Murder Most Foul

I don’t know why I played this. I expect @rovarsson will have fun with it. :stuck_out_tongue: But… OK. It’s not terrible. I don’t think this will be a classic without a bunch of work: it’s still rough around the edges.

But it uses a pretty small variety of commands–almost a limited parser game–feels like a USE ITEM game (except here it’s TALK TO) so that smooths some things out. When you need a custom verb it pretty much always flat-out tells you what to type.

And the story is fun if you’re into corny murder mysteries where the rich guy is murdered at the party in his fancy mansion. I’m not quite sure what the time period is supposed to be. It feels like it’s imitating Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse but there were a couple of times that something seemed seriously anachronistic for that kind of setting? I don’t remember: it’s a big game.

In some ways it feels closer to a MUD than a parser game: it’s a big map and there’s a LOT of walking around. The basic gameplay loop is: walk around, examine everything, pick up everything that isn’t nailed down, find the right person to talk to or give each item to, lather, rinse, repeat. And it clues the majority of these pretty well: you’ll usually have a goal you’re working toward; if you don’t know what to do with an item you probably don’t need it yet. But it’s a little bit on rails and if you get lost you could get really lost, so take good notes. Or just plan to resort to the walkthrough. There is an excellent “in-depth” walkthrough that describes what to do in prose, so it’s not too hard to search through that and figure out where to pick up again.

But it’s big. The basic walkthrough (command-list) is 8 full US-letter size pages with three columns per page, and the in-depth walkthrough is over 16 pages (this one’s A4? huh).

And it does a bunch of the classic annoying old-school parser things:

  • This character tells you, “oh, I think I dropped the thing in the garden” so you have to walk six rooms over to the garden and then walk through every. single. one. of the 15-ish rooms in the garden area… and then you get a message that “well, it’s definitely not here, guess you’ll have to walk all the way back and confront the person who told you it was.”
  • Most of the NPCs have places where they stay, so you usually know where to go, which is nice …except for when they go somewhere else and you have to guess.
  • The garden is kind of a maze–the ADRIFT runner can show a graphical map, so that’s helpful (if you don’t want to make your own).
  • It does a bunch of new exits opening up or things unlocking without really telling you: “you find a secret passage in the north wall” … except you have to go northwest to enter it.
  • A few of the item uses just aren’t cued at all AFAICT: when the person is using the grappling hook and failing, I had to resort to the walkthrough and even after doing it, I scrolled back and forth through all the relevant parts of my history and couldn’t find any way that I could possibly have known what to do. But…the story conditions are a little fragile in places and describe things that have already changed or fail to tell you what they need because you already picked up the item, so it’s entirely possible that this is one of those places.
  • There are a bunch of misleading error messages: > wear uniform: “It’s probably not a good idea to go wandering around wearing a fake police uniform. That sort of thing tends to be frowned upon by the actual police.” …except that the whole point of the police uniform is that you have to wear it to impersonate an officer to get into the place where the police are hanging out. But you’re not allowed to wear it anywhere else. There are at least three or four objects or locations like that.
  • And several times where the story advances when you walk through a particular location, so you can feel stuck because of that. I did realize toward the end of the game that these are mostly in the Lobby, which is a hub that you have to walk through to get from one side of the map from the other, so it’s not that bad, but there were some definite “uhhh…now what?” moments.

So yeah. A little rough, but mostly fun, especially if you’re into big long silly parser adventure romps.


I agree with a lot of this. I think it’s a very charming game, but was very frustrated at points. I’m not sure if I have to do spoiler tags even though this is a thread about the game, but just to be safe…One that really confounded me was the prada suit. Simple, huh? But I could not take, grab, steal, or otherwise pick up the suit. It took me forever before I realized you have to get the suit. Also, where to get some of the items was not obvious to me at all. I guess I was paying about as much attention as Charlotta whenever Lord Whatever maybe said he was a painter? Because I had no idea I had to get the paint from him, and not even by asking him about the paint as you would anyone else, but by asking him about himself. I think the game was maybe a little too big, and would have been just as charming less a few rooms and characters. Hoggs could be cut and I wouldn’t miss him, for instance.


Yeah, “very charming game that’s very frustrating at points and would have been just as charming if it was shorter” pretty much sums it up, I think.

I did really appreciate that the game promised “Thankfully, examine will find anything that’s hidden away, so there’s no need to resort to searching the scenery, looking on it, behind it, under it or with your head cocked at a 90 degree angle while simultaneously hopping up and down.” Thank you :pray:


Thanks for the comments and sorry for the problems you ran into with the game. It could probably have done with another round or two of testing before it was submitted but, well, best laid plans and all that. In hindsight, I really shouldn’t have entered such a large game into the comp and it certainly could have benefited from being trimmed down to a more manageable size. It ended up being quite a bit larger than I originally intended but then that’s true with all my games. I’m sure if I wrote a one room game with one item and one NPC, it would end being a little on the large side.

You’re welcome :slight_smile: This was actually included following a previous comp when a reviewer made a comment about this kind of obsessive examining / searching / looking in, on, under, etc being the hallmark of Adrift games. Which was definitely not the way I saw things but probably not an unfair observation considering that all the Adrift games entered in that comp did that kind of thing. I wanted to make a point of mentioning that whatever other faults there are with my game, at least players won’t have to spend an age studying the scenery and trying every verb they can think of to find whatever is hidden there.

And… that’s probably all I can really say on the subject now and I certainly don’t want to end up getting my disqualified by talking about my game during the comp.


I am very glad that I played it, because I did have fun. Struggling is just part of the IF experience. :laughing: