Sunday, 28 February 2016

Game 67: Maupiti Island (1991) - Introduction

By Ilmari


The game has nothing to do with the island in this map.
The real Maupiti is in Polynesia, the one in game in Indian Ocean.

No, French games have definitely not thrilled us. We have had games with perhaps too original ideas (Captain Blood), games that have looked superficially great, but had poor game mechanics (B.A.T.) and games that should be thrown straight away to some deep cavern, where they can bother no living beings (Emmanuelle). And then there was Mortville Manor.

Reading through Trickster’s playthrough of the game was quite interesting. It appears that translation to English was, as always with these French games, a major problem - it was truly impossible to decipher what the plot was all about.



This must be from some of those famous French philosophers, it sounds so profound

The other difficulty appeared more to be Trickster’s ignorance of the Deadline style game mechanics, in which the game environment has its own schedule and the cast of NPCs goes on with their routines, no matter what you do. So you get killed unexpectedly? Well, you might have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time or pissed some person too much with your questions.


Better luck next time

It seems clear that reviewing such a detective game is pretty hard with the standard procedure of the blog. On the one hand, a Deadline-style detective game takes usually way more time to crack than a standard adventure game - you have to meticulously find out the schedules of the people moving about, see whether the rooms change in any manner during the hours etc. On the other hand, the actual results of these investigations are often not enough to make for a detailed post. You can just picture how thrilling the blog would become - Dupin’s diary # 124: Spent the whole day in a closet, peeking through keyhole to master bedroom. Nothing much happened, except Arthur went for a quick smoke, when he thought no one was looking. And that scoundrel was so insistent he had stopped smoking! What other secrets lie hidden behind that innocent demeanor?

When I searched for information about Maupiti Island, I quickly found out that the game has a certain cult following (as attested by this article) and that some people actually call it the best detective adventure ever made. After hearing this, I knew I had to try to do some justice to the game. The obvious method was just to begin as soon as possible and try to beat the game before blogging about it would become a necessity.

I’ll admit at once that I’ve cracked the case already, so there’s no reason to make any bets about me getting stuck. I won’t reveal my feelings about the game in this first post, so you still have a chance to guess the score. I will say that playing the game to its proper ending took an inordinate amount of time, so much even that I at one point regretfully lost track of the hours spent on it. The times I will give are then more of an estimate than an accurate truth.


Who are these people? I never saw either of them in the game

I was somewhat lost about how to organise the posts on the game, but I finally decided that Maupiti Island demanded more of a thematic approach. So, after the introduction, in my first post I will handle the interface of the game, in the second post I will introduce the cast and the main events of the game, in the third post I will deal with the physical clues scattered around the island and in the final post I will show how I finally beat the game.


A classic? I am sure Trickster might have something to say about that

That only leaves the manual to speak about. The protagonist of the game, Jerome Lange, is familiar to us from Mortville Manor, and beside some notes on game mechanics, the manual contains his travel diary. The year is 1954, and Mr. Lange has travelled to Madagascar, to meet Duhamel, his old friend from primary school. After a month’s stay, Lange receives a letter from another friend, Max, who is waiting Lange in Japan. Duhamel offers his yacht, Brisban, to take Lange to Karachi (the former capital of Pakistan), in which an old plane will fly Lange to Tokyo. During the travel of the yacht through Indian Ocean, an imminent hurricane Harry forces Brisban to set course to Maupiti Island, where it arrives 30th of the January, soon followed by a fishing boat Bamboo. Next morning, Mr. Lange is awakened by an upset woman. It appears that a girl named Marie has been kidnapped.

And this is where I will step in...

18 comments:

  1. I guess 27. Same as Mortville Manor.

    There's a PC Crapshoot article bashing the game, so I'm not expecting a high score.

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    1. It's actually a pretty mild Crapshoot. This sounds especially positive: "Behind all that is a surprisingly fiendish, involving adventure. Quite a long way behind it, admittedly, but still.".

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  2. "the best detective adventure ever made"?

    Not sure I'm convinced, but I'll be relatively optimistic with a 33 for the score.

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  3. The cover looks like Hawaii Five-O.

    I'll guess 28. Maybe they managed to learn a lesson somewhere.

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  4. Having never heard of the game before, I'm gonna go for a super-optimistic 38.

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  5. We need a category that's the opposite of "Missed Classic."

    I'm guessing 22.

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  6. 32, because binary. But that's '32 yet bad', just for reference - I just know that you're always one to look for the positives in things. Hell, you gave Free D.C! a score above 10, and that was barely a game, let alone an adventure.

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    1. Ah, you know my kind heart too well... And come on, when Hugo 2 already got 18 this year, I couldn't go lower than that.

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  7. Never played, never seen. Dice say 38 and who am I to argue against that.

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  8. "You wanted to see me?" It's been 25 years, and that piece of horribly synthesized speech is still impressed in my brain. Just for that I'll give it 25.

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    1. "There's nothing to say about that, you know." The speech is truly... impressive.

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  9. I have fond memories of playing this game. I was getting murdered randomly but the game kept being interesting at the time, although I spent most of my time opening cabinets and taking random objects. I'll say 35.

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  10. I´m very optimistic in guessing 40.

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  11. 36, because it hasn't been taken yet!

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  12. Your comment about my ignorance of Deadline style game mechanics is true. I wonder if I'd have played the game any different had I previously played through The Colonel's Bequest first. I had no choice but to adhere to the style you mention while playing that game.

    For your sake I do hope that Maupiti Island is better than Mortville Manor. I really had to force myself through that one.

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    1. Yes, Deadline style games are almost like a genre to itself, although because there are so few actual games of that kind and because it has so clear affinities with normal adventure game, it's more convenient to label them with latter. But having to play Mortville Manor, when you are expecting a normal adventure game, probably felt really weird. I am sure prior experience with The Colonel's Bequest would have helped, even though the game itself might still not have gotten better score.

      As for Maupiti Island, as I said, I've already finished it (after many hours of playing), so you don't have to be afraid of my sanity anymore. I won't reveal yet whether it was slog or pure ecstasy or something in between...

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  13. Never played it, but the cover looks full of itself. So by that reasoning.... 31

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