Bow Street Runner
Bow Street Runner is a mystery adventure series created by LittleLoud and commissioned by Channel 4 (UK) to promote the five-part City of Vice programs. Set in London's Covent Garden in the 1750s, crime in the city has risen to such a level that local magistrates were forced to take action. The Bow Street Runners were born, created to instill order in the increasingly crime-ridden city. It's a dark and historically accurate journey through old London, presented with live actors, voice narration and full motion video for an impressive cinematic experience.
You play the role of a Runner investigating crime in a series of scenes throughout the town. Using the mouse, examine each area for clues and evidence, some of which is stored in your casebook. You'll also interview witnesses and other townsfolk for information, introducing you to the colorful inhabitants of 18th century London. When you've gathered enough information the game allows you to move on to the next scene, creating a nice (if linear) sense of progression.
In addition to cerebral clue gathering you'll also have to get your hands dirty from time to time. A clever diversion called Slide Thrift is, according to the tavern poster, "a most wondrous test of skill and mettle", and you'll also have the pleasure of digging through wet, rotten meat and vegetables in search of clues.
Analysis: An excellent experience from beginning to end, the only down side of Bow Street Runner is the long load times users with slow internet connections will endure. It's the price we pay for full motion video and voice narration, and it's worth the wait. Bow Street Runner is a visually impressive game, not only for its use of live actors but for a convincingly dark setting that's smoothly integrated with the live action video.
A brilliantly executed game that impresses on all levels.
Update: All 5 episodes are now available to play!