While many people will have heard of famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, either through reading Agatha Christie's hugely popular books or watching the superb TV series starring David Suchet (get it on DVD, it's great), And then There Were None, released in the UK in 1939, is her most successful book, selling over 100 million copies. 100 million. That's over 10 times more than Halo 3.
And so the question you might ask is not why it's come to the Nintendo Wii, but why it's taken so long. Ah well, it's here now, and Wii-owning Agatha Christie fans should be happy, because, surprisingly, it's not too bad.
Hardcore gamers look away now - And Then There Were None is a terribly made video game. It looks awful, with pixelated character models, clunky controls and background environments the 80s would be ashamed of. But that's not the point - the game isn't aimed at a hardcore gaming audience - it's aimed at Agatha Christie fans, who, let's be honest, tend not to be the biggest gamers.
The story stays as close to the book as you could hope for. Eight people, each one with a dark secret, are brought to a country house on the fictional Shipwreck Island off the coast of Devon, and trapped there by an impromptu storm. The owner of the country house, a Mr U. N. Owen, who invited all the guests, isn't there. Even the two servants were hired by letter. One by one, the guests are killed, and it's up to you to solve the mystery.
There are differences between the book and the game. The character you play, Patrick Narracott, isn't from the book, and isn't one of the 10 main characters either. Using the Wii Remote to aim an on-screen cursor, you control Patrick's movements in classic PC point and click style, directing him around the mansion, investigating its rooms, checking out interesting items and talking to the game's other characters. It's quite a slow affair, with little real action, but that doesn't really matter. If you're after action, play Super Mario Galaxy instead. This is considered, pondering detective work - and it's a nice change in pace.
The strength of the game rests on the story, which is really quite involving and full of interesting twists. And the voice acting too is top notch (albeit out of sync in some cut-scenes) - with appropriately posh English accents and some hilarious one liners - click on a radiator and Patrick will say: "A radiator. You can't have enough of those." If you like this kind of thing, there's an odd charm that you'll find hard to resist.
Of course, if The Adventure Company had been serious about the whole thing it would have insisted on giving the game (originally a 2005 PC game) a lick of paint. And it's a tad disappointing that it hasn't. The Wii is certainly capable of providing better visuals. There has been some attempt to utilise the Wii's motion-sensing controls - turn the Wii Remote to open door knobs, that sort of thing - but it's a token effort. Essentially this is a port of an old PC game. Nothing more, nothing less.
So, will Agatha Christie fans like it? The answer is yes, if you're not much of a gamer and can look past the things it does badly. If you are a gamer and you like Agatha Christie, then its failings might ruin the whole thing for you. Playing And Then There Were None, you get a feeling that there's an opportunity for someone to do the whole classic detective thing properly - we're talking about playing as Hercule Poirot in a point and click style game based on one of the classic books. With good graphics too. Get it done.