James Patterson Women’s Murder Club – Death in Scarlet (as part of the James Patterson Women’s Murder Club Collection) (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)
May 12, 2012 by Dennis Amith
The first game in the “James Patterson Women’s Murder Club” series is a pretty challenging but enjoyable hidden objects game. Unfortunately, there are games that are too redundant and start to take the fun out of the game, but overall, with a enjoyable mystery storyline and the ability to use three different players makes this game quite enjoyable. Plus, for the low price of “the James Patterson Women’s Murder Club Collection” triple pack, it definitely makes this set worth buying!
VIDEO GAME TITLE: James Patterson Women’s Murder Club – Death in Scarlet (as part of the James Patterson Women’s Murder Club Collection)
YEAR OF INITIAL RELEASE: August 29, 2008
VIDEO GAME GENRE: Hidden Objects/Interactive Hidden Objects
MEDIA: PC CD-Rom
MEDIUM REQUIREMENTS: Windows Vista, XP
RATINGS: T for Teen
RELEASE DATE: March 15, 2010
VIDEO GAME HIGHLIGHTS:
A morning jog presents a chilling find… and a new wave of fear descends upon San Francisco. In this dramatic new interactive seek-and-find adventure based on author James Patterson’s best-selling novels, you become the detective, medical examiner and journalist as you seek to stop a killer and expose the truth. Featuring nine investigations, brain-bending puzzles, strikingly beautiful artwork and a spine tingling, all-new storyline, Women’s Murder Club: Death in Scarlet will have you racing to the finish to discover the killer.
In 2002, James Patterson released his first “Women’s Murder Club” novel “1st to Die” and since then have created a total of eleven novels.
The novels feature homicide cases and four women who have a group known as “Women’s Murder Club” who work together to solve each murder mystery.
The main protagonist is Inspector Lindsay Boxer who investigates various homicide cases and is aided by her friends Deputy District Attorney Jill Bernhardt (who tries to keep Lindsay within the law and issues the search warrants), Dr. Claire Washburn (who works in the forensics lab) and Cindy Thomas, a journalist at the San Francisco Bee.
In 2008, a ten episode drama series based on the characters aired on ABC and with the popularity of the novels and drama series, hidden objects games were released on the PC/Mac and the Nintendo DS.
For the PC and Mac, a trio of hidden objects games were released: “Death in Scarlet” (2007), “Darker Shade of Grey” (2008) and “Twice in the Blue Moon” (2009) and each were collected in a triple pack titled “James Patterson Women’s Murder Club Collection” in 2010.
The first game in the video game series is “Death in Scarlet” and would feature the work of Jane Jensen (best known for creating the popular “Gabriel Knight” series), who was the designer and director of the “Women’s Murder Club” PC/Mac games.
The story begins with a jogger finding a dead Chinese woman laying near the harbor, as inspector Lindsay Boxer is called in to investigate the homicide, she notices a woman with Chinese characters branded onto her chest. Who is this woman and what are these letters? Also, how did she die as there are no external wounds?
Next thing you know, another woman was found dead and this time it’s the popular Chinese newscaster on television and similar to the earlier death, she also had been branded on her chest and no external wounds.
Now the Women’s Murder Club must work together and try to find out if there is a serial killer on the loose and who is responsible before he/she kills another.
The “James Patterson Women’s Murder Club Collection” was easy to install and had no problems with installation whatsoever. There is one icon that is installed onto your desktop and when selecting the icon, you have a choice to click either of the three games. You can not install each game separately.
“James Patterson Women’s Murder Club – Death in Scarlet” is a hidden objects game with puzzles. You get a chance to play three of the four women. Inspector Lindsay Boxer takes on the homicides and investigates various locations. Hidden objects games if rated 1 for easy, 3 for average and 5 for difficult, this game would probably get a 3.5 or 4 depending one one’s experience with hidden objects games. Part of the challenge is that each chapter, the player is only given 5 hints. So, for those typically use a lot of hints, you have to make sure you use your hints wisely.
Most of the hidden objects were easy for me (as I play a lot of these games) but I admit that some were so small to find that those were the only moments I used my hint button.
The challenges are usually the puzzles. While putting puzzle pieces are easy, one will find certain puzzles challenging and the good news is there is a “solve” button for each puzzle, for those who get easily stumped. I have to admit that I used the “solve” button quite a bit primarily with Dr. Claire Washburn as each time Lindsay takes a blood sample for Dr. Washburn to analyze, you have to go through a redundant process of organizing the bottles (after finding the bottles, petri dishes and eye dropper which are all over her lab) in the correct order. It’s one thing to do a redo a puzzle twice or even three times but in this game, you have to do these re-ordering of bottles quite often and I grew tired of them and ended up hitting “solve”.
Possibly the most entertaining games revolved around journalist Cindy Thomas who got to play a “guess the word” type of slot machine game in order to get a prize in exchange for information from fellow informants. Cindy gets into a lot of interactive puzzles such as controlling Cindy to visit an underground tunnel area to solving a variety of puzzles.
And with the storyline, for each of the three women, you visit and revisit areas to take on various hidden object challenges. And some objects you need to utilize in an investigation or utilize in a puzzle.
As for hours to complete, I say about 5-6 hours at the most. It all comes down to one’s hidden object searching skills but for the most part, this game is accessible for anyone with hidden object video game experience including beginners.
The graphics are very good and are on par with many hidden objects games created back in 2008. The actual storyline is told in a comic book fashion, with panels and word balloons. But the main game is painted characters and scenery.
The music is features a mix between guitar diddly to synth suspense. It’s actually pretty good but for the most part, audio was good, not obstructive during gameplay.
There is no replay value for this game. You beat the game and that is it.
I have been wanting to play the “James Patterson Women’s Murder Club” games for awhile and for the most part, one of the reasons why I wanted to play these games was that I’m a big fan of Jane Jensen’s work.
While I enjoyed the storyline of “Death in Scarlet” and its various twists and turns, part of what hampered this game a bit were the redundant games, especially involving Dr. Clarie Washburn’s bottles for blood testing.
There was just too much of it and I understand that her character is typically stuck in the forensics lab and most of the time you are doing blood tests but it started to become too redundant for my tastes that I skipped them by hitting “solve”. It was fine for the first four or five times but when it started happening more often, I grew tired of it.
Otherwise I did enjoy the hidden objects part of the game and the challenge of only being given five hints per chapter. While I didn’t have to use the hint button all that much, there were times were objects were just too small and I found myself having to get the monitor so close to my eyes, so I can see in the darker rooms.
I noticed that the TV series tend to focus on the women’s social lives outside of their career, I would expect the novels to probably do the same but “Death in Scarlet” focuses on the case and never strays away from it. It’s about four women working together to solve a crime and that’s it.
While there is no replay factor in my opinion, for an earlier hidden object game, it was good but not great. It definitely had a better storyline than some (including a longer ending, although I felt that it ended a bit abruptly on the final reveal) hidden objects games which tend to not put much towards the final scene. And there was quite a bit of a challenge as the hidden objects and puzzles were also a bit challenging. And also, the ability to play three different characters was also quite fun!
And with the price of the triple pack at under $10, for three games that last quite awhile and are not too easy or too difficult, it’s definitely worth purchasing “the James Patterson Women’s Murder Club Collection”.
For “Death in Scarlet”, I give it a RATING: B-
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