Art of Murder: Cards of Destiny

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    City Interactive

Released:  March 2010  

PC Requirements:   Windows XP/Vista, DirectX 9.0, CPU 2.0 GHz, 512 RAM, Nvidia GeForce or ATI Radeon 64 MB RAM DirectX 9 compatible, 4 GB HDD space, DVD-ROM drive

Walkthrough    Walkthrough

Additional Screenshots



by Rushes


Art of Murder: Cards of Destiny is the third and most recent game in City Interactive’s Art of Murder adventure series featuring Federal Agent Nicole Bonnet.

Another day, another serial killer. “The Card Man” is the moniker of the psychotic who is responsible for a series of murders across the USA, and whose trademark is to leave a playing card at the scene of each crime. Nicole receives a series of parcels from The Card Man, each containing a cryptic clue as to the location of the next killing. As Nicole and her new partner Dick Parry find themselves more deeply drawn into the case, it seems that The Card Man has a grim endgame plan -- and it involves Nicole.


Cards of Destiny is a third person point and click adventure, with no panning. A left-click will carry out an action or interact with another character within the game. Right-clicking on an object or inventory item will enable it to be examined in greater detail. Items in inventory can be rotated, adjusted and scrutinised from within their close-up view. The inventory bar appears when the cursor is moved to the bottom of the game screen. Three icons are shown at the far right of the inventory bar: the mobile phone which provides access to the journal, documents, character dialogues and phone numbers; the question mark which reveals onscreen hotspots and exits; and the briefcase which will return you to Main Menu (the ESC key offers the same function).

Gameplay is a little stilted to begin with. Instead of being immediately drawn into the story, it feels more as though we are pottering around on the edges, unsure as to what we are meant to be doing and who exactly is this Card Man character anyway? There are a lot of exterior night locations: a seedy New York street with an even seedier bar and theatre, a rundown funfair, a deserted power plant, a farm in Maine, an old lighthouse. When Nicole makes it to Louisiana during daylight hours and we feel the virtual sun beating down upon our backs, we breathe a huge virtual sigh of relief. Blue sky! Nicole, stop squinting, it’s only sunlight, my dear! Before too long we do begin to feel involved, excited and intrigued by the turn of events -- and that is the game’s strength, by absorbing and testing the players, by keeping them sitting in front of their game screen for just 10 minutes… 30 minutes more…

Cards of Destiny’s graphics are lushly and intricately detailed and full of movement, interspersed with impressive cut scenes throughout the game. The music is excellent and atmospheric, fitting to both time and place, very often foreboding and filled with tension. I did find, however, that it tended on occasion to drown out dialogue, so I would recommend keeping subtitles enabled just in case.

There are unlimited save slots.


The puzzles are mostly inventory based, with some wonderfully surreal combos popping up along the way. Cross a ferret with a sausage and tie a feather boa to its rear end, and voila! A perfectly serviceable machine gun. Well, no, not really, but it’s representative of Cards of Destiny’s endearingly daffy logic. I didn’t say that was a bad thing now, did I? -- But do prepare to think outside that metaphorical weather-beaten box. Otherwise you may have recourse to bang your head against the wall more than is strictly comfortable or necessary.

There are two shooting challenges, both with a wavering aim. Nicole seriously needs to lay off the sherry once in a while. One of the challenges is aimed at a stationary target, the other at a moving series of objects.

It is possible to die, and you probably will, so save frequently!


Some things are just sent to try us. “These items don’t match” / “Not gonna happen” / “Yeah, right” / “Nothing doing”. Oh, for all the tea in China and for the sake of my unravelled sanity, why must Nicole repeat this nonsense sarcastically and ad nauseam to me? This is cruelly reminiscent of the Chronicles of Mystery games series -- which City Interactive also develop, and which has the same quirk. Nicole thinks I am an inept buffoon; my feelings are duly hurt.


It may be possible that my aging computer needs either a tonic or relegation to the scrap yard. But although meeting Cards of Destiny’s technical specifications, I experienced not only long screenload times but also dialogue stutter, delays when viewing inventory items in close-up, and a couple of crashes to desktop. Other than that, there were no dead ends or bugs.

Cards of Destiny is aimed at the gamer who loves a dollop of murky intrigue, a soupcon of twisting drama, and a generous helping of inventive inventory puzzles.

Grade: B


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March, 2010

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