Top Ten Most Intriguing Detective Adventure Games
Crime novels or films continue to be really popular. No reason they shouldn’t. Who doesn’t like a bit of a suspense, a charismatic protagonist to cheer for and a psychotic villain that needs to be stopped? Among the adventure game genre we can find quite a lot of whodunnits but obviously not all of them are worth playing. I hope this list of Top Ten Most Intriguing Detective Adventure Games will help you to make a wise choice. Prepare your magnifying glass, get your handcuffs and dive right into the world of crime and punishment.
10. Hitchcock: The Final Cut
This game is often unfairly passed over by many players. It’s a shame, since despite its undeniable faults it has a really gripping story worthy of the great director’s name. The protagonist here is called Joseph Shamley and he’s a private detective with psychic powers who is hired to find out what happened to the movie crew involved in a production of Hitchockesque motion picture. It’s quite unusual for the whole group of people to suddenly vanish into thin air, isn’t it? As the story progresses, we discover the reason for this strange occurrence and dig out some skeletons from the past. Quite literary sometimes. Interesting plot, great atmosphere straight from a noir movie and many allusions to Hitchcock’s productions make the game a unique experience. Be lenient towards some of its drawbacks (like faulty camera or various glitches) and you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable story.
9. Black Dahlia
Another game on the list, Black Dahlia, set in America and Europe of the 1940s, offers us a mystery that involves brutal murders, Nazis and supernatural phenomena. Quite a mixture, eh? We play as Jim Pearson, a new agent of the COI (later transformed into CIA), who soon discovers that the investigation he was told to conduct is not as straightforward as he expected at the beginning. The plot twists and turns and it’s a real pleasure to follow it while watching all the cut-scenes performed by actors. Even though the ending is rather bitter and the puzzles are frustratingly mind-bending, it’s still a game worth checking out. This interactive movie is more enjoyable than a visit to the cinema.
8. Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None
Every crime genre enthusiast must have heard of Agatha Christie and read at least one of her novels. Maybe even “And Then There Were None” on which this game was based (duh). Do not fret, even if you know the book by heart, its adaptation will surely surprise you once or twice. Patrick Narracott, the playable character, travels with a group of people to a charming place called Shipwreck Island. Soon, the storm breaks out and nobody can leave the island. And then people begin to die one by one… Patrick needs to discover who the murderer is before everyone will meet their gruesome end. You have to admit, the premise of the story is brilliant. Don’t mind the dated graphics, just play it and enjoy the horror of impending doom.
Another adventure game with a knack for supernatural. This time we move to medieval England and, to be more specific, a small village of Cavorn. As Nicolas Farepoynt, an investigator who has an uncanny ability to talk with the dead, we have to unravel the mystery surrounding a murder of a young woman. Evidence point out to her fiancé but as it often happens, the case proves to be much more complicated. I won’t lie, I love Daemonica with its grim setting, dark story with many surprises and very depressing mood. The game, despite some flaws, is a true, unique gem. Don’t hesitate too long and give it a try yourself.
6. Jack Orlando: A Cinematic Adventure
It’s time to move to a very interesting period – 1930′s in the USA, shortly after the abolishment of prohibition. A golden era of private detectives, titular Jack Orlando being one of them. He is really down on his luck, though. One day he is found in some shady alley next to a corpse. That obviously doesn’t look too good. Thanks to his friend on the force, Jack is released from prison and given 48 hours to clear his name and catch the real murderer. The game’s plot is really good, gripping and the atmosphere simply brilliant. If you want to play it and see for yourself (which you really want, trust me), get the Director’s Cut version with enhanced graphics and sound as well as some new content.
5. Tex Murphy: Under a Killing Moon
Tex Murphy is an amazing series of games and it was difficult to choose only one for this list, but I finally decided on Under a Killing Moon, since many fans consider it to be the best of them all. The setting is truly unique – December 2042 in post-World War III San Francisco. Our protagonist is a private private investigator always haunted by misfortune. He’s broke, recently divorced and with no work. Everything changes though, when a mysterious Countess Renier hires Tex to locate her stolen statuette. What seemed like a child’s play, soon turns out to be really problematic affair when a dark cult gets involved into the matter. Expect a set of likeable characters, lots of humour and an intriguing plot that will keep you on edge throughout the game. Just play it and count the days until the première of another Tex Murphy’s adventure that was founded not so long ago on Kickstarter.
4. Blade Runner
Blade Runner is a game you should play even if you don’t know the original movie. It does not recreate the exact plot of the film, but works as a spin-off, telling the story of a different Blade Runner, Ray McCoy. He needs to find and ‘retire’ (kill) a group of replicants (artificial humans), who have murdered several animals – a heinous crime in the world where real pets are extremely rare. The plot is interesting and the atmosphere of cyperpunk city is great but the game’s biggest asset are the choices offered to the player. Depending on our actions, we can arrive at one of thirteen different endings. That is truly impressive. Blade Runner is a must to every fan of the adventure genre.
3. Heavy Rain
A game that feels more like a movie than a game. We witness here how four protagonists struggle to find out who is the dreaded serial killer called Origami Killer, notorious for drowning his victims. Every hero – a father whose son was kidnapped, an investigative journalist, an FBI agent and a private detective – has his or her reasons to pursue the murderer. The plot is brilliant, gripping and toys mercilessly with the player’s emotions. What’s more,our actions and choices influence to some extent how the story unfolds. No better way to spend an evening than an interactive crime story that tugs on our heartstrings.
2. L.A. Noire
L.A. Noire is one of the few games that got favourable opinions even from people who do not normally like adventure games. No wonder. Gorgeous graphics, especially facial expressions, was a big advantage, but it wouldn’t be enough if the story wasn’t entertaining. Fortunately, it’s not so. We play as Cole Phelps, a police officer, who seems to be the only honest cop in Los Angeles of 1947. But can one really remain decent in the ocean of crime and corruption? It takes over twenty cases in five different police departments (including Homicide and Vice) to find the answer to that question. This game is a must if you enjoy collecting evidence and interrogating suspects.
1. Still Life
A perfect story, everyone else can go home. In Still Life we take role of Victoria McPherson, an FBI agent, who chases after a sophisticated serial killer in the modern day Chicago. We race against time as the plot twists in the most unlikely directions, leaving us in awe. To make the story even better, we also conduct a parallel investigation, this time in Prague of 1930′, playing as Victoria’s grandfather. If that’s not one of the best plots in a crime story, then I don’t know what is. Don’t mind the disappointing sequel, Still Life is a brilliant game and you simply have to get acquainted with it. For your own good.
0. Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis
Okay, I’m a big, fat cheat, I won’t deny it. But no list of detective games can do without at least one Sherlock Holmes productions. My choice was Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis but to be honest, almost every game from the series could fill this place. So what’s so great about these games? Ehrm… everything. The cases we try to solve are brilliant, intricate and full of surprising events. It’s a real pleasure and privilege to play as the greatest mind among all the detectives and see how the mystery unravels with a string of amazing deductions. Who wouldn’t want to be as smart as him? Well, at least we have a chance now. Buy the game(s), you won’t regret it!