Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders


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Complete Review & Description

Despite the title sounding like it, this is not a game where a serial killer teaches you the alphabet. Instead, it’s a well-crafted story about an unusual set of murders and Hercule Poirot’s weird obsession with neatness. With ego points, a variety of puzzles and an amazing art style, there’s a little bit of something for everyone.
Agatha Christie first entered my life years ago when Poirot came to Prime as a mustache obsessed, but utterly brilliant detective. Between him and Miss Marple, I utterly fell in love with murder mysteries. There was a certain way about him, an arrogance that only forms when you’re the top in your field that makes Poirot likeable; despite sometimes going on about how pretty a murder victim is (come on Poirot, just solve the murder!). Agatha Christie herself is well known for brilliant characters and unseen plot twists. This adaptation of her 1936 novel, The ABC Murders, takes all of that and brings it together with a lovely art style.

The brilliant voice acting for Poirot really bring across that particular brand of charisma that he’s known for: a mischievous wit, mixed with a great intelligence and need to solve the puzzles in front of him. To many people, David Suchet from Agatha Christie’s Poirot is Poirot, and the voice acting here does a good impression on him, while still adding a few elements of its own. Sadly, the performances for the rest of the cast fall flat, and there are a few mistakes in pronunciation from all of the characters. It feels like there may have only one or two takes.
Voice acting aside, the Borderlands / Telltale-inspired art style is perfect. It feels like a living comic book, even as people are dying. Not only is the art striking, but the area designs are also lovingly created to be as accurate as possible to 1930’s United Kingdom. There are only two or three different areas to explore during each murder, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but allows the plot to move easily from one chapter to the next. For much the same reason, the puzzles are easy enough to figure out. A little bit of thinking goes a long way in making the plot flow as smoothly as if you were reading the book.
The story is as amazing as ever, and will take you on just as wild a ride as when the book was first published. It’s very true to the source, and anyone who hasn’t read it (or who can’t remember the finer points) is in for well paced storytelling and some awesome plot twists that keep you guessing as to the identity of the murderer until the very end. It is also not diminished by a strange obsession with item combination mechanics and overpowering music, like many point-and-click adventures can be.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t puzzles to solve, of course, the best of which are the “little grey cells” and crime scene recreation. During little grey cell puzzles, you pick out the clues that will allow Poirot to come to the conclusions needed to help solve the murders. After a thorough investigation, he can recreate the crime in an interactive cutscene which can be turned into a short film for your viewing pleasure once you’ve completed the game. Along with puzzles, though, there are the optional examination tasks where Poirot makes a statement, and if you can prove him right, you’ll get extra information to help solve the murders.
The dialogue options are rather limited, and as amazing as the plot is, there is no way to fail – and thus no nerve wracking moments that have you at the edge of your seat (unlike other popular crime-solving games, like Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment). It leaves each correct answer feeling just a little hollow. Even if you get something a little wrong, Poirot will just gently chastise you and let you go again.
Dialogue is split into two categories – nice and sarcastic – and both are valid option, yielding similar results in the end. Even if Detective Japp has to step in, this story will be told and your poor dialogue choices won’t stop it!

The main reason to pick your dialogue options carefully is the amount of ego points you earn for keeping in character – so prepare to be mischievous, yet well mannered, and bring your mustache oil. Never has a man been more obsessed and vain about his mustache than Poirot; no wonder most of the fifty achievements are mustache-themed. Fixing Poirot’s mustache in every mirror you see in a good example of acting like Poirot. I did say he was obsessed.
The game is, however, quite short at only five to eight hours of gameplay, though this will vary depending on how easy you find the puzzles, how many examinations you decide to complete, and how many hints you choose to use. With such a short playtime, unless you are a huge literature fanatic, or an Agatha Christie fanboy, the $36 price tag might be a bit too much. As soon as it hits a discount, though, it will definitely be worth it.
If you’re looking for a challenge, there are better murder mystery games. But if you’re looking for a bright and beautiful game that allows you to experience a great story with a relaxed atmosphere, Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders is definitely one to take a look at. Let’s see if you can live up to the legendary Hercule Poirot, and find out the A.B.C Murderer.



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