Murder in Tehran's Alleys
A First Look by gremlin

What is it?
Games that originate from a non-English-speaking culture often struggle to make the transition into the English-speaking market when translated. Sometimes they do really well, and others skip the question completely by avoiding using language in the game in the first place.

Let us see whether Murder in Tehran's Alleys 1933, developed by Iranian studio RSK Entertainment can achieve this complex transition.

Is there a plot?
There have been a series of brutal murders of children in Tehran, capital of Iran, the original police detective has been removed from the case, but he's still around, and the boss has handed the case to you. What do you do? To whom can you turn for information? Can you trust your colleague who's now, can I suggest, just a little peeved at the change in circumstances?

How do you play?
Murder is a point and click adventure game played in fixed scenes, with Detective Afshar representing you in the scenes. The game was developed using the Wintermute Engine so, as far as I can tell, it is stable.

The graphics are more than cartoon, but not quite photo-realistic. There are plenty of interactive items in various scenes - books, diaries, inventory items, but they're often small and hard to find without the help of the space bar, which shows up all hot spots (except people) when you press it.

Objects you pick up go into Detective Afshar's inventory, which appears when you move the mouse to the top of the screen. Objects can be combined and sometimes split again.

Notable Features
I really struggled with Murder in Tehran's Alleys 1933, in fact I've been unable to complete it. Unfortunately, if you're writing a game that is strong on text and dialogue, and upon enabling a player to solve a complex crime, then the quality of the translation is absolutely key to making it work. There is a lot of text in the game, and it seems that the developers translated it from the native Farsi (written using the same alphabet as Arabic) into English using some very blunt tools. Whilst the spoken text remains in the original language.

The result is a game where you're trying to figure out the subtleties of a criminal case from text you can barely parse, and is stacked full of the most basic grammatical and spelling mistakes.

What's worse, in a game with all the spoken word in a foreign language, where you need to be able to read the sub-titles to understand what's going on, is that all those sub-titles are just pasted over the background with no regard for legibility.

Sorry guys at RSK, localization is not something you can do in a few days with Google Translate.

From the perspective of a principally English-speaking marketplace, Murder in Tehran's Alleys 1933, is far from market ready. I couldn't force myself to continue after a while.

What do you need to play it?
OS: Windows 98 , XP , Vista, 7, or 8
Processor: 2.2GHz Single Core
Hard disk space: 2.8 GB
Memory: 2GB
Sound card: 16-bit DirectX Compatible
Graphics: DirectX 9.0C compatible 256MB 3D video card (Geforce6600/Radeon 9600 or better)
Other: Mouse & Keyboard

(I used a home-built 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium (SP1) PC running on an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual 5200+ processor, with 6 GB RAM, and a Sapphire Radeon HD4670 512MB video card, with on-mother-board, built-in sound card)