Murder on the Orient Express - Review

Murder on the Orient Express
Ages: Teen

When I heard that The Adventure Company was doing Murder on the Orient Express I was incredulous. How could they do that? Everyone knows who the murderer is. But then I thought back to And Then There Were None, a game that The Adventure Company made from another Agatha Christie mystery, where they cleverly manage to keep much of the story the same and yet invented a new character and a twist to the ending that changed the story enough to keep you guessing. Well, this is exactly what they did with Murder on the Orient Express. And in a stroke of what can only be pure genius, they got David Suchet to do the voice of Hercule Poirot.

The new character, the person you play, Antoinette Marceau, is a replacement for M. Bouc, a friend of Poirot and the Director of the Compagnie Internationale Des Wagons Lilts. She is his clerk and up for an appointment if she sees to it that M. Poirot's has a pleasant and enjoyable trip.

At the very beginning, before the game even starts, an unexplainable scene takes place. There is a shoot-out in New Paltz, N.Y. and two men are taken captive. The games starts, as does the book, in the Sirkeci Station in Serbia where some of the characters milling around the station make their first appearance. Klaus the cook, Foscarelli an amiable car salesman and Hardman, a commercial traveler, Princess Dragomiroff and Hildegarde Schmidt, her lady's maid, Gretta Ohlsson, a timid and dowdy Swedish nurse, M. Ratchett, a philanthropist, arrogant and sinister and Hector MacQueen his secretary. Further on you meet Colonel Arbuthnot and Mary Debenham who seem to know each other and finally, in Belgrade, you talk to Pierre Michel, the conductor and to the Engineer just before boarding the Calais Coach. On board the train you will find Count and Countess Andrenei, the loud and complaining American Mrs. Hubbard. And last but not least, M. Poirot. Everyone of these people will become suspects to M. Poirot.

There are delightful scenes in the salon and dining rooms. You see the passengers fitting into their small but opulent cabins. The Orient Express speeding though the night brakes suddenly in front of an avalanche, a scream, Poirot falls from his bunk, hitting his head and spraining his ankle, and in the morning M. Rachett is found murdered.

In a skillful bit of business, Poirot being confined to bed means that Antoinette must act in his stead. Poirot councils and guides her with comments like, "Your current course of action is a mystery to Poirot" or "Use the little gray cells". There is much taking of fingerprints, asking questions and solving puzzles. Some are difficult because things were different then. For example, had I know that hat boxes had metal hat frames, I would have solved one of the puzzles immediately. When all the clues are collected, Poirot, miraculously healed brings all together to explain the mystery. There are three solutions instead of the two solutions in the book, and it all fits together.

The game prompted a whole Orient Express experience for me. About halfway thought the game, I found myself reading the book that came with the game. I was surprised at how much of the dialogue was taken from the book. Not only that, I reserved one of David Suchet's TV episodes and eventually watched the 1974 movie. I think there should be a reissue of Murder on the Orient Express starring David Suchet.

Reviewed by: Editor - 12/06

  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • © The Adventure Company
  • Platform(s): XP 2000
  • To Order: Win $24.99