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Murder Mansion Reviews
Author: Ron Lee (as Reelyor)
Date: 2005

Reviewed by C. Henshaw

1. Does it set the scene? 
The somewhat cheesy title and credits, caught my attention, although once I started the game, I never could tell how relevant this cheesiness might be. 

Once you choose to get into the game, the description is very atmospheric and nicely descriptive. It does border on the too descriptive, with ungainly sentences stringing lots of adjectives together. But all the required info is there before any action is taken - the who (you are a detective, a person has died, an anonymous caller has tipped you off), the what (you are investigating a possible murder), the where (a stately mansion with lots of potentially interesting rooms based on Cluedo which of course we all know and love), and the why (you are a detective and it’s your job). The how is still to be determined of course. To do all this, and give a fully-fleshed description of the location in the first couple of paragraphs is pretty good going. 

Following on from the style and depth of the initial description, the first room description provides continuity, even more atmosphere, and a lot of interesting bits and pieces to examine. Initial urge – I want to get into that creepy house! 

Inside the house, in the Entry Hall, more familiar adjective-prone descriptions are densely packed into a couple paragraphs. Perhaps a bit more careful writing would make the descriptions flow more easily. As an example: 

‘On the floor, between each of the doors, are plush red velvet upholstered settees and chairs and attendant small oak tables at which you observe some people who are seated, looking at you.’ 

Too much of this, and I would skim it – not really getting the full sense of what the writer is trying to portray. But since this kind of prose is limited to a paragraph or two at a time, it works. 

2. Is it well implemented? 
This game at first disconcerted me in that ‘x’ and ‘look at’ give you two different descriptions. ‘X’ is tactile – a nice touch (pun intended) and adds further depth to the environment (once you realise that’s what’s going on). Pretty much everything can be examined – this has obviously been well-thought-out and a lot of effort has been put into visualising and describing all the relevant details. 

Other than examining and opening the door, there is no other game play, and no action except a bit of dialogue with the maid (Marian) and the owner of the house (Sir Basil). 

3. Do I want more? 
Yes! I want to explore that house, meet some of those characters, maybe solve some humorous puzzles. That’s the expectation anyway, and that, essentially, is why I voted this game first in the Intro comp. 

Score (each out of 10): 
Scene setting: 9 
Implementation: 8 
Appetite whettage: 9 
Bonus points: 2 for basing a game on Cluedo 
Total: 28 (almost perfect in every way) 

Reviewed by David Whyld

You're a detective just arrived at a countryside mansion to investigate a brutal murder. Hardly an original idea but non-original ideas can often produce decent games if handled well. And here it’s handled very well indeed. 

Even though the introduction was over almost before I knew it, there was a considerable amount of depth in the two locations on show. There was even a credits, instructions and introduction section (an introduction to the introduction? Apparently so.) The only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the multi-coloured text which made the game somewhat gaudy and amateurish (memories of my earlier games when I did a similar thing have been buried far too deeply to ever resurface). 

This was only one of two games from the Intro Comp that I played through several times to see what I had missed the first time. As it happened, I missed very little because there's very to do or so, but what little there is definitely worth seeing. 

Unfortunately, just as I managed to get inside the mansion and was about to start investigating this most brutal of murders, the intro came to end… Perfectly timed to make me want to see the rest of it. 

Of all the games in the Intro Comp, this is the one I'm hoping most of all makes its way to a full blown game one day. 

Do I want to play the full game? Definitely! 

Reviewed by Stefan Donati

Together with David Whyld's 'The Final Question', this game by Reelyor was placed second on the Adrift Intro Comp 2005. 

It starts with a nicely done instruction and information screen, a feature I immediately liked. Given the title of this game, it comes as no big surprise when we learn that the player's task in 'Murder Mansion' is indeed to solve a homicide case. What lets the game stand out is the promise of a very high replay value. To quote the short description: 'Each time you begin a new game, the location of the murder, the weapon and the murderer will be chosen at random...'. Another distinguish feature is the variety of custom commands: The player is encouraged to gather all possible information available to solve the murder, assisted by commands such as 'accuse', 'touch', 'smell' and so on. A very innovative approach to this genre. 

But does it deliver? After the short description and a review of the special commands, the introduction to your case starts: A women called the police, calmly stating that someone has died. As Chief Inspector you're assigned to find the murderer, and so you are at the front stoop of an old mansion, on a rainy night of the year 1938. Standing there, I tried to make use of some of the game's unique commands. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be integrated yet, and there's not that much to explore on the outside of the house. Thus, this part only serves as a way to move the player inside. The introduction continues in the entry hall, as a shocked Sir Basil, patron of the villa who's hosting his own birthday party, welcomes you. He gives you a brief overview of the attending guests, and tells you of the victim, whose murder took place during a blackout. After that, the intro ends. 

So, does it deliver? I have some difficulties answering this question. The intro still lacks interactivity, and it remains to be seen how well all the unique possibilities of the game will be covered. On the other hand, the intro was certainly a very good teaser; and this first glimpse shows that the author, Reeylor, is able to establish a good and convincingly mood. In addition, the very detailed writing is top-notch. It really created a picture of the police officer in my imagination; how he tries to solve a murder case while rain falls on a dark, art deco mansion, and some jazz music plays in the background... 

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