Under a Killing Moon, Access Software 1994, Reissue G.O.G 2011
PC Requirements: 386/25, 4 MB, SVGA VESA, CD-ROM, - sound card, mouse.
This game was initially released in 1994 on four Cds with full motion video with requirements noted above. As many Adventure Gamers learned getting it to run on newer machines is problematic. On my previous Windows XP configuration the game ran well using Dosbox. Several UAKM installers available on the net failed to work on my system. I cannot point you to them because when something fails to perform I toss the link. Without describing the Dosbox process let it suffice to say with XP the game ran flawlessly. There is no shortage of Tex Murphy reviews on the net. I had avoided reviewing this game for that reason. For most gamers no introduction to the story is needed we all know who Tex is and how the story goes. I will present a brief outline below for those who do are not familiar. It is nearly twenty years since this game ruled the gaming scene. There may be a few out there who don’t know about this amazing series.
For those of you unfamiliar with Dosbox and hesitate to attempt dealing with dos commands and have paused to dig out those old disc check their free download here Dosbox
There are additional tools called front ends making the process much easier. For my Windows 7 64 bit system I used a program named D-Fend Reloaded found on that Dosbox site. With Dosbox installed D-Fend will control it for you issuing the commands automatically. Using that program you can install any Dos game which becomes linked to D-Fend. When you wish to play just open D-Fend and click on the game icon. There is no need to mount drives and type lines of dos commands to initiate the game. There are several front ends D-Fend is the one I tried and it works for me. You still have to have the disc in the drive and swap disc when required. These programs simply allow your newer machine to play the games.
Finally we get to the purpose of this review, the recent G.O.G reissue of Under a Killing Moon. You can disregard all of the above setup requirements by simply purchasing the G.O.G release for ten bucks. As with all that company’s games they are DRM free fully burnable to a disc and yours forever. Once you complete your download you never have to visit the internet regarding this game again. There are no activation codes, no permissions and no disc. Once installed all you need to do is click the desktop icon and you are instantly into the world of Tex Murphy. To make a long story short the new version played seamlessly without all the frustrating set up the old disc require.
I will start with a shameless cut and paste of another Tex Murphy review I wrote. All three games, UAKM, Pandora Directive and Overseer use the same interface and game engine. At least they appear to. The game is played in the first person with plenty of third person perspective on plenty of full motion video scenes. There is minimal keyboard usage. When movement is required push the space bar once to engage movement mode. Movement is done by moving the mouse forward, back right, left. Another keyboard tap stops movement. The arrow keys allow Tex to look up or down which is needed to look into drawers under beds etc. A second click of the space bar returns to interactive mode where you use standard left and right mouse clicks to look talk pickup etc. The inventory appears as a list of items on the top right section of the screen. In order to use an item select an object from the list click on the use button. The examine button brings up a close-up view of the selected item. Some items can be manipulated, such as getting the contents from a wallet, envelope, etc. Some of the items will contain puzzles which you solve when using the examine button. Finally, clicking on the combine button brings up thumbnail pictures of the items in your inventory allowing you to use items on one another to create new items.
I normally keep my game saves in a folder even after having uninstalled a game I was curious to discover if my old saves will work in the G.O.G. reissue. I am happy to report they do. There is one caveat with these saves. The last three Tex games require you at start up to type in the player’s name. Your saves are labeled with your name. To allow old saves to work you will need to use the same name when you played the game that generated those old saves, or rename the saves to match the present nomenclature. They do work. Now for the hard part finding your saves. “Where did Windows 7 hide my saves?”
How many times have we heard that question? The answer for this version of the game on my system is DEEP!
Open Windows Explorer and it is a mere NINE clicks. Here is the path where you will likely find it. I am assuming this is the default as I made no attempt to tweak it. I only spent considerable time looking for it. ( Documents and settings\ User name\ App Data\ Local\ Virtual Store\ Program Files X86\ Gog.com\ Under A Killing Moon\ Games.) Yes the save folder is called Games there is no folder named Saves. Saves are all that is contained in the Games folder in that location.
Most gamers are well aware of the Tex Murphy quest. Tex is your typical film noir down on his luck private detective. The setting is a futuristic SanFrancisco covered by a radioactive cloud and populated by norms and mutants. There are no mutants as described in the endless procession of Xmen movies. Thank you for sparing us from that trauma Chris Jones. He is introduced by the voice of the P.I. in the sky (God?) played by James Earl Jones. Mr. Jones is not the only actor of note in this production. We are entertained by Margot Kidder, Brian Keith, Russell Means. The theme is film noir meets science fiction. It is laced with wry humor you would expect to find in those old Bogart detective movies.
We follow Tex through many locations helping him piece together events leading to him saving the world. It is laced with film clips of the result from your choices made in first person mode. It is a full three sixty view of the world including up and down views. There are no quick action requirements though at times Tex can be killed. In that event you are required to restart from your last save. It is imperative you save frequently. You are never rushed and can take your time in this world. I take that back there is one section where you have to dodge and out run a security robot. It can get quite dicey. For those of you who really want to avoid the ducking and diving here is a link to an extensive Tex Murphy saves database. Unofficial Tex Murphy Site
It is a great resource and they work in the G.O.G reissue as well. Just remember to rename them to be next in sequential order and nomenclature that your present saves are using. I issue a warning regarding old Tex Murphy saves. Simply renaming them works for UAKM, however, with Pandora there is additional tweaking which is required no matter which version you are playing. Read my review on this site of Pandora Directive for the details. My memory is unclear regarding if Overseer requires the same tweaking as Pandora. I have not visited that game in awhile.
The intent of this review is not to encourage anyone to run out and buy the new version. It is merely to inform you it is true to the original and is compatible with it. For newer systems it is far easier to setup and run. If you have the disk and able to deal with Dosbox for UAKM there is no need to replace them. The other two, Pandora and Overseer worked well with XP. I have not tried them on Win 7 and cannot speak to their functioning on that system. I hope this is of value to some and I understand many of you are already aware of this information. It is great that access to old games is helped along so we can keep playing them.