The exotic and fabled European Orient Express is about to begin its last trip through a world of peace. It's the eve of World War I and this wood and iron train, one of the last of its kind, is about to embark on a journey that will take you from Paris to Constantinople with stops at Strausbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, and Belgrade along the route.
The time is mid-1914. You've received an urgent enigmatic message from your friend, Tyler Whitney, to join him on this particular journey of the Orient Express. Intrigued, but without a clue as to why your presence has been requested, you acquiesce and board the train in Paris. Your name is Robert Cath, a physician from America, and you've just entered a world filled with political agendas, romance, spies, deceit, treachery, adventure, surprises, secrets, and murder.
Smoking Car Productions and designer Jordan Mechner (of Prince of Persia fame) present The Last Express, an animated mystery of intrigue and suspense that takes place in a real time and place, pre-WWI Europe. With emotions running high throughout Europe and the world poised on the brink of catastrophe, your character takes his place among 35 substantial characters from various countries and walks of life.
In this somewhat non-linear adventure, your actions dictate how the story unfolds. After you achieve the first task, finding your friend, the story can take numerous paths depending on where you explore, what you uncover, and those you talk to. Using an inventory that fills up as you explore, you piece together clues, analyze hints, interact with characters, solve puzzles, discover secrets, hide, search, and spy as you delve into the mystery that unravels as the story progresses.
Movement in The Last Express is affected through onscreen icons and a "smart" cursor that changes to indicate when certain actions can occur. The human animation is built entirely on motion-capture technology and events can unfold in completely different sequences with varied consequences depending on responses, actions, and discoveries. Characters speak in native dialects and action takes place in real-time, thus you must integrate your characters' actions with those of life aboard the Orient Express.
Ladies and gentlemen, please pay attention - the Orient Express is about to depart from Paris! Do I hear somebody playing a violin? As the train slowly starts moving away from the station, a young, courageously looking man jumps on it from his motorcycle and makes his way inside. This is Robert Cath, an American about whom we don't know much as we begin the game. In the train, he finds the dead body of the person he was supposed to meet. Now he has to act quickly. The only way not to arise the suspicions of the police is to disguise himself as the murdered man. A very dangerous investigation begins, and the hero soon finds himself involved in a deep net of personal intrigues and political conspiracies.
The Last Express is a true real-time adventure set in 1914, just before the First World War, in a concrete historical and geographical environment. As you gain control of Robert Cath, time begins to flow. If you fail to solve a part of the mystery until the train arrives at the next station, certain events might follow which will lead to a premature and disappointing ending. You cannot die or get stuck in the game, as you can always rewind the clock and try playing any period of time again. Along with some detective work to do and a couple of inventory puzzles, your main task in the game will be to listen to people's conversations, to talk to them, and to solve the mystery by finding out more information about the bizarre case. There are also some action fighting sequences in the game.
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