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Post Mortem

Score: 70%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Developer: Microids
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

The adventure genre has not been providing extremely compelling products in recent years. No longer do the days where adventure titles, such as the Kings Quest series, monopolize on the success of their genre. Today, more focus goes towards 3D shooters, or amalgamated RPG/Adventure titles. Every so often, however, something seems to spark a rebirth of sorts for the adventure game. With the success of The Adventure Company's hit release, Siberia, we see a strong follow up of similar games and concepts. Post Mortem is the latest attempt to keep the genre alive. Sadly, the title of the game conveys the same doom that is inevitable in the games craftsmanship, presentation, and quality. Some aspects of the game could lead to fun and intuitive game play, however, the fantasy is often dead before it has begun, as Post Mortem loses momentum just as things get interesting.

The visuals in Post Mortem take on a primarily first person panoramic style view. Backgrounds are portrayed in richly detailed settings, though the images are purely static and immobile. Characters take on an appearance similar to the odd, sore portrayals of human beings in the Resident Evil series. This creates an odd eeriness whenever talking to suspects or informants, though the distraction is not unpleasant. However, the repetitiveness of the character animations during conversation brings out the flaws in Post Mortem's visuals, exposing dull uninteresting character art and backgrounds.

The dialog in an Adventure title generally carries the player throughout the game. In Post Mortem, some dialog is simply hit or miss. In general, characters speak too slowly for the game to progress. There are no ways to skip dialog either, so expect long, drawn out conversations that often lead absolutely nowhere.


Gustave MacPherson is a former private eye from America living in Paris trying to make a living in the arts working as a painter. Gustave is contacted by an oddly mysterious woman named Sophia Blake to take on a case. As Gustave, you are allowed to say 'no' to the would-be client, immediately showcasing Post Mortem's ability to contain multiple paths in the game. Eventually you'll have to take the case, but for the remainder of the game, the choices you make while conducting your investigation actually affect the game, presenting puzzles, solutions, and locations depending on what you do and when you do it. This feature is not portrayed as prominently as it should have been, and ultimately most trails wind up meeting each other at some point during the game. In fact in some cases, Post Mortem is not much different from any other generically formulaic adventure title.

A specific instance in Post Mortem involves Gustave tracking down a primary suspect in the beheading of two American tourists. In an interesting turn of events, you actually will take on the role of the suspect, re-enacting his actions on the day of the murder. While this flashback added a different dimension to the otherwise linear seeming title, there were no other similar instances in the game, aside from a few psychic vision cinematics that are hardly interactive.

Certain segments of Post Mortem appear to occur out of place and illogically. In fact, when you first meet with Sophia Blake, you can ask about her 'sister's murder' before you even learn anything about the murder. There are simply too many loop holes in the playability of this title for it to stand on a solid level with its own genre.


Typical adventure games place a focus on the puzzle as the main measure of difficulty, and for the most part Post Mortem follows that same mindset. However, the puzzles in Post Mortem are fairly simple, and require little investigative knowledge. A simple series of 'find the right object to do the job' strategies with one or two complex puzzles to solve can get a player through Post Mortem's difficulty barrier fairly rapidly. Most puzzles in Post Mortem are boring and deserve to be removed from the collective human consciousness altogether.

Game Mechanics:

A simple to use point-and-click interface pushes Post Mortem along. Whenever an item can be interacted with, a hot spot will appear in the cursor. Footsteps signify possible directions to move, and right clicking brings up the Options screens and inventory selection. This point-and-click interface could get tedious after searching for clues with no luck in locating a hot spot. Since the cursor only occurs when a hot spot is passed over, a lot of time might be wasted just randomly swinging the cursor around locations hoping to activate something. Logs of conversations can be viewed from the inventory, and a map provides a listing of known locations, letting you designate destination points, instantly whisking the player to the selected location.

Post Mortem is an easy game to take control of, and it provides enough energy and electricity to keep players intrigued, even when the game's dialog gets dragged beyond reason. However, it fails to succeed undeniably in any one aspect of the title, which causes the game to lose sight of its original purposes and goals. While there are many hours of play available from Post Mortem, most of those hours will seem wasted while sorting through the vast amount of useless junk in hopes of experiencing that one cool event not often enough.

-==Boy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Kyle Prestenback

Minimum System Requirements:

Win 98/2000/Me/XP, 350MHz Processor, 64MB RAM, 16MB Video Card

Test System:

Win XP, AMD 1800+, 1GB RAM, GeForce4 4200 TI

Windows Port Royale Windows Prince of Qin

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated