Cold Case Summer: A Carol Reed Mystery

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:     MDNA Games

Released:  February 2013

System Requirements:

  • OS : Windows 98/XP/Vista/7 or 8

  • CPU: Pentium 1000 or higher

  • RAM: 128 MB

  • Video Card: 16 MB

  • HDD: 800 MB






by Rushes

There are three things in life of which one can be certain. That a British winter will always last for eight months of the year; that lychees are toothsome fare; and that a Carol Reed adventure game will inevitably be bright, alive and visually sumptuous.

Hey! A new Carol Reed adventure is out. Cold Case Summer. It's bright and alive and the other thing too. It's also the ninth game in the enduring series by developers MDNA Games.

In this most recent instalment, Carol is contacted by “X”, a mysterious gentleman who promises Carol fame and fortune if she listens to what he has to say and accepts his extraordinary case. Carol feels ill at ease with all the secrecy, and refuses. Unfortunately, “X” is found murdered soon after their curtailed meeting. An open case – that of the 1986 assassination of the then Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme – raises its head, and Carol resolves to take up the mystery on her own terms, which is not without personal risk.

Summer Plumbing

Carol's pipes have gone doolally and her bathroom has been gutted. Guess who comes in to put things right. No, not him, the other one. I do enjoy the recurring characters from previous games, even if they don't have much to do other than frustrate or humour Carol. Jonas's phone number is on Carol's speed dial. “I don't have time for him now,” she hoots, as she zips around Norrkӧping in the car she just borrowed from the poor man after barely more than a “Hello!”.

Similarly, the game mechanics remain a constant, with welcome improvements added over time. There is still the optional tutorial and the notebook with its useful hints. The most valuable new addition is the exit and hotspot alert which may be accessed by pressing the space bar. With so many camera viewpoints and frequent and partially hidden items, this proves to be an absolute boon in ensuring that everything has been collected before moving forward from any location.

The environments are beautiful, as always. Photographed exteriors explore areas that we have never seen before: stark, sandy and rock-strewn land with crumbling, graffitied architecture; waterside leisure spots with rough wooden-meshed constructions for climbing and for passing through. We roam domestic interiors: a delight to see the lived-in mess and clutter quite as much as the tidy and spotless.

Dialogue is kept to a minimum, and the gameplay for the most part is solitary, in first person point and click, with no panning. A right click brings up the options menu. There are unlimited save slots.

The story itself is absorbing, with its base in a shocking true crime which out-reaches to bring the player into contact with new characters, heroes and villains.

The voicework is another matter. I've always found it difficult to warm to the several native English-speaking actors in this series, finding them wooden and lifeless, any inflection usually misplaced. Nine games in and I'm about getting used to it. There's enough else that's truly good about the series to keep me playing.

Summer Puzzling

Cold Case Summer gives us tried and tested puzzling by way of various boxes and cabinets that require unlocking but have no key with which to do so. There are some inventory combinations. General observation and logic is important in order to solve a couple of the problems.

There are no timed puzzles, no sliders or mazes and no sound puzzles.

The game installed and played smoothly throughout.

A solid entry in the Carol Reed canon, then. One that I would recommend highly for its plot and panorama, its charm and its enjoyably unique style.

Grade:  A-

I played on:

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1

AMD A6-3650 APU @ 2.60GHz

4.00 GB of  RAM

Radeon HD 6530D Graphics


The game can be obtained from MDNA Games.


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