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James Patterson Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is best selling novelist James Patterson's first foray into video games. This murder mystery adventure has a fine plot, but it does feature a world of violence, death, and killing. There are mentions of booze and sometimes a character smokes. While solving the mystery, some sexual themes are discussed.
What's it about?
Best-selling novelist James Patterson has decided to lend his name and his Women's Murder Club brand to a video game. In JAMES PATTERSON WOMEN'S MURDER CLUB: DEATH IN SCARLET, you'll play three characters who try in tandem to solve a series of murders on the shores of the foggy San Francisco bay. The murderer's signature? Chinese symbols branded into the skin of women victims.
This casual adventure game is of the seek and find genre. You'll be presented with a screen that's full of a mish-mosh of items and a dead body. You get to investigate by clicking the body for clues and by finding a list of items hidden in the picture. Usually, one item is harder to find, like the centipede on the side of a ship in Investigation 2. Or, you'll be in a cluttered lab and you'll have to arrange chemical bottles in a certain order before you can analyze blood. There are about 90 of these levels, but some crime scenes repeat themselves with new items to find. As you click, click, click, you'll find more clues that help you to solve the mystery.
Is it any good?
The downside to the game is that you're pretty much doing the same thing over and over again. Finding items in pictures gets a little tedious after a while. Likewise in the investigative lab, you're forever mixing chemicals from bottles to analyze substances like blood. You have to arrange the bottles in a certain order to begin your analysis. It's just too much of the same, over and over again. And the music, though both placid and slightly menacing, is awfully repetitive, too.
Thankfully, the game is broken up by a fairly taut murder mystery that slowly unravels, and by puzzles. One of these asks you to corner someone you want to interview in the middle of a garden maze, a nice touch of variety. While there is some violence, tobacco and alcohol in the game, it's of the very mild variety, added more to round out the plot and characters than to shock. When you find a dead body, for instance, even if there's something branded in the body, there's no gross amount of oozing blood. Finally, a plus of the game is the inclusion of a Patterson novella and a sneak peak at the author's next novel in the game package.
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