the writings of a mind

Title: Post Mortem
Genre: Adventure
Big Word: Cutting
Strap: "I’m very sorry madam, but I’ve got some difficult news…"

It’s far too obvious to open with a reference to the death of French games company Microids, and the ironic title of this, their most recent post-humous release. Sometimes one has to rise above such things, and show a level of maturity beyond that of our rivals. So instead, let’s dissect this game, attempting to identify the cause of what might have triggered the premature demise of a major publishing company.

Post Mortem is something of a contradiction. It’s presented in that dreaded Myst-like, fixed point hot-spot skipping madness, with minimal interaction in each location – and yet, somehow, this feels appropriate and helpful. I feel dirty just admitting it. And despite this style, it manages to be conversation led, rather than a myriad of lazy puzzle book challenges – but then lets itself down with a few truly dire puzzles.

Oh, such a muddle. You play an American private detective living in Paris, who for no real reason has some limited paranormal visions, asked to investigate the murder of a couple. Your initial investigations uncover a great deal more to the crime than first appears, and through conversations, you uncover the intricately complex conspiracy behind the killings, and that pretty much everyone is lying to you in one way or another. And what nearly makes this game good, is the manner in which your conversations work. You can have as many as five different choices of how to approach a question, and the lines you select will make a real difference to the information you’ll receive. Pee someone off, and they’ll either ignore you, or perhaps tell you something just to get rid of you.. Flatter them, and maybe they’ll be charmed, or perhaps they’ll spot your insincerity. Gut instinct assumptions, or a healthy use of save positions, are necessary to find the easiest paths through to the apparent multiple endings.

Apparent, because of those aforementioned dreadful puzzles. Entirely out of context, Post Mortem decides to stick the most numbingly stupid challenges in front of you, from a nightmare spot-the-difference (no, really), to a literally impossible photo-fit compilation. Two days of pestering the French PR firm for a solution revealed that the answer bore nothing in common with the information given, and would otherwise have blocked any further progress. Having discovered the next such ill-judged, informationless brainless-teaser, I’ve given up. Frankly, I don’t have another two days spare to wait.

It’s a real shame, because Post Mortem is far more Syberia than Drunna. There’s a genuinely entertaining, very beautiful, well made game to play. But sadly it makes some deadly mistakes, rendering it truly impossible to complete without the yet-to-be-released walkthrough. A complete and utter shame.

Margin Note:


Oh, those crazy continentals, and their lack of an uptight fear of what lies beneath (clothes). Post Mortem’s opening sequence contains a rather surprising sex scene, featuring bare boobies and everything. Immediately before they get their heads cut off. Ahhh, and who ever said that computer games could be a corrupting influence?

 One of life’s disappointments – so much potential, so stupidly let down. Argh.


Tech Specs:

Publisher: Vivendi
Developer: Microids
Minimum System: PII 350, 64Mb RAM, 16Mb 3D card
Recommended: PIII 500, 128Mb RAM, 32Mb 3D card
Multi-player: No
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