The Last Express. You might not have heard of this late 90’s PC adventure game, from Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner, as its noted for being one of the largest commercial bellyflops in the history of videogaming.
Not that it didn’t receive rave reviews, its just that Brøderbund’s marketing team didn’t even make an effort to sell this thing, perhaps stymied by the premise – an art nouveau murder mystery set aboard the Orient Express. The story unfolded in real time, accelerated by a factor of six, with the player’s actions or inactions determining the outcome. Most of the multiple endings were considered “fatal”, resulting in your death or arrest, and of the four “non fatal” endings only one was considered the ending proper.
That ending, captured by Mechner himself, has been remixed to look like an animated film. And what a gorgeous one at that. The Last Express was only on shelves for a few months, but gamers lucky enough to snag a copy were treated to a beautiful illustrative art style, rotoscoped from real actors and hand-colored by artists. The 800 page script translated into more than 40,000 frames of hand-drawn gaming goodness, a large chunk of which appear in this playthrough which clocks in at a staggering 75 minutes. Get comfy, and hit the jump.