Under a Killing Moon

From Access Software

Brief game description

You control the actions of one Tex Murphy, a down-and-out detective. The time is the future, the things Murphy will say reminds you of old detective movies.

The game is based on a *very* good virtual reality engine. You can do things like turn your head while walking forward, look up or down, stand on your toes or - very important - crouch down. My first impression when I started this game was wow. My second was "Why can't I be working on something like this?" Some people may find controlling all the movements of the character distracting or even disorienting though. Especially when you need to move quickly to a hiding spot.

The cast for the game is good. My favourite is James Earl Jones as The PI in the Sky, and having him remind you of the "Rules of a PI". In fact, because of this, it does tend to be fun to die in this game. Though at a late part in the game, death gets a bit too frequent to be as much fun.

I must admit though, not all of the acting was enjoyable. I didn't really like Tex's ex-wife scene, it was just *too* much. I mean, a bit cheesy is one thing, but I found this excessive. The same goes for the 'valley girl' girlfriend you talk to later in the game.


Read the minimum system requirements for the game. Be sure to be above it. When I first started to play this game, my system really wasn't quite good enough. Some things allow frames to drop out while the voice/sounds play correctly. Under a Killing Moon has frames and sound in sync. It sounds as though the entire cast has been to the Captain Kirk School of Pauses in Unexpected Places. This is *not* a recommended experience.

Game play and hints

Spend time in Murphy's office. Get acquainted with how you move, look around, pick up things and combine items. There are times when you have to be proficient at getting around quickly, and you may as well practice at it from the start.

Do be sure to save the game before you have Tex do something stupid. Yes, usually you will know when a comment he is about to make will cause trouble, but some of those comments are just irresistible.

Look at *everything*. You will frequently get points for looking at things that don't really advance the game plot at all. Watch that your screen contrast is high enough that you'll notice a black item on a black top (I missed one this way.) Most people who get stuck do so because they have missed something on the floor (under a table, behind something else...). It never hurts to look at, in or under everything.

Gripes about the game

In the hint area, key items tend to be in coloured text. I kept trying to click on it, because it looked similar to hyperlinks. The bad part was, they weren't hyperlinks, which was frustrating. If the reason you can't proceed is because you can't find the geiger chow, clicking on the word may bring up a hint on where to look. Except that it doesn't.

A few bugs in the game, you can't get the second set of scraps to assemble into a note. You never get credit for hiding in one section of the game. So you can't get the perfect score that they mention in the user manual.

Day 7 was a waste of time. Wish they hadn't done it at all, or had done it differently.


Highly recommended. This game has a reasonable plot, some decent puzzles and lots of humour. I found it to be fun enough that I finished it once, then bought my own copy of it. I am looking forward to the sequel, as are many others who have played this game. The The Pandora Directive is out and lives up to the promise of the original.

Some final thoughts on the game.

I played this in every spare moment over a two week time frame. By the end, I felt that Tex was an old friend of mine. When a game can leave you feeling that way, you must have had some fun.