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Contains VMC10.exe
Type CLOAD & hit ENTER. Select ORIENT.​C10 in the JimG subdirectory of the Cassette directory. Type RUN...
Windows Application (Windows XP and later) (Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.)

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The Orient Express, 1923

by David Ahl


(based on 1 rating)
1 review

About the Story

The Orient Express places you aboard that famous train bound from London, England to Constantinople in February 1923. As a secret agent your assignment is to make contact with an arms dealer who has tired of his life of crime, and arrest the killer of one of his former associates.

Some of the passengers on the train (all of whom are historical characters who actually rode the Express in their day) have information that can help you complete your assignment. As you work your way through the mystery, you participate in many of the things—delicious meals, stops at stations along the way, and occasional delays due to snow, derailment, and bandits—that made the Orient Express an unforgettable experience for those who rode it.

Solving the puzzle is not easy. You will probably want to make notes about meaningful clues and take some time to think—hours perhaps—before talking to the Turkish police (who will help you) at Uzunkopru. Bear the following in mind as you play the game:

* You must identify and protect the sender of the note and identify and arrest the killer of Baron Wunster.
* Five notorious arms dealers, all of different nationalities, are currently operating in Europe under an uneasy truce. Each of them deals in a different type of weapon, and all are known to have different tastes and habits.
* Not all of the passengers with whom you speak have useful information. You cannot talk to passengers during sleeping segments of the trip.
* Unless you have extraordinary deductive powers, it will probably take you at least an hour of play to solve the mystery. (Of course, you can cheat and do some sleuthing in the program listing, but that will probably take you almost as long and be a lot less fun.)

So grab your notebook and your ticket, and start asking questions. Remember, a man's life is at stake!

Published in David Ah Basic "Computer Adventures" (1986)

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Number of Reviews: 1
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A Classic from a Bygone Age, September 5, 2014
by jgerrie (Cape Breton Island, Canada)

Although possibly not a part of its original "type-in" published form there seem to be many versions out there (I used a GWBasic version for MS-DOS, which can be found on Web) that contain program errors that make the game unwinable. Some of the errors in the code, though, were put there on purpose by Ahl in a clever scheme to obscure the solution from those using the tried and true technique of reading the Basic source listing. The Basic code, in this respect, is part of the allure (and original purpose) of this game. It is well structured and and heavily commented so that aspiring Basic programmers could use it to learn how to program their own adventure games. However, beyond these pedagogical benefits, if you can find a version that has been debugged, and you like logical puzzles, I can highly recommend this game.

That being said, the logical puzzle at the heart of this game is absolutely diabolical. No simple truth tables will be adequate for this one, and Ahl's recommendation in the supporting documentation that an "hour or so" will be required to finish, actually seems somewhat optimistic. The adventure is structured along the lines of a game of Clue, but from my attempts at trying to figure it out, I would say that it is not simply a logical exercise. Some of the clues are, I think, red herrings. Others require knowledge of (or research into) European cultures in order to properly interpret (such as the elements that go into French cuisine and an understanding of the diversity that characterizes European cheeses). The game also has historical elements that are absent from a game of Clue and the use of some simple sounds and descriptive messages are highly effective in invoking the feel of a long train ride.

Also, this game is not a standard two word parser. Rather, single key strokes and options are all you get, and most of these, are largely irrelevant to the solving of the puzzle (although they help add to the atmosphere of the game). In fact, it is really just a clever and engaging way to reveal a long sequence of narrative clues, after which one must enter two selections (the defector and the murderer) that the computer then will judge as to whether you have deduced correctly.

As with many low K Basic IF games, the supporting written narrative material is essential to the full enjoyment of the game. Ahl provides a detailed history of the company behind the Orient Express. I think most of this material is now included in most of the online distributions of the program. If not, it might be worthwhile to obtain a copy of Ahl's book, which like the famous train, should be considered a classic from a bygone age.

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