AGATHA CHRISTIE - THE ABC MURDERS
Works on: Windows (XP,
Vista, 7, 8, 10), Mac OS X (10.9.0+) and Linux (Ubuntu 14.04, Mint 17)
Audio and text: English, français. Text only: Deutsch, español, italiano,
Size: 798.3 MB
Minimum system requirements -
Windows: Windows XP /
Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
dual-core processor running at 2.2 GHz
Memory: 2048 MB RAM
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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