Professor Plum and his chums can now take a break from plodding round the cardboard corridors of Tudor Grange, moving from Billiard Room to Library in search of the murder weapon. They have all become stars of the small screen, courtesy of Leisure Genius, and now exist in pixel rather than plastic form. Cluedo, the computer game, is the second game produced by Leisure Genius under licence from Waddingtons we looked at Monopoly last issue.
Six players can pin in the hunt for the murderer and if you're short on friends, the computer is quite happy to deputise for up to five players, each of which can play at one of three skill levels input at the start. Thoughtfully, Leisure Genius have allowed for people who don't have the luxury of a colour TV, and have provided an option in the initialisation menu which allows you to specify a set of graphics which don ' t get confusing on a black and white set. You can also choose whether or not you want each of the six characters to be introduced with a little theme tune at the start of their turn, and can specify the speed at which the computer moves the counters around the board, from a range of 0 to 9.
Once the game has been set up and players' names entered, the computer randomly selects the three murder cards weapon, room and person and removes them from the deck. The players each roll the die to determine the order of play, and the computer deals the remaining cards.
The screen contains a faithful representation of the board itself, viewed from above, and a vertical panel to the right of the board area is used to display a caricature of the player currently taking a turn, together with the menu of options available. Human players use the cursor keys to select options from the menus displayed and to plot their moves after a roll of the die, while the computer driven detectives cope automatically.
Play proper always starts with Miss Scarlett (Theme Tune: Gone with the Wind) and continues clockwise round the rest of the cast in the murder mystery.
As each player's turn comes round, the menu appears in the right hand portion of the screen and he or she can choose from 'Roll Dice, Notes, Clue Cards, Passage. Suggestion, Accusation and Next'.
'Roll Dice ' is achieved by pressing a key, whereupon a chunky red graphic representation of the real thing rolls from the bottom left hand corner of the screen towards the middle, settling to display the number of moves the player can make.
The game comes with a set of little printed 'Detective Notes' forms just like the original which can be used for eliminating suspects as the game progresses. Players can also make notes on the list of characters, rooms and weapons stored for them in the computer by accessing 'Notes' from the menu and highlighting entries on their list.
'Clue Cards' is simply an aide memoire, which displays the cards which have been dealt to a player, while 'Passage' allows the use of a secret passage. 'Next' is used to indicate the completion of a player's turn.
The 'Suggestion' option is, of course, essential to the progress of the game. Once you're in a room it's time to make a suggestion as to the identity of the murderer and the weapon, so you can try to eliminate cards held by the other players. Selecting 'Suggestion' alters the display on the main screen which changes to show a picture of the room in which the suggestion is being made. The player selects the person and weapon for the suggestion from sub menus in the player area, and their pictures are added to a little rogue's gallery at the bottom of the screen. The computer polls each player in turn, stopping at the first who holds a clue card corresponding to the room, person or weapon in the suggestion. The player who made the suggestion can then view the card held by the other detective, and thus eliminate a suspect, weapon or location.
The game requires a little cooperation if more than one human player is taking part everyone else must look away when clue cards are being revealed after a suggestion. The program allows for this by masking the display until a key press has been made.
Once you're sure you've pinned down the perpetrator of the evil deed, the weapon and location, it's time to make an 'Accusation'. Get it right, and you've won, get it wrong and you're out of the game. Move over Hercule, it's Miss Scarlett, with the lead piping in the....
'Cluedo on computer is pretty much the same as the board game. The main difference is that all of the work is done on screen, and of course you're playing the machine. When it come to ratings on addictivity etc, this really depends on whether you like board games. I felt that Cluedo was pretty good, but not really hyper brill'
'I'm not really a Cluedo fan, but with this one I didn't have much choke - a quick flick through the instruction book and I was away. The graphical ideas are similar to those used on Monopoly - the rolling of dice is just the same. Neat. On the whole an interesting simulation of the real thing, and for board game fans - Brilliant!'
'Somehow, I always preferred Monopoly to Cluedo when they were both just board games, and this preference carries through to Leisure Genius' silicon implementations. It's good to be able to play on your own - but for family fun I think the solid version of the game has to win out. A well thought out conversion, however, with several neat touches. I particularly valued the option to turn off the theme tunes, which became very annoying after about three turns. Nicely put together: a must for every board game fan's software collection.'
: cursor keys and ENTERJoystick
: You could...Keyboard play
: fineUse of colour
: well thought out, goodGraphics
: faithfully done, neat idea for room interiorsSound
: annoying theme tunes, but you can turn them offSkill levels
: three available for computer's playersLives
: you get it right, or you get it wrongScreens
: main screen, then nine sub-screens, one for each roomGeneral Rating:
Another excellent transfer from Leisure Genius.
Col Mustard's mustachio'd countenance glowrers down, and play begins in CLUEDO. If there was a King Street, Ludlow on the board, my money be on Roger Kean, with The Bundle of Magazines, in The Street. With the traffic warden as victim.