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The Last Express
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Last Express (VG) More at IMDbPro »

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21 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

The Greatest Game You've Never Played

Author: Ramses_Emerson from United States
7 March 2006

The Last Express

Published in 1997 by Broderbund, re-published in 2000 by Interplay

The Last Express is my favorite game. You've probably never never heard of it, well, most people haven't. The game was helmed by the legendary Jordan Mechner, father of the Prince of Persia series. Jordan and his team at Smoking Car Productions spent four years on the game, only to have their publisher close it's doors on the eve of it's release, thus the marketing for the game was minimal, and though it was hailed as a masterpiece by CNN, MSNBC, and Games Domain it sold very few copies. It was picked up and re-published in 2000 by Interplay, but the sales just weren't there. Once again it was discontinued. The game has been out of print for years now, and is fast becoming rare, though you can still get it through the "Used and New" section of amazon.com.

Story: The Last Express is set on the Orient Express in July 1914, just before the outbreak of the First World War. Enter our hero, Robert Cath, a mysterious American who was supposed to meet his friend Tyler Whitney at the Paris train station. Missing the train, Cath jumps aboard via a motercycle sidecar. He carries nothing but a newspaper clipping with a description of a wanted criminal who sounds suspiciously like himself. Quickly he makes his way to Tyler's compartment. He finds his friend dead, murdered! And thus Cath assumes the identity of Tyler Whitney in an attempt to catch his killer, and evade his own past. I won't spoil any more of the plot for you, it's best discovered on your own.

The Game: Most of the game is seen through the a first person perspective, though whenever you have conversation with someone, pick something up, interact with the environment, or get into a fight, it's seen in the third person. The Last Express is not a traditional adventure game. There are none of the annoying, illogically placed puzzles of most games in the genre. Playing the Last Express feels like stepping right into a really good old film, it has a feel to it very reminiscent of Casablanca, or The Third Man. The puzzles in the Last Express are the characters, they are all complicated and interesting, the German industrialist, the British spy, the young Russian anarchist, the old servant of the Czar, his 16 year old granddaughter, and a beautiful and mysterious Austrian violinist. These are just a few of the characters in the game, all of which are fully fleshed out. You can eavesdrop on their conversations or walk up and speak to them. The entire game is in real time, and takes place over the course of three days, as the train hurdles through Europe. This adds an interesting feel to the game, as things are happening all the time even if you aren't there. I will say right now that The Last Express has the greatest story and dialogue of any game I have ever played, it is of the same quality as a great movie, or a classic book. There is murder, political intrigue, suspense, characters who are not what they seem, fist fights, and even romance. The character of Robert Cath makes for a fantastic protagonist, at first we are unaware of his motivations, but all becomes clear as the game progresses. There is no saving system in the Last Express, the game simply remembers where you are when you quit, and you can rewind time to undo past mistakes.

Sound: The actors all do a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life. The main character is very well done, as are all the supporting characters, many of whom speak in French, Russian or German (There are subtitles for these languages, though there are no subtitles for languages such as Arabic, or Serbo-croation, which Cath does not understand). And the music is the finest I've ever heard in the game. The mournful violin, and tragic piano are perfectly to the game's setting and style.

Graphics: The graphics are in the Art Nouveau style of the historical period, which may seem a little odd at first, but somehow they really work brilliantly for the game. The characters are detailed and expressive, and the beauty and extravagance of a 1914 luxury train is captured perfectly.

In Conclusion: The game may be out of print, though, as I said before, you still can get copies through Amazon.com or Ebay. I highly reccommed that you do what is necessary get your hands on this game. I believe The Last Express is a textbook example of what gaming should be.

Without a doubt the greatest adventure game I have ever played.

10 out of 10

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

My favourite game of all time

10/10
Author: beeryusa from Boston, MA, USA
3 January 2008

This game had a hard time being widely accepted, as it came out at a time when the gaming industry was hyping cutting edge graphics, and more thoughtful (but less graphically exciting) games like this were basically ignored.

This is a beautifully crafted game that takes the player back in time to an earlier era. The story takes place in the last days before the Great War changed the face of Europe forever. You are a rogue American adventurer named Robert Cath, and all the action takes place aboard the Orient Express on its final trip from Paris to Constantinople (modern day Istanbul).

Players will first notice that the game uses a sort of stop-motion comic-book style of animation. This is the game's only serious hurdle. Some folks dislike it, others don't mind it at all. I thought it added to the game, as the Art Nouveau style of the graphics lent the requisite old-fashioned air to a game set in Europe in the early years of the 20th Century. Had it been made using a more modern style, I feel it would have lost something. As it is, the visual choice that the developers made seems perfect for the period and serve to draw you deeper into the story.

Another choice the developers made was to make all the game action take place in real time. Again, this choice may be disliked by players who want fast-paced excitement all the time. At certain periods you have time to just drink in the atmosphere of Europe on the brink of war. This is part of the game's allure. It's a game for people who like to change into a robe on a winter's evening, set a roaring fire in the fireplace and curl up in an overstuffed armchair with a well-written historical novel.

The game presents players with a traditional adventure story, and a rich and deeply involving one at that. The action starts in a Paris train station, and you are soon aboard the Orient Express. As you board the train you have no idea what the next 48 hours will bring, but you will be called on to perform deeds that will determine the very future of Europe. As the story unfolds, you are torn between your allegiance to yourself and your responsibility to save Europe as it plunges into chaos. You will experience adventure, the temptation of riches, love, and tragedy as the Orient Express takes you inexorably towards your destiny.

This game is probably the best game I have ever played. I have owned it for 10 years and I've had it on my hard drive all of that time. In terms of atmosphere and story it is unmatched. I am not ashamed to say that it is the only game I've ever played that has made me weep for the characters. Emotionally engaging, deep and ultimately unforgettable, for me this is the perfect game.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Great Adventure PC Game

Author: StevanRolfe from Australia
12 January 2004

This is an excellent PC game set sometime around World War I. I bought the game a few years ago now, it is hard to find. If you are interested in Adventure and war PC games I suggest trying to find this master peice.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The best game ever!

Author: Tamzin from United Kingdom
28 January 2007

This is the best computer game I have ever played. It's so evocative and you really feel as though you are there in the train, observing everything and everyone! The details are so rich and accurate - I saw pictures of the actual Orient Express carriages in a book and recognised everything! The other characters are all intriguing and the possibility of unrestricted eavesdropping is fantastic. I remember deliberately hanging around Sophie and Rebecca out of a sordid desire to find out all the ins-and-outs of their relationship! And the others were all so well-rounded and complex even though they slotted into what might appear to be clichéd roles such as the Russian anarchist, the doomed Tatiana, enigmatic Anna the Serbian terrorists and the smug little French family heading to Abadan. Oh they transcenced their stereotypes all right. In some ways I'd love to play a game that just involved listening in to a much larger trainload of characters! I have often longed to find a game in a similar style but covering a different set of circumstances - the search has been in vain. "Titanic-Adventure out of Time" makes a fair stab at it but it is flawed compared to "The Last Express".

Anyway thank goodness I bought this game when it was available all those years ago and that I still possess it and the box it came in. I also sent off for the official guide which is a good thick book full of valuable extra information and pictures. I wouldn't sell either for any money!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

An Adventure Set On the Last Orient Express in 1914

10/10
Author: drazen-n from Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 August 2006

Set on the Orient Express in 1914, this game is from the beginning completely different from anything you have seen before.

Through the story, you are led by the young American doctor, Robert Cath, who is urgently contacted by his old friend, Tyler Whitney, to join him on the Orient Express, crossing Europe from Paris to Constantinople. Robert, being assumed as a fugitive and wanted for mixing up in an exchange of fire with IRA in Ireland, accepts his friend proposition for escape. If only he knew then what were Tyler's reasons for going on to that train...

Game starts at Gare de l'Est, East train station in Paris on 24th July, almost a month after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Our hero, to avoid the police, reaches the train in the countryside little after the departure with a help of a young motorcyclist. His first goal is to find Tyler. There's where you step in.

The graphics of this game are unique, process used to input live actors into the games, known as Rotoscope, was used. The results is realistic animation, and the feel that you are on the train. Hand-drawings of train, rooms, made by the pictures one of the last remaining trains, off the track in Athens, which crew visited.

Voice acting is fairly good, there is no lip synching, but voices fit extremely well to the actors, even if most of them weren't given by the people who were used in Rotoscope process. Languages spoken on the train are English, French, German, Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Arabic. Cath understands first four of those languages, so the subtitles appear in the lower part of screen (except for English).

Music, the strongest point of this game thought by many. Original soundtrack was composed and orchestrated by Elia Cmiral, famous Czech composer. Music is mainly inspired by romance, mystery and sadness of the game. Violin play is extraordinary. Music fits extremely well into every aspect of the game.

Story, dialogs - absolutely remarkable. There are wealth of dialogs to be overheard, and the story will surely not leave you melancholic, as by the end you will understand the other part of the story that evoke on the beginning, with many questions and historical lesson.

A game you should definitely play.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Why don't you make it sing?

9/10
Author: petra_ste
19 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The moment I fell in love with this adventure game came early on - almost the first scene, in fact. You stumble into a cabin of the Orient-Express only to find your friend murdered. Shocked, you get rid of the corpse and get out of the cabin; the train conductor sees you and screams. You're covered with blood - well, you DID just handle a bloody corpse, didn't you? Sorry, game over. Next time, you'll remember to check yourself in the mirror and have a quick wash in the bathroom before opening that door. And also to pay more attention to things one wouldn't normally consider in a game, like hiding valuable items when you leave your cabin.

The game is full of brilliant touches. Premise and setting are fantastic - a detective story on the Orient-Express during its last journey before the onset of World War I, with a group of fascinating individuals and a murder mystery to solve. Also notable is the use of different languages (the protagonist understands some, which get subtitled). Events unfold in real time: you often have to be at the right place at the right time, with an efficient save system which makes the hit-and-miss gameplay never frustrating. A few action scenes with quick time events are irritating, but they're balanced out by the engrossing plot and characters - Russian noblemen, anarchists, hot violinists and arms dealers.

The denouement features a weird genre shift - more Philip K. Dick than Agatha Christie - but the epilogue is memorably bittersweet.

An underrated gem.

9/10

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Excellent video game!

10/10
Author: Graczyk-Habbard (catherine@cjmp.eu) from 6 bis rue Franklin, 78100 Saint Germain en Laye, France
19 November 2016

I really enjoyed the plot of the Last Express, and the great making of this video game! The idea of setting the game at the outbreak of WW1 makes the game even more enthralling. There is a sense of fighting the ennemies through a coalition, with tragic consequences on the populations. The use of the Orient Express adds a sense of mystery, of travelling through time and across a devastated Europe. The innocent fugitive Robert Cath is of course the heart of this enthralling video game: the character is well depicted and we get a sense of the fighting between good and evil. Congratulations to Eugene Brenwasser for his creativity, sense of humour and intelligence for the making of such an entertaining video game. I fully recommend this game.

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