Agatha Christie: THE ABC MURDERS


Genre:     Point and Click detective mystery adventure             

Developer:     Artefacts        

Publisher:        Microids        

Released:       February 4, 2016         

Additional screenshots



By Oldmariner



Works on: Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10), Mac OS X (10.9.0+) and Linux (Ubuntu 14.04, Mint 17)

Languages:   Audio and text: English, français. Text only: Deutsch, español, italiano, polski

Features: single-player

Size: 798.3 MB

Minimum system requirements -

Windows: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10

Processor: AMD/Intel dual-core processor running at 2.2 GHz

Memory: 2048 MB RAM

Graphics: ATI/NVIDIA dedicated/integrated or mobile graphic card, with at least 512MB of dedicated VRAM and with at least Shader Model 4.0 support

DirectX: Version 9.0c

Sound Card: Integrated or dedicated DirectX 9 compatible soundcard

Mouse, Keyboard

Recommended system requirements -

Windows: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10

Processor: AMD / Intel Dual-Core processor running at 3.0 GHz

Memory: 3072 MB RAM

Graphics: ATI/NVIDIA dedicated or mobile graphic card with at least 1GB of dedicated VRAM and with at least Shader Model 4.0 support

DirectX: Version 9.0c

Sound Card: Integrated or dedicated DirectX 9.0c compatible soundcard

Game Play

    I will begin by offering my first gripe. There is no manual to be found with the GOG download of this game. Presently none is offered on the Microids website. Confused as I was, I managed to work my way through the initial screens and my gripe dissolved into nitpicking. Once I got over this I settled into a very entertaining if not brain teasing game.

    After the beginning cut scene, you come to the Click to Start Screen that leads you to another.

    Facing the Profile Screen you are offered a choice of A, B or C. This enables up to three profiles played independently of the others. You will find three sets of saves in the save folder if you activate all three profiles. Click on the profile bar to enter the game. You will note my screenshot shows the percentage of your game progress for each profile on the red bar.

    The next screen I call the Play Screen. Again, see the picture included in the review. This is where you may select various game play options.

     The choices are Play, Options, Bonuses and Profiles. Within Options you can select the spoken language, either English or French. There are several languages you can choose for the printed words that appear on the screen. You can also shut off subtitles if you wish. They default to on. There are video and audio settings in this section as well as your ability to select use of a controller or mouse. The game defaults to mouse. Inside Bonuses you will find a selection of screen shots with subtitles of locations you have explored thus far in the game. Reconstruction is a playback of crime scenes you have successfully solved. Trophies are a listing of achievements you made in your crime solving efforts. Once you begin playing, the game screen is virtually uncluttered, offering little visible information.

     An arrow inside a black bar is on the bottom right of the screen, and a pause icon is at the upper left. These are the only cues for assistance you will notice. Clicking on the arrow places an icon of each inventory item to the left of the box. To activate said item, drag it to the location where you wish to use it. Clicking on the icon will bring up a full screen image that you can examine from many angles. The pause icon opens a screen to quit the game, adjust volume controls, or get a hint. Pressing the ESC key produces the same result as the pause icon. The hint button can be a great help when confused inside puzzles or simply lost wondering what to do next. Hints are limited per screen or puzzle, usually allowing only one, or sometimes two uses.

     After revealing the inventory, three symbols appear above the arrow. They are an exclamation point, a book, and a circle. The exclamation point lists your completed objectives such as “Go meet Japp.” He is the Scotland Yard Investigator. It will also show task required to do regarding your position in the current investigation, such as, “Inspect the crime scene.” The book icon represents Hercule Poirot’s notebook that you can refer to during game play. The round icon is where you can piece collected information together regarding suspects encountered in your investigation.

    Now we arrive at my second gripe. When you click on the pause icon to quit the game, you will note there is no save game button. The game auto saves and does not offer any avenue to create or load a save. When you return to the game, you continue where you left off. The game auto saves often, including each time you quit playing. It appears to save often during game play as I discovered sixty-two saves in one profile when finished. Saves are located at

C:\ Users\ User Name\ AppData\ LocalLow\ Microids\ The ABC Murders\ Profiles.

Inside the profiles folder you will find your saves in subfolders named 0, 1, and 2. There is one for each profile.

     There is no hotspot aid such as tapping the space bar. You discover things by sweeping your mouse over the area. A pair of glasses appears upon discovery of something you may interact with. A hand appears to identify exits. Fortunately everything is well lit and there is no pixel hunting. With that said, your investigation is aided in closeup. A pair of eyeglasses will appear in the upper left corner when you locate something of interest. Please note, three of the screenshots show this aspect. You will notice in three pictures the glasses show the numbers 0-3, 1-3, and 7-7 meaning how many you located and how many there are in total. Poirot will not leave a crime scene if there is more to find. However you can wander from room to room having missed something.

       This game added an interesting concept, calling it Observation. Before you begin speaking with anyone, you must determine their attitude. When pressing your mouse upon a person, two options appear. Holding your left mouse down on your target, you see a red pair of glasses on the left and a red rectangle on the right. Slide your mouse to the glasses and click. One of the screen shots shows this aspect. A picture is better than a thousand words of explanation. Look at the screen shot to see how this appears. You will then will be able to determine the person’s mood. As you slide your mouse, the target area darkens inside your tracing circle as you approach the clue. Poirot will make a comment regarding the person’s affect, and the number will appear in the glasses, signaling 1 of 3 and so on. There are always three things to locate. Knowing the target’s mood aids your choices of questions or comments.

    ABC Murders informs in an early intro screen that it is built on the Unity Engine. It ran fine with my GT240 Nvidia graphics card. Using my Windows 7 64bit machine I began playing the GOG DRM-Free version, happy that no Galaxy enhancements were added to frustrate me. I had to get that in after a recent experience with another game infuriated me .

     The graphics and voice acting are very good to excellent. Scenes are sharp and crisp, without overly dark areas to make searching difficult. The GOG version ran smoothly, glitch-free on my Windows 7 64 bit system.

     The Story

    You play detective Hercule Poirot in this third person point and click adventure. There is no switching to play as other characters. Your investigation begins upon receiving a letter from the killer, announcing the date and place where he will select his next victim. It is a challenge Poirot cannot resist. You and your partner race all over England, trying to catch the deranged lunatic before he can kill again. You will eventually ask, “Is he truly deranged or is there a purpose we have yet to detect?” As the name of the game, the ABC Murders implies, this fellow is going through the alphabet and it’s up to you to keep him from getting to the letter Z.

     Much like the Sherlock Holmes games, you explore the crime scene, looking for clues and examining evidence. You will take your time, never being rushed. It is a good thing too as the protagonist, Poirot, will not ever run. I’m relieved he was never chased. Without offering any spoilers, the opening investigation takes place in Andover. Very shortly a puzzle requires a key to open a door. Not only do you have to find the key, opening the container where the key is hidden can be a brain teaser. Everything you need is at hand, but you have to discover where it clues are hidden.

     A few moments later more puzzles appear. They are of the thinking variety where you turn and examine the object from every angle in close up. Think of those Chinese puzzle boxes where you wonder asking, “How many sides can a box have?” There is no shortage of creative puzzles. Very few items are used from inventory. This is one of those games where "pick up all you can see" is at a minimum. Primarily you question people, whose answers raise more questions. Moving through each crime scene searching for clues is primarily a solo mission and you, as the inspector, are alone. There is not a lot of talking.

    When you finally get all the information you can, Poirot announces it is time to “Use those little Grey Cells.” That’s where you answer investigation questions by dropping what you think is relevant into the appropriate box. As you can guess, the Andover case does not lead to the identity of the killer. You move fluidly from one murder location to the other.

     Next it is off to Bexhill and another murder. By now you figured out we are going to end up with more evidence without naming the killer. There is yet another town for the third murder, Churston. I had no idea these are real towns in England. I’ve been to Andover, New Hampshire so I should have guessed Andover, England is in Hampshire County. If you like puzzles you'll love this game.

     Puzzles are primarily sifting through evidence gained by interviewing suspects and by examining complex contraptions that are seemingly impossible to open. One in particular had several levels. Every time I opened one “Door” I found another. The game forces you to think without rushing or requiring any quick time reflex operations. You can’t get killed and it takes until the end of the game to discover who the bad guy is. I cannot project how long play time is for this game. Not being great with puzzles, I was totally on my own. There was no walkthrough when I tackled this game. When completely perplexed with that multilayered puzzle, I soon discovered I was ahead of every YouTube playthrough that I found. After shouting “What good are you people?” I went back to the ‘puter and solved it myself. Bless the hint system. Click the hint button and sometimes, not often, Poirot actually does it for you. I have to say I like this game. I almost finished relieved there were no mazes and torn sheets of paper to assemble when one of the last puzzles produced a burnt letter. You can’t have everything. You know how these work. Go into close up to manipulate scraps into a finished sheet. I discovered there is no way to manipulate those torn strips. No amount of turning, twisting or pulling with the mouse would budge them. No spoiler here but as I am about to commence cursing, I discover this is a joke when Poirot makes an announcement. Who can fault a game that turns a puzzle into a joke?


    In spite of my two gripes, I got over them to find an enjoyable game with challenging puzzles. It took me awhile to get through, as I examined everything. There is a lot to explore as you investigate three locations. I don’t wish to imply there are only three screens. The estate in Churston has several rooms and the outside grounds alone will keep you busy. However being one who wants to make his own saves, there has to be a penalty for that oversight. As much as I like this game, an otherwise A becomes,,,, oh well if you enjoy puzzles this challenge should delight you.

Grade A-  


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