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Clue Chronicles: Episode One: Fatal Illusion

Clue Chronicles: Episode One: Fatal Illusion

Clue Chronicles: Episode One: Fatal Illusion

As I mentioned before, the idea for the game was great. Seeing the seductive Miss Scarlet and the gallant Colonel Mustard in 3D really makes you feel good inside.


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Just as a quick sidenote to begin with, you’ll probably notice these four things:

a) it’s called the Clue Chronicles
b) it’s called Episode I
c) the release date was 1999-2000
d) there’s no mention of Clue Chronicles on Just Adventure

Now you’ll ask yourself:

a) Why isn’t there a 2nd or 3rd episode available?

Now I’ll kindly respond:

a) The Clue Chronicles CD-ROM adventures was supposed to become a three-part series, but Hasbro folded and EAI quit the gaming business, so the somewhat promising project was dropped. There have been rumors about a resurrection of the series but it’s clear here that only an independent developer can bring back the series.

And now, back to our regular programming.

SHIP-WRECK (no jokes)

I’ll start off by saying that the Clue Chronicles concept was simply brilliant. You don’t see very many straightforward mystery games out there anymore (Sorry, Amy J!), and it was nice to incorporate the famous mystery-related characters ever. The idea flopped, however, when the developers tossed in Bill Gates, Paris Hilton, David Blaine, the female version of Sigfreud, and an artistic version of Christopher Reeve. Add in some dicey voice acting, deadly bugs, mind-boggling plot, and you’ve got a game that’s quite a handful.

Clue Chronicles Fatal Illusion screenshot – click to enlargeYour game starts on your host’s luxurious cruise ship, as you meet each of the characters and press them for everything from the identities of their enemies to their financial needs. What a crew. They all hate each other, deny ever meeting another, are suspicious of each other, and, to make matters worse, they don’t know why the hell they’re even here. When the host finally does show up, he appears to be a little insane, and turns up dead when you give him one of his own oriental antiquities. As if things couldn’t get more hectic, nobody trusts you anymore. It’s safe to say that at the beginning of the game, all hell has broken loose – even though the biggest surprises haven’t even gotten underway yet.

From the boat, you travel on a rickety cable car during a blizzard (snow daaaaaayyyy!). The most obnoxious part here was having characters yelling blind comments at you, such as, “Anyone up for a trip back to the ship?” or “Pull back on the lever!” while you are trying to avoid a fire. They make no comments about the situation at hand, and walk off calmly when arriving at their deceased host’s grand chateau as the cable car burns up like a tinderbox. If the characters don’t care about the danger, why should you?

So, in less than an hour, you’ve managed to travel from the bottom of an icy ravine all the way to top, and you’ve encountered death, fire, blizzard, and angry people. This is one hell of a New Year’s Eve party.


Clue Chronicles Fatal Illusion screenshot – click to enlargeAs I mentioned before, the idea for the game was great. Seeing the seductive Miss Scarlet and the gallant Colonel Mustard in 3D really makes you feel good inside. But the addition of the other, newer characters baffles me. They were only added in to add some sense to parts of the game – i.e. have a hypnotist conduct a séance, and a temperamental artist draw out a rebus puzzle. (Mrs. White doesn’t do everything around here anymore.) However, they just aren’t as classic as the others. Nobody enjoys being around a woman who’s always trying to test you for ESP, or a man who only responds, “Bah!” to all of your necessary questions. Furthermore, their voices sound awful. The accents all sound forged, and the American accents are all British people trying to fake their way through the script. I’m not sure why, but it feels like every character is from some different part of the world. (Scarlet being the only true American.)

The plot essentially revolves around nothing for the first several hours of gameplay except the questions of a) Who killed the host? and b) Why are these people here? This becomes clearer when your introduction to part three explains a list of riddles that you have decode in order to find six jewels. As usual, only the classic suspects are included in this, but the situations in which these riddles are presented are just odd. Professor Plum forgets his riddle, so you have to try and hypnotize him to get his memory back, and old Mrs. White won’t talk until you interpret one of her nightmares. Is this a joke, or what? It’s no classic whodunit, anymore, it’s just plain strange.

The worst part, however, is when you discover one of the jewels, resulting in a series of cartwheels around the house, soon followed by an error message that terminates the game. Talk about ‘Fatal Illusion,’ this game should be ‘Fatal Error.’ There are patches available on the Hasbro website, but they don’t solve all of your problems, so my only advice here is to save, save, save, or risk pounding your head against the keyboard for hours.


Clue Chronicles Fatal Illusion screenshot – click to enlargeWhen it’s all said and done, you’ve gone through hours of hypnotizing, dream interpreting, rebus decoding, statue breaking, weapon stealing, getting knocked unconscious, performing petty magic tricks, and witnessing at least two ‘murders.’ What a night. I bet even the guys at the bar won’t believe this one.

The ending goes by in a blur, leaving many unanswered questions. Perhaps they were going to be revealed in the game’s sequel; apparently, Hasbro was depending on Episodes 2 and 3 to answer everyone’s burning questions, but the time never came, and those questions have still been left with no resolution.

I praise Hasbro for a great game idea and puzzle creation, but the game simply didn’t hold together all too well and deserved a lot more time and energy to make it better.



Final Grade: C+

System Requirements:

  • 133 MHz Pentium
  • Windows 95/98
  • 16 MB RAM
  • 2 MB SVGA video card compatible with DirectX version 6.0 or higher
  • 80 MB free hard drive space
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse

Ryan Casey

Ryan Casey

I was born during the golden years of adventure games. My first foray into gaming was with Broderbund's revised version "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" That was around 1995, on my Compaq Presario that my dad wouldn’t let me use every day. Eventually, I captured all 40 criminals and moved on to collecting all other games in the series. That’s when my obsession with mysteries started! :-)Then, when I got a gift card to CompUSA, I found "Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion." Having been turned on to the books by my first cousin (a bad idea on her part, for sure), I eagerly snatched it up and spent hours playing with it. I remember having to order the strategy guide because I missed seeing a vital clue. Regardless, I was hooked on adventure games for good. I got my start at JA when I stumbled upon the site and enjoyed Ray and Randy's hilarious reviews. I emailed Randy and told him I was interested in ‘joining the JA community’ and attached a review of Cameron Files 2 as a resume of sorts. After brief correspondence, my big break came in October of 2003 when Randy asked him to review the latest Nancy Drew game, "Danger on Deception Island."I think my early reviews lacked substance as I tried to figure out how best to go about reviewing, but I believe that I have mastered my own style and take pleasure in reviewing the occasional detective game that comes along. Despite the fact that I cannot find a lot of time for adventure games nowadays, I have played and enjoyed “Scratches,” “Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express,” “Jack Orlando: Director’s Cut,” “Clue Chronicles,” “Tony Tough,” and others. I may be the youngest of the JA crew (not out of high school just yet!), but I still enjoy what I do; my only wish is that I had been born maybe ten years earlier so I could've seen more of the genre's golden age.

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