Old CD’s: Games, Encyclopedia, Apps.

Reviews About Old Software on CD-ROM from the 1990’s

Elk Moon Murder, The March 11, 2009

Adventure & Mystery

The Elk Moon Murder

The Elk Moon Murder (Activision), of the Santa Fe Mystery series, uses so many immediately recognizable elements that you might guess the creator has a history working in TV, and you’d be right. Sam Egan worked on Northern Exposure (we’re not telling which season), and he, along with Shannon Gilligan (from the Virtual Murder Series), is responsible for this two-disc set. You and your partner John Night Sky have five days to solve the murder of a prominent local artist and activist. The suspects, motives, methods, and opportunities pile up quickly, and although many of the elements delve slightly deeper than those on comparable CD-ROMs, many are still the same old stereotyped clich?s. Might the victim’s alcoholic husband have been involved? A shattered glass with his fingerprints found at the crime scene suggests that he was. Perhaps the young activist with whom the victim was having an affair had a hand in the murder? According to the local psychic, it’s a possibility not to be overlooked. Certain respectable plot leads, like one involving racial bias and a political double-cross (the victim, a Native American who is perceived as a sell-out because she married a white man, publicly opposed the development of a new casino on local grounds), are interspersed with tired themes. Everybody is sleeping with everybody else, having stolen them from their husbands or wives, having had fights in public parking lots on the night of the murder, etc. We say the themes are tired, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad: the game (like a lot of mediocre television) is both entertaining and atmospheric. There’s a nice low-down, adult sense of humor at work; a goodly percent of people you interview punctuate their comments with swigs from flasks, and John Night Sky never hesitates to make a tasteless innuendo. The game is, ultimately, too short by half, and the soundtrack – a Lethal Weapon rip-off using steamy guitar and moody keyboards – tends toward self-parody. So does the rest of The Elk Moon Murder, but we didn’t mind. Good, trashy fun.

– October 1996

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