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The Colonel's Bequest

Published by
Developed by
Released
Platforms
MobyRank MobyScore
Amiga
...
3.4
Atari ST
...
2.8
DOS
79
3.7
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Description

The year is 1925. Laura Bow is a young student attending the Tulane University in New Orleans, and an aspiring journalist. Her friend Lillian invites her to spend a weekend in a mansion belonging to her uncle, Colonel Henri Dijon, a veteran of Spanish-American war and the owner of a large, but decaying sugar plantation on a secluded island. During the dinner Laura meets members of Lillian's extended family and their alleged friends. As Laura begins to explore the mansion and talk to its inhabitants, she unravels old family feuds and realizes some of those people - if not all - have their own plans and schemes. It all gets much worse when strange accidents and murders start to occur. Laura must investigate those gruesome events and find the culprit.

The Colonel's Bequest is a detective mystery adventure game very similar in style and presentation to Agatha Christie's novels. The game world is confined to the island and consists of numerous interconnected areas, such as various rooms in the mansion, garden, smaller structures, etc. The player is free to explore much of the game's world right from the beginning, with only a few areas being initially inaccessible. The game's clock advances a quarter of an hour each time Laura performs an action pertaining to the plot. Characters have their own schedules and clues are often obtained by discretely observing their actions.

The player interacts with the environment by typing verb-object command combinations (such as "Look Garden", "Talk Colonel", etc.). Some of the most common actions have keyboard shortcuts. The gameplay largely focuses on exploration. Much of the plot stays in the background and can be uncovered by talking to the characters about various topics (mostly other people). There is an inventory and a few puzzles, but they play a much less prominent role in the game compared to other adventures by Sierra. It is possible to complete the game without having discovered the entire plot or even without having identified the murderer. There is no scoring system, but after the game is finished the player is given a detective ranking and told about story branches or other elements he might have missed.

Screenshots

The Colonel's Bequest DOS Exploring the grounds
The Colonel's Bequest DOS There are several secret passages in the game! You've discovered one of them. This shot also shows how the game reacts to words it doesn't understand...
The Colonel's Bequest Atari ST Larua talks to Ethel.
The Colonel's Bequest DOS The play house. Hmm, looks like it's locked - how can I enter it?..

Alternate Titles

  • "The Colonel's Bequest: A Laura Bow Mystery" -- Tag-lined title
  • "Laura Bow 1" -- slang

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

There's plenty to do in this top-notch detective game DOS *Katakis* (37823)
Suspensful non-stop rollercoaster riding murder-mystery adventure game! DOS OlSkool_Gamer (99)
The embodiment of Roberta Williams' virtues and flaws DOS Colin Rowsell (45)
You had to have been there. DOS William Shawn McDonie (1092)
Top mystery game. DOS コナン (75833)
One big cliche but still fun DOS Travis Owens (7)

The Press Says

Tilt DOS Apr, 1990 18 out of 20 90
Jeuxvideo.com DOS Mar 12, 2010 17 out of 20 85
Jeuxvideo.com Amiga Mar 12, 2010 17 out of 20 85
Adventure Classic Gaming DOS Nov 07, 2007 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Amiga Joker Amiga Sep, 1990 71 out of 100 71
Quandary DOS Aug, 2004 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
Power Play DOS Apr, 1990 68 out of 100 68
Joker Verlag präsentiert: Sonderheft DOS 1993 67 out of 100 67
Joker Verlag präsentiert: Sonderheft Amiga 1993 67 out of 100 67
ST-Computer Atari ST Jan, 1991 6 out of 10 60

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Trivia

Copy protection

In one of Sierra's more creative copy-protection schemes, The Colonel's Bequest came with a red-lined foldout with "fingerprints" of characters in the game. Using a special red-gel "magnifying glass," you would identify these fingerprints for entry before being allowed to start the game.

Fifi

In the sequence in Fifi's room while she get ready to meet her lover-boy Jeeves, when she goes behind the screen to change type in "Open Door" and you can see Fifi in her underwear.

Laura Bow

Laura Bow, the heroine, was modeled after Clara Bow, a well-known actress from the 1920's.

References

Once Laura is in the washroom, type in "Take Shower". Laura strips, gets in and scrubs away while the hooded killer slips in and murders her in a parody of the horror classic Psycho, complete with high-pitched violins playing.

Information also contributed by Itay Shahar and uclafalcon

Related Web Sites

Contributed to by Eurythmic (2584), POMAH (34773) and Belboz (6517)