The Pandora Directive
It's Funny How People Seem To think that the life of a private detective is highly glamorous, filled with danger, and full of excellent life-risking opportunities. In reality, your average P.I. is more likely to be spending his time scouring the country for missing persons, or shadowing some middleaged bum who's cheating on his wife, or rescuing a cat from a tree or something. The only place you're likely to find a detective who fits the traditional image is on tv in some dodgy program or other, or in a movie, or maybe even a book, or of course, in The Pandora Directive...
Tex Is back
The Pandora Directive, you may be interested to know, is the sequel to Under A Killing Moon, which is a rather splendid adventure game chronicling the life and times of Tex Murphy. Tex is a private detective who has a most unfortunate knack of getting into all kinds of shitty situations no matter what he does. Your job, as you would expect, is to save his skin when such situations arise. Personally speaking, I didn't have too much trouble helping Tex survive all his traumatic encounters, but there's a reason for that. Virgin sent me a novel which is based on everything that happens in the game. I decided to have a little peek at this novel to see what it was all about. Unfortunately, the book, in addition to having exactly the same storyline as the game, actually turned out to be rather good, so by the time I got round to reviewing the game, I was already halfway through the book. As you can probably imagine, it's not that much of a challenge playing an adventure game in which you already know exactly what to do.
Fortunately, I've now got quite close to the end of the game, so I've had to solve lots of puzzles myself (honest guv) so you needn't worry about this review being based on a walkthrough of the game or anything like that. Anyway, the moral of this long and boring story is (At last! - Ed.): if you're thinking of playing the game, don't read the book. I'm glad that's sorted out, let's move on to a bit of scene-setting, shall we?
They've seen The X-Flles
Explaining the overall plot is going to be a little difficult, seeing as how there are three completely different paths you can take in order to finish the game. Basically, the nub of it is this. At the start of the game, Tex gets approached by a wealthy businessman who is trying to track down an old friend of his, Dr Malloy. Tex takes on the case and quickly finds out there's more to the doctor's disappearance than meets the eye. The nsa, a government agency, are particularly interested in finding out where the doctor is hiding, as are the police link between the doctor and a serial killer known as the black arrow killer. I really have to stop here, because if I give too much of the story away (which is basically the best thing about the game), there won't be much point in any of you playing the thing. Suffice to say, Tex discovers during his investigations that the answer to the whole mystery lies in finding out the truth about an alien craft which crashed in the States and the government are keeping quiet about.
At times, it's almost like playing an interactive episode of The X-Files, which as we all know is absolutely tops. So the storyline is fab, what about the rest of it? Well, hey guys, what do you think? The Pandora Directive is, after all, an adventure game from the talented guys and gals at Access.
Access are back
Before Sierra and Virgin and almost every other software house under the sun jumped on the interactive movie bandwagon, Access were already busy producing totally class adventure games using photo-realistic back-drops and digitised animations for the in-game characters. The first of these was Countdown, an absolutely brilliant adventure game with a gripping plot and enough gameplay to keep you going for months - and how many interactive movies can you say that about? Access then went on to produce Amazon, which was another top game (even at this point the interactive movie brigade still hadn't got off the starting block), and then of course came Under A Killing Moon, the game that preceded The Pandora Directive. Under A Killing Moon was rather excellent (we gave it 90) and you'll be happy to know that the game under review here is even better still. The graphics, as you would expect, are absolutely gorgeous, and the gameplay is so addictive I've had serious trouble dragging myself away from the game.
The Pandora Directive triumphs because it contains 'real' puzzles and genuinely challenging gameplay, as well as all the usual interactive movie malarkey. The only problem I had with it was the fact that it comes on six cds (yes, six!), and you have to swap between them quite regularly (remember the Amiga, anyone?). But on no account let small details like that put you off, The Pandora Directive is without question the best adventure game of its type currently available. I loved it.
Processor: PC compatible, P-100
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode