The Elk Moon Murder

From Activision

Brief game description

A local potter in Santa Fe, Anna Elk Moon has just been murdered in her studio. You and your partner, Detective Nightsky, have been assigned to the case to determine who murdered Anna. The game primarily involves you interviewing suspects and following leads from each of your interviews. You need to establish whether a person is an informant or a suspect, their relationship with Anna Elk Moon and their possible motive for murdering her.

The Elk Moon Murder has two main motivations for the murder. It will be up to you to determine which is the true motive, which is the red herring and who your chief suspects should be. The game uses time to constrain you, you won't be able to follow all the leads. The town has a number of rivalries and the citizens are more than willing to accuse each other. Your partner also tends to suspect people of being capable of the murder, so his comments won't help eliminate very many of your suspects.

The game uses a set of stills for the various game locations with video interviews of the suspects and audio files for your forensic and alibi reports. The video interviews were well designed and the actors were quite good.

Game play and hints

In the upper left corner of your screen, there is a calendar which displays 5 days, with X's over any days you have finished. In the upper right corner, you will find a sundial showing how many hours you have left in the day. The time any task will take to accomplish will appear in the middle of the sundial. The lower right hand corner shows your Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). The PDA is where you get messages from the office (including alibi checks, forensic reports and calls from your chief), and also holds all of your notes from the case thus far. This allows you to easily review notes after an interview.

When you are not interviewing a suspect or examining your PDA, you may right click to access the save game (and others) function. Save often and remember that each time you interview a suspect can open new avenues of enquiry and use your precious time. So do be sure to save different games so you have less backtracking to do if you discover your line of enquiry is going nowhere.

Time counts in this game. Questioning suspects, verifying alibis and asking for forensic reports will all cost you time. You only have 5 working days in which to solve the case or the feds will be called in. One hint, at the end of the day, you will be able to finish interviewing the suspect or informant before the game progresses to the next day. Which means that you should go ahead and interview one person when you only have an hour or less to spare. It will allow you to get a little bit more than your eight hours in.

Remember, you have to build a case against your suspects. This means that you will need the evidence, you will need to know if someone has a false alibi, and you will need to sort out which accusations were red herrings. What was the true reason that Anna Elk Moon was murdered. Any time during the last two days of game time that you want to, you can try to fill out an arrest warrant. But you only get one arrest warrant. If someone has an alibi which is proven true or you accuse the wrong person, you lose the case and, at least once, you lose your life as well.

Gripes about the game

It was confusing to be told to go to the Chief's office while in Police Headquarters. It turns out that the Chief's office is the exterior (so to speak) of the building.

Not being able to save a game while interviewing a suspect could get annoying, if you aren't sure which path your questioning should take.


I found this game quite entertaining. The combination of elements worked fairly well together. The game is well suited to the beginning detective and may provide the more experienced with a pleasant couple of afternoons worth of entertainment. Once I got started, the murder didn't take that long to solve though it did require that I backtrack in the game about four times to get to the correct conclusion.

This is an older game so it should run fine on most computers, plus the CD is Win95/MS-Dos/Macintosh compatible. No blood or gore, except for one gunshot wound that starts the game. I liked the game, but would only say it's a good game, not a great one.

Some final thoughts on the game.

If you enjoy this game try Under a Killing Moon or Pandora's Directive or The Dame Must be Loaded for other good detective stories with live action. The Broken Sword or Gabriel Knight stories are good graphic detective games.