I was quite excited to find Post Mortem and its sequels (Still Life and Still Life 2) on Steam in a bundle when they were on sale recently. I played a lot of adventure games when in the mid to late 90s, and the occasional one after that. I remember this series being really excellent.
On the one hand, Post Mortem holds up decently. There’s no question it’s an old game, but it doesn’t hurt one’s eyes to look at. The voice acting is better than average, and the game took some really interesting directions – allowing not only different ways to progress through the game, but different endings depending on the choices made during play.
However, the game doesn’t play nice with modern systems. I had to do a lot of finagling to get it to even run (all of which I detailed at the bottom of this post), and I hit a brick wall with a game breaking bug where the only solution seems to be “restore to an early save spot” – which I don’t have.
If you like adventure games, and if you have a pre-Win 7 system to run it on (or are willing to deal with all the buggy nonsense), it’s worth a play if only to appreciate it’s place in adventure game history. You are Gus MacPherson, a former NYC detective who has retired to Paris, choosing instead to focus on his art. However, when Sophia Blake shows up at your door the same night you have a horrific and bloody vision, you decide to get back into the private investigation game. How reluctantly you make that decision is up to you.
Most of the game play is centered around conversation, reports, and other notes – you can review all documents and conversations from your inventory menu (accessed by right clicking at the bottom of the screen). At one point, you’re tasked with drawing a portrait by combining multiple descriptions – it’s a neat idea for a puzzle, but after 9 or 10 attempts, I went looking for a walk-through. Hint: The picture below is NOT the correct picture.
Even without the possibility of game breaking bugs, this isn’t an adventure game to someone new to the genre, or really, even for someone who cut their teeth on Telltale adventure games. Post Mortem is, at times, deliberately obtuse. It will not hold your hand, and it will let you make mistakes. I will definitely restart it to play through it again – I was probably only a little over an hour of actual game play in when I broke it – but I’m going to make damn sure to use multiple saves.
How to get Post-Mortem to run on Win7 and later operating systems (Steam version).
Right click on Post-Mortem in your Steam library; select “Properties”. You’ll want to select the Local Files tab then click “Browse Local Files”. The file you want to work with is Game.exe NOT Post Mortem.exe. Right click on the file, select Properties. Go to the compatability tab; select Change Options for All Users at the bottom. You’ll want to click on Reduced Color Mode and make sure the drop down is set to 8-bit.
This step will resolve the issue for many users, however, if you still have problems running the game, you can proceed to step two, which should allow the game to run in windowed mode.
Open your Notepad application. Copy & paste the following text:
800 600 16 0 BaseCMO.cmo
Save the file as Player.ini, making sure that your have the file type set to all files rather than just .txt files. You will want to save it into your Post Mortem directory.