There was plenty of room for improvement in Crime Stories
DidiCardoso wrote this review on .
The story revolves around the murder of Professor Eulemberg, with Martin Mystere as the detective trying to put the tiny pieces of the puzzle together in order to find out what happened and who did it.
Strangely enough, the game puts you in Martin's shoes without making any sort of introduction, but apparently, there is a whole comic book series based on his adventures. Martin seems to be a bit of a mix between Indiana Jones and any CSI investigator: an expert in science, history and the occult, he questions people, searches for clues and puts evidence together.
We start the game as Martin awakes with a phone call, telling him the news of Professor Eulemberg's death. The first part of the game is pretty redundant: you are stuck with the car at the mechanic's and your closet locked, because your wife didn't want you to go out so you could rest. So, you spend Act 1 finding a way to get the closet open and your car back. Why not put us right at the crime scene from the start? I didn't see much point to this except to get acquainted with the simple interface and the detailed environments with plenty of things to click and inspect.
Add to the numerous "hot spots" the fact that Martin walks anywhere, and moving between scenarios can take quite a while. I wish there were an option to make him run.
As the investigation progresses, Martin will find himself tangled in a web of life beyond death beliefs, seekers of eternal life, strange dreams and a whole lot of not-so-normal events. In his investigation, Martin will explore everything from small messy studies packed with books and historical artifacts to a gorgeous mansion, a strip club and a museum, archeological excavations on Aztec ruins, even a small Mexican village. Later on in the game, you also get to play as Diana for a short while.
The puzzles in the game are mostly inventory-based, by combining items together, while others involve using the right object in the right place. Some of them are just plain obvious, while others will make you think for a while. For example, who would have thought that a mule was the perfect tool to open a box of records? And before you file away that game box, there is an important clue inside, so keep it handy. Overall, the puzzles aren't frustrating, but finding the pieces you need can be, because it requires so much attention to detail to find and inspect everything in the backgrounds.
The graphics in the game are a mix of high-res 2D backgrounds and 3D modeled characters. The backgrounds are very colorful and detailed, with a great number of textures and color palettes for the different areas in the game. They are quite stunning. The character models could have used some work though. I found it quite odd that men had very protruding chins (especially Martin!), and the animations seem a bit off at times.
The music is well executed and keeps the mysterious and somewhat tense atmosphere throughout the game, without being overwhelming. On the other hand, the voice acting wasn't all that great. My first quirk with it was no one seems to agree on how to pronounce the surname Mystere. My second, well, I get the feeling that the people doing the voice-overs were actually waiting for the subtitles in the game to appear. Because they pause... in the middle of the... sentences... like this. It sounds pretty silly when you actually hear it.
The subtitles needed better proofreading as well, since there were plenty of capitalization mistakes and some spelling errors, and at times some of the sentences seemed totally out of context, so I assume the translation wasn't all that effective. Onomatopoeias are also in the subtitles, so you will see plenty of "hu", "ah", "um", "mh" and "pfu"... I’m not sure what a "pfu" is either, but I think these shouldn’t even have been typed in the subtitles.
While there was plenty of room for improvement in Crime Stories, the plot itself is worth the 15 hours of explorative gameplay, especially if you are one not to miss a third-person point-and-click graphic adventure.
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