Dreamcatcher/Microïds’ “Post Mortem” drops you in the middle of 1920s Paris, where, as retired private eye Gus “Spooky” MacPherson, you must tap various resources and follow clues to solve a grisly double homicide. The opening movie sequence puts you right in the middle of the action. It shows an explicit view of a couple making love in a posh French hotel, when suddenly, a man in a birdlike mask breaks down the door, momentarily surprising the couple before decapitating them … and you awake in a start as a raven-haired heiress asks you to investigate the murder of her sister and brother-in-law.
“Post Mortem” is a 3D point-and-click adventure that plays like the “Choose your own adventure” books that we read as children (or last week, for some of you). You gather evidence, interview witnesses, and try to figure out who perpetuated such a heinous crime. The storyline is non-linear, but you must get to the bottom of the murders. Whether you are the righteous hero or avenging madman is up to you.
As an avid fan of the crime-solving dramas that are ruling the television airwaves, I found PM’s focus on conversation to be extremely realistic. As you speak to people, you have to weigh their credibility and motives to gauge the validity of their stories. When you engage other characters in conversation, you are given a bevy of questions that you can pose. Once you follow a certain vein of questioning, however, you cannot backpedal and change your story. While “Post Mortem” is heavily dependent on conversation, the game also contains a few complicated puzzles that will put your mind to work and make puzzle fans rejoice.
For every light-hearted moment that existed in Dreamcatcher/ Microïds’ previous release, “Syberia,” there exist two dark ones in “Post Mortem.” Everywhere you turn, people are lying, cheating, stealing, or are borderline psychotics … a typical day at the post office.
However, not everything about this game was excellence and brilliance. I encountered a few storyline inconsistencies, and the game hung a few times. I was either really boring or had asked questions in the improper order because the interviewee’s answer was “Blah blah blah …” I could not reach the game menu, and I was not given other dialogue options. The only way out of this was to reboot.
The game’s graphics are somewhat of a mixed bag. While the characters are modeled pretty consistently and have detailed movements (blinking eyes and pensive expressions), they sometimes have unnatural movements. Interactive objects are more detailed than the surroundings, thought I’m unsure if this was done to facilitate gameplay or was merely an oversight.
Thanks to the dark and gloomy surroundings of the game, you’re the star of your very own film noir. People are hiding in the shadows and being chased down ill-lit alleys. There is no daylight in the game, so either interactions only occur at night, or the crime is solved in one night. Either way, it will take you more than one night to finish this game! ;)