1. The Last Express
Developer: Smoking Car Productions
Paris, 1914. The world is on the brink of war and your life is about to change forever.
You are Robert Cath, a young American who is urgently summoned by his friend Tyler Whitney to join him on the train departing the Gare de l'Est, Paris, 24 July for Constantinople.
Arriving late, you are overcome with the heavy feeling of danger. Something has gone terribly wrong. Before you can grab hold of your senses, the adventure overtakes you, and you are plunged into a world of suspense, romance, international intrigue, and murder.
The last express is a pc adventure game which you place in the first person point and click style that has been done so may times, and yet this is one of the most original games I have played.
Words cannot describe the feeling you get whilst playing the game. You feel like you really are on that train, helped by the excellent backgrounds, character animation & superb voice acting and the fact that it plays out in real time - a well thought out & excellently executed element. When you talk to people you really are interested to hear what they have to say, and the game actually makes you think hard, putting together the pieces to work out why everyone is on the train and what they are planning. Even when I got stuck I still wanted to play it again and again, and now i have finished I still play it because it is so cinematic you can watch it more than once, even though you know what to do. Also I find that you discover small little clues that you missed before. Its also very interesting to watch what characters did early in the game (before you solved it) & fit what they are doing to what you then know. I think the main thing that sets it apart from other excellent adventures is that you really have to investigated and solve real clues. You have to first understand each of the characters & their objectives before you can solve puzzles and progress. So in a way you must learn what you must do for yourself, and only then can you set about solving it. I think it is unfair just to label The Last Express a game, its also an Experience which non-gamers can enjoy because of its murder mystery, historical and real time elements.
"Exquisite design. A literary story involving more than 30 characters. A thrilling ride."
"Broderbund has another winner with The Last Express, a mix of Indiana Jones and Alfred Hitchcock."
"The Last Express is really beautiful, it's very atmospheric. The sense of being on the train and claustrophobic is very much there. This game is definitely for everyone -- the mystery and characters are very fascinating, as is the gameplay itself. I'm definitely compelled to finish The Last Express."
"Best New Adventure and Role Playing Game."
GAMES Magazine 1998 Buyer's Guide to Games
"Lovely graphics and mood are complimented by good acting and a rich story line. Exceptionally beautiful and immersive. A unique and polished adventure game with a strong, sustained, historical flavor."
"Superb graphics, sound effects, music, and a well-told, well-acted story. The Last Express successfully combines intrigue, suspense, tragedy, and romance in a rich, exciting historical drama. For a satisfying and genuinely dramatic interlude, get aboard The Last Express."
Computer Gaming World
"A role model for the gaming industry. Jordan Mechner, the designer to this ode to Casablanca on rails, has created a multimedia masterpiece. Mr. Mechner previously designed the award-winning series Prince of Persia but has far surpassed it with this suspense thriller filled with mystery, romance and international intrigue."
Computer Games Strategy Plus
"Excels in almost every way I look at it. Jordan Mechner has taken adventure gaming to a new level. Hence The Last Express has been designated with a Gold award. If there was anything higher, I would have used that! All gamers must play this one!"
"An adventure game without equal. A well-thought out plot that grips you from the beginning and keeps you glued to your computer until its heart-pounding ending. In short, the game is brilliant. An innovative masterpiece that has set a new standard for the adventure game genre. Highly recommended."
"The Last Express is one of the most interesting examples of interactive fiction to come along in a while. Its unique setting alone feels like a breath of fresh air, but it also boasts an engaging story with some interesting twists, well-written characters, and authentic atmosphere."
"The Last Express injects new life into the graphic adventure category by using a unique interface and a fantastic storytelling convention. This game is so well designed that when a dialog balloon appears over a character (signifying that you can talk to him or her), Cath will ask the exact questions that you, as a player, have in mind."
"The Last Express is a must-have. It is just like a good, gripping movie -- the way a game should be. The atmosphere, the suspense, and the absolutely OUTSTANDING CD-Quality stereo soundtrack really sets the mood for the game. Buy it, Buy it, Buy IT!!!!!!
Mac Game Planet
"No other game gets so involving in such a short space of time. These three CDs manage to give a sense of involvement in the fate of nations. The Last Express is one of the few adventure titles these days that dares to seek out new territory. Grab it before the rest of the world discovers it."
"A taut, intelligent adventure unlike any seen before. Incredibly elaborate and well worth the effort."
"A game environment that is vibrant, mutable and disarmingly lifelike. A rich and surprisingly textured portrait of a time long past."
Time Out New York
"The alternating points of view imbue scenes with a lifelikeness both elegant and creepy... All interactions are realtime and simultaneous. The Last Express is a good game and a great piece of mood."
"For the first time in a long time I've become emotionally attached to a game through its clever balance of class, originality, memorable characters, and a well-designed plot. Intriguing and inter-weaving storylines, unique graphics, and professional voice-over acting. Original and compelling gameplay, stunning artwork."
"Overflows with atmosphere and creates the perfect synergy between drama and interaction. A sweeping epic, intricately researched and finely detailed to appeal to players of all ages."
"The game's Art Nouveau animation is beautiful. Creates the impression of being inside a 20's comic book. A great choice for those who disdain most desktop games, and maybe an outright classic."
"Jordan Mechner, creator of classics like Karateka and Prince of Persia, astounds once again... A thrilling ride. Superb writing, sumptuous settings, outstanding voice-over and score, and complex characters. The mixture of elegant graphics, superb character interaction, and propelling action sequences sets The Last Express apart from other adventures."
PC World Annex
"Plays not only well, but phenomenally so. Gripping... amazing... truly unique. The best adventure game I have ever played... nothing has ever come near. Beautiful, skillfully crafted, and worth every penny and hour of your time."
"It's an 'interactive movie' done right, brilliantly combining 3D rendering and rotoscoped animation with an incredibly deep storyline and huge gobs of replayability. The rotoscoped graphics manage to look incredibly realistic and incredibly artistic at the same time."
"The Last Express takes the cinematic adventure game to the next level. If you wish to be transported to another place (and another era) when you boot up your next adventure game, do yourself a favor and take the next ride aboard The Last Express."
Online Gaming Review