Nine Princes, Perry Mason comes on two
disks in a smart package with plenty of documentation.
Unusually, the instructions contain a complete vocabulary
listing for the game, which tots up to nearly 800 words.
Far from spoiling the fun, I found the listing a great
help -- most of the puzzles in the program involve heavy
brain-duty, and on these occasions the last obstacles
one wants to overcome are those caused by a limited,
or uncertain, vocabulary.
plot of the game is perfectly straightforward. Your
pal, Laura Kapp, has been arrested for murder. Hardly
surprising, since she was found in a state of shock
five inches from the gun that had just shot her husband.
As good old Pee-Wee, you must take on her case and defend
her in court. There are three ways out: either you fail,
and she goes to the chair; you succeed in convincing
the jury that she's innocent; or you get her off AND
nail the real villain responsible.
great strength of Erle Stanley Gardner's books lies
in their meticulous (and well-Informed) descriptions
of court procedures. Almost all his works end up in
court and the reader is treated to a highly lifelike,
and beautifully observed, courtroom sequence that ends
with Mr Mason confounding everyone with his brilliant
legal mind, and unmasking the truth for all to see.
game obviously seeks to mimic this aspect of Gardner's
work. Much of it actually takes place in court and the
player has to indulge in some quite complex legal duelling.
Luckily, the documentation that comes with game is pretty
comprehensive and even includes a little 'lawyers' exam
paper' for you to test yourself! Although it's strange
at first, you soon find yourself cross-examining, raising
objections and challenging witnesses in a way calculated
to arouse the admiration of even the most hard-boiled
whereas Nine Princes involves manipulating characters,
The Mandarin Murder has you manipulating evidence
-- and boy! Is there enough of it. You can visit Kapp's
apartment to search his belongings, go to jail to question
his widow, or just skip the whole investigation scene
and go straight to court and start the trial.
in the game is slightly fragmentary. You frequently
have to 'press any key' to load in a new section (especially
when moving between locations), but these interruptions
are compensated by the sheer volume of material you
have to sift through at each stage of your inquiry.
by your faithful accomplice, Della Street, and your
tame detective, Paul Drake, you should get quite a kick
out of solving this mystery. The music and graphics
are excellent, though again not quite up to Activision's
standards. Definitely recommended to all whodunnit fans
and frustrated lawyers alike.