Having skipped most of the games we’ve played so far - due to either lack of interest in a particular game, or because I’ve been too busy at the time - I haven’t been the most diligent member of the Qt3 Classic Game Club, but like most others (or so I suspect) I have considered which game I would pick if and when my turn came. I think I came up with some pretty good ones, but when Nightgaunt informed me that my turn had come I drew a complete blank and had to start from scratch.
I wanted the game to pass three criteria: it had to be arguably classic, it had to be easily and legally available, and preferably it should be something that I personally haven’t played before. I looked over the list of previous games, and noticed that it has a distinct lack of adventure games, although I guess Realms of the Haunting counts as such. I think that adventure games were the first gateway into pc gaming for a lot of gamers of my generation, and even though the genre’s popularity has waned since then (but never died!) many of the adventure games from the late 80’s through the 90’s can be considered true classics. I’ve played most of them, and I have fond memories of many of them, but two of my absolute favourites are the Laura Bow games. In those games time passed as you walked around trying to solve a murder mystery, and since the game played in real-time you could easily miss one or more clues by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. At the end you had to rely on the clues you did find to answer a series of questions, which would determine whether the murderer was caught or not.
So it was that I recalled The Last Express, another murder mystery with (as I understand it) similar mechanics that I’ve been wanting to play since it was released in 1997. I never managed to find a copy back then, but I did pick it up years later when it was released on GOG and it’s been sitting unplayed on my virtual shelf ever since. Well, no more! This game is like a bottle of fine wine that’s been sitting in my basement, waiting for that extra special occasion and now it’s finally going to be opened. Let’s hope age hasn’t turned it to vinegar. :)
Here are some bullet points from the GOG page:
[li]Unique Art Nouveau graphics achieved through rotoscoping.[/li][li]One of only a few adventure games played in real-time, among AI-controlled characters with their own goals and means with which to achieve them.[/li][li]Incredible playability with many endings thanks to a complex, adaptive storyline.[/li][/ul]
It sounds great, right? The game can be purchased on GOG or Steam:
Note that Steam only sells the slightly more expensive Gold Edition, which includes a built-in hint system and an improved UI, as well as various other minor stuff. Your choice, although I’ll be playing the GOG edition.
Let’s go sleuthing!