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Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None (PC)

Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None

Reviewer: Bill Hartley
Developer: Adventure Company
Publisher: Adventure Company
Platform: PC
Genre: Adventure
UK Release: 10th Feb 2006
Article Date: 11th Mar 2006
Difficulty: Medium
Price: 19.99

Score Breakdown
Game Play:

Overall Score: 50%
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  • Some interesting puzzles.
  • Agatha Christie fans will love it.
  • 2D screens,
  • slow game play,
  • Poor animation

    4 of 5.5

  • In 1939 Agatha Christie published a book entitled ‘Ten Little Indians’. It was the first story based around a group of people invited together and murdered one by one by an unknown killer, a story plot that has often been copied but fans of Ms Christie will maintain hers was the first and best. The title came from an old nursery rhyme which was changed to Ten Little Sailor Boys; have to be politically correct these days. The Adventure Company have released ‘And Then There Were None’ an adventure game which puts the book in reach of gamers.

    The story begins with ten people arriving at a lonely house on an Island. Your character is Patrick Narracott, a boatman who ferries the guests across to the Island. After visiting the house you find your boat has been sabotaged and you are also stuck on the Island, ironically enough called Shipwreck Island. Patrick is not an original character from the book but is included as a way to investigate the murders that follow.

    After returning to the house Patrick finds that the owner of the house is mysteriously absent and begins looking around. Various clues to the guest’s histories emerge and it seems they all have something to hide. In one room there is a framed copy of the nursery rhyme on the wall which tells of the deaths of ten little boys, one by one, a fate which it soon becomes apparent is exactly what is happening to the house guests, but who is the murderer? That is Patricks mission to find out, it could be any of the guests or even the mysterious owner, a Mr. Owen, who is conspicuous by his absence.

    The first part of the game is mainly concerned with exploring the house and collecting a few basic items which go into the obligatory inventory for use later: messages and letters are also stored here and are pieced together as the story unfolds. Some rooms cannot be entered as the guests are getting ready for dinner, after the dinner gong you can go in and collect various letters etc which give more information about the guests. This is how the game is played throughout. Because the story follows the book quite faithfully there isn’t much scope for making a great discovery and solving the ‘who done it’, all will be revealed at the books pace and it is almost as much story telling as it is gaming.

    There are little side puzzles but these don’t really advance the story much and certainly don’t allow you to prevent anybody getting murdered, well if it did the game would be called ‘And then there were some’ and would be considerably shorter. Some of the puzzles are rather well done but some are a little odd, there is one which involves a Goat blocking a path on the Island which takes some solving, I’m sure ‘Shoo!’ would have worked on a 1930s Goat at least as well as it does on its more enlightened modern counterpart.

    The game is a basic point and click through 2D screens that seem a little dated nowadays. The cursor changes according to the action available, if any. They are very nice to look at but it can be frustrating to not be able to look around. The scenes do capture the 1930s very nicely with colourful and detailed rooms but character animation is quite poor and basic: in some scenes there is nothing to click on at all other than one exit to move to the next screen, this can make game play a little slow at times.

    Although it does get more interesting after the first hour or two at first there seems to be little to do other than enter a room and pick up a note, go to next room pick up a note: all this is to set the stage and get to know the characters but it can seem a little dragged out and many players may well give up before the game really gets going. Many scenes for example consist of only a door as the only other exit but when clicked on and after waiting for Patrick to walk over to it we are told “it’s locked”, this happens quite a lot in the early stages of the game.

    The voice acting is quite well done and the characters are convincing as society people of the age, the background music of piano is suitably somber and mysterious and does help set the mood and feel for the game.

    And Then There Were None will appeal to anybody who is an Agatha Christie fan but will have limited interest to others. It is very much ‘the game of the book’ and as such has to be played as events in the book dictate. What it does, it does reasonably well, but the 2D screen format and linear game play means it isn’t going to have mass appeal.

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