The Pandora Directive
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|The Pandora Directive|
The Pandora Directive is the fourth installment in the Tex Murphy series of graphic adventure games produced by Access Software. After its creators reacquired the rights to the series, it was re-released on Good Old Games on July 2, 2009.
Like all Tex Murphy games, The Pandora Directive takes place in post-World War III San Francisco in April 2043. After the devastating events of WWIII, many major cities have been rebuilt (as is the case with New San Francisco), though certain areas still remain as they were before the war (as in Old San Francisco). WWIII also left another mark on the world: the formation of two classes of citizens. Specifically, the Mutants and the Norms. After the events of Under a Killing Moon, tensions between the two groups have begun to diminish. The end to the Crusade for Genetic Purity was a turning point in the relations between Mutants and "Norms". Tex still lives on Chandler Ave., which recently underwent a city-funded cleanup. The events of WWIII still left the planet with no ozone layer, and to protect their citizens many countries adopted a time reversal. Instead of sleeping at night, and being awake in the day, humans have become nocturnal, in a manner of speaking. Though Tex lives in what is considered a Mutant area of town, he himself is a "Norm".
In The Pandora Directive, Tex (Chris Jones) is hired by Gordon Fitzpatrick (Kevin McCarthy) to find his friend, Thomas Malloy (John Agar). Tex quickly discovers that Fitzpatrick is not the only one who is looking for Malloy and finds himself dragged into a dangerous situation. With few he can trust, Tex must try and unravel the mystery surrounding Malloy, and along the way he'll learn the devastating truth behind the greatest government conspiracy of all time. The game has a large cast of characters ranging from the deranged to deadly. Several well-known actors starred, including Barry Corbin and Tanya Roberts.
The Pandora Directive is the second game to make use of Under a Killing Moon's engine, and featured real-time 3D graphics. Players explore environments from a first-person perspective and can click to examine objects or interact using a variety of verbs. In addition to verb interaction, players can gather, use, and combine items to solve a variety of puzzles, and must also solve self-contained logic puzzles. Character interaction consists of two primary modes: asking characters about a universal list of topics available to the player, and branching dialog trees. These dialog trees were unusual at the time in that they did not display Tex's full response, but rather a short and sometimes humorous description, a convention later popularized by Bioware.
The Pandora Directive was one of the first adventure games to feature branching narratives and multiple endings. The player could take Tex down "Mission Street" where he takes the high road and wins the love of his long time crush, Chelsee Bando. Mission Street has three possible endings. Down "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", Tex is a selfish and cynical jerk worrying only about the big payoff. Boulevard of Broken Dreams leads to four possible endings. If the player chooses neither path, Tex will go down "Lombard Street". On this path, he's not really a nice guy, but he's not mean either. Lombard Street leads to two possible endings, both of which are common to Mission Street. The "best" Mission Street ending is achieved when the player has taken the high road every time he was given the choice, and by exactly following two conversation paths earlier in the game.
The Pandora Directive provided two difficulty settings, Entertainment and Game Players mode. On Entertainment, hints were available and the player could bypass certain puzzles if the player so chose. Some minor objects and video scenes were available on this setting that were not available on Game Players mode. A total of 1500 points were available on Entertainment mode. On Game Players mode, no hints were available and puzzles could not be bypassed. Bonus points were available to those who solved certain puzzles in an allotted time or within a certain number of moves. In addition to this, extra in game locations and puzzles were available on Game Players mode that weren't available on Entertainment mode, making for a more challenging game playing experience. A total of 4000 points were available on Game Players mode.
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A novelization of the game was written by Aaron Conners in 1995. It differs slightly in details from the game, but the overall story is the same.
Tex Murphy: Tex Murphy is an old film noir style gumshoe Private Detective who lives in the old run down part of Old San Francisco despite being a 'norm'.
Chelsee Bando: Tex's main love interest. Beautiful yet street wise, she seems to know most of what goes on in day to day life on Chandler Avenue. It is said that she is a mutant, but it doesn't show and it is not revealed to either Tex or the player.
Louie Lamintz: Louie runs the diner 'Brew and Stew', the local hangout. Louie is a bloated mutant with a heart of gold who is probably Tex's best friend.
Rook Garner: Rook is a cantankerous WW3 veteran who runs a pawn shop on Chandler Avenue. He remains good friends with Louie yet maintains a strained acquaintance with Tex, and the two trade insults on a regular basis. Rook particularly enjoys deriding Tex's often hopeless attempts to romance Chelsee. Despite their bickering, Tex and Rook often do business together (albeit with Rook hounding Tex until he gets his mney back.)
Clint: A reformed bum, Clint now owns a food stall specializing in chocolate dishes and beverages. Mysteriously he never seems to have anything in stock...
Mac Malden: Tex's main contact in the Police Department. Tex has helped Mac on several occasions (such as tipping him off to the location of Rusty the Clown in the previous game.) with Mac seemingly taking full credit and earning promotions. Mac often appears irritable with Tex, but the two help each other out regularly.
- byzenkov. "Tex Murphy: The Pandora Directive for download $9.99". GOG.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- CGW 154 (May 1997)