In Laura Bow 1 - The Colonel's Bequest, you play young Laura Bow, the only likeable character amongst a group of unsavoury types who seem to pretty much despise each other. It is just as well that you, the player, can't become attached to any particular character, as they each become corpus mortuus rather quickly.
Your quest is to investigate these grisly goings-on and discover the culprit. But as the murder victims soon disappear after you find their bloodied bodies, it's a difficult job to convince the remaining house-guests and servants (ever dwindling in number) of impending danger.
In the setup, the only sound option that would work for me was the AdLib. I have an SB Live card, but I didn't notice any drivers for this card amongst the files. Using the AdLib option, the sound effects were fairly primitive, but the music was enjoyable. For graphics, I selected the EGA 16-colour option. Even though the graphics are only EGA, they're still very colourful and atmospheric, as the screenshots show. If you have Windows 98, the game should work perfectly through a DOS window.
I'm not going to kid you and say I flat-out loved the game, but this is mainly because of a personal bias. Murder mysteries aren't my thing. And in this game you do spend a lot of time spying on people and asking what they think of others in the group, only to receive a lot of negative feedback. However, for those who enjoy a bit of sleuthing, this game will be something you'll enjoy. Judging by the rave reviews I've read around the net, many, many people have been captivated by the clever and intriguing gameplay, challenging puzzles, surprising twists, and the original incorporation of real time. The game has been divided into eight acts, and at the beginning of each, a clockface is shown illustrating the current time. If you do not visit certain locations before it's too late (for example, if a character has retired for the night or has gone out) you will have to replay if you want to get information or inventory items from that character.
There are a few echoes from the early King's Quest games, and this is not surprising, as both games had the same creator, Roberta Williams. (Yay! Girl Power!) Like King Graham of King's Quest, Laura can easily drown in a few feet of water or become a victim of the beasts that lurk there. However, unlike in those first few KQ games, the player can use a mouse, although you still need to type in most commands.
To sum up, I think the fascinating and rich storyline will intrigue and compel most players to persevere through the many deaths that will befall them and the other occupants of Misty Acres. If you can avoid that swamp, evade that bloodied knife, dodge that chandelier and, of course, solve those perplexing mysteries, then you'll achieve super-sleuth status in the end.