Martin Mystere: First Impressions

I was fortunate enough to play part of Chapter One of Martin Mystere. It’s a “traditional” adventure – third person perspective, point-and-click interface, lots of exploration, character interaction, inventory puzzles. I spent a pleasant hour investigating the gameworld and trying to piece together the enigma posed by the game’s protagonist.

The game is set in New York City. A crime has been committed and for some reason (not yet specified) Mr. Mystere is immediately notified. As the game opens, a phone call from a colleague reporting the crime awakens him from a terrible nightmare.

Martin Mystere is blonde, craggy-faced but attractive. There are two other characters in Chapter One – Java, who really does look like an example of primitive Java-man – huge shoulders and hands, sloping forehead, stooped posture. And then there’s Diana, Martin’s wife, who doesn’t appear (in person) at the beginning of the game, but whose influence is distinctly felt.

The game is based on a comic strip by Alfredo Castelli. Although there are things that will make you laugh in the game, it is not a comic adventure – it’s too serious and complex for that.

Martin Mystere’s house gives you a pretty effective glimpse into his character. Objects of art from all over the world are displayed around the house (horrifying masks, delicate statues, beautiful vases, paintings, ancient maps, etc.). As you explore you begin to understand Mr. Mystere’s appreciation for things aesthetic, but you also sense his intelligence and his barely controlled wanderlust. There is smooth jazz playing in the background – you definitely get the impression that this is a sophisticated fellow. Touches of the bizarre are present too – – dreams that are a puzzling and chronic affliction, that roommate who belongs to a long-expired species, and reams of books in the den on the subject of “unresolved phenomena” and the paranormal.

Graphics are colorful and detailed. You can examine lots of things in the game – not since Sherlock Holmes: Rose Tattoo have I seen so much to click on per room. Mr. Mystere comments on almost everything. His comments about items in the environment are in text only. (Voice acting is limited to dialogue with other characters and descriptions of items that have been placed in inventory.) At first this seemed strange to me, but soon I grew to like it – you absorb what he is thinking more efficiently, and efficiency is important because he does a LOT of thinking and commenting. Mr. Mystere’s musings are intriguing and well-written, although the words are not always spelled correctly.

I solved three opening puzzles: two inventory-based; one based on the use of a certain object. All were enjoyable and not too difficult.

Can’t say what the rest of the game will hold, but this is a promising start.

Would you like to learn more about Martin Mystere (also known as Crime Stories? Read the full reviews by Becky, Inferno, and Looney4Labs.