Martin Mystère: Operation Dorian Gray


Genre:   Adventure

Developer:    Artematica Entertainment

Publisher:    gmx media

Released:  2005

PC Requirements:   Pentium III 733 MHz, 128 Mb RAM, 16MB Graphics Card, Windows 98 / Windows 2000 / Windows ME / Windows XP, DirectX 9


Additional screenshots



Martin Mystère: Operation Dorian Gray

By Looney4Labs


“To understand what death is, we should live it....”Prof. Eulemberg

Imagine…a prominent professor engaged in secret research (is there ever any other kind?) found dead in his bedroom…shot three times in the chest...the police are baffled…who are you going to call?  That unflappable sleuth, Martin Mystère, of course!  Martin (and the gamer) will calmly stroll through a series of interesting challenges and fun locations—my favorite was the jungle with the Aztec temple—and eventually, after many twists and surprises, Martin will solve the murder in his own inimical and imperturbable style.

For those of you who don’t know (that included me until this game), Martin Mystère is the creation of Alfredo Castelli.  Martin Mystère has appeared in graphic novels and in a television cartoon series, but this is his first outing in an adventure game.  Hopefully, it is not his last.  It was released in Europe in 2005, and is scheduled for North American release with the title, Crime Stories, in spring of ‘06.

Martin Mystère reminds me of a humorous, modern day Holmes.  For example, in one scene in Martin’s bedroom as he prepares to change clothes, he turns to the screen and says, “Hey, please, some privacy.”  He is well traveled and accomplished in many areas, but his specialty is solving crimes with supernatural or impossible aspects. 

And So It Begins:

A slightly out of focus dream sequence, followed by a call from New York Police Inspector Travis telling Martin of Prof. Eulemberg’s mysterious murder, sets the stage.  Your first task is to get Martin dressed and to the villa to consult with Travis.  So begins this humor filled romp through several settings in New York (including a “baroque and kitschy” villa), a small town in Mexico, and an Aztec temple in the jungle.  The gamer plays mainly as Martin, but on two occasions will play as other characters.

I quite liked that aspect of the game.  The opportunity to play as Martin’s wife, Diana, and as the bum, Alfie, was interesting.  The tasks set are mostly logical ones, and usually, inventory based.

Once dressed, Martin carries a notebook which acts as a very general hint system—it will usually point you in the direction of the current objective.

And I Will Do This How?

Martin Mystère is a point-and-click, mouse controlled, third person adventure game.  Left clicking moves Martin around while right clicking brings up the Inventory.  Right clicking also scrolls through the icon options of Examine (Magnifying glass), Take (Hand), and Talk (Exclamation Point), while left clicking again causes the action to take place. 

What Should I Do Now?

The player can choose to interact with everything, or focus only on goals.  It is impossible to die, or to do anything that will result in a dead-end—well, at least not in my game anyway.

Sadly, Martin Mystère has only 8 save slots.  Saves are accessed through F1, and you can choose to overwrite previous saves.  To load a saved game, the gamer picks from a screen displaying a small screen shot.  While this is adequate, I prefer unlimited saves and the ability to name my saves. 

Martin Mystère is divided into eight sections. These sections are separated by cut scenes presented on a montage background.  However, there is no title screen telling you that you have left one act and entered another. 

A Mask and the Kitchen Robot:

Martin Mystère is a very interactive game.  Many of the objects in Martin’s world have a text description which is revealed by left clicking.  Many of these descriptions are amusing, such as “kitchen robot” or “my impossible to break into closet.”  

If the item is taken into inventory, left clicking on it again will elicit a spoken description, sometimes with added details which may give a clue as to its use.

The Down Side:

One of the foibles of the games was that occasionally the label on an item was incorrect.  For instance, there is a time in which it is necessary to click on both a telephone and a rug in the same room.  However, both items are labeled as ‘telephone’.  There are also some misspellings.  However, I hope these problems will be corrected for the North American release.     

I Need to Use That Puppet on What?

The puzzles in Martin Mystère are inventory based with a few exceptions and they are for the most part, logical—well, logical for an adventure game anyway.

I picked up everything that the game would allow me to, and I never ran out of inventory slots.  Sometimes it is necessary to combine inventory items, and this is easily accomplished in the inventory itself.  However, to my great disappointment, you don’t necessarily use everything you pick up—I really wanted to use that puppet and tried it everywhere! 

I did no pixel hunting and--hip hip hurray--there were no sliders or sound puzzles.  No timed puzzles or mazes, nor any puzzles that were color dependent, or required quick reflexes.  Besides the inventory puzzles, which comprise the majority, there are a few well placed logic puzzles, and one “think outside the box” unique puzzle.

Time For a Chat:

Martin Mystère often stops to chat with other folks.  These dialogues are usually humorous and sometimes, important.  They may provide information needed to continue the game, so listen up. For fun, it is possible to ask Martin Mystère to ‘talk” with inanimate items.  Try it! Dialogue choices may be made in any order.

And All That Jazz:

The atmospheric music provided by Lucio Fabbri and Carlo Forestor sets the tone and enhances the gaming experience.  It changes with each location, and seems well suited to each one.  Sadly, there is no option to control the voice, ambient sounds, and background music independently, but there is an option for subtitles.

The voice acting is an up-and-down mixture.  Some of the voices were well done—Martin and Diana in particular.  However, most sounded more English than American.

That said, one of the voices, that of the policeman at the door of Professor Eulemberg’s bedroom, was just plain annoying—it sounded as if he were reading from a script with his voice dropping unnaturally at the end of each line instead of at the end of each sentence.  It also sounded like an exaggerated southern drawl.  I am usually impervious to bad voice acting, but this one really got to me!  I also noticed that the voices did not always synchronize with the lip movements.  These were small things—and as the game drew me in, I learned to block them out and just enjoy the story.

What a Pretty Picture:

Martin Mystère is a very pretty game—full of color and light and movement.  The villa is especially sumptuous—I really wanted to roam around there and poke into things much more than I was allowed to.  I did not find any really dark scenes—the lighting was good even in the temple.

The close-ups of the people were often a little blocky—the men a bit square jawed.  However, as this game is based on a graphic novel (cartoon) series, that seems right in keeping with its spirit.

A Word of Warning:

There is one scene in the game set in a bar with a very scantily clad pole dancer—the dancer is obviously well endowed, and Martin must speak with her to advance the game.  While this not much worse than you something you might see on TV, it is good to be aware it is there.

Technical Stuff:

Martin Mystère comes on one CD in a DVD movie-style case.  It includes a very imaginative manual in the style of the Daily News.  This edition of the Daily News includes some entertaining reports of Prof. Eulemberg’s murder and other strange happenings in the area.

I experienced no problems installing the game.  It requires the disk to be in the drive to play.  On my computer, at least, the initial load time for a game seemed to be very slow—maybe I was just too eager to play.

There is one known glitch—in Act 3 at the Aztec temple, DO NOT click on the first post on the left of the path as you approach the temple.  This often (maybe always) results in a freeze.  The information on that post is not necessary to continue the game.  As of this writing, there is no patch.

In addition, on my computer, I had repeated freezes in Act 8 outside Malacchio’s door in the alley.  The only way I could continue was to go in and talk with Malacchio before I did anything else, and then wander around collecting things.  Collecting inventory first and then talking to Malacchio resulted in a freeze every time.

And so, the Final Scene:

While not totally absorbing, I found Martin Mystère a lot of fun to play.  The settings are interesting, and the item descriptions droll.  I love Martin’s study—it reminds me of my living room.  I wanted to poke around in the Aztec temple and the villa much more than I was allowed to. 

The puzzles are not exceptionally difficult, but there are several that challenged me a bit.  There is one unique puzzle of the sort I have not seen before.  The puzzles are well integrated within the story and the story is interesting with some surprising twists thrown in.

My favorite part of the game is its plentiful supply of humor.  This game kept me chuckling.  The ending is satisfying.  If you enjoy third person games, inventory based puzzles, and lots of humor, this one’s for you! 

Martin Mystère requires as a minimum:

Pentium III 733 MHz

128 Mb RAM

16MB Graphics Card

Windows 98 / Windows 2000 / Windows ME / Windows XP

DirectX 9

I played on :

Operating System:  Win XP Professional SP1

CPU: 3.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4

Memory: 1 GB Dual Channel DDR400 SDRAM

Page File: 1536MB

Primary File System: NTFS

Sound Card: DirectX Version:  9.0b (4.09.0000.0902)

CD/DVD-ROM: 52X32X52 speed

Video Card: 128 DDR NVIDIA Geforce FX5200 Ultra


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