Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun




Genre:   3rd Person Adventure Mystery

Developer:   AWE Games

Publisher:    The Adventure Company

Released:  October 2007

PC Requirements:   See end of review


Additional Screenshots





by Inferno


In their third collaboration, AWE Games and Lee Sheldon (writer and designer) have joined to offer up a new “whodunit” for the adventure gaming community -- Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun. This time we get the chance to play as the indomitable Hercule Poirot though the eyes and ears of his friend, Captain Arthur Hastings. Confusing? Only a little. Keep a weathered eye out and remember this mantra “things are not always what they seem, my good friend.”

"The sun shines...

the sea is blue...

 but there is evil everywhere under the sun."

            The opening of this adventure finds Poirot and Hastings together late one night. The date is September 7, 1940. The place is the Whitehaven Mansions, London and the apartments of Hercule Poirot. The streets are dark outside as the mandatory blackout has been issued. The two gentlemen are waiting out the London Blitz, a point in our world history that will soon determine Britain’s finest hour. Detective Poirot has invited Hastings to his office for the evening. He is more than rankled that his latest investigation, The Case of The Smuggler’s Rest Hotel, has had no press due to the cunning escapades of one Adolf Hitler. In fact, he remarks to his old friend that Hitler seems to “gobble up” the newspapers in the same way that he has “gobbled up” Europe (including his own dear Belgium).

            Poirot suggests to Hastings that they pass the time with the retelling of his latest caper. He remarks that he had solved the case of a dastardly crime in only one day. Poirot then challenges the Captain to listen while he recounts the case and see if indeed his friend is up to the task to do the same. In truth, Poirot promises to make the storytelling so intriguing that Hastings will think that he is Poirot, while reliving the investigation as the great sleuth himself. Poirot states that with the clues and evidence he presents to his friend, Hastings will be able to solve the case as Hercule has done. And so begins our adventure as we step into the shoes of the “pseudo Poirot” played by Arthur Hastings.   

“Red Sails in the Sunset”

This is an interesting mix of first and third person perspective throughout the adventure. It's a point and click affair, with enticing scenery and a well fleshed out plot. The palette is quite beautiful -- pastels and seaside colors during the daylight hours and darker, more sinister tones during the evening with many mysterious interiors. The underscore is smooth and likeable, yet slightly unsettling when the mysteries begin to present themselves. There is a sprinkling of easy to medium inventory based puzzles during the game; my only wish was that there were more. The visuals reminded me of both the "Poirot" television series and the Peter Ustinov movie of the same name. Now, I must say that I cannot comment on any similarities to the original novel as I haven't read it and this did not in any way affect my enjoyment of the game.  

“The night is young,

The skies are clear!

And if you want to go walking, dear…”

During Evil Under the Sun’s introduction, Poirot sets the ground rules for Hastings, explaining the necessary contrivances for navigating between the Seadrift Island Case world and Poirot’s own offices. He sets the stage by retelling three short mysteries that are obviously necessary for the Captain to understand just what he may be up against. The first, a story from the island about a legendary pirate during the year 1703; then two more cases which took place in 1940 – the time that our adventure is set in. The first person view will take place during the introduction of the game and when the player feels it is necessary to return from the “Seadrift Island” back to Poirot’s offices, either to gain advice on the next move or review and speak with Poirot about the case at large. The rest of the game is third person.

At the opening of the adventure the Main Menu appears. Here the player will have the choice of resuming a paused game, starting a new game, saving a game (saves are unlimited, by the way) loading up a previous save, setting options for the existing game or exiting the program. I liked the Options Menu, as one can turn off items such as Text Captions, 3D Shadows, Animated Effects, Fog, Haze and Clouds, Particle Effects, and Anti-aliasing -- and adjust two different Volume controls and Brightness values. This, I feel, is very important for those players whose systems only meet the minimum requirements. Unchecking some or all of these items will allow the game to run more smoothly and will help with the dreaded “whiteout” problem some have experienced, especially unchecking the Particle Effects. It is also strongly recommended that if you happen to have a VIA chipset for your system, you make sure that this is updated with the latest VIA Drivers

While this is primarily a point and click affair, there are a few keyboard shortcuts one may make use of. They are:  

·         ESC - Skip Movies

·         I – Inventory

·         S - Save Game

·         L - Load Game

·         P - Pause Game

·         F2 - Quick Save

·         F3 - Quick Load

Hastings as Poirot will certainly get his workout while walking throughout the game’s universe (there is no “run” feature presented). But by simply double clicking as the player moves the character, the scene transitions will be much faster and will avoid a lot of frustration for those gamers who are “patience challenged.” I found the game to be quite nonlinear if one wishes it to be so and there were no dead ends. The puzzles are inventory based. I found the inventory to be delightful, because if you click on the tiny question mark at the upper left side, it gives a complete set of instructions as to how it works. The items may be examined within the inventory by simply double clicking. Single click to use an item. Clicking the tiny “X” at the upper right corner will close the inventory from view. During the game, gear icons will show actions and uses for the various items; some will need to be combined.

The game universe is indeed a vast one. The Smuggler’s Rest Hotel is large with many rooms to explore both inside and out. There are numerous areas on the island which will hold Poirot’s interest as well as quite a few on the mainland. I found the graphics to be a nice improvement over the past two games and hope that in the next game the developers will allow for resolution settings to be adjusted for widescreen monitors. There are many characters to speak or interact with, and a very handy notebook for storing documents, articles or letters, a task list and a suspect list. During the game I found that if it was not progressing or I was lost at some point, all I needed to do was to return to Poirot’s office and study an interesting contraption he had there. (No, I’m not giving anything away here, folks…This is a mystery…You want to know? Go play the game.)  

I also enjoyed the technical contrivance for the game play. Up at the top of the screen there is a stylized “tool bar” of sorts. Here there are five icons. The first one is for the Main Menu, the second lets the player return to Poirot’s office (best place to go if Hastings is stuck), the third is the inventory, the fourth is Hastings’ notebook which has a plethora of information (use it well) and finally the fifth icon, which is a particular instrument which is actually vital to solving the mystery. (Nope… I’m not telling you about that either.) Besides the nonlinear game play, one can see that there is much to do in way of exploration of the universe, item collection for inventory and puzzle solving, reading of documents for background and research -- and of course much interaction with the many characters involved in the plot. The dialogue may seem long to some, but the game allows for clicking quickly through if you feel that is necessary (I didn’t).   

“There’ll be Blue Birds over

The White Cliffs of Dover...”

All in all, I found Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun entertainingly satisfying from beginning to end and all parts in between.  The game ran smoothly for me with absolutely no crashes or glitches. While there have been reports of “whiteouts,” slow response time and a few crashes, I believe these depend on how one’s system is configured and what hardware one is running -- especially with a system that meets only the minimum requirements. The storyline had an easy flow for me; the game took about fifteen hours to finish. The voice talent was absolutely believable and the side comments of both Hastings and Poirot were brilliant. After seeing Peter Ustinov, Albert Finney and David Suchet portray the intrepid Belgian detective -- fine actors all -- I feel that Kevin Delaney (the voice of Hercule Poirot for this adventure) should be placed right up there with them. As a matter of fact, I felt that the entire cast was well played and drew me into the story completely. I would recommend this adventure to all who like to chew over a fine “whodunit” and look forward to AWE Games’ next offering.


Grade A


1.       Evil Under the Sun – Agatha Christie

2.       Red Sails in the Sunset – Jimmy Kennedy 1935

3.       It’s Delovely – Anything Goes – Cole Porter 1934

4.       The White Cliffs of Dover – Lyrics by Nat Burton, music by Walter Kent 1941

Recommended System Requirements:

OS: Windows2000/X/VISTA

CPU: 2.0 GHz Intel Pentium IV or Higher

RAM: 512MB

Disk Space: 1.5GB

CD/DVD-ROM: 16x or higher DVD ROM Drive

Video: 128MB (DirextX 9 Compatible)

Sound: SoundBlaster

Input: Keyboard and mouse

Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows2000/X/VISTA

CPU: 1.4 GHz Intel Pentium III

RAM: 256MB

Disk Space: 1.5GB


Video: 64MB (DirextX 9Compatible)

Sound: 16 bit DirectX Compatible

Input: Keyboard and mouse

Played on:

OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home SP 2

CPU: Pentium D 950 3.4GHz 800MHz


Video: BFG nVidia Geforce 7600GT OC 256MB 128bit

Sound: SoundBlaster Audigy


Monitor: Northgate 20' Flat Panel Monitor

DirectX Version: 9.0c

November 2007

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