Cruise for a Corpse
Who killed Niklos Karaboudjan? Surely not Hector his devoted butler of more than 25 years, although there was more to their relationship than met the eye! Or perhaps it was his only daughter, Daphne, she may not have forgiven him for trying to marry her off to Julio? And then there is Julio himself. Is he really who he seems? Maybe he too had a motive to do away with Niklos? Everyone else did! Tom, his accountant, who's in a spot of financial bother and who is having an affair with Niklos' own loving wife, Father Fabiani who has a gambling problem, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
I could fill this page top to bottom listing the suspects together with their respective motives that have been tightly woven into this murder story in which you play the detective, Raoul Dusentier, and try your hand at exposing the murderer. It all begins when you receive an invitation to join a cruise on an old sailing ship that Niklos Karaboudjan has recently acquired and refurbished. It used to be a pirate ship and it's rumoured that there's treasure hidden somewhere on board. Reason enough, maybe, for someone to do away with Niklos, without the myriad of other motives you will have to grapple with when you climb aboard and find your host with a knife in his back.
This cocktail of potential murderers and motives would give even Agatha Christie a run for her money. It's definitely not for the faint hearted, those who can't take too much frustration, or for anyone who likes to breeze along through their computer games without a single chewed nail. For this one you need stamina, I can promise you, plus gallons of black coffee, several packets of fags (if only), and even then your patience may be tested.
Both our reflections this issue are of French origin, and like Ween, Cruise for a Corpse has the occasional problem with its English translation, but who cares? It's a tough little mystery that will keep you guessing and, if you are anything like me, keep you glued to your computer screen. It was first released in 1991 and the graphics are still fairly respectable. This is one for the who-dunnit fans, and then, only those with infinite patience. But it's certainly worth the effort, and especially now that the game is a budget release.
It is a game where you can really slip into the story. You can poke around everywhere, look at everything, but be prepared for the odd red herring or three. And be prepared also for a liberal dose of conversation. Like every good police officer you need to interrogate your suspects again, and then again, and this, perhaps, leads to the one slightly flawed aspect of the game. Of course, there is always a lot of dialogue in detective games, so Cruise can't really be criticised for this, the problem is that as you progress from person to person the list of questions grows and grows and, unless you have a phenomenal memory, eventually you'll forget who you have asked what - or is that what you have asked who?
It's tricky so hoard up a good supply of perseverance before you try your hand at detecting in this game. Just take it easy, that's my advice ... and be methodical. Though it could have had a little more detecting and a little less interrogating, on the whole I thought Cruise for a Corpse was a great little game.
See the metzomagic.com Cruise for a Corpse walkthrough.
Copyright © Rosemary Young 1995.
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