Taking up a nice 6 cds this is an interactive movie in the series of everyone's favourite private eye; Tex Murphy. Access software started the making games about our buddy many years ago, and till now there's been made Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum, Tex Murphy: Mean Streets, Tex Murphy: Under A Killing Moon, Tex Murphy: The Pandora Directive, and last Tex Murphy: Overseer. It wasn't till Under A Killing Moon access software started making the games as an interactive movie, and with The Pandora Directive they would now improve it on several bases and hopefully make a successful game. In some ways they've completed that, and in some ways they haven't, I'll tell you all about it.
In the introduction you see there's a burgler who's broken into a chicks room, and naturally he is looking for something, and while he is so he is also making a fair amount of noise, so it's rather strange why the chick in the bed isn't waking up, just lying there. After having teared down alot of the room we find out that the burgler has killed her.. In the next scene we're introduced to a fellow named Gerald Fitzpatrick, an old man who is on the lookout for a private eye. It's raining so he goes into the local restaurant, of course with Tex in it. Tex on the other hand is having a conversation with the girl he's had a crush on for years, but every time he's tried asking her out he says something strange, or she basicly turns him down. Anyways, they yatt on for a while, till she leaves (the rain has stopped). Being bought a drink by Gerald, Tex get's aquainted, and after a while they move over to the hotel which Tex has his office in (Hotel Ritz by the way). The mission is as following; Gerald Fitzpatrick has an old friend named Thomas Malloy who he has been trying to reach, after seeing Thomas' picture in the newspaper he contacted the photographer to find out where the picture was taken, and after finding out it was at a university Gerald flies off to it and starts asking if anyone's seen his old long lost friend. Sadly no one's ever seen him, neither had they ever heard his name. A few days later Gerald gets a phone call from some woman named Sandra who says she's seen him, but unfortunatly she disappears aswell. Tex's mission is simple, find Thomas Malloy. At least Tex thinks it'll be easy..
Throughout the game the entire plot expands greatly to the point where he has to find the truth behind the UFO crash at Roswell, and various leads to the lost Mayan civilization. As you've probably gathered, there's alot of things that happen in this game, and to make you perhaps even more eager; there's 7 totally different endings, along with 2 different playing modes so completing the game 1 time is not enough, as it most often is in games.
This entire game smells of B movie which is absolutly great! You have the futuristic, yet 50s kind of detective atmosphere that has made me, and several of the people I know love this game, and the _character_ Tex Murphy (no, we are not homos). There's a couple of somewhat known hollywood stars, and for those who've seen Northern Exposure or War Games will recognize Barry Corbin, there's Tanya Roberts (View to a Kill, Beastmaster) and Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Just Cause). The active is mostly nice, with a few exceptions here and there, but for some reason perfect hollywood acting doesn't really fit in this game. Because you have for instance Black Dahlia which is a more serious game where the acting has to be just as serious, but in the Tex Murphy games the "feeling" doesn't fade away at all by lacks in acting here and there.
On the web there are ALOT of fans of Tex who have made web sites with alot of cool content, so if you like the game then you should go search for sites, as there are much to both read and see.
Just so you know it, this is another one of my top 5 games so I do recommend that you buy it if you like adventures and detectives!
Tex Murphy: The Pandora Directive uses what Access Software calls their Virtual World engine which also seems to be unique (says so on the box), and as a matter of fact it does work out pretty well.. Sadly on high quality it plays somewhat bad on my p75 (which I am forced to use as my main puter is being fixed), and by bad I only mean the framerate is low. It gets better when you set the quality down a little, so don't worry you people who will play it on a not so awesome pc. The movies are mostly decent made, even though you can almost smell blue screen usage, hehe. One thing that I would be very mappy to see in the engine (which they for some reason left out) is the ability to look up and down, so you can only move the directions on the keyboard and thats it..
The conversations are clear, and sarcasms are so common it makes you smile ALOT. There's some static here and there, but I'm sure it's just to keep the size down (it would be a bit bad to go above 6 cds). There's also sounds when you use your vid-phone, lap-top etc etc, so it's just fine by me.
Midi music all over. Good overall quality. The box says the original music was made by blues musician Richie Havens (I will not pretend to know who that is, but I'm sure he being there is just swell).
As I stated on the Graphic section there is some slight things that could be improved on the controls, but still they are fairly easy to use. You have movement mode where you use the cursors, and interactive mode where you pick up/use/move objects etc. The menues are really well made, and are all easy to follow, so good work there.