Dial V for Vogel

Murder logo

MURDER casts you as an amateur sleuth who "just happens" to be in the right place at the right time - at the scene of a murder. You know that Scotland Yard are due on the scene, but you also know that they won't arrive for another two hours (telepathic as well as a sleuth?) and you decide that you will solve all before they arrive.

The thing that makes this icon-driven graphic adventure different from your run of the mill icon-driven graphic adventure is that there are over three million (yes folks, three million) possible murders to choose from. Your particular homicide is randomly generated from inputs you make before the game starts.

On loading you are greeted with a picture of a newspaper story announcing the murder and that you are in the vicinity.
There is a slight logical problem here, as the headline says you are called to investigate while the manual insists that you just happen to be in the area. Journalistic licence, I suspect. Anyway, back to the plot. So, you are greeted with a picture of a newspaper story announcing the murder.

Using the mouse that is an essential part of the game, you can change the date of the murder, its location, and your own physiognomy (facial appearance to you). Unfortunately, you are stuck with being a male sleuth, so there is no opportunity to emulate Miss Marple (tush and fie programmers).
You can also select the difficulty level by calling yourself novice, average, experienced or super-sleuth. Once you have played with the newspaper to your heart's content, click the right mouse button to generate the murder and start the game.

After an intro screen featuring an alarmingly lifelike scream, you find yourself in a room of Ghastly Grange, or Ghastly Manor, or Ghastly Court or whatever you selected, face to face with a body. The action takes place in the left hand side of the screen where there is a large graphic of the room you are in. Animated characters come and go, and you have to be quick if you want to question them.

The game is set in 30s style so all the characters wander around in dinner jackets and flapper costume (except the servants, of course). The whole adventure is controlled by pointing and clicking. A bar of icons lies down the right down the right head edge of the screen and these control actions like questioning characters, entering information into your sleuth's notebook, looking for fingerprints, comparing them, and arresting suspects.

Choosing to question a character brings up another menu bar across the top of the screen. You can ask any character about objects, places or other characters. Selecting an icon representing one of these three themes brings up a scrolling list from which to choose exactly what you want to ask about.
You can build quite complex questions in this way, like 'Tell me about Lady Carina Charles and the revolver in the guest bedroom'. Characters' responses and other information appear in a dialogue box across the bottom of the screen, and you can write clues and other information into your notebook.

The idea behind the game is a good and novel one. Unfortunately, each of the three million murders is very similar, and I predict that one or two will be enough for most of us. Graphically, the game is excellent, the part of the screen where the action takes place is reminiscent of those old Speccy Ultimate games and the spot effects add to the atmosphere enormously.

Characters light cigarettes, bats and frogs can be heard in the outdoors locations, whispering sounds are heard when you go to question a character, and in one room a stuck gramophone player whirs round.

Despite the minute attention to detail and atmosphere creation, the gameplay is sorely lacking. Actually using the icon environment takes a bit of getting used to. Still, the idea of a game with a two hour limit will appeal to many Amigans with not overmuch time to spare, and this could be where Murder scores over others in the genre.

Murder logo

US GOLD * £24.99 * Mouse

Murder has been commited. It will be two hours before Scotland Yard's flat-foots arrive at the old country house, so as Britain's greatest detective you have the chance to catch the criminal and claim the fame. Murder is the name and crime is your game. The tabloids announce your arrival at the scene and then it is time for some clue sniffing. Using questions, fingerprinting and the faithful old notebook you must find the murder weapon, identify the culprit and book 'em Danno (Murder One).

The isometric 3D mansion's halls and rooms must be searched for clues. Using a mouse either to dictate direction or to act as a magnifying glass for close-up inspection of people or objects, the trench-coated sleuth is off on the trail. For in-depth grilling of suspects, slap the eye-glass over a suspect and hit the 'question' icon. Using a number of variables you can ask suspects about themselves, others, relationships, objects and places. If the right person is asked the right thing it should eventually become apparent who topped who and with what. Of course, you cannot be expected to remember twenty different versions of the same story, so with a crafty click on the notbook you jot it down.

All entries in the book are cross-referenced as they are made. So if you discover that Mister Bates was arguing with the victim in the hallway, shortly after picking up the bread knife, then the info is stored under clues and people.

The other major source of clues is fingerprints. In time-honoured fashion the sleuth can dust anything he sees lying around for 'dabs'. If the victim was stabbed, getting prints off the four knives is a priority, but other 'unconnected' objects may hold the key to the mystery. Identifying the prints requires use of the comparison chart, where all the fingerprints you take during one game are logged. This often leads to great amounts of chasing people round, waiting for them to put an object down so you can dust it.

Once you have established who did what, it is time to grab hold of exhibit 'A', click on the cuffs and wait. If you are successful then a banner tabloid headline proclaims you as the greatest living detective since Miss Marple traded in her zimmer. Fail and you are ridiculed, without a clue as to whether you had the right person and the wrong person and right weapon or if you were just totally and utterly wrong.


Starting with a scream, Murder sounds promising, yet there are few effects. Taps drip and gravel paths grate, neither hindering or helping the game. The black-and-white isometric 3D screens help capture the murder mystery atmosphere beautifully.

The objects are easily visible, but all the suspects look identical, repeates of the same stock types - butlers, maids, flapper dress or dinner jacket. The side-screen graphics make up for this with identikit faces, enlarged finger prints, and the 'hand written' notebook.


With a different murder to solve every single day for over 30 years and four skill levels - amateur to supersleuth - there is plenty to keep you busy. The harder levels simply means bigger rooms, more suspects and increasingly complex plots. Finding the enthusiasm to solve these crimes may be a problem, though, it is fun announcing 'who dunnit' but detection requires dogged questioning and is not the glossy glamour job that messers Magnum and Lansbury make out on TV. Saying the same thing to thirty different suspects gets tiring. The determined will love it, but for others the novelty of getting the butler banged up for 25 years will wear off after a few murders (he wrote).


A puzzle game with a real difference, Murder blends the genre of the adventure, where precise questions elicit the best answers, and arcade-style games where speed is important. It is not just the two-hour limit, but getting to objects before the prints are wiped by that swine with the hanky.

Murder logo

US Gold's neuer Computer-krimi macht der Detektiv-Zunft alle Ehre: Hier zählt der Sherlock noch als Holmes...!

Ein Mord ist geschehen, in zwei Stunden wird Scotland Yard mit den Ermittlungenn beginnen. Genau diese Zeitspanne bleibt dem angehenden Meisterdetektiv, um den Fall auf eigene Faust zu lösen.

Der Tatort (ein altes Landhaus, was sonst?) ist aus einer schrägen 3D-Perspektive zu sehen. Mit der Maus wandert man durch die verschiedenen Räume, zur Orientierung gibt es einen Grundriß der verruchten Stätte.

Über eine Iconleiste am rechten Bildschirmrand werden dann verschiedene Ermittlungsverfahrten und kriminalistische Hilfsmittel aktiviert. So ist es etwa möglich, Verdächtige zu verhören und die gewonnenen Erkenntnisse in einem Notizbuch festzuhalten, oder von belastenden Gegenständen Fingerabdrücke abzunehmen und miteinander zu vergleichen.

Sobald alle Details ermittelt sind, ergibt sich daraus ein glasklares Bild des Killers samt der richtigen Tatwaffe. Wenn es dann auch stimmt, wird der Schurke abgeführt und der erfolgreiche Detektive belobigt.

Der Knobelspaß macht tierisch Laune, und das ziemlich lange: Durch kleine Veränderungen (Datum, Tatort, Schwierigkeitsgrad und Aussehen des Mörders) werden immer wieder "neue" Fälle gebildet - laut Anleitung gibt es satte drei Millionen Varianten!

Die Grafiken der einzelnen Zimmer sind zwar nur Schwarz-Weiß, dafür aber sehr fein gezeichnet; Sound war bei unserem Testmuster leider noch Fehlanzeige. Messerscharf kombiniert"Wer intelligente Computerunterhaltung liebt, kommt an diesem Fall auf keinen Fall vorbei! (C. Borgmeier)

Murder logo

US Gold

There is nothing like settling down with a good murder, as they say, and this one comes on disk. Murder is a piece of interactive Agatha Christie, a whodunit with a multitude of solutions that means you do not have to have any friends to play Cluedo.

The game unfolds with a newspaper story announcing how a sleuth has been called in to investigate an unsolved murder in a stately home. By altering the dates and the names you can change the parameters of the game making it more difficult and generating a different set of possibilities. This way, you can either go back to a murder you failed to solve, or create a new game. Ther are, according to the autors, nearly three million possible games so you should not find yourself playing old games too often.

Once you are into a game the scene is a 3D room with a set of doors leading away - much in the style of Cadaver. On the floor lies the victim. You, the sleuth, stand next to the corpse and a little magnifying glass floats ahead of you. By moving it around you can identify who people are and what objects are lying around, and this is the key to the game.

Murder is icon driven and, by clicking on one of them, you will be able to see the layout of the house you are in, take fingerprints, compare them and wipe objects clean - important for comparing new ones should someone pick that objet up as they often do; take an exhibit for evidence (you can only take one so preferably pick one which you think is the murder weapon), and, most importantly, question people.

The question icon offers several small icons which allow you to construct questions to people you have stopped about other members of the household, the victim, and what they are carrying. This is crucial in forming any solutions as sometimes they will give you information about quarrels on their whereabouts at certain times.

The game itself is played much like you would expect to play Cluedo. You move around the house from room to room cross questioning people and examining various weapons and other objects, collecting information that allows you to eliminate suspects and whittle down the culprit. There is pressure though, in the form of a two hour limit.

Murder was programmed by Oxford duo of Jason Kingsley and Grant Harrison. Jason was involved in some of the graphics of the excellent cyberpunky video to Adamski's Killer, but do not expect similar quality to Murder. The style is very much typical of this kind of game and, indeed, the scene graphics are monochromatic.

As a challenge, Murder is perfect for would-be sleuths. There are more than enough possibilities to keep you coming back and, whilst you will have to repeat the same rather painstaking actions to solve the mystery, it is absorbing stuff.

Murder logo Zzap! Sizzler

US Gold, C64, £17.99 DISK ONLY; Amiga £24.99

A scream pierces the night air, penetrating every room of Ghastley Manor. The maid has discovered something rather chilling on the dining room floor, the crumpled (i.e. dead) body of Sir Stuart Wynne. Was it just an accident or suicide? Well not unless he battered himself to death and hid the weapon afterwards! It's just as well there's a supersleuth such as yourself on hand to investigate - Scotland Yard won't arrive for another two hours.

First thing to do is question a few of the many people staying at the mansion. you can ask about any of the other occupants, the many rooms and various household objects (including give types of pistol and four knives!). In addition you can ask more specific questions about the relationship between two people (murder motives include inheritance, blackmail and lust) or about a particular person in a particular place with a particular object etc. Of course the person may not know anything, or even lie. Any useful answers can be entered in your notebook by clicking on an icon. The notebook is divided into four sections: peoples, places, clues and motives.

The maid tells you she saw a certain Lord score near the scene of the crime just before it happened and also that he stood to inherit the editorship of a popular magazine from Sir Stuart. You decide to explore the Manor's four floors in search of more clues.

Movement is achieved by clicking the cursor over an exit. A map screen comes in useful for navigation - and knowledge of the house layout is also essential for working out if a suspect could have reached the scene of crime in time.

Ah, here comes Lord Score. Now if only you can get his fingerprints. A pity he's not carrying anything at he moment. The best thing for you to do is grab an innocuous item - the bottle of Vim will do -, wipe it clean and wait for him to pick it up and drop it again. There, that didn't take long. Now let's examine those grubby prints... Well, well. They perfectly match those on the candlesticks. Now all that's left to do is to pick up the candlestick for evidence and arrest Lord Score... Whoops, what's that laser sword doing stuck between your shoulderblades? Looks like another murder!

Never mind, by varying the date and the name of the mansion at the start of the game you can investigate approximately three million uniquely generated murders! You can even change your sleuth's appearance (and name) by altering his facial features, hair and glasses. There are four skill levels ranging from novice to supersleuth.

Phil King Anyone who's ever enjoyed Cluedo will love this. It's a truly interactive whodunnit with plenty of witnesses and suspects to be questioned. I wouldn't say it was that realistic, what with dangerous weapons lying all over the house, but the game certainly has a marvellously tense atmosphere. The monochromatic graphics may look a bit dull at first sight but, on both machines, they are beautifully detailed with an enormous variety of art deco furniture and period-dressed characters who move around at will, picking up objects and even lighting cigarettes. Interrogating characters is a fascinating process, often with humorous results: in one game two characters were having a secret affair, which everyone else seemed to know about! Even funnier (and sicker), the victim's body is left sprawled on the floor for the other characters to walk over! Quirks apart, though, Murder is a seriously brilliant concept, perfectly implemented.
Robin Hogg Murder doesn't look all that hot at first glance and the idea of taking your time analysing evidence, cross-questioning suspects and wandering around many a similar mansion isn't one to set the gaming world alight. Amazingly though, the game is incredibly addictive, the piecing together of information becoming an engrossing task (akin to the best of puzzle games). What is really clever is the way the skill levels expand the game challenge immensely. Choose a higher skill level and suspects know more information (be it relevant or merely red herrings), more events happen to disguise the crucial time of the murder and suspected murder weapons tend to get moved around more. On novice level it's a nice and gentle trail to follow but come the likes of a average/experienced skill level and beyond and you've really got to be on the ball (even Sherlock Homes may have detective difficulties at Supersleuth level!). Addictive and highly original, Murder is a great game to while away hours with.
Scorelord Murder is one of those games you're wither going to love or hate. The complex web of clues, motives and characters provides an excellent simulation of those ver-popular murder mysteries. Of course, these mind-bending puzzles can test your note taking and map-making skills, so programmer Grant Harrison provides both maps and a surprisingly detailed automatic notebook. This means 'all' you have to do is put the clues together to get your man - or woman. You don't even have to type in any questions.
It's all done by icons. Indeed, until you actually play the game, its ambitious scope and comprehensive features might seem unworkable, but the icon system makes it all very easy to play. Of course with any brain bending game the graphics are secondary but artist Jason Kingsley has set the period scene well. The subtle detail and monochrome shading work best on the Amiga due to higher resolution, but the C64 still looks pretty good and the larger number of different rooms is impressive. There's also some limited, but excellent sound FX on both machines. If you fancy yourself as sleuth, you can't miss this!