The Pandora Directive follows on from Under A Killing Moon in providing an entertaining and absorbing interactive movie.
Unlike many interactive movies that have a lot of video footage, The Pandora Directive gives the player plenty of opportunity for interaction. Access Software's virtual world engine allows the player to explore the game world in all directions, and means that the player will have to search thoroughly - looking under desks and behind corners to find some hidden objects.
Access Software have always been innovators and their games have been at the cutting edge in terms of graphics and sound. However, The Pandora Directive is the first Tex Murphy not to significantly improve technologically on its predecessor. The graphics engine is very similar in terms to Under A Killing Moon and can seem awkward and clumsy compared to some of the other 3D engines available at the time of the game's release.
The game seems to suffer greatly from the fact that it was originally designed for MS-DOS, but then had to changed to accommodate the release of Windows95. Although the game can be installed to run under either Windows95 or MS-DOS, Windows95 users are advised to stick to MS-DOS. Access Software have done their best to cope with problems in Windows95 with a utility that checks for potential conflicts in other programs that are running. However the game still frequently crashes and is very unstable.
The standard of the acting throughout is excellent for a computer game. This is an important consideration for a game that has more than two hours of video footage! Chris Jones makes a very likeable Tex Murphy and the Hollywood talent all provide entertaining performances. In particular, Barry Corbin makes an effective NSA thug.
At the time of the game's release, the plot was one of the most complex to feature in an adventure game and if you take long breaks in between playing the game, you may be scratching your head trying to remember exactly how all the characters in the game are connected. There is plenty of humor in the game, and fans of The X-Files and alien conspiracies will get extra enjoyment out of the Roswell crash conspiracy in the game.
The Pandora Directive is a long game, much bigger than Under A Killing Moon and is a difficult one. Some of the puzzles are clever and challenging, others are merely frustrating and repetitive. Particularly annoying are the timed puzzles, where you have to race to collect a number of objects in a building before you get killed. These problems and the fact that the best way to play the game is to reboot in MS-DOS mode aside, The Pandora Directive is still an engaging and enjoyable adventure.
Graphics: Goodt graphics and the fmv is very impressive, but the engine was not a great improvement of it's predecessor, Under A Killing Moon
Sound: Plenty of clear speech, sound effects and enjoyable music
Enjoyment: The game's enjoyment is greatly reduced by the buggy nature of the program and the frequency of crashes. Some of the fun is marred by the arbitrary and frustrating nature of some of the puzzles. Otherwise it is an involving and complex game.
Replay Value: There are several different endings and three main narrative paths you can follow depending on what action you take. However, by replaying the game and taking a different path, you still have to perform most of the same actions again, it's much more tempting to borrow someone's save games and look at the alternate endings.
Welcome to San Francisco of the future - a strange megapolis with a post-apocalyptic feel, where ordinary humans co-exist with mutants - the result of radioactivity. In this city is also the office of Tex Murphy, a lonely private investigator, kind-hearted, yet bitterly ironic. He is hired to investigate the disappearance of a scientist named Thomas Malloy. A series of murders occur at that time, and before long Tex finds himself involved in a complex conspiracy of political intrigues and shocking scientific discoveries.
"The Pandora Directive" is a sequel to Under A Killing Moon, utilizing the same 3D engine, real actors, and gameplay system. You can physically explore the locations you visit, looking at objects from different angles, zooming in, etc. You'll have to talk to many people about various topics, and also to solve some complex puzzles. The game provides a built-in solution for the puzzles, but you don't get any points for solving them if you use it. "The Pandora Directive" introduces a new gameplay element: Tex has three kinds of answers at his disposal during some important dialogues. Depending on what kind of approach you choose for Tex (especially in conversations with his sweetheart Chelsee), you'll come to one of the 6 different endings.
People who downloaded Pandora Directive, The have also downloaded:
Tex Murphy: Overseer, Under a Killing Moon, Martian Memorandum, Phantasmagoria, Ripper, Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh, Black Dahlia, Night Trap
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