Jan 15, 2006

PC Review: ‘Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None’

Truth is they don’t make ‘em like they used to. Point and click adventures don’t have the class and production values they used to have back in the 90s. The genre is no longer cutting edge, no longer adequately funded, but at least still alive.

Since the most talented designers like Jane Jensen, Ron Gilbert or Tim Schafer are no longer producing adventures, since budgets are being cut, production times shortened and since the need for decent storytelling abilities remains, developers tend to look back at classic literary or cinematic material. Be it Jules Verne, Alfred Hitchcock or Agatha Christie, you can’t miss when basing your game on such material. Or can you?

And Then There Were None the novel (written towards the end of the 30s) is considered as one of A. Christie’s finest moments. It is about a perfect, unsolvable and actually successful crime. About a perfect mass (if 10 people can be considered a crowd) murder committed by Mr. U.N. Owen. And Then There Were None the novel had already been adapted to film and theatre before the Adventure Company decided to publish the adventure game. Adapted -mostly- to critical acclaim.

What could then possibly go wrong in the adventure adaptation? I believe that it should have been obvious to the good people who designed the game. Despite being excellent material And Then There Were None has the problem of dealing with a perfect and unsolvable crime. A bloody unsolvable crime. As in: it can’t be solved by anyone, let alone by a geeky gamer. Thus all the player gets to actually do in this game is to be an observer who might just be able to save a few of the ten guests.
The player (a.k.a. you) gets to be Patrick Narracott, a character absent from the original, stranded along with the other ten guests on Mr. U.N. Owen’s island. Mr. Narracott is the sole person on the island who isn’t accused of a horrible deed (by U.N.Owen and through a gramophone disc and you’ll have to play the game or preferably read the book to find out more). This gives him the chance to roam around the island and interact with his environments in standard point and click fashion, solving rather easy and not very inspiring inventory based puzzles. Oh and not doing any actual detective work. Unless of course gathering five fingerprints (an optional task nonetheless) can be considered detective work.

Other problems include a constantly repeating and quite annoying musical theme, the inability to skip dialog (and there are tons of it), horrible 3d character models and a few glitches/bugs. On the other hand And Then There Were None is quite enjoyable and atmospheric (for the duration of the 10 to 15 hours you’ll spend beating it). Environmental graphics are okay and with some decent weather effects, the original material is excellent, the voice-overs almost perfect and if you buy the game in the U.S. you will also get the original book as a gift (or so I hear). The manual is also a nice addition, with its decent oldskool booky feel, and you might also appreciate the multiple endings, which also include the original.

So… I guess it really is up to you… This is an adventure that won’t thrill you, but in a peculiar way provide you with some hours of moody (and quality?) entertainment

That’s a (six) out of (ten).

Related Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Have you ever tried the game 'In Cold Blood'? I just ordered it, it looks pretty interesting. Its an adventure-type game with some esponiage and stealth thrown in.

    Heres the box art:

  2. I haven't played it myself, but I have heard some good comments... It does look interesting and it was produced by Revolution (of Brken Sword fame)

    here's the site: