Delivered from the same company that brought us Syberia, it’s probably little surprise that Post Mortem is a beautiful game. Its brooding gothic atmosphere strikes a chord as you navigate the night-clad city streets of Paris where the game takes place. The story, albeit punctured by lazy writing and amateurish acting, has its high points and low points. It begins with a former private eye meeting up with a mysterious woman – the quintessential crime drama cliche. Apparently her sister was murdered, and he wants you to find out who did it since the police are of no help.
But the plot turns out to be more ambitious than you’d expect, though hardly groundbreaking by the end. We get the usual litany of crime drama motifs, from a handy notebook that lists useful info like witnesses and suspects, fake leads, scattered clues and of course the aforementioned crime noir atmosphere bringing it all together. The game controls like any Myst clone – you move from node to node, find items, solve puzzles, drill through conversation trees and try everything until you manage to forward the story. Visually the game is a mix of 2D pre-renderd backdrops and 3D characters – both dimensions look washed out, however, with some jagged animations to boot.
Unlike most adventure games, Post Mortem isn’t a linear trip. There are multiple characters you can interact with to get the clues you need, though this reveals some problems – the god awful dialogue interface, which is more of a dialogue taskbar than a tree, and dead ends that could unwittingly result from choosing the wrong conversations at the wrong order. Although very rare, you can, for instance, trap yourself in a dialogue loop which leaves you permanently stuck in a conversation – since you can’t access the main menu when talking, the only way out of this is by killing the game with Alt+F4.
This is hardly ceremonious, though to give credit where it is due, Post Mortem does let you do certain things you nominally don’t see in an adventure. Offering a non-linear path through the story is one, while the powerful film noir vibe set in exotic Paris comes in close second. But its higher points are eclipsed by a legion of bugs and inconsistencies, some more severe than others, lousy acting, an only moderately original story and some half-assed 3D graphics.
System Requirements: Pentium II 350 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 470 MB HDD, Win95/98