Solve Mysteries in Women’s Murder Club

Posted On: September 24, 2008
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The adventure games genre has been in decline since the days of games like Monkey Island, Leisure Suit Larry and Grim Fandango. There are occasional gems such as the Sam and Max episodes or Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, but by and large, the gaming industry has taken a fancy to more “exciting” and “instantly gratifying” games such as Real-Time Strategy (RTS) or Massively Multi-player Online Role-playing Games (MMORPG or MMOs).

I came across Women’s Murder Club by accident. Based on a story by James Patterson, the adventure starts with the murder of an unidentified woman, with a strange mark left on her chest. It is up to you to solve the mystery by gathering evidence to crack the case. The core of the game involves investigating murders, checking out the crime scenes, taking blood samples and interviewing possible suspects. The game play is a mix of puzzles that requires some careful thought, and is quite a refreshing change from the usual run-of-the-mill adventure games.

While some parts of the game play involves mindlessly clicking on the screen to pick up items (which may or may not have anything to do with the puzzle), other puzzles can be quite interesting. For instance, on many occasions, you are required to arrange bottles of chemicals in the proper order, before you can proceed to test the blood samples that you collected. There is also a puzzle which is rather similar to a game of Hangman or Wheel of Fortune, where you need to guess the theme from the words on-screen.

Graphically, the game is pleasant to look at. It may look a little out-dated to some and, typical to games of this genre, definitely not top-notch compared to First-Person-Shooters (FPS). It works nonetheless, with pretty oil-painting-like images, and graphical cues to show you important puzzles in that location.

Women’s Murder Club is not for everyone. For hardcore gamers and experienced adventure gamers or those looking for graphical ecstasies, they will find it simplistic and certain game play elements repetitive. For those looking for an easy adventure to pass the afternoon, or an introduction to games of this genre, this could be a fun distraction. Fans of James Patterson may love the story, and the ability to get their hands on anything to do with their beloved author. I see it as a good game to introduce to older kids (although there are some use of tobacco, and maybe some slightly mature themes). The puzzles can certainly build up their sense of observation and analytical skills to some degree, instead of mindlessly killing some bad ass monsters a million times.

Good effort, I like it!