The Colonel's Bequest (DOS)

80
Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.
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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 What a cool copy protection - compare fingerprints of suspects in your manual and identify the one the game shows you!
The Colonel's Bequest DOS The clock advances when you trigger it by performing certain actions - as shown here. The game is not real time, but it creates a good illusion of that
The Colonel's Bequest DOS The Colonel's bedroom (EGA / TANDY)
The Colonel's Bequest DOS Laura visits a seemingly abandoned room. Opening the actions menu - there are several convenient shortcuts

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 *Katakis* (37879) 4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars
Suspensful non-stop rollercoaster riding murder-mystery adventure game! OlSkool_Gamer (99) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
The embodiment of Roberta Williams' virtues and flaws Colin Rowsell (45) unrated
You had to have been there. William Shawn McDonie (1088) 4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars
Top mystery game. MAT (97918) 1.83 Stars1.83 Stars1.83 Stars1.83 Stars1.83 Stars
One big cliche but still fun Travis Owens (7) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

Critic Reviews

Tilt Apr, 1990 18 out of 20 90
HonestGamers Oct 26, 2009 9 out of 10 90
The Games Machine (UK) Apr, 1990 89 out of 100 89
Jeuxvideo.com Mar 12, 2010 17 out of 20 85
Computer and Video Games (CVG) May, 1990 83 out of 100 83
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Feb, 1990 9.71 out of 12 81
The One Mar, 1990 80 out of 100 80
Adventure's Planet Sep 14, 2011 80 out of 100 80
Power Play Apr, 1990 68 out of 100 68
Joker Verlag präsentiert: Sonderheft 1993 67 out of 100 67

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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

Eurythmic (2581) added The Colonel's Bequest (DOS) on Nov 23, 1999
Other platforms contributed by POMAH (35864) and Belboz (6489)