Under a Killing Moon

aka: Tex Murphy: Under a Killing Moon, UAKM
Moby ID: 850
DOS Specs
Buy on Windows
$9.99 new on Steam

Description official descriptions

It is December of the year 2042. The world is still recovering from the disastrous consequences of the World War III. Radioactivity has turned many humans into mutants, and the gap between those and the "norms" (non-affected humans) is growing wider. Certain places in the world have retained the feel and the charm of the old times - among those is the Old San Francisco. There, the private investigator Tex Murphy is trying to deal with unemployment, upcoming poverty, and his melancholic mood following his divorce. After solving a simple robbery case, Tex attracts the attention of a mysterious woman who calls herself Countess Renier, and is hired by her to find a missing statuette. Things gradually begin to go wrong in this investigation, and Tex finds himself involved in a confrontation with a powerful and dangerous secret cult.

Under A Killing Moon is the third game in the Tex Murphy series of adventures, and a sequel to Martian Memorandum. The game is notable for its use of detailed, texture-mapped 3D graphics during a time when pre-rendered visuals were still the standard in the genre. Uncommonly for adventure games, Under A Killing Moon allows full maneuverability. The player can rotate the camera, change the viewing angle, zoom in and out, etc.; it is even possible to look for clues underneath desks, chairs, etc.

Inventory-based puzzles are relatively rare in the game, and the emphasis of the gameplay is placed primarily on exploration, conversations featuring extended topics and choices, and self-contained logical puzzles. Other features include an online hint system (that decreases the player's score with each use), extensive support for additional sound and music devices, and full-motion video technology: cutscenes and much of the dialogue are presented as movies with real actors.


  • 殺人月 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

75 People · View all



Average score: 84% (based on 35 ratings)


Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 98 ratings with 6 reviews)

Whow! Heartbeating adventure.

The Good
The moment I took a step into my office, the smell of a cheap parfeume started to tickle my nose. Yeah, there she was, sitting on my working desk, lovely as alwas, with legs to die for. Another customer for sure. Uhh if she was only more, but sure will try to work our diplomatic relationship a bit better than is. She saw me some coverup story, and wanted me to find her father, presumably dead, but missing. I smell trouble all the way, but I took the case anyway. It was my ticket out of my paperwork. I took my old trusty .38 and accidently threw it out my window. Damn, I guess I'll be off the gun in this case. But that won't be enough to stop hard-boiled p.i. like myself, nope baby.

I couldn't feel more like a detective than when starting this game. A big case was warming up, and there was only me to left. A hard-bioled from up 40s, the only old fashioned detective in 21st century, not to mention how effective. I wouldn't need much close, only a set of about dozen fedoras with the same shoes. When something suits you perfect, detective rule No1. is - stick to it. Many rules there are in a p.i. line of work, but you must know them all and live by them all.

This game is third in a row where you play Tex Murphy, 21st century detective with a touch of class from old 40s. Following steps of your idols like Philip Marlowe & Sam Spade you use their kind of investigation, confident and always solving a case. Tex Murphy has some great cases solved as you could see if playing "Mean Streets" and "Martian Memorandum". But this time, the game gets totally new fedora to try.

I played this game five years after it came out, but you couldn't pull me off my chair even if you wanted to. Acting is absolutely great, and this adventure game gives you freely walking/running through the streets of San Francisco in the run down part of city, through your office and other rooms and places. That Tex Murphy (played by Chris Jones) is really something. I take my bow to Access Software for this game. You feel like your in the movie, or better, a part of that virtual reality scene. It's time for you to feel how Humphrey Bogart or Robert Mitchum felt as in Philip Marlow role, and tell it out loud 'Who said I can't be a good p.i.?'.

The Bad
Not a damn thing against this one (pardon my french).

The Bottom Line
You ever wanted to feel p.i., solve couple of mean mysteries and got a hot chick as a reward? Well, first two you can get the moment you start the game. The last one, well, you'll see how you affect women. Music is really amazing, like from Perry Mason mysteries. If you ever appreciated adventures or detectives, try this please, you won0t regret it, I guarantee with my p.i. word on it.

DOS · by MAT (240185) · 2012

You can't keep a good man down...

The Good
The presentation...WOW! When I first got my hands on the the demo way back when, I was COMPLETELY blown away. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Just walking around, opening trash cans, etc. was too cool for words. This is an A+ production, and you can tell the creators really put their best into it. It was hard, too...give this one to "the guy who can beat anything without any help" and watch him cry like a baby. Nice to see some returning characters from the old games, too.

The Bad
Like I said, it is hard. REAL hard. Like the previous title, it is far too easy to miss something, only to have it bite you in the rear later on. I suppose the greatest reason for the challenge was in the perspective, at the time, gamers didn't really "think" in the 3-D. You really need to comb each and EVERY inch of EVERY location if you want to succeed.

The Bottom Line
A landmark in gaming, setting a new benchmark for years to come. Hey, it's Tex!

DOS · by Toka (13) · 2001

Best adventure gaming around!

The Good
First and foremost. When you buy a Tex Murphy game you get the hint book inside the game. In the sub menu you can choose to cheat and get hints for a cut in your score. For those who are pureists (not me) then this option is useless if not insulting. But for the other 99.9% of us that get stuck and want to finsh NOW! then this is the jem of all jems. Good clean fun WOW! No bad language minimual violence maximum gaming goodness. One of the other great things about this game is its length. Killing Moon is a long game but not in a bad way. When you finish the game you feel like you really accomplished something. I know that when it was all over I could not believe how much fun I had. As soon as I was done I RAN to get the next one in the series. This series just continues to preform. A lot of younger gamers will find the idea of a game without violence and topless women boring. But if you can look past that for a moment and try one of these classics you just might begin to see what good PC games really are. When your mind is stimulated not just your... well you know.. then you get to experience what PC have to offer. Thank you I will now get off my soapbox.

The Bad
Nothing. This was one of the infiately few games that had no flaw that I could determine.

...well I take that back. When this first came out it required a system that most people did not have untill years later. It took a while for this game to catch on. But I didnt play it untill years after it came out. So that did not bother me.

The Bottom Line
Everyone should be required to play this game.

DOS · by William Shawn McDonie (1131) · 2001

[ View all 6 player reviews ]



  • UAKM was one of the first multimedia games to score "top-notch Hollywood talent" with Margot Kidder, Brian Keith, Russell Means, and even James Earl Jones (voice acting only) playing characters you'll meet during your adventure. It was also one of the first multimedia titles to show that actors working for multimedia games are usually doing so because they have either been paid an exhorbitant amount of money, need the work, or are giving their services for free. In the case of Means, Keith, and Kidder, it was because they needed the money, and while Kidder and Keith put in good performances, Means turns in a terrible one. As for James Earl Jones, he gave his services (which are quite good considering the average quality of the material) for a deep discount (he usually charges $50,000 per 20 minutes of voice work) because his grandson was into computer games and he wanted to impress his grandson.
  • Chris Jones, a designer and producer of Access titles prior to this one, plays not only the title role of Tex Murphy but was also the director of the live sequences -- and all this was in addition to his other regular duties designing the game.
  • A great many people who worked on the game also appear in the game as various characters. Even a playtester, George Manousakis, gets to kiss Tex's ex-wife.


According to Chis Jones, the budget for the game was two million Dollars.


Under A Killing Moon, was the first multimedia game to come on four CDs, and the developers hated switching CDs as much as anyone else since, hey, they're gamers too. So they built into the setup the ability to put each CD on a different CDROM drive (for both network CD servers and CD changers) so that swapping was unnecessary. You could even designate different CDs for only two or three drives, to minimize the swapping if not completely eliminate it. This innovation, which was extremely convenient, seems to have been largely ignored by the rest of the industry.


Access is based on Utah, home of the Mormons. As such, some of the people who created UAKM were also Mormons, and they wrote into the dialog that the phrase "oh my God" never be uttered throughout the entire game. They instead replaced the phrase with "oh my Hell". While the latter phrase does not take the name of the Lord in vain and is okay with the Mormons, it sounds extremely awkward. Other religious references also sneak themselves into the game, such as a moon base worker uttering a prayer right before the base explodes, the existence of God as a character (played by James Earl Jones, of course), the plot of the game taking place across 6 days, with the end of the game on the 7th day, etc.


Two novels were written about UAKM and its sequel, The Pandora Directive. Unfortunately, these books have been discontinued by the publisher.


The end credits of the game are accompanied by some funny outtakes. There are also some inside jokes about popular culture, such as an O.J. Simpson mask in a costume shop (with Tex Murphy saying something to the effect of how scary the mask is).

RealSound Technology

Under A Killing Moon marked the death of Access' RealSound technology; the patent holder said in an interview that, by that time, "the market had moved on and the use of sound cards had become commonplace." There is still a small bit of technical innovation in the MIDI engine (designed by Human Machine Interfaces) in Under A Killing Moon, though: If the user chose to check the "digital drums" option, sampled drum sounds were used instead of synthesized ones. This made the music sound less artificial on FM synthesis-based sound cards like the Sound Blaster.


  • Sometimes the limitations of the technology became apparent when moving very close to textures. An inside joke is made about that when examining the fire extinguisher on the wall; Tex quips that the landlord was so cheap that he painted fire extinquishers on the walls to fool the building inspector, since the inspector had "only one eye and no depth perception". :-)
  • At one point Tex can examine a piano, and exclaims, "It's even better than a Stauffway!" This is a clear jab at The 7th Guest, which featured a piano branded after bad guy Stauff. (which, in turn, was a play on the well-known Steinway brand of pianos)
  • If you're killed multiple times by the Probe Droid later on the game, James Earl Jones as the narrator will say, "The Probe Droid is not as forgiving as I am," referencing one of Jones' seminal lines as Darth Vader.
  • You can find a boxed copy of Access's Links 986 aboard the Moon Child. Upon examining it Tex will comment on how it looks like some sort of croquet software.


Like The 7th Guest before it, Under A Killing Moon was a technology leader in the gaming industry. It was one of the first (if not the first) games to use 16-bit 22KHz sound and an immersive, 3D, textured world with light sources and shadows (although the lighting/shadows are a hack; they're pre-rendered into the textures). This is on a 386 with a single-speed CDROM drive -- I myself played it to completion on a 386/40 and a single-speed drive.


  • Computer Gaming World Magazine
    • November 1996 (5th Anniversary Issue) - #99 on the "150 Best Games of All Time" list
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1995 – Best Digitized Video Scenes in 1994

Information also contributed by PCGamer77, WizardX and Zovni


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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by MAT.

Windows added by Cantillon. Linux added by lights out party. Macintosh added by Jeanne.

Additional contributors: Trixter, William Shawn McDonie, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger.

Game added February 11, 2000. Last modified December 25, 2023.