Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express review

  • Rich 1930's atmosphere
  • Pack-in paperback novel
  • Intelligent plotline
  • Unnecessary backtracking
  • Excessive dialogue sequences
  • Tedious and random tasks

Botched movie-to-game adaptations are nothing new, but blunders of the book-to-game variety may be on the rise. As the second Agatha Christie game from The Adventure Company, Murder on the Orient Express casts you as an eager assistant to the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, as you work to solve a mysterious murder aboard a luxurious train to Paris - but the fun gets derailed before you even leave the station. Sticking close to the plot of the novel, the game moves at an excruciatingly slow pace, making the 20+ hours of gameplay a trip you may not want to take.

The game adheres to the adventure game norms of collecting and combining items to solve (occasionally illogical) puzzles and conversing with the cast of 25 characters to gather information and collect clues. However, because of the game's strong emphasis on unfolding the linear story, there often isn't anything to do for long stretches except click through dialogue scenes and perform minor errands. This will leave you feeling more like a spectator than an actual player. This might be forgivable if the game offered dazzling visuals, but instead the grainy cinemas, bland characters and jerky animation fail to compensate for the mediocre gameplay.

Murder on the Orient Express wants to be both an authentic adaptation of a bestselling novel and an engrossing adventure game, but ultimately fails to do either. Although the game provides a fairly accurate adaptation of what is arguably Christie's best-known work, fans of the novel will likely be put off by the narrative liberties (the protagonist, Antoinette Marceau, was created specifically for the game) while serious adventure gamers will be put to sleep by the tedious busywork and egregiously long (and sometimes pointless) dialogue sequences. 

But even as a flawed game, Murder on the Orient Express still manages to draw you in with lush environments, a stellar score and top-notch voice acting (which manage to make most of the protracted conversations at least marginally interesting). In a pleasant twist, Murder on the Orient Express even comes with a paperback copy of the bestselling novel of the same name - so whether you prefer the actual novel or a slow paced game acting like a novel is entirely up to you. 

More Info

Release date: Nov 21 2006 - PC (US)
Nov 21 2006 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Adventure
Published by: DreamCatcher Interactive
Developed by: AWE Games
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Alcohol Reference, Blood, Tobacco Reference, Violence


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