Evil Under the Sun weren't bad at all. The character voices were fairly well done and the soothing background music fit right into place.


I have to confess, before playing Evil Under the Sun, I had neither read the book nor seen the 1982 film adaptation of this mystery (at this point I have seen the movie and plan to read the book). I was going in pretty blind. Part of me feels like this is a good thing, part of me wishes I knew what I was getting into before I started on this quest. I have to say, I did not finish the game before I had to write this review. So, while I can't be sure the game ends the same way as the novel (after all, Murder on the Orient Express's game version had a deliberately different ending to make it still appealing to people who knew the solution), I found the two versions I am now familiar with to coincide quite well, but there are quite a few notable differences.

The first difference I noticed when I really started thinking about it was the reason Poirot gets involved in the mystery. In the movie, Poirot is asked to go to the secluded beach hotel in order to find Arlena Marshall, a former actress who seems to have taken a friend of Poirot's diamond. In the game, Poirot is going to this location purely for vocational reasons. This really bothers me because the ultimate motives for Arlena's murder are related to the missing jewel, so I can only assume the ending of the game is different than the movie (again I haven't been able to beat the game yet). I can't say this is a bad thing. I know the developers changed the ending of the previous game so that players who are already familiar with the story won't have a leg up and will still find the mystery intriguing, so maybe the same thing was done here.

Anyway, that is really the biggest difference in the game. For the most part, all the characters are there, all have motive and all also seem to have pretty good alibis. So how is Hercule going to solve this mystery? Well, actually, in the game, he already solved it. Poirot is telling Hastings about his adventure back at the home office. Actually, that isn't quite right; Poirot has challenged Hastings to solve the murder after the fact. Hastings will tell our detective friend what to do and how to interact with the world and Poirot will weave his friend a grand tale (yes, the two are role-playing). I found this introduction to be a little different and a nice way to start things off. I mean, how often do you get to play Hastings playing Poirot.

Anyway, the game has quite a few puzzles that will help you piece together exactly what happened and who isn't quite being truthful. Puzzles include piecing together torn pieces of paper in a guest's trash bin, shadowing people and using your stop-watch to time how long it takes to go between various parts of the island.


Evil Under the Sun has quite a few tough puzzles. I found that I could make several leaps and make a good bit of progress in the story, and then suddenly get hit with a tough puzzle. I do believe a couple of these road blocks were due to not really picking up something that I needed, but more often than not, it was my fault for not thinking quite as clearly as I should have.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with the difficulty level. I've played a lot of these types of games and while most of them are challenging, I can usually finish them before the review is done. Even taking a little extra time for the review, it seems like I can't quite get past all of the hurdles this game throws at me.

Game Mechanics:

Evil Under the Sun follows most typical point-and-click adventure titles. You will use your context-sensitive cursor to move around the world, use items in your inventory with objects on the screen and even shadow people. That is probably one of the more non-traditional aspects of this game. If it is possible to trail a person for a while, instead of just being able to talk or look at a person, you can shadow them and see what they are up to without you around.

This was a fun game that is a great classic mystery that even people who have already seen the movie or read the book will want to see since I have a strong suspicion that the ending of the game won't quite jive with the other media. As far as adventure games are concerned, this is a pretty good purchase.

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

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 2000/XP/Vista, 1.4 GHz Pentium 3 Processor, 256 MB RAM, 1.5 GB Avaliable Disk Space, 16x CD/DVD-ROM Drive, 64 MB DirectX 9 Compatible Video Card, 16-bit DirectX Compatible Sound

Test System:

Alienware Aurora m9700 Laptop, Windows XP Professional, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 2.41 GHz, 2 GB Ram, Duel NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

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