Murder for Dinner
July 26, 2012 6 Comments
When I heard the name “Murder for Dinner” I thought “Oh great, PETA made a game about McDonalds. Just what we needed.” But no, it’s actually a first-person murder mystery game. First-person, 3D XBLIGs are a rare beast, so I had to ignore the fact that it was a point-and-click adventure and give it a try. Even if said graphics looked like early first-generation PlayStation stuff. Again, I am starting to understand where you old farts are coming from on this whole nostalgia thing, but how can anyone in their right mind be nostalgic for PlayStation 1 era graphics? That’s my generation and I don’t understand why someone would remind people of that horrible shit. It would be like reminding someone about the time that they had to sit and watch while the Blair Witch drowned their mother. At least Daddy said it was the Blair Witch.
Note: My Father, who shall henceforth be known as Indie Gamer Killjoy, would like me to state my mother is alive and happy and was not murdered by the Blair Witch, or anyone. I choose to remain skeptical until the DNA tests come back showing that really IS my mom. Nobody who watches The View can possibly be related to me.
The idea is an old crone calls a dinner party where everyone present is worried that their deep dark pasts will be revealed. Yea, I’ve seen the movie Clue too. Unlike Clue, Murder of Dinner is unfortunately played straight, without the slightest tinge of humor. Ironically, this makes the game cornier than all of Iowa. The writing in this game is all kinds of fucked up, like one character who outright confesses to you that they murdered someone, but it’s not the actual victim, and that’s good enough for you to clear them as a suspect. I love that logic, and now I’ll spend the rest of my days wondering why more murders don’t use the “Oh I’ve totally killed people for sport and/or profit, but I just didn’t kill THIS guy” defense. It’s fucking genius in its insanity.
Actually, it’s funny that the logic of that confession-slash-alibi is so demented, because the actual puzzle logic of the game is somewhat grounded in reality. This was done by eliminating puzzles all together, but that still counts. Instead, Murder for Dinner relies on hide-and-seek gameplay. First, you talk to all the house guests. Then you walk around the house looking for places that allow you to search for stuff. If you find something, you take it around and show it to the house guests. This will typically eliminate a suspect or two. Then you search the grounds for more stuff, find it, and show it off. Just keep repeating this until you reach the credits an hour later. If this all sounds dull, it is.
I’m not a big fan of point-and-click games, but that had nothing to do with why I dislike Murder for Dinner. The characters, dialog, and setting are all just so boring. I’m way into murder-mysteries. I want to do one of those cheeseball “Murder Mystery Weekend” thingies at some point before I die or grow senile. But this was just lifeless and bland, with a cast of unlikable characters and an ending I figured out thanks to one way over-played line of dialog about three-quarters of the way through. The ending didn’t even make any sense! And do you know what I have to say about that? Red ties make great zebra traps, Joey!
240 Microsoft Points tilted the camera downwards and then shook the stick around as I descended down the staircase, to make it look like I had tripped on it and was falling to my death, because by golly, sometimes you have to figure out ways to amuse yourself in the making of this review.