On a journey from Istanbul to Paris, renowned detective Hercule Poirot finds himself on board the Orient Express. A colorful assortment of passengers accompanies the detective on his journey through Europe. From the reserved English governess Miss Debenham to the strong willed Russion grande dame Pricess Dragomiroff, the train carries a number of colorful passengers with greatly varied backgrounds.
The journey starts fairly uneventfully, Poirot enjoying the company of his friend M. Bouc who is a director of Compagnie Internationale des Wagons Lits, the company that owns the train. Yet sometime into the trip, Poirot is approached by one of the passengers to take on a case. Mr. Samuel Edward Ratchett, the wealthy American who traveling around the world, feels that he is in grave danger. Ratchett asks Poirot for any protection the detective might be able to offer, but Belgian detective turns down the case.
The following morning, Ratchett is found dead in his compartment. M. Bouc enlists the detective's help in identifying the murderer. But the task will not be easy. There are many curious details about the murder that don't quite seem to fit together. The list of potential suspects is long. Cut off from any means of verifying the passenger's backgrounds and conducting the investigation in a proper manner, Poirot has to rely on his observation and deductive reasoning skills alone to find the truth.
Without a doubt among the best-known Agatha Christie novels, Murder on the Orient Express can most certainly deliver an enjoyable reading experience to anyone who enjoys detective novels. The interesting ensemble of characters and Poirot's ever-fascinating detective skills alone would have made Murder on the Orient Express an entertaining read. But the novel is perhaps best known for its surprise ending.
Originally published in 1933, Murder on the Orient Express has two movie adaptations released in 1974 and 2001. In November 2006, adventure gamers will also have a chance to experience the famous novel as a video game. As the official release draws ever closer, we conducted an interview with the game's producer, Mike Adams, to gain some insight into the adventure game adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. Mike kindly gave us a lot of good information about various aspects of the game. Without further ado, here's the interview:
[Adventure Lantern]: For those who may not be familiar with the original novel, can you describe the overall premise of the game?
[Mike Adams]: Well, you play a new character not found in the novel, Antoinette Marceau. Antoinette works for the train company, and is given an assignment to escort famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot to his home in England. Shortly after departing, you will find yourself entangled in a murder investigation, involving everyone aboard the train.
[AL]: At what point during the storyline will the game actually begin? Will players become involved with the case right after Samuel Edward Ratchett is found dead?
[MA]: The game begins before you even board the train. You will find yourself maneuvering your way through a busy Turkish market, which is where you will meet many of the characters who will be directly involved in the murderous storyline aboard the train.
[AL]: Can you describe the character players will be controlling? Who is Antoniette Marceau? How will she become involved with the murder and end up helping Hercule Poirot?
[MA]: The player character is indeed Antoinette Marceau. She is an amateur sleuth who has admired Hercule Poirot's work for years, and the two become quick friends as they board the train. Antoinette will aid Poirot in the murder investigation after an unfortunate event falls upon the famous detective.
[AL]: How was the structure of the storyline altered for the game? What kind of surprises should players expect to encounter?
[MA]: As with And Then There Were None, a new player character was introduced, altering the storyline quite significantly, while still remaining true to Agatha Christie's novel. If you are familiar with the novel, you will find the surprises during the game quite satisfying. I really don't want to give too much away, but there are new environments to explore not found in the novel, which include a mountain cabin and a mine among others, all of which will add their share of surprises to the game.
[AL]: What kind of a role will prominent characters from the novel play? How do you envision the interaction between Antoniette and the main characters to be like? Can we still expect Hercule Poirot, Bouc, and Dr. Constantine to play pivotal roles?
[MA]: As in the novel, the prominent characters will all become suspects in the murder, giving the player the opportunity to interrogate each and every passenger aboard the train. Hercule Poirot will absolutely play a pivotal role throughout the game, guiding you to find the evidence you need to solve this crime. Dr Constantine also plays a major role, while Bouc will only play a minor role in the game.
[AL]: What can you tell us about the potential suspects? Will the game feature any that were not part of the original novel?
[MA]: The suspects will mirror those in the novel with the addition of a few others, specifically a few members of the train staff.
[AL]: How will players actually go about conducting the investigation? What kind of techniques will have to be employed?
[MA]: A lot of detective work. You will have to interrogate, finger print, analyze documents including collecting everyone's passports. You will not leave any stones unturned during your investigation, even as it leads you to the snowy outdoors.
[AL]: In your previous game, there were tasks that could be completed which added to the depth of the story. However, you could move on to the next chapter even if you had not completed these tasks. Are you planning to continue this trend in the latest game?
[MA]: There will be tasks that will need to be completed prior to advancing in the game. A slight change from our first title in the series.
[AL]: What kind of players would you expect to get the most out of Murder on the Orient Express? Can players who are not familiar with the novel expect to enjoy the game?
[MA]: Absolutely. Those who have not read the novel need not worry. As with our first Agatha Christie game, And Then There Were None, you will find that Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express will tell you the entire story from beginning to end. There are also many subtle changes that have been made while designing the game, giving consideration to those who have already read the novel. It will be a satisfying experience for everyone.
[AL]: Do you have any plans to release future titles based on Agatha Christie novels?
[MA]: Yes we do. We are slated to begin production on our next title very shortly. Stay tuned!
[AL]: What is the expected release date for Murder on the Orient Express?
[MA]: Expect to see Agatha Christie: Murder On The Orient Express on shelves sometime in November. Just in time for Christmas !
[AL]: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
This is truly a fantastic game, with an amazing storyline, huge cast of characters, first class voice over talent, state of the art cinematics, wonderfully detailed environments, and an orchestral musical score that matches that of a major motion picture. We are all so very proud of this game and can't wait to share it with everyone.
Adventure Lantern thanks Mike Adams for providing us information about the video game adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. We would also like to thank Mary Leddy for facilitating the interview.
Based on the information available about the game Murder on the Orient Express most certainly sounds interesting. Including a new character, adding new locations, and altering certain aspects of the storyline while staying true to the spirit of the original novel is most certainly a tall order. However, AWE Games has already delivered a successful adventure game based on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. With Murder on the Orient Express, AWE Games and The Adventure Company could certainly deliver an entertaining gaming experience. It should be interesting to see how the investigation unfolds in the video game adaptation.
If you want to obtain more information about the game, visit the official Web site at www.AgathaChristieGame.com.