I love FMV (Full Motion Video) games, even though I understand that most of them are not really good games, as much as interesting relics of gaming's past. However, there are exceptions and Under a Killing Moon is one of them. You play Tex Murphy, a PI modeled after Spade and Marlowe that lives and works in a future vision of San Francisco. In this adventure, you take on a dangerous cult striving for genetic purification. For me, the Tex Murphy games are the pinnacle of FMV adventure with a combination of good writing, decent acting and a good dose of (intentional) humour.
So join me on my journey to discover if there is treasure to be found on the CD-I. The system has a rotten reputation, but I am going to dig through some of the titles I have to look for a diamond in the rough. First up, a game that I feel a little dirty playing, Voyeur.
Voyeur is a FMV game that reminds me of Night Trap. In the game you play the role of an investigator spying on Reed Hawke, a Presidential candidate with nefarious intentions, over a weekend stay with his family at Hawke Manor. You begin the game in your apartment across the street from the Manor. From here you have access to your camera for your Peeping Tom-ery, a phone to call the police, a TV with VCR, and a package to send video tapes.
The game plays out over the hours of the weekend. During each time period you can view the different rooms of the mansion with your camera. Different video and audio scenes play out in different places, and time ticks away via a battery meter. This limits you to choosing wisely what you choose to watch.
As you watch, the crazy family play out their own stories, with the candidate Hawke eventually plotting to kill one of the family members. Your job is to capture incriminating video on Hawke to do one of two things: send a tape to the threatened family member to get them to flee and turn over incriminating evidence, or call the police to show them solid proof that Hawke has killed someone.
As I said before, the family is nuts. This game is not for kids, as odd sex traingles run deep. There is no actual sex or nudity shown, but there is some skimpy clothing, S & M, and even a brewing lesbian relationship. With Night Trap and Mortal Kombat getting so much attention by Congress in the US during this time, I can't for the life of me understand how this one slipped under the radar.
The acting is surprisingly good. It's not Academy Award winning, but as FMV games go they did a good job. There isn't really any gameplay to speak of, as the only real interaction you have is choosing which rooms to spy on. Luckily the game does randomize the clips so you don't get the exact same sequence each time, so there is some small replay value. Overall for this type of game I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed my playthrough, and will probably play through it again. You can't save, but the entire weekend of the game takes place over an hour or so which is just about the right length. In the end, if you are looking for something interesting to play on the CD-I I would recommend Voyeur. Even though I do feel a bit like a perv when I play.