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Cruise for a Corpse features the exclusive Cinematique™ operating system, designed by Delphine to offer a user-friendly point-and-click playing style. Cinematique™ has been further refined since the release of Operation Stealth to offer even more depth of gameplay and a wider range of options.
  • Character size has been doubled (all versions).
  • Entirely mouse controlled.
  • Completely interactive in full 3-D vision.
  • Pop-up text and command windows.
Take part in a high seas murder mystery!

As Inspector Raoul Dusentier you have been invited on a dream cruise in the Mediterranean, but no sooner has the cruise begun when you are summoned to investigate a scandalous crime - the murder of your host.
  • Question other characters in true Agatha Christie style.
  • Eavesdrop on suspects to gain valuable clues.
  • Full Ad Lib/Roland sound board support on PC version.
~ from the back of the UK Amiga box
We've all love a good murder mystery, don't we? We have eagerly stepped into the sleuthing shoes of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Nancy Drew in many a video game, but what of Raoul Dusentier? Created by Delphine Software, the French development team behind Out of this World, for their 1991 adventure game Cruise for a Corpse, this fictional detective (named after Captain Haddock's boat from Tintin) could've headlined his own series of games, but the upcoming success of Flashback took the company's focus away from pointing and clicking.

The sole mystery we did get was a doozy. Set during the roaring 20's, our intrepid inspector (who bears more than a passing resemblance to Clark Gable) finds himself on a relaxing private cruise ship by invitation of the wealthy business tycoon Niklos Karaboudjan. This holiday isn't so smooth sailing as midway through the journey, Niklos is found murdered and one of the nine invited guests must've done it.

New lines of enquiry will appear whenever a new piece of information is uncovered, so keep 
conversing (DOS, left). Some items can be inspected close up for even more clues (Amiga, right).

The first murder suspect is always the spouse, so second wife Rebecca Karaboudjan must be top of that list. Or what about his children? A child from his first wife, the grown up Daphne Karaboudjan is surely hiding something behind those ever-present sunglasses. What of Daphne's playboy toff of a boyfriend Julio Esperanza? The family lawyer, Thomas Logan holds many a dirty secret and he's traveling with his wife RoseSuzanne Plum lives in the spectre of Niklos recently deceased Aunt Agnus, a wealthy woman of whom Suzanne was best friends with. Father FabianI became close with the family after her passing, but does he have a gambling problem that's altering his Christian morals? The enigmatic Dick Schmock doesn't really know anybody, but he was surely invited for a reason. Lastly there's Hector the butler, 'cos we all know the butler likely did it.

Any adventure gamer will be familiar with how Cruise for a Corpse controls, though I must commend the attempt to declutter the verb list through a series of context-sensitive clicks. When the cursor hovers over a hotspot, it will change shape inviting the curious among you to click. In doing so, the name of the object will appear at the point of the click with a list of verbs underneath it. These verbs will change depending on the object. You can't 'unfold' a wardrobe like you could a piece of paper, but you could 'open' or 'examine' it. Likewise, you can 'knock' on a door instead of just opening it. The usual ''talk' and 'pick up' are also there when needed and it is through these actions where most of the games progression takes place.

Fast travel to any open location using the map (Amiga, left). Time runs out whenever 
you perform a significant action. Check it at any time from your inventory (DOS, right).

When in conversation, the camera will shift to a nifty close up that allows you to easily see all of the dialogue trees. These conversations topics act like a detective's notepad where you can gather information on all of the suspects and their dealings. The topics don't change depending on the person you're talking to, nor do they disappear when the questions have been exhausted. You'll just get an increasing list of subject matters the further through the game you are. So much so that you might forget what has been asked and to whom. The same goes for your inventory, which is accessed by right-clicking. The list of objects fills up half the screen at one point, though at least you can lose possession of some of them eventually.

What you won't ever lose are you map and timepiece. The map will not only give you a helpful overview of the boat and its four floors, but will also allow you to fast travel to any room provided it is open to you at that time. Talking of time, your watch will tell you it. It's more important than you might think as this game is timed. You have until 6.30 PM to name the killer; that's nine-and-a-half in-game hours to solve it. Characters will move about over the course of the day, and important clues will only be found at certain times. Thankfully, this is not as annoying as you might expect. Ten minutes will pass only when certain activities have taken place such as a conversation, a cutscene or the collection of a clue. I guess it is possible to miss something at certain points, but the game won't fully soft lock you out of an ending. Come 6.30, you will make a guess and you'll either be wrong or stumble on a right - and that's if you manage to avoid the few hidden bad endings. Regardless, it's not like there are many events within a given hour that can trigger a time jump anyway so the punishment for exploring and experimenting isn't as great as this mechanic implies.

The VGA DOS version (left) versus the 16-colour Tandy Graphics Adaptor - or TGA - conversion (right).
Despite the necessary changes in colour palate, both feature great graphics with a lot of charm.

As you can expect from the studio that bought you Out of this World, the visuals are outstanding. The truly cinematic camera angles and neat rotoscoped animations make for a visual treat no matter what system you're playing on. Even the 16-colour limit of the Tandy PC variant is striking enough for me to include it in the package. Unfortunately, the same care hasn't been taken with other aspects. The Amiga's colour palate is on par with the DOS version's VGA graphics but it far excels it in the audio department. Supporting only Roland or Adlib soundcards, the chirpy tones coming out of the PC speakers are sure to make your ears bleed. On the Amiga's capable soundboard, the softer tones actually sound like instruments and with the added ambience of sound effects like creaking doors and footsteps, it makes for a much more atmospheric game. It also plays a little better too, with each DOS version having difficulty registering mouse clicks; not just on the smaller hotspots or menu texts, but when clicking both buttons to access the main menu too. This may be a quirk of DOSBox (though playing it on ScummVM has a similar result with the added annoyance of copy protection) but it's not good regardless.

If you stick with the Amiga, you'll get none of these issues. In fact, you'll find yourself invested in a rather impressive adventure game. Cruise for a Corpse may lack specific puzzles, relying on clue gathering and time management to make up its core gameplay, but it's enjoyable to uncover the secrets and unravel the mystery. It's one of the few games that actually make you feel like you are doing some detective work as you link up pieces of information in your own mind without the game holding your hand. It's a design that may frustrate the casual player, but true adventure fans will likely eat it up. 

To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses the DOSBox-X build of DOSBox to bring the PC-DOS and Tandy versions to modern systems and FS-UAE with WHDload to emulate the Amiga version. Manuals, Character Background Information, Map and Interactive Codewheel included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 126 Mb.  Install Size: 270 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ





Cruise for a Corpse is © Delphine Software
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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  1. Thanks a lot for this one!

  2. Awesome technical marvel, awful game design. Delphine were always so random.

    1. I wouldn't go as far as awful. The time management mechanic takes a lot of getting used to, but it forces you to pay attention to little clues in conversations to tell you where to look next else lose that line of investigation completely. I much prefer the more puzzle and story focussed LucasArts approach, though.

  3. I can't fully say if the game itself is somewhat buggy on PC or if the issues I experienced were caused by DosBox and ScummVM, but the last time I played Cruise for a Corpse a couple of years back, I did notice the game did have some issues in registering events on the latter stage of the game. At times, the only way to make things happen was to enter to a location from a specific direction, othwerise, I was just deadlocked with nothing to do.