Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Murder Hunt

WARNING: The following review contains pictures of graphic and bloody violence. If you are squeamish or simply don't wish to see such images, then please click away from this page. If you continue, don't blame me later.

Woah, Spike TV has a games section now? Awesome! Spike is the TV station for men! Now they're hosting games for men! This is everything I'd want!

Of course, if something seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Spike have a few good games on their site, but many of these have been lifted from Addicting Games. Spike's home grown titles leave a lot to be desired, particularly Murder Hunt, which is based on the Spike TV show where two teams work against the clock to solve recreations of real-life murder cases. Because, you know, nothing says "family entertainment" like two women gutted in their own home.

Anyway, considering the source material, a game based on the show should be pretty entertaining. Searching for evidence, interrogating suspects, building your case... I have an affinity for mystery games, so I figured I was going to have a lot of fun.

So could someone explain to me what in the hell is this?

This isn't a murder hunt - this is spot the difference! What the hell has that got to do with solving crimes? "There's a spoon in this picture, whereas there is no spoon in that one. It was the ex-boyfriend!"

OK, so Murder Hunt is a "spot the difference" game, and even that would be all right if I hadn't played the brilliant Dreams over the weekend. The differences in Dreams change every time you play, and there's no time limit, so you're free to take as much time as you wish examining each of the beautifully drawn pictures. This is in contrast to Murder Hunt, which expects you to find the three differences within thirty seconds and which thinks an appropriate reward for success is a close-up of a human face sprayed with shotgun pellets.

Thirty seconds - and maybe that would be enough time if you didn't have to scan through the pictures for the most minute differences. There's so much going on in each image that it's practically impossible to beat a level without playing through it a half dozen times. Even then, I only got through the first level by clicking random spots. The third clue eluded me time and again before I found it accidentally - apparently the paintings of the duck aren't exactly the same.

Huh, the duck. It's like I've written before - birds are assholes.

And so we continue to the next murder scene, and while most detectives would be looking for clues, I'm looking for what's missing in these pictures. Can't they see that someone is dead!? Who cares if the back door of the car has no handle?

In all honesty, this is pretty depressing. You're faced with two pictures of a brutal murder, have thirty seconds to find three almost unnoticeable differences, and if you can't do it the game calls you a failure. Oh, and you have to start from the very beginning again. Imagine somehow getting all the way through this game only to come undone on the final level. Would you really want to play through it again, just to say you beat it? The more stubborn among you will say "Yes," but for those of us with better things to do I think the answer would be the opposite. Save yourself some time and avoid this game. Instead, watch full episodes of "Murder" online at After all, you wanted to solve mysteries, and Murder Hunt only provides you with one - "Why would anyone want to play this game?"

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