You are invited to spend some time on Niklos Karaboudjan's boat. Quickly after arriving, Karaboudjan, a very wealthy person, is murdered! A coincidence, probably not! So in a rue Agatha Christie style, you need to gather as much evidence as possible and question other passengers and staff of the ship, piecing together the events and deciding who could have possibly committed this terrible crime. People dropping dead all over the place while you have to be at the right place at the right time to watch things happen and to question the passengers, before they are killed. By using a simple point-n-click system, you need to interact with your environment, establishing links with the evidence you find in many of the different areas of the ship. Much like the most of the point-n-click types of adventures, each object found can be highlighted and will activate a list of possible actions, for example, you find a cupboard and can either search, examine or open a drawer. The ship is quite big, so you need to travel around the many rooms by using the map or by guiding Raoul to go in the direction you wish. There several animated - story sequences that add to the plot and give clues on what to do next too.
Different events happen through the game too. Some rooms may be inaccessible earlier in the game but later can be accessed and interesting clues can be picked up. There is a list of topics of conversations displayed relating to the character which allows you to question the suspects on information you've gathered previously. According to the answer, new topics of conversation may be added to the initial list too.
An unnecessary annoying feature here is that actual time progresses through the game, but it seems that it only moves on whenever you pick up another clue. The game can be completed in a variety of different ways, so the story is not linear (as in most of the adventure games back then, except the all mighty Monkey Island series and s few others)
Overall Cruise For A Corpse is one of the best adventure games released for the home-computers, and although there were other of the like back then, still looked and played great! For me, it was the first adventure ever played, and gained my interest pretty much.
The graphics are superb and some of the finest offered by Delphine Software using their great Cinematique unique and incredibly powerful adventure interface and offers nicely detailed bitmapped backdrops along with vector animated characters (remember Another World and Flashback?). Overall, graphics have been some nice touches of humor with nicely details indoor and outdoor areas, and the animation of the characters work well (all characters are made with vectors!) especially when you get the chance to question them. The game runs only on VGA mode here and offers up to 64 colors on screen (it could offer more of course and up to 256). Graphically the MS-DOS version is equally pleasant when compared to the Amiga (32 colors) and Atari ST (16 colors) versions but the game here runs faster to the other two 16bit versions.
Soundwise, the game supports either Ad-Lib or Roland sound hardware and offer a nice introductory tune as well as several in-game tunes that accompany some of the screens or actions. Sound FX though are mediocre here.