Maupiti Island logo Amiga Joker Hit

Nicht nur in Sachen Präsentation übertrifft Länkhors neues Krimi-Adventure den Vorgänger "Mortville Manor" um Längen - was unsere französischen Nachbarn dismal zusammengebastelt haben, ist rundum ein absoluter Spitzentitel!

In seinem zweiten Abenteuer hat es Jerome Lange, seines Zeichens Meisterdetektiv der 50er Jahre, auf eine winzige Insel im Indischen Ozean verschlagen.

Eines morgens erhält er Besuch von einer Frau, die ihn bittet, eine gewisse Marie wiederzufinden, die angeblich entführt wurde. Das Dumme ist bloß: es gibt keinerlei Hinweise.

Aber schließlich befinden sich nur neun Personen auf Maupiti Island - irgendjemand davon wird ja wohl wissen, was mit der armen Marie passiert ist...

Gesteuert wird das Detektivabenteuer ausschließlich mit der Maus, sobald man den Pointer zum oberen Screenrand führt, erscheint eine Menüleiste; Man kann einen anderen Ort aufsuchen, ins Inventory gucken, sich verstecken und die verschiedensten Aktionen einleiten.

Zum Beispiel beobachten, zuhören, verfolgen, bestechen, verprügeln, oder öffnen - insgesamt stehen 16 Handlungsmöglichkeiten zur Wahl.

Sollten sich gerade Personen in der Nähe befinden, wird das angezeigt; unser Detektiv kann ihnen entweder heimlich folgen oder sie gleich verhören.

Im Falle eines Verhörs wechselt das Bild, und ein Portrait des jeweiligen Gesprächspartner wird eingeblendet. Per Mausklick wählt man die Fragen aus: "Was hälst du eigentlich von Bob?", "Wo warst du gestern um 20 Uhr?", etc.

Das Hübsche dabei ist, daß mit digitaler Sprachausgabe geantwortet wird. Auch wenn die Insel nur mit 28 Örtlichkeiten und besagten neun Leute aufwarten kann, hat man an dem Fall doch ganz schön zu knabern. Bestimmte Personen ändern nämlich ihr Verhalten erst im Lauf der Zeit, manch einer, der anfangs überhaupt nicht mit Informationen herausrücken wollte, wird später dann doch noch gesprächig.

Und selbstverständlich muß der Held gelegentlich auch Speis und Trank zu sich nehmen; in einem Textfeld kann man sich jederzeit über die Verfassung des Detektivs, die aktuelle Uhrzeit und den Stand der Ermittlungen (wieviel Prozent des Spiels gelöst wurden) informieren.

Maupiti Island ist ein Hochgenuß für alle Sinne: Die Titel-Musik ist einfach umwerfend, und während des gesamten Spiels sorgt eine fantastische Sounduntermalung für Atmosphäre. Kurze Melodien, Vogelgezwitscher, Wellenrauschen - das Game setzt hier neue Maßstäbe für das gesamte Adventure-Genre!

Aber auch die Augen kommen nicht zu kurz, beinahe fotorealistische Grafiken mit kleinen aber feinen Animationen sorgen für Optik vom Feinsten. Nicht zu vergessen das über alle Zweifel erhabene Menüsystem - noch einfacher kann eine Adventure-Steuerung fast nicht mehr sein. Spannend ist die Angelegenheit sowieso, mit einem Wort: Maupiti Island gehört in jede gutgeführte Abenteurer-Bibliothek! (C. Borgmeier)

Maupiti Island logo

Unusual, atmospheric and just a little bit French, this is not your run-of-the-mill game.

Uh-oh, it's a graphical adventure from some people who have absolutely nothing to do with Lucasfilm! The temptation is to kick offf with lots of unfavourable comparisons with a certain The Secret of Monkey Island, but i'll try and resist it. Better not to get bogged down in a compare and contrast syndrome, but give this French yarn a fair hearing in its own right.

As with all point and click 'thrillers', the plot is nigh impossible to avoid, so I may as wel start with that. You play a leisurely seafarer skipping around the Indian Ocean in the early 1950s. All's going swimmingly until you stop off at (surprise, surprise!) Maupiti Island for a cool shandy and get yourself embroiled (surprise, even-more-surprise!) in all sorts of intrigue.

The first thing you discover is that some poor girl's been kidnapped. Naturally, being this adventurous type, you get straight down to a spot of detective work, exploring the locality and interviewing the dozen or so inhabitants of the island. You discover the usual group of suspects - mad communists, raving homosexuals, gorgeous housemaids, disillusioned young men from Europe and, of course, the obligatory mysterious old fisherman.

There's not too much searching to be done, since at least one of these bonkers characters shows up at every turn. Interaction is good though - you can talk to them by picking any of about twenty questions, you can follow them, you can bribe them, you can even indulge yourself and give them a good old fashioned beating.
We wouldn't recommend it though - the latter option might be a lot of fun, but you're running a huge risk of ending up with the contents of your head plastered all over some barroom wall. As you might expect, Maupiti Island falls short of a five star rating in the hospitality stakes.

It all sounds suitably intriguing, doesn't it, but how well does it actually work as a game? Well, the first thing you have to say is that it's illustrated deliciously, punctuated with some charming effects and music which give the whole affair a leisurely, almost holiday-like feel. It certainly rates highly in the atmosphere stakes.

Gameplay-wise it works quite well too. I usually have a big problem with graphical adventures - they rarely let you do just what you want, and I tend to get frustrated. Here, however, if you want to look at something (even the most humdrum object) you usually can. Just bumbling around the locations in the game checking everything out can be nearly as much fun as unearthing deadly secrets or whatever.

Of course, there is a downside to all this. There's no way that Maupiti Island is going to give you more than (maybe) a dozen hours entertainment - it's simply too small. Still, for mellow types who get their kicks watching Sunday afternoon movies or walking in parks, this provides an excellent alternative to rabid death rushes or sugary platform games.

To sum up, here is a small and almost perfectly formed game full of lovely visuals, interesting characters, and providing a limited smattering of action and suspense. Yes, I'm afraid it can be summed up by one of the blandest words in the dictionary - it's nice. (And no, it's not as good as Monkey Island).

Maupiti Island logo

Murder mystery games on computer have been much neglected. It's a genre ripe for exploration, especially with the new era of CDTV just around the corner. In fact, the only recent attempts - which include Vera Cruz, Cruise for a Corpse and Operation Stealth (displaying a predominantly French slant to the genre) - have been graphically impressive, but lacking in the all-important gameplay area.

In addition, the games often lose a lot in the translation with some very odd phrases turning up - a trait that seems to have been carried through with Maupiti. For instance, the box blurb says: 'When we arrived I immediately knew there would be a heated ambiance... a very heated ambiance.' There's nothing I like more than heated ambiance - whatever that might mean!

Fortunately, though, these lingual 'oddities' don't detract from making this one of the best whodunits I've played. It's impressive graphically, superb in the music and sound effects department and plays simple and easily.

The plot revolves around one Detective Jerome Lange, the gumshoe who first made an appearance in Lankhor's Mortville Manor back in 1989. His return sees him investigating odd goings-on at the eponymous Maupiti Island. A girl named Marie - or Mary if the contradictory box blurb is to be believed - has been kidnapped, so Jerome sets about solving the case by roaming the tropical paradise, and scouring for clues.

During this time, several characters, both dodgy and seemingly normal, can be interrogated and clues are liberally dropped during the course of these conversations. However, someone is out to stop your investigations and most of my sleuthing ended in murder - namely mine.

The game opens with Jerome in his cabin, and above this a series of icons and secreted within an attractive bamboo border. These are then accessed with the mouse, and enable Jerome to talk, take, read, argue, and question, along with a whole host of other options which appear as and when they are needed.

There are some very nice animated touches, such as moving fans and butterflies, which add to the claustrophobic and oppressive atmosphere really well - you can feel the heat of the tropics coming off the screen! Couple this with some amazing music and sound effects, and the development team have created a quality that's often lacking in computer games and vital in whodunits - the all-important atmosphere. Occasionally, though, this atmosphere is punctured by the aforementioned bad translations, one of which informed me that, while searching my own cabin and trying to lift a desk lid I was, 'badly raised'. Quite what it meant, I'll never know.

On entering a new screen, the game informs you of who else is within the room. And from here, the collection of clues begins. Anyone who is present has their name shown at the top of the screen, and simply by clicking the pointer onto their sprite, a conversation can be struck up. As their face appears in close-up, their answers come across via some rather robotic synthesis, and anything useful that is said can be committed to memory.

Once again, though, these conversations fall foul of the dubious translation. Take my questioning of Bruce, a rough-looking sea dog type, for instance. From the start I was thrown by his greeting: 'Hello, sailor'. Was I hearing things? Rather worried, I pressed on. What did he think of the island, I asked? 'I like stopping at Maupiti. I have my little habits there,' he replied. I decided I didn't want to know about his little habits and moved on.

For the tougher characters, an option allows you to lay into them, but the manual recommends that you avoid this avenue as much as possible. In addition, as an undercover sleuth, it will also draw attention to your movements and make your task even harder. Although not up to the standard of Operation Stealth, Maupiti Island is a neat game let down by the dodgy translations. OK, so this is a minor point, but it can get annoying and I would have hoped that more care could have been taken.

Even so, solving Marie's (or Mary's) kidnapping should keep all you would-be Philip Marlowes and Mike Hammers busy, and is recommended for its novelty value alone.


If you enjoy computer crime - and we don't mean hacking - you might like to checkout these classic whodunit books.

The Daughter of Time (1951) by Josephine Tey, Penguin.
An investigation into the murder of the Princes in the Tower. Was Richard III really the killer?
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) by Agatha Christie, Fontana.
This is the book that turned Christie into the Queen of Crime. We defy anybody to guess the ending.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Penguin.
A gigantic hellhound brings terror and death to Devon. Sherlock Holems investigates.
The Hollow Man (1938) by John Dickson Carr, Penguin.
A classic locked room murder.
And Then There Were None (1939) by Agatha Christie, Fontana.
One of the most intriguing puzzles. Is the last person left living really the murderer?

Maupiti Island logo

Thanks to ZERO's continental connections we have imported, at vast expense, a French copy of Maupiti Island. It's won several awards in its own country and will soon be released here. So let's take a tropical cruise and see what all the fuss is about...

Amiga review French games always have a touch of class, and Maupiti Island is another adventure that's stylishly done in the Mortville manner (ho, ho). Your mouse will get plenty of exercise as you point and click your way through this thriller, which again features Jerome Lange. This time he's investigating the disappearance of someone called Marie on an island off the shores of Madagascar.

The graphics include lots of sun-kissed beaches with blue skies, swaying palms and the gentle sounds of the waves lapping on the shore. The piccies are good, with lots of extra little touches - like when the program's busy, the cursor turns into a flickering humming-bird, or sometimes into a mouse.

The sound's good too, though the digitised speech causes a few unintended laughs. You can't really blame the program as it's a technique that's still got a long way to go, but it don't half show ina game like this that relies heavily on chatting to lots of different characters.

There are drop-down menus across the top of the screen covering movement, inventory, actions, conversations and so on, but the game's system's improved since Mortville Manor. Now you can whizz round the screen and any verb remains usable till you replace it with another one.

Choose 'Open', and you can go round the screen left-clicking on wardrobes, drawers and so on, bringing back 'Open' each time with a right-click. I searched my room and equipped myself with a pistorl, some cash and a bit of info from a newspaper. You can read most things you find, like notices on walls, calendars, even labels on bottles: "Du boh... oh... Dubonnet!"

Then, using the movement menu, I decided to go 'au bassin'. I thought I'd end up in the bathroom, but it turned out to be a jungle scene and I wouldn't wash my hands in that swamp. Terrific creepy jungle sounds, though. But not a lot to look at, even in close-up through the magnifying glass that comes up on-screen when you choose 'Regarder'. Click on this and the pixels beneath it are magically magnified, and it's a facility you'll need as there are tiny objects half-hidden in some locations.

You're trying to find out what happened to Marie, though, and you can quiz all the people you meet. You can even ask them what they think of Marie and the other characters. A neat facility allows you to memorise any of these statements on a notepad. You can then recall them later, or even replay them using the digitised speech. You can also confront the characters with objects you find, and see what response you get.

It's great fun searching everyone's rooms when they're empty. In one I found a Bible and a lingerie catalogue in the same drawer! Then I lifted up the carpet, found a trap door, and... zut alors! The woman came back! She threw me ou... curses! And I had a key with me too, which hadn't been used to open anything yet. I had my suspicions about this woman, who had served Marie with a cup of tea just before she disappeared, but could I get back into her room to investigate the trap-door? Not on your French nelly. She never left the blasted place again.

The cabin of someone called Juste was full of junk and old bits of food. Thank goodness not even the Amiga can gives us smell-o-vision... yet!

But Maupiti Island has got just about everything else. It's certainly not a revolutionary breakthrough, but it's very nicely done and provides an addictive and enjoyable romp that should tax the 'tecs amongst you. And not only in the adventuring fraternity - it's the kind of highly accessible game that should have even wider appeal. Stop