James Patterson Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet

 
Compelling story diminished by repetitive play.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In the game, murderers are bad and so are some suspects. Detectives are the good guys.

Violence

You only see the results of violence in dead bodies. But there is some blood you analyze. Nothing gross or shocking.

Sex

The mystery discusses some sexual themes involved in the investigation, but no more than you'd see on CSI, probably less.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

You're forced to download a link to I-play casual games. Nothing in the game, though.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Small mentions of booze and smoking. Sometimes a character smokes. All presented as screenshots, no animations of smoking.

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.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes a good mystery game. Is it the characters, the writing, the puzzles or the plot? Is the game more compelling than a TV show like ABC's Women's Murder Club because it puts you in the middle of the mystery?

Game details

Platforms:Windows, Mac
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Elephant Entertainment
Release date:August 29, 2008
Genre:Adventure
ESRB rating:T for Alcohol Reference, Mild Blood, Mild Sexual Themes, Mild Violence, Use of Tobacco (Mac, Windows)

This review of James Patterson Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written byhipposteph November 12, 2008
age 13+
 

Good story line

The game has a good story, but it repeats itself a little because you play the same mini game type things more than once.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass