May 6, 2021

The Last Express (PC) Playthrough – NintendoComplete



A playthrough of Broderbund’s 1997’s graphic adventure game for PCs (running Dos or Windows 95), The Last Express.

The “Making of” featurette included with the game follows the credits (@3:34:00).

The Last Express is, in a word, phenomenal. It is entirely unlike just about anything else I’ve ever played. I mean, sure, it looks kind of like Myst (surprise), and there are places where the animation looks like what an updated Prince of Persia might have looked like (again, surprise), and it takes the same basic time-based structure as the old Sierra game The Colonel’s Bequest.

But it all feels fresh and new, even twenty years later. That’s right. The game was released in March/April of 1997. It just had its twentieth birthday. Anyone feeling old yet? 😉

Anyways, the project was led by Jordan Mechner (Karateka, The Prince of Persia), and his influence is clear. The real-time based gameplay, the rotoscoped animation, the exotic cultural elements… they all bear his mark. And damn, I’d argue this was the best game he ever created. It still blows my mind that despite the incredible reviews it got at the time, it flopped horribly. I’m glad I got my copy of it as quickly as I did (it had been out maybe a week or so when I got it), since it was only available for a few months before it got pulled from the shelves.

I guess maybe it’s similar to why famous painters always die poor. They’re ignored forever until someone finally goes, “Wow, I suddenly realize this is brilliant!” The Last Express is just as much art as it is a game.

The entire game takes place on The Orient Express with a murder mystery at the kickoff of The Great War. There’s some stuff about a valuable treasure, extortion, terrorism… you know, the stuff that when woven together properly can make an utterly gripping historical drama. One of the real achievements of The Last Express is in how beautifully cinematic it is considering that the player is in complete control the entire time. It is in no way an interactive movie, nor is it a point-and-click slide show. It’s a living, breathing world, and it’s a ridiculously convincing and immersive one.

The experience is intense – there are a few dozen people on-board, all driven by an AI that runs according to the in-game clock. It’s pretty impressive to see at work – you’ll walk past people in the hallway, sometimes stopping to talk to them, while at other times you’ll wait for them to leave so you can break into their compartments. People react to you differently based on what you do and how heavily you tread on their toes, and it’s all believable because of the writing and the acting. The production here is top notch – there are several languages spoken regularly throughout the game, and they’re all delivered convincingly (at least, as much as I can claim as someone that doesn’t speak a word of Russian), and the actors seem to ALWAYS hit their lines. I honestly can’t remember a single line being poorly delivered – nobody is deadpan, nobody is completely hysterical, and there are no goofy fake voices to hide that one actor is playing six roles. Few games are done with this attention to detail and quality, and it really makes the game shine.

Sorry about the couple minutes where music is missing from the recording. YouTube forced me to do something about a couple of the classical songs that were recognized through their scan.

I’m not going to say much about the game play itself, because that would spoil so much of what makes the game magical. Just trust me – if you’re a fan of adventure games and you’ve never played it before, you really need to. It’s a classic. And it was released years ago for phones, so it’s easy to track down.
________
No cheats were used during the recording of this video.

NintendoComplete ( punches you in the face with in-depth reviews, screenshot archives, and music from classic 8-bit NES games!

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Comments
  • nintendo complete i hate this game its not good for me and its scary for me with scary music i hate last express what would you say about this game nintendo complete?

  • Nintendo Complete Please Pin a Comment below what do you want to say how did you play this game back in 2017?

  • oh my 😨nintendo complete this so creepy because it had a dramatic ending of this game and its so scary😰

  • I stumbled upon this game today and it looks amazing, being from 1997. I can imagine enjoying this a lot.

  • games clearly rotoscoped but the only place i could find anyone(reviewer or otherwise) was one interview
    bizarre considering thats kinda the big thing about this game?

  • absolutely playable even in 2019, a true gem, in some ways this is the best adventure game ever.
    not that it is completely flawless and I would definitely suggest peaking into the walkthrough at one point – the flute! otherwise an unforgettable experience.

  • This game is a real jewel. I know it could sound too radical for some people but: new generation of gamers don't know about this kind of stuff… that's bad. Cuz this is pure gold. Maybe not everyones know it but, everything in this game is happening even if you are not there. It's a persistent world in some way. you have to be in the right place at the right time to see some things. Characters walking around, people chatting… That concept is really cool, and innovative for that times. I know there are some games using a similar concept of gameplay nowadays (something like an interactive movie), but we all know it's not the same. There's no imagination and creativity anymore in the gaming world… 🙁

  • Guess what, guys? At my high school, I found that one of my teachers had a copy of this game inside one of the closets! He offered to give it to me, but I declined and gave it to a classmate.

  • One of the best games ever made. If not the best game. The thing is it came out unfortunately at a time when the gamine press basically wrote adventure games dead in the post myst hype era when everyone basically was sick of Myst and thought the adventure genre was Myst. The game is a pure piece of art and absolutely groundbreaking in interactive story telling and for the adventure genre itself.

  • This game is pure awesomeness, its atmosphere is rally pulling you into the dark and twisty web of a amazingly well written game. The ending is How ever very sad.

  • Thanks to Youtube I get to rediscover games I used to play when I was a kid. The Last Express is part of them, I think the version I got was just a demo but it was a very immersive one. I ended up in a death scene where I get stabbed, the scene did an impression on the young child I was which is why I never played it again.

  • Correct it to Activision Blizzard because they are the current owners of this 1997 graphic adventure game.

    The Last Express is ™ & ©1997-2017 Interplay Entertainment Corporation. Sublicensed to Universal Interactive, Inc.

  • A game that was almos ahead of it time, I remember when it came out, alot of the review game magazine (Like the UK PC Zone) was running on a slow computer and thus they had bad experience with it. Few Years later Chris Anderson (who reviewed it) said he finally enjoyed the game and said he would have given it 90% score instead of 78% in the past.

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