Forever Lost?

C64 games that seem to have disappeared from the face of the Earth...


These games were completed and reviewed in magazines but are nowhere to be seen today. Did you had any of them? If so contact us, and your name will be placed in this same page for the glory of the C64! :)

Do you have actual C64 screenshots of a game that, although released, is nowhere to be seen? Then please contact us with the relevant info and screenshots in order to be included in the present column.

(C) 1990 U.S. GOLD

There are some good detective games for the Commodore 64 (Argus Press' The Detective and Accolade's Killed Until Dead come immediately to mind), but none other could generate 3,000,000 different scenarios than Murder !!

ZZAP!64 reviewed the disk-only game back in issue no.65 (September 1990) and awarded the C64 version an impressive 93%, one point more than the Amiga version! Now, let's follow the atmospheric ZZAP! review to see how a typical case unfolds:

(Warning! Some names have been altered in order to protect the innocent!!!)

A scream pierces the night air, penetrating every room of Gamebase Manor. The maid has discovered something rather chilling on the dining room floor, the crumpled (ie dead) body of Sir Michael Plate. Was it just an accident with his borg equipment, or suicide after discovering he still had 2,300 games in his to-add folder? 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.

Gasp! Another murder! The suspicious guy in the brown overcoat is you!
The icons are, from top to bottom, go into question mode, display house
maps, display notebook pages, take fingertips, examine fingerprint files,
wipe object clean, take object, and make an arrest.

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 five 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: people, places, clues and motives.

The maid tells you she saw Lord Demetrius near the scene of the crime just before it happened and also that he stood to inherit the leadership of a popular 8-bit computer project from Sir Plate. 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.

In many rooms, household objects will have been left lying around. These can be examined for fingerprints which can be stored and compared. Aha, what's this on the assimilation room mantelpiece?: a candlestick -- some very strange prints on this... hmmm.

Interrogation mode, icons from left are: two character lists,
(ask A about B), ask about a room, object, relationship,
erase question, make a note, and speak question.

Ah, here comes Lord Demetrius. Now if only you can get his fingerprints. A pity he's not carrying anything at the moment. The best thing for you to do is grab an innocuous item -- this bottle of Ouzo 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 candlestick. Now all that's left to do is pick up the candlestick for evidence and arrest Lord Demetrius... whoops, what's that ball of Greek Fire 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.

By examining objects recently dropped by a suspect, you can
store their fingerprints for matching with those on the murder weapon.

Three ZZAP! reviewers offered personal comments for the game. Here's what they had to say:

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 left 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 alright. Amazingly through, 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 an average/experienced skill level and beyond and you've really got to be on the ball (even Sherlock Holmes may have detective difficulties at Supersleuth level!). Addictive and highly original, Murder is a great game to while away the hours with.

Stuart Wynne: Murder is one of those games you're either going to love or hate. The complex web of clues, motives and characters provides an excellent simulation of those ever-popular murder mysteries. Of course, these mind-bending puzzles can test your note-taking and map-making skills, so programmer Gran 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 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 large number of different rooms is impressive. There's also some limited, but excellent sound FX on both machines. If you fancy yourself as a sleuth, you can't miss this!

C64 Ratings:
Presentation 90%: Impressive loading screen, plenty of locations, four skill levels, one load and automatic note-taking.
Graphics 74%: The restrained, realistic settings don't work as well as on the Amiga. But they're effective enough and there's plenty of variety.
Sound 72%:
Most of the excellent, superbly atmospheric Amiga FX have been duplicated.
Hookability 85%:
The icons aren't quite as clear, but you soon get the hang of things and crime-solving has never been more addictive.
Lastability 96%:
Over 3 million murders on your C64! An immense amount of playability to keep you occupied for ages.
Overall 93%:
An absolutely fascinating and compulsive detective game.

ZZAP!64 was selling the game through it's mail-order column -- Where were *YOU* then?

UPDATE-Additional Screenshots from the Commodore Format Review:

The daughter of the deceased looking suitably distressed. She's not
got a lot to say either. Honestly, you try to help people...

Edward Peters falls under suspicion. All these facts will have to be
investigated, but are you on the trail or just falling for red herrings?

The layout of the house is one of the few things in Murder which
doesn't change each time you play (phew).

Got him banged to rights, caught the villain red handed, etc.
"It's a fair cop, guv, but society's to blame."

Anyone knows or can contact programmer Gran Harrison or Artist Jason Kingsley (that Stuart Wynne mentions above)? Pls contact us!


And the Others...


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