Mean Streets is the first game in the Tex Murphy series, published by Access Software around 1990. Mean Street is a realistic action-adventure detective game that is quite rare in the market. It is one of the first PC game that support 256-color VGA graphics and push the limit on it.
Mean Streets try to introduce full motion video with real life actors. Of course it is not the full motion video that we see today, it uses a few frames of photos to give an illusion of animation. To create more realism, Access even introduce their "Real Sound" system that enable Mean Streets to play digitize sound on PC speaker. At that time, Sound Blaster is not yet exist!
In Mean Streets, we play Tex Murphy, a detective in the year 2033. The daughter of a doctor who commit suicide has hired us to investigate his death. With a handful of clues, our investigation begins. Soon, we will discover that it is linked to a world destruction conspiracy that we need to stop it.
To make us feel like a real detective, Mean Streets prepare a flying car for us to travel here and there to follow clues. We have to actually sit in the car, put in coordinate and wait until we arrive at the destination. It might have some fun at the beginning, but it quickly become repeatitive and boring. See, we cannot skip the flying sequence, and have to watch the lame polygon based 3D scenary.
Unlike other Lucasarts adventure games, we control the game using keyboard only. No mouse is supported. But luckily, the control is quite easy and user friendly. There are quite a number of places that we can visit in Mean Streets. We have to investigate all the places carefully to find further clues that can help us to solve the puzzles.
As what we learn from most of the detective films, interogating people and suspects is a crucial part of Mean Streets. We need to ask them correct questions and use some techniques like bribe and threaten to get information from them. This is where we will see some primitive full motion video on a PC game.
In Mean Street, there is a gun-fight mini game that we need to play it always when reaching some dangerous places. As with the flying sequence, this gun-fight mini game will be very boring when we keep playing this on different places. To Access maybe it is fun, but to adventure games lovers, it must be quite distracting and frustrating.
Overall, Mean Streets is a very realistic detective game that you should give it a try if you love this genre. You can get it here.