Cruise for a Corpse is a graphic adventure game with a point-and-click interface.
1927. When Inspector Raoul Dusentier is invited to a cruise upon a mighty sailing ship by the wealthy businessman Niklos Karaboudjan, he looks forward to nothing but a relaxing week on the sea. Instead, his host manages to get himself killed on the second day. Murdered, to be exact. Too convenient that a policeman is aboard -- Dusentier sets out to search for suspects. He doesn't need to search long. Why is it that none of the family members seem awfully sad about the demise of the old man? Is the mysterious Father Fabiani really as pious as he says? In the best tradition of Agatha Christie, each and every person on board has a motive for the murder.
You advance in the plot not so much by solving common object-based puzzles, but by talking to the right persons about the right subjects at the right time, thus collecting clues. You will also find pieces of evidence scattered throughout the ship. However, most items suddenly appear in cupboards and drawers that were previously empty -- an awfully unnerving process. The clock advances in ten-minute-steps whenever you discover an interesting clue, which conveniently informs you of your progress. The protagonists move around the ship; so whenever time passes, different persons to talk to might appear at certain locations.
With Cruise for a corpse, Delphines Cinematique interface reached "Evolution 2". Instead of containing a fixed number of verbs, the command menu is now context-sensitive. The mouse cursor will change its appearance when moved over an interesting object; a left-click brings up a set of appropriate verbs. For example, a cupboard may be opened and searched, whereas a key can be picked up and turned. A right-click accesses the inventory. Another interesting improvement: All the persons in the game are animated polygons (see Trivia).
- "Croisiere pour un Cadavre" -- French Title
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Cruise for a Corpse
is notable for a technical feature: Most animated objects in the game, from door to persons, are filled vectors rather than bitmaps. This allows for animations which are not only fluent, but consume only a fraction of the disk space that sprites would require. Also, the figures are scalable without loss of detail, although the rather crude vector models used in Cruise for a Corpse
are not too spectacular in close-ups.
The Delphine team demonstrated its mastery of the polygon technology impressively -- unfortunately not so much in the game itself than in the ending sequence. It consists of roughly a dozend second-long full-screen animations consisting entirely of vectors. This was an astounding display at the time.
By 1992, Delphine had already successfully used the vector technology in two games (Cruise for a Corpse
and Another World
). However, it was another game that made it truly popular in that year: Alone in the Dark
. Incidentally, this highly successful action-adventure was developed by Infogrames
-- another French company.
There are a couple of references to Operation: Stealth
, one of Delphine's earlier games: At one point you discover the name 'Ostrovitch' (Ostrovitch and Karpov were two Soviet agents from that game). Also, if you examine a waste basket in the toilet, the game will tell you that there is 'no razor' this time (referring to a certain puzzle in that game).
At the epilogue of the game, one character is described 'rich as Donald Trump
'. However since the game is set in 1927, it is an historical error: Trump would not be born until 20 years later!
The game includes a few elements which can be understood as references to classical French language comics. For example, the victim's name 'Karaboudjan' is the name of a ship in the Tintin comic-strip album The Crab with the Golden Claws
. At a point of the game, you discover a tin can of crab meat, as a cover for a smuggling operation, exactly as in the comic book. Finally, a puzzle includes the name "Incal", which is possibly a reference to the title of the comic book by the same name by Alejandro Jodorowsky