The Pandora Directive

Tex Murphy returns for another interactive movie adventure game. Just like Under a Killing Moon, The Pandora Directive puts you in Murphy’s shoes to explore the world in first-person view as well as watching full motion video sequences.

Release Date

July 1996.

Pros

The tutorial is wonderful. It does a very good job of teaching how to do things in the game’s Virtual World Engine. There is also a full text, topic based help system to learn specific things.

Just like previous Tex Murphy games, The Pandora Directive has good humour. Not the crazy humour you find in Monkey Island or Sam and Max, but more like seeing the the bad luck happenings of our favourite P.I. and the sarcastic comments he makes about the surroundings.

According to the manual there are three paths and seven different endings. The three paths are determined by the choices you make which are to be selfish, to be kind, or to be neutral. I have not completed the game yet so I cannot comment on the endings, but I will put this as a pro point for the fact that there are seven different endings.

There are a few real puzzles like figure this pattern or build a jigsaw puzzle. I am not keen on real puzzles, but I do admit they do give some extra variety to the game. I was very glad that so far they have not been too difficult.

Just like Under a Killing Moon before it, The Pandora Directive is a rock solid detective adventure game. The story flows well and has been excellent so far. How the puzzles fit together also makes good sense.

The inbuilt hint system available in “Entertainment” level is a very good optional help mechanism for those that tear their hair out when they get stuck. It is only available in “Entertainment” level which has less game content than “Game Players” level. The good thing is you can start playing in “Game Players” level and only drop down to “Entertainment” level when you are ready to give up.

Cons

The first-person 3D graphics engine is quite old. Although I usually do not have a problem with old graphics, there were some warping graphics as I moved and looked around and it made me feel a bit nausea at times.

Other Points

If you play the “Game Players” level, you are really left out in the open right from the start. It is up to you to figure out what the first step is and then all the steps after that.

The first-person movement controls are a bit clunky, but it does work once you are used to it.

Just like most adventure games, good observation skills are required. Unlike some adventure games though, pixel hunting is not required in The Pandora Directive. The 3D view gives the player enough control to see things in good view. You just need to adjust yourself to the correct place and angle.

Although most of the game can be played without any time critical actions, there are parts that do need quick movements and good timing.

Biases

Reviewed GOG.com version of the game.

I thoroughly enjoyed Martian Memorandum and Under a Killing Moon before The Pandora Directive.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Monkey Island 1-4 and Sam and Max Hit the Road.

I played on “Game Players” level and got stuck on Day Five. Then I restarted the game on “Entertainment” level and played a bit just to see how different it is. I have decided to take a break and see if I can figure out the Day Five problems without using the hint system or reading walkthroughs.

DRM

The Pandora Directive is available DRM free from GOG.com

Minimum Requirements (as stated on GOG.com)

  • Windows: Windows XP or Windows Vista
  • 1 GHz Processor (1.4 GHz recommended)
  • 256MB RAM (512 recommended)
  • 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 8.1 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended)
  • Mouse, Keyboard

Computer Played On

  • Windows 7 64 bit.
  • Intel Core i5 2.3GHz
  • 4GB RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M 1GB RAM
  • Conexant SmartAudio with egg speakers or earphones. Or Logitech G35.
  • Graphics settings are set to whatever I feel comfortable with playing on this PC. They are usually not set to the highest settings. All screenshots are taken with my settings.

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