Operation Dorian Gray
“To understand what
death is, we should live it....”Prof. Eulemberg
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Need to Use That Puppet on What?
The puzzles in
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:
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
to ‘talk” with inanimate items. Try it!
Dialogue choices may be made in any order.
And All That
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
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
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
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.
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
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!
requires as a minimum:
Pentium III 733 MHz
128 Mb RAM
16MB Graphics Card
Windows 98 / Windows
2000 / Windows ME / Windows XP
I played on :
Operating System: Win
XP Professional SP1
CPU: 3.2 GHz Intel
Memory: 1 GB Dual
Channel DDR400 SDRAM
Page File: 1536MB
Primary File System:
Sound Card: DirectX
Version: 9.0b (4.09.0000.0902)
Video Card: 128 DDR
NVIDIA Geforce FX5200 Ultra
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