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This review is for the Nintendo Wii game, Agatha Christie - And Then There Were None. The game was released for the Wii in February 2008, having already been released on the PC.
This game is based on the Agatha Christie of the same name, and is the first time that this title has been turned into a computer game. The Wii version of the game is a graphic adventure game, so you have to read the text and then click on items using the Wii remote to be able to progress through the game.
The game is based quite closely on the book, and permission had to be given by the owners of the Christie's estate to be able to make changes to the book. The main one is that you play the part of Patrick Narracott, a character which turns up on the island and then discovers that at least someone has murderous intent.
In terms of game play, it's a long time since I've seen point and click adventures, the last time I remember playing these was really on the Amiga, on games such as The Secret of Monkey Island. However, just because the concept is dated, that doesn't necessarily make the game dated, and I quite enjoyed the return to this old format.
In terms of the challenge in the game, this is a very difficult game. There is a lot of game play to be had, although much of this can be spent wandering around not really progressing. There's likely to be between twenty to thirty hours of game play to be had in this game, especially if you're not a naturally able games player such as myself!
In terms of controlling the game, there is some effort by the developers to use the features of the Wii remote, but these are limited. Sometimes in the game you have to move the remote in a way to open or move an item, which adds some fun to the game, but this feature isn't used as extensively or imaginatively as it might well have done.
The challenge though is arguably a little much, as I am myself stuck in the game. Although at the beginning the game is very addictive and is fun to explore, after a while, it gets less interesting once it becomes hard to make progress. Certainly I'm not that inclined to return to the game to be able to progress, suggesting that for me at least, it's too difficult. I understand though that there are numerous different endings to the game, so there is some reason to replay the game for those that do complete it.
The graphics in the game are adequate, as is the sound, but nothing more. This game is though the sort of challenge which involves the careful reading of the clues, exploration around the hotel and lots of trial and error. Better graphics and sound would have added to the atmosphere of the game, but given that the concept is quite old, I felt that the game got away with quite weak graphics.
The game retails for 39.95 pounds, although is available from Amazon at the time of writing for just under half of this. If you're happy with a second hand copy, these are available for around fifteen to twenty pounds on sites such as eBay and Amazon. The game is rated as 12+, so is suitable for older children only.
In summary, this isn't a bad game, and it's nice to see the return of point and click adventure games. The game is a little too difficult and possibly not as polished a game as I would have liked. It's still quite expensive to buy, even second-hand, so unless you're a fan of this genre of game, it might be worth waiting a while for the price to fall, as you're not missing out on a classic game.
I was never a massive fan of point-and-click adventure games. This was probably because they always involved too much thought and were often too cryptic (for me at least). The result of which was often me flicking through my inventory trying to combine a cabbage with a spanner in order to progress. Therefore it was with a little trepidation that I acquired the Wii version of Agatha Christie's best-selling novel 'And Then There Were None' (ATTWN).
Trying as hard as ever not to reveal the plot for those who have not yet purchased the game, it goes a little something like this. 10 strangers are invited to attend a weekend away at Shipwreck Island (Soldier Island in the book), off the coast of Devon, by a mysterious Mr U.N. Owen whom none of the protaganists have ever met. Upon reaching the island, the boat of Mr Narracott (controlled by the player) is scuttled by one of the ten, with the result that the assembled guests have to sit out the storm and wait for help to arrive. It is revealed that each of the guests, barring Narracott, have dark and mysterious pasts. One by one the guests start to die, leaving a race against time to uncover the identity of the killer as well as the pasts of those imprisoned on Shipwreck Island.
Players assume the role of Fred Narracott and have the entire island at their disposal to search for clues and a method of escape. Interrogating guests and searching their belongings, as well as the surroundings, are key parts of the gameplay. This works effectively in delivering the plot, as the events on Shipwreck Island are seen through the eyes of each of the guests present.
The story works well on the whole and even if you have read the Christie novel, you be guessing the killer until the very moment that their identity and backstory is revealed. This is because the makers of ATTWN opted for their own unique ending, which despite seeming a little implausible, they should be creditted for trying.
The graphics are really a mixed bag. The opening cutscenes I felt looked fantastic, whilst the makers did a great job of creating a moody and intense setting. Storm effects look good, whilst the house that the player spends so much time in also looks very good. On the other hand some cutscenes reveal the weakness of character animations. Often you will wonder why characters look so bad. The lip-synching can, at times, be pretty bad as can the level of detail on the characters.
In terms of controls there isn't much to say other than Wii Remote point and click concept works well. However use of the Wii Remote motion sensor controls appears to have been an afterthought by the developers. Only on a couple of occasions can the player use gestures to solve puzzles, and even then this can be frustrating - particularly the use of the Wii Remote to open a safe-combination on a door which was extremely frustrating to say the least.
However, I want to stress that whilst the game has its flaws, it really succeeds at creating a fantastic atmosphere. This is in no small part to the music that accompanies the game. Coupled with the lighting effects and the sound of the storm battering Shipwreck Island, ATTWN does well in creating a great setting. In addition this is helped by the fact the voice-acting is handled incredibly well. The script isn't cheesy either, which can sometimes happen with games that predominantly feature talking characters.
Delivery of the plot is helped by the fact that most, if not all puzzles, can be worked out with a bit of thought. Clues are present throughout the game and should present ardent point and click fans with little difficulty.
A massive criticism that I have with ATTWN was the fact that it has little replay value. After completing the game, the player is left with one final puzzle. Upon solving this puzzle the player is rewarded with the ending from the original Christie novel. This was a good idea. However there is no incentive to play the game again, other than seeing the entire story played out again. Therefore people may think twice about paying the full retail price for a game that they could complete in a weekend having done everything there is to do.
Nevertheless I want to finish this review on a positive note - unlike those who spent their last days on Shipwreck Island. While admittedly there is little replay value to the game, ATTWN really does well in delivering a fantastic and effective atmosphere. The plot is good, and the graphics, music and lighting combine well to produce a sombre and eerie atmosphere.
I would definitely recommend this game, but I would also recommend renting it, as for all its atmosphere it has little replayability. Having said that, although you will finish the game wishing that there was more to it, ATTWN is a very good attempt at a Christie novel, if let down by its glaring flaws.
For me, the era of the point and click adventure seemed dead and buried until the Wii was released. The remote is perfect for the job as it does exactly that, point and click. Another thing that I look for in games of this genre is a good immersive storyline, one you can lose yourself in, and use to escape from reality. So when a game with the famed name "Agatha Christie" was released, I was naturally curious. Surely a game based on the novel "And then there were none" by the woman herself couldn't fail, could it?
The game tries to set the mood with awful and simplistic visuals. In addition to this, the character animation is just as bad. You won't be impressed by them but on the other hand they don't necessarily need to impress you. The important aspect of the point and click adventure is the story and how interactive the gameplay is with that story.
As you will have gathered by now, this is truly an interactive version of the novel, meaning that if you have read the book beforehand, you will know who dies and this will ruin the suspense. Put simply, you play as Patrick Narracott, and you have brought eight of the novel's characters along with you to an island, but your boat gets ruined, leaving you stranded, and then the murders begin. Unfortunately, you cannot prevent these murders, so a true feel of on-rails gameplay plagues the game, somewhat reducing the enjoyment of it. The problem with this is, you end up doing very little sleuthing, and instead it is just a series of problems to solve. Mostly it is item hunting, but some puzzles require you to do very obscure things, that you may never have figured out, like talking to sleeping guests. If you are impatient, this may cause you to give up and abandon the game with no real incentive to return to it. This is also the case that if you ever make it to the end, as you know everything that is going to happen, there is no real point in replaying the adventure. Another problem is the loading times, which are painfully slow. This doesn't help to keep your interest in the game. If you are just looking for a good story, you are better off just reading the novel, and you will save a fair bit of money.
What it was destined to do, you point and click with the Wii remote. It is used a bit more creatively in some puzzles, but without any impressive effect. The Nunchuk is not used in the game.
As you might have guessed, there is no multiplayer element at all to the game.
Once again, there is no reason to include this feature, so it doesn't.
It was originally released at £39.99. Compare that to the cost of the book, and it isn't a very good deal. It can be picked up for around £20-£25 now, but it really depends if you have the patience and the desire, to play an interactive version of the novel, or if you are happy with just a good read.
On the whole it is a rather poor attempt at bringing a murder mystery novel to life. However, in some places it works well, in terms of gameplay and storyline, but this is just too inconsistent. If you are one of those people who tries to save money, then the novel itself is recommended over the game.
Overall Score: 4/10