Murder Off Miami (CRL) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

Murder Off Miami
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #43

Murder Off Miami

Here we have a 'whodunnit' in adventure format, based on a book by Dennis Wheatley, and written by Jason Somerville and Fergus McNeill.

Better known for his zany sense of humour, and spoofs such as The Boggit, Muder Off Miami is a departure from Fergus' usual style. It is not a humorous game at all.

As Police Detective Kettering, you get news that there has been a suicide aboard the Golden Gull. Bolitho Blane, a wealthy financier, has apparently killed himself on a luxury yacht, which is just starting out on a cruise from Miami, where you are stationed. The yacht, owned by the wealthy Carlton Rocksavage, host of the party aboard, is heading back to port as you set off in a police launch to investigate the incident.

Naturally you suspect murder (if only from the title of the game) and when you arrive aboard there is an ample supply of suspects, from Carlton Rocksavage himself to Count Luigi Posodini.

When you arrive in the captain's cabin, a number of suspects have gathered there. You recall that the inlay suggested talking to people. To do this, the command TALK TO is first entered, followed by what you want to talk about. Naturally you will want to talk about Blane or his suicide. Here, the assembled passengers are decidedly unhelpful, offering feeble excuses like "Oh, ask me tomorrow - I'm too tired."

So it would appear that the only avenue left is to have a poke around the vessel and hunt for clues. Taking a set of keys conveniently lying around in the captain's cabin, you set off below decks and start visiting the cabins. EXAMINE fails to reveal anything - or at least it did on all my trips round.

At this point I should explain that the game is in three parts and events take place over three days. There is one part for each day. You are in structed to load the next part depending on how many moves you have made, rather than the point you have reached in the investigation. This means saving data to tape, loading the next part and then loading back in the saved data - a tiresome chore.

The reload point comes all too soon, leaving you with the feeling that you would have liked to do some more sleuthing first. Unfortunately, every SAVE I made resulted in an I/O error and left me with a message to the effect that my investigation had failed, would I like another attempt? Not particularly.

The vocab is very limited and despite an 'enhanced' version of the Quill being used to create the game, the multi-word input that the player might type in is reduced to two recognised words for the purpose of the command - and not only the logical ones. Characters fail to respond realistically. In general they are very unhelpful, yet it seems you can walk into their cabins whilst they are in bed without so much as a grumble from them.

The graphics are passable but every cabin looks extremely similar, albeit decorated in different colours. It is possible to turn them off with a TEXT/GRAPHICS command.

Saving your position during a part is possible to tape, RAM or disk, but a RAM save is not possible when moving between parts.

No, for a whodunnit of this nature, this is just not good enough. Interaction with the characters must be far more realistic and commands need to be much more flexible. If you have played one of the Infocom detective series, don't bother with this - I can guarantee you will find it deadly boring.

Keith Campbell

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