Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None
9th Feb 2006 | 11:30
Well, there's nothing wrong with the premise I suppose. Take one of the most celebrated murder-mystery novels of all time, add an extra character (the player), then play out the intricate twists and turns according to Mrs Christie's superb criminal logic. Just for extra spice, in case you've actually read the book/seen the film, multiple endings have been added to keep you on your toes.
The only problem is that as a game, it's ridiculously unwieldy and clunky, both in interface and interaction terms. From the player's point of view, there's really not much for you to actually work out, other than a few cursory object manipulation puzzles. This is because the story's events don't change much and are going to be carried out regardless of what action you try to take. No murder can be prevented for instance, as that would disrupt the overall story, and the way the game stops you from interfering in the plot is poorly done. For instance, you can't pick up an axe in a garden shed (one of the yet-to-beused murder weapons), as you're told that you'd be thought insane to be walking around with an axe. However, that doesn't stop you walking around with a giant stepladder, a garden hose, a shovel, half-adozen drinking glasses, a gramophone record, silk sheets, a large basket of apples, a stone cheese wheel, etc, etc...
If the internal logic isn't enough to dissuade you, then the game's interface most definitely will. One item on a table can't be picked up as the player's character informs you: "I'm no packrat." Except he then proceeds to pick up half a dozen other objects without pause for thought. The movement paths are tortuous, as are conversational scripts. Text can't be skipped, which may be fine for a dramatic piece of dialogue, but is eminently frustrating when you're having to wait for your character to lengthily tell you that you can't do something for the umpteenthmillionth time.