Commodore User1st June 1987
Published in Commodore User #46
Murder On The Atlantic
"Whodunnit" is the latest cry as we are swamped in computer mysteries. Infogrames has taken the lead in this trail of murder and mayhem with the Vera Cruz and Sydney affairs. Its latest sleuthing software will challenge even the best digital detective.
When you open the box you are buried in an avalanche of clues including pictures of the 40 suspects, letters written in German, French, English and braille, photographs of guns, bullet holes and suspects (ones even torn up into pieces), a French newspaper, passenger list for Le Bourgogne, telegrams, reports, negatives, business cards and even a piece of string, capsule of ink and a spent gun cartridge! Nestled in the bottom of the box is the game tape or disk [Bet that comes in handy too - Ed].
The mystery is set on the luxury liner Le Bourgogne during the tense pre-war years of the 1930's and begins as you are brought in to investigate the murder of the mysterious Phillipe de la Valiere.
Unlike the previous Infogrames mysteries you're on your own and must solve the crime(s) without the help of police computers or other police forces. The ship's captain has ordered everyone to their cabins so that you can find people when you need them but that's all the help you get. Indeed some areas of the ship are off limits to you until you give the Superintendent the correct password (clue - it's somewhere in the box).
The screen display shows a plan of the ship which is divided into squares (to control your movement) and below that pictures of rooms you're in and any characters you are talking to and their statements.
The first stage of your investigations involves a lot of legwork as you must systematically search the ship, level by level, room by room, interviewing everyone you meet and making copious notes. At times you'll be told that you find a note or a photograph that corresponds to part of the package which you should then add to your growing collection. You could grab all the evidence at once but this is unwise as it will only confuse you.
As the mystery unfolds, you'll discover a web of intrigue including lies, poison pen letters, blackmail and society scandals and maybe even a second victim.
The game tape/disk contains a second test program that asks you crucial questions so you can judge how far you've progressed. Be warned, however, this doesn't give you any clues and usually proves you've got a long way to go even though you thought you had it solved.
The disk access is rather slow at times (the tape version will be even slower as statements have to be loaded in separately!) but as you get caught up in the atmosphere and intrigue you'll forget this inconvenience and use the time to read your notes or attempt to decipher a piece of evidence. This is undoubtedly one of the best whodunnits you'll ever play and a must for all sleuths.