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Zenobi Software
Jack A. Lockerby
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 128K

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Tim Kemp
Chris Bourne

Murder mysteries always go down quite well with me, and this game had me whipping out my magnifying glass and forensic kit. One whipping-out later and I was scurrying off to Dundee Manor where the heinous crime had been committed. Naturally enough I had my official Angela Lansbury hints 'n' tips book tucked in my back pocket!

The victim was one Philip Stowe who was only at the manor to celebrate his engagement to Emily, the daughter of Major Dundee. There's no mucking about in this game as there's the deadly serious matter of murder to look into, so without so much as an "'ello, 'ello, 'ello, what have we here then?" you're straight on the case, sniffing around the place for clues and interviewing potential murderers.

Dundee Manor and its grounds are large, and the guests (suspects) are numerous. After interrogating, erm, questioning a few likely-looking people you'll start to get an idea of who was where when the dastardly deed took place, and who might have had a motive for bumping the old boy off. With a bit of careful searching, you'll also begin to collect evidence from the locations you visit. Whodunnits often stand or fall on how well the character interaction is handled, and also on how clever the author has been in hiding the true identity of the murderer from the player. In both cases Jack Lockerby has done well. He's made it easy to grill the suspects without having to resort to an excessive amount of detailed questioning. At the same time he's managed to keep the murderer's (or murderers') identity hidden until the appropriate moment. You won't know for sure until you've amassed all the pieces of damning evidence.

The trouble with detective games is that the reviewer can't say all that much for fear of giving everything away. Needless to say you'll find that not a lot can be taken for granted and that the plot twists one way, and then turns another, to make you doubt your evidence or suspicions. Was Philip Stowe really a drug addict? Did the bullet from the gun really kill him? Was the blood on the carpet even his? You'll never know unless you play Murder He Said. It's a 128K-only game and is bound to give you weeks of pleasure (or frustration) until you crack the crime. Oh, and I'd recommend a few repeat watchings of 'Inspector Morse' to get you in the mood!