Martin Mystere is a bit of a mystery genre cult icon figure. He's originally from an Italian comic book series that was first published in the early 1980s. He's since been translated into several languages, re-imagined as a children's TV show, and now he's got his own video game. Which, oddly enough, has been released under two different titles. The original release of this game was titled Martin Mystere: Operation Dorian Gray. This is a repackage of that title for a larger release, apparently.
The story in the game revolves around the murder of a world-renowned professor, some ancient Mayan hoodoo, and the desire for immortality. When the story gets a chance to stand up and do its thing, it shines. But, it takes so long to get from plot point to plot point that it doesn't really make that much of a difference in the long run.
The real crux of an adventure game like this is its puzzles. And the puzzles in this game? They are some of the most pointless and boring puzzles that I've ever come across. Your first challenge in the game? To get dressed. I'm not even joking, and I really wish I was. You have been locked out of your wardrobe and must find a way to con your manservant, who is apparently some sort of Neanderthal, into giving you the key. Once you've solved this rousing puzzle, you've only set yourself up for other stirring puzzles, such as: Find your cell phone, call the mechanic, find your ID, open a letter, and so on and so on. Toward the end of the game, the puzzles do start to become less mundane, but for the first third of the game you are trapped doing trivial tasks.
Visually, Crime Stories falls in the upper middle adventure games. Its pretty, but static backgrounds are supposed be pretty. The characters are blocky and plagued by jagged edges, which makes them stand out horribly from the background. There is some attempt at stylizing the characters to, I assume, reflect the original artwork of the comic book. But, in actuality, it just comes off as characters look malformed or horribly out of proportion. As in the case of most of the women and their...attributes. The game will occasionally glitch out with its characters, too. Instead of walking on the floor, they'll start walking at an angle, with part of their leg in the floor. With a game that's been released twice, glitches like this are something that should have been addressed and fixed a long time ago.
But even with the occasional visual bug, the way the audio is tied into the game is by far the most irritating aspect of this game. A character is speaking, their audio doesn't carry beyond each camera change, or line of subtitles. So, when a character is giving a long exposition, its like you're listening to some one doing a really terrible William Shatner impression. “Martin, I'm so glad” “You came out to” “Help us with” “This terrible murder”. Its the sort of thing that really started to get to me once I noticed it, and it absolutely drove me up the wall once I realized how bad it was.
I think the key problem with Crime Stories is not that it is bad, but that it is just exceedingly mediocre. There is nothing inspired about this game, and the detracting points of the game do enough to take away from the good parts that all you really want to do is forget you played it in the first place. A lot of these problems are things that could have been fixed with just a little more polish, and for a game that's being re-released problems like this are really inexcusable.