Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun Review

The opening sequence of Evil Under the Sun sets up an unusual premise. Famed fictional detective Hercule Poirot sits in his office relating the story of an earlier case to his Watson-like colleague Hastings. Rather than simply telling the story, Poirot presents it as an interactive intellectual exercise for Hastings. Poirot walks Hastings through the case and answers all of Hastings' questions as Hastings attempts to solve the case himself. During his set-up for the exercise, Poirot even presents an explanation for all of those locked doors adventure gamers are inevitably finding.

Unfortunately the game never really exploits this setup, merely using it as a way to explain all of those "I can't do that with that" types of messages adventure games are full of and the aforementioned locked doors. You control Poirot as you have done with a thousand other adventure game heroes before him, clicking on the screen to tell him where you'd like him to amble. The world is presented one screen at a time as you sweep the mouse from side to side looking for the odd interactive element or two. All of this is very standard adventure game stuff and Evil Under the Sun doesn't stray from the formula one bit.

When you first leave the hotel in which Poirot is staying during a seaside holiday you'll realize that you're in for more adventure game illogic than you are for shrewd and calculated detective work. There's a large rock lying by the side of the path that you pick up and place in your inventory. Why would Poirot decide to put a small boulder in his pocket? Because in the world of adventure games someone or something in the near future will inevitably require a large rock. The next thing that you do is time how long it takes to get from the hotel to the beach. Why? Presumably to determine who had the time to commit the murder and then slip away. The problem is that at this point in the game the murder has not yet occurred. Do famous detectives constantly measure the time it takes to get between two places on the off chance that a murder may just happen to occur in the area? It's hard to put yourself in the shoes of a famous detective when you must do one illogical thing after another.

Speaking of murder, for a murder mystery it sure takes a long time to actually get to the murder. You spend a sizable chunk of the game walking around and exhausting conversation trees with other characters while pilfering a collection of junk from people's rooms that would make a kleptomaniac proud. Some gamers will undoubtedly begin to wonder if a murder will ever occur, and that perhaps the only "evil" under this sun is a lonely and noisy bachelor on vacation desperately seeking companionship from anyone he can latch on to.

If you love adventure games then you might find the game enjoyable enough provided that you can put up with the slow pace, long conversations, and puzzles that are entirely based on combining inventory items. Otherwise the only murder victim you'll ever see in this game is your attention span.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 58%. Fun gameplay is the real murder victim here.


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