In the first few seconds of watching this, you are easily convinced that it's a major achievement. The intro, with its bold, colourful cartoon graphics and a real Sam Spade private dick introducing himself on the audio soundtrack, is impressive though.
But what happens before the game starts makes the intro look minimal. You must fill in all the background and set the scenario, so you watch the Prologue. This is a full 10 minutes of what is, in effect, a graphic novel, presented beautifully in the television medium with excellent narration and soundtrack.
So far, so very, very excellent. And now it's time to play the game. You've been invited on board a luxury air cruiser, the Condor, by a wealthy eccentric in the Howard Hughes mould. Your fellow passengers are all suspected in a murder, lured there by your host. But you have only 40 minutes until the flight is over and you must find the killer before the plane lands...
Sadly, the overwhelming excellence of the presentation is let down by the gameplay. To pick up clues to the identity of the murderer, you must wander around the 10 or so rooms talking to the suspects, listening in on their conversations and searching for evidence. To nail the killer you;ll need to have established motive, means and opportunity.
What this boils down to is clicking on the room you want to visit, clicking on the search icon occasionally and making sure you're in the right eaves
In practise, this is pathetically simple, so it's made into a challenge by the addition of a tight time limit - five minutes - and the random element of finding the right people at the right time to hear the right things.
You'll play time and time again, learning more each time you do, until finally you can piece the puzzle together within the time limit. Unfortunately, this sort of frustration-
In terms of presentation, Condor authors Tiger Media have nothing to learn from anyone. This disc is worth buying just as a vaguely interactive graphic novel - it looks and sounds gorgeous - and it's the first true CD game there is. It's also quite enjoyable. But in terms of gameplay, the authors have a lot to learn from games like Delphine;s Cruise for a Corpse, which is a very similar concept.