Tex Murphy Overseer

From Access Software

Brief game description

Third game in the virtual reality world of Tex Murphy, private detective (the fifth Tex game, the first two were text-based games). Tex is telling Chelsea about his very first case, and the client he grew much too fond of. Thus most of the story is a flashback, to a few years previous when Tex had just started his own agency. His first client was blond, beautiful and ready to pay him to prove that her father didn't commit suicide. Well, if he can prove it, then she'll have the money to pay him.

Tex Murphy games use an excellent virtual reality engine. The effect is that you can look at things from angles, stand on your toes or crouch on the floor and most critical items have 3 dimensions. Another feature of the game is that it has two levels of play. Entertainment level has fewer puzzles, a hint system and the possibility of bypassing a puzzle to go on with the game. Gamer level has more puzzles, but you can't access the hints and you can't bypass the puzzles.

Since Tex is talking to Chelsea about his first case, this means that he must have survived. You'll mainly notice this when you've done something wrong, since the game usually cuts back to the date with Tex telling Chelsea "What really happened was..." A bit odd, but we know to play the game until we can solve the puzzle.

Game play and hints

This is one time when I would suggest that even the experienced game player should play the game once at entertainment level. The reason? I found that it was much easier to solve one of the first puzzles using my notes from the first time, and solving the puzzle quickly gets one a better bonus. Plus, it can be nice to just know how the story progresses with a bit less emphasis on the puzzles. Mind you, even at the entertainment level, there are some tough puzzles to crack.

The interface for this game has a new twist. Move the cursor to the middle of the top of the screen to access the Save/Load/Hint menu. Move the cursor to the right side of the screen to access your inventory. The left side brings up locations that you can travel to. The bottom of the screen brings up a movement map (I never used this option.) I like the way this design works for this game.

As ever, save the game often as you make progress. You can and will kill Tex at least a few times during the game, it is best to be prepared for that. Be careful to look in drawers, look on top and under pieces of furniture, and grab any interesting looking items.

Major hint: when rifling a hitman's apartment for clues and you know he is present, be careful to leave things as you find them. Also find a good hiding place which you can be ready to duck into quickly. Hitmen tend to be very observant and they don't like stray visitors.

Gripes about the game

There are a few places in which Tex can die during the game. The gripe is that at some of these places, you have to reload the game. At others, Tex gets another chance without a game reload. I don't know if this is a bug or meant to happen that way, but I find it disconcerting, to say the least. In situation A: if the hitman kills you, reload the game. In situation B: if you haven't found the chip in time, laugh it off and say "What really happened was..." Very strange.

Conclusion

If you have played the other Tex Murphy games, UAKM or Pandora Directive, you'll know what to expect. There are a few puzzles with critical timing, there are a number of places where Tex may die. You need to look around carefully for any objects that you can pick up. The puzzles themselves are pretty fair. The game tells a coherent story, and the acting is quite professional.

So buy this game now! All three Murphy games are entertaining and highly addictive.

Some final thoughts on the game.

It would be really quite strange to meet Chris Jones after playing UAKM, Pandora Directive and this one. It would sort of be like seeing an old friend, except you know him as Tex Murphy. While this is a common problem for tv/movie actors, I don't know of any other times this might be true for a computer game character. But Tex is such a likeable guy, it would seem natural to drop by and have a drink with him.


Last update 1 August 1999.

For more game reviews, either read the full list of games reviewed on this site or the main game page which includes brief descriptions of all the games reviewed.

This review is copyright © by Lynn J. Alford (more about the author). Send mail lynn.alford@deletethis.gmail.com.


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