Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None PC CD-ROM
Published by The Adventure Company
Developed by AWE Games
Release Date: 10th February 2006
Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None, an introduction.
Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (originally Ten Little Indians) has been hailed as the best selling crime novel of all time with over 100 million copies sold to date. It's no surprise then that a computer game, based on the book, has eventually been made. Some alterations to the original story have had to be made but overall the game does a pretty good job of recreating the story in computer game form.
What's the game about?
It wouldn't have been practical to have simply followed the events of the book to the letter. After all it would require all of the characters (including the one you'd control) being killed which would be no fun. To make the story suitable for a PC adventure game some alterations have been made. The ten characters (or should I say victims) from the book, Mr Justice Wargrave, Vera Claythorne, Philip Lombard, Emily Brent, General Macarthur, Dr Armstrong, Tony Marston, Mr Blore and Mr and Mrs Rogers, are all here. In order to give you a playable character in the game the story has been slightly altered. In the book, the 8 characters (not counting Mr and Mrs Rogers, the manservant and his wife, as they are already at one the island with orders to prepare the mansion for the arrival of the guests) are taken from Sticklehaven to Shipwreck Island (it's called Soldier Island in the book) by Fred Narracott who then returns to Sticklehaven. In the game it's Fred's brother, Patrick Narracott who takes the party to Shipwreck Island but as he's about to return (after helping the guests with their luggage) he finds his boat has been scuttled and therefore he is forced to remain on the island. You'll play as Patrick Narracott in this point 'n' click adventure game and it will be your job to solve puzzles and attempt to prevent the guests from being killed.
What's good about the game?
Given that modifications had to be made to the game, I think the developers have done pretty well in maintaining the feel of the original story. In our preview we commented on some bizarre errors (such as being able to see a character's dead body before they had been killed) and possible dead end situations but thankfully these all appear to have been sorted and our review code had no such problems. One advantage of the game not completely following the events of the book is that even if you have read the book you're still in for a few surprises. The murderer has changed this time around. There are multiple endings and depending on your actions towards the end of the game it's possible to save not only one but two of the characters by quick thinking. The game claims to be around 20 hours long but in truth it's only around 10-12 hours long which might seem a little short but it's entertaining from start to finish and there's no filler here to simply pad out the game, which is rather refreshing for an adventure game. It's also worth mentioning that the puzzles, for the most part are logical.
What's not so good about the game?
The single biggest complaint with ATTWN has to be the character models which in all honesty are quite ugly. I think the developers managed to capture the look of the characters quite nicely but the quality of the character models leaves a lot to be desired and the characters look at odds with the nicely detailed locations in the game. At times it's not always clear what needs to be done and you find yourself seemingly wandering around the house time after time looking around to trigger the next cutscene. We completed the preview version of the game and have also completed this final version and it was surprising to see that you can actually solve most of the puzzles before you really need to solve them. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but even though we'd solved the puzzles 'earlier' we still had to visit the locations of the puzzles to trigger the next cutscene. Comparing the game to the book it's noticeable that the game doesn’t portray the sense of fear that grips the characters as one by one they are killed off. Only Vera could be said to be showing any signs of stress and even then it's not to the extent that she suffers in the book.
How does it look?
As we remarked above, the visual quality of the game is a real mixed bag. Shipwreck Island is pretty much how you would imagine it to be and the various locations on the island, as well as the many rooms in the mansion, all look quite impressive. The wonderful attention to detail in recreating these environments from Christie's book is slightly countered by the pug ugly character models which look about 6 years out of date. The characters look awkward and don't always animate believably, which is disappointing. It's also a disappointment that the game has a fixed screen resolution of 800x600 as the game doesn't look as good as it should when playing on a TFT screen.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
We said in our preview of the game that the support for deaf gamers was not as good as it should have been. We had high hopes that this would be rectified in the final version but sadly it was not. The cutscenes that carry the story forward are not subtitled (even though subtitles are available and enabled by default) and this is very disappointing (more so in an adventure game than in any other genre). For instance, when Mr Owen's record is played and the supposed crimes of the characters are revealed you'll be completely unaware of what's been said. Likewise when the game reaches its conclusion you'll be unaware of what the characters are saying. The bonus ending (which reveals the original ending found in the book) is also not subtitled although you can just about read the statement that is shown before you. However, I'd advise reading the book before looking at this as it would definitely spoil the book for you. With the exception of all the unsubtitled cutscenes, everything else is pretty much OK. All conversations (outside of the cutscenes) are shown in text and your journal (which can be accessed at any time) will keep a text record of all the clues and information you find.
Point 'n' click adventure games are not that common these days and when one comes along they usually tend to be mediocre. Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None is definitely one of the better ones we've seen over the last few years though and fans of the genre should definitely pick up a copy. There are some aspects of the game that could have been better such as character models, different screen resolutions to choose from and the cutscenes should have been subtitled, but on the whole it's a good game that fans of the genre will enjoy even if they haven't read the book. At just under £20 it's nicely priced too which does compensate somewhat for the brevity of the game. Here's hoping a patch is released to add subtitles to the cutscenes so that deaf gamers can fully appreciate the game.
Overall Game Rating: 7.8/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None is an enjoyable point 'n' click adventure game that fans of the genre (and indeed fans of the book) should definitely pick up. It's disappointing the cutscenes aren't subtitled though.