Enjoy two soundsamples from the score:
- Game website
- Composer website
No commercial release
Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express is developer AWE Games’ latest adaptation of an Agatha Christie crime novel to an adventure game. As with their previous title, And Then There Were None, AWE Games made some changes to the storyline, offering a new hero, or in this case heroine, and altering the ending of the plot. You play as the train company employee Antoinette Marceau who becomes an amateur detective when the train is overtaken by a surprise avalanche in which the novel’s original protagonist, Hercule Poirot, gets injured. While critics generally enjoyed the nice graphics and solid voice-work, the gameplay was judged too repetitive and the somewhat drastic changes to the storyline seemed to ruin much of the suspense of Christie’s original plot: only the most eager fans of adventure games were intrigued by this instalment.
To bring life to the game’s static background images the publisher hired composer Joshua Mosley to provide a musical score. The job would be twofold: firstly, to underscore some of the game’s pivotal in-game happenings and, secondly, to write music for the numerous cut-scenes. The result captivates through its ever present sense of mystery and intrigue as well as by sweeping string performances and upbeat rhythmic statements.
Not surprisingly, Mosley built his score upon oriental harmonic structures and ethnic instrumentation enriched with Western orchestral elements. He uses mostly woodwinds and strings, yet there are some cues in which he utilises a choir for dramatic effect. The combination of these numerous musical elements is quite artistically done. The first two opening cues in particular showcase Mosley’s skilful writing: mysterious string lines and plucking percussions open up the cues as more and more instruments make their appearance coming together in harmonious union. Still, the orchestral colours are rather limited and after the first few cues you can anticipate the direction of the rest of the score. Most tracks are variedly constructed, but they quickly fall into repetitiveness, probably because the nature of the game demanded a certain amount of subtly flowing background pieces. However, in the latter portion of the album, the presence of piano offers a refreshing change of mood and it so happens that these particular pieces are also the most enjoyable on the album.
Overall, the score is a solid effort for an adventure game that excellently manages to infuse its oriental orchestrations with a subtle sense of mystery. It is, however, best enjoyed while playing the game for that is what this score was primarily written for.