Your name is Abdullah, emissary of the Sultan, and you find yourself on a ship on your way to a secret, diplomatic mission. It is the mid-19th century and the ship also carries
stereotypical, dignified characters such as an Italian engineer, an opera singer, an African sorcerer, Rasputin and plenty others — all hosted by the captain of the ship.

But that’s where the similarities with Cluedo or Agatha Christie’s “Death on the Nile” end! This game is delightfully wacky and full of anachronisms (Rasputin in the 1850’s?).

The atmosphere is set immediately with the opening sequence made as a silent film, showing us a mysterious thief trying to escape after stealing a precious object called “The Eye of the Kraken”. The sequence is served with George Gershwin music from the 1920’s, and the whole game soundtrack is made of those catchy, yet delightfully old-fashioned tunes, that sound like they’re being played on a phonograph. Brilliant!

The whole game is a happy mix of references to games, movies, comic books and historical events. Don’t look for any consistency there, the important point is that it’s totally hilarious. When the thief eventually escapes by jumping from the quay on board the Glutomax – the ship where the game takes place – his chaser kicks a bollard out of frustration, and hurts his foot. Ensues a pantomime sequence where he jumps up and down because of the pain. Exactly the kind of silly gag that you happen in a Laurel and Hardy movie.

Abdullah

So here you are on the Glutomax (note the silliness of the ship’s name), proudly wearing your turban and robes, trying to carry out your diplomatic mission while finding out who’s the thief and what is this mysterious “eye of the kraken”.

The game starts in your cabin, and you immediately meet your friend Aboubakar, who didn’t know you were on the ship, but knocked at your door because he thought it was the toilet! Aboubakar explains to you that “he’s keeping a low profile lately because he advised Napoleon to invade Russia during the Winter”! After a few minutes playing, you’ll meet the ship’s captain who looks exactly like Captain Haddock from Tintin.

The cameos, puns and reference are endless and hilarious. You cannot get bored while playing this game. This is “The Last Express” meets “Cruise for a Corpse” meets “Day of the Tentacle” meets “Cluedo” no less!

Aboubakar brought his hut on the ship because “clients like it better”.

The graphics are all prerendered CGI presented in third person perspective. The very basic CGI makes the background look pleasently clear (despite the 640×480 resolution, that could be considered insufficient nowadays), and the character designs, while primitive, are very original and truly represent each character’s unique personality.

The game is available in 4 languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian.

So, to make a long story short: Eye of the Kraken offers a really solid amount of hours of point n’ clicking – full of humor, with nice and original graphics, and the catchiest music you ever heard. What else could you ask for?

Mathieu’s Score: 4+ of 5 starps

The “+” is for the excellent music.

Note: Eye of the Kraken – originally a commercial release – can now be downloaded for free.

Olaf, Viking on vacation.

Note 2: Please note that the authors have released a sequel in a similar, but somewhat different, style called Carte Blanche