Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None is peerless within the literary genre of mystery novels in terms of popularity. Its high-contrast blend of early-20th-century upper-crust British civility with a series of brutal and seemingly unsolvable murders all but define the tone and setting of a proper murder mystery. Expectations, then, may be unreasonably high for an adventure game based on this modern classic, and indeed, those looking for a completely faithful adaptation will be at least a little disappointed, and maybe slightly offended by certain liberties taken. On its own terms, though, The Adventure Company's interpretation of And Then There Were None can be enjoyed as a competent adventure genre exercise with some good atmosphere.
The Adventure Company invites you to the darkest of dinner parties.
Set in the late 1930s, And Then There Were None saw a group of 10 strangers invited under various false pretenses to a mansion on a remote island off the coast of Devon, England, where they were all exposed as perpetrators of murders whom the law, for various reasons, could not touch. The guests then begin to die in accordance with a nursery rhyme hung inside the mansion, and the guests soon realize that one of them has to be the murderer, creating a mind-boggling mystery and an increasing sense of dread and paranoia.
As those who have read the novel will know, the story's dark progression makes it a difficult game translation, an issue that is sidestepped here by inventing an 11th character, one Patrick Narracott, who supplants his brother Fred Narracott as the boatman who takes the 10 guests to the island. Due to a case of mistaken identity on behalf of one of the guests, Patrick Narracott finds himself trapped on the island, trying to unravel the mystery and possibly prevent all 10 of the guests from meeting a grisly fate. Despite the presence of a character fabricated for the sole purpose of being the player's proxy, the story largely unfolds as in the original, though its resolutions (there's more than one) are unique to the game, though none are nearly as chillingly satisfying as Christie's own.
Some of the compromises made are easier to swallow than others. It's unfortunate and a bit distracting that the "Ten Little Indians" nursery rhyme has been altered to "Ten Little Sailor Boys" for the sake of political correctness, but it's not detrimental to the overall plot. The biggest victim is the nearly palpable sense of paranoia, which never really gets as deeply rooted into the story here as it ought to. For what it's worth, the game makes a small attempt to appease fans by playing out Agatha Christie's original ending as an addendum, though this just serves to make you wonder what the game would've been like had it stayed truer to the book.
The whodunit aspect of the mystery, however, remains fully intact, as does the game's dry British tone. The story goes a long way toward establishing the group of archetypal Britons, but a cast of journeyman of voice actors takes them the rest of the way, each doing a competent job of creating characters whose motivations are simultaneously convincing and questionable. The sound also plays a huge role in establishing a sense of dread, specifically the foreboding arrangements of piano and strings that play for nearly the entire course of the game. It can certainly become monotonous at times, to be sure, but it works wonders for the overall feel.