Cruise for a Corpse is a point and click adventure game developed by Delphine Software for home computers. It is a dialog driven murder mystery, where the player controls Raoul Dusentier, a French police inspector invited on a private cruise by a wealthy businessman, only to find his host murdered upon arrival.
The third and final of Delphine's adventure games, it featured many interface improvements over its predecessors, and also scenes with the detailed polygonal animation that the company subsequently get known for.
Raoul Dusentier, a police inspector in 1920s Paris, receives an invitation to attend a private cruise, hosted by wealthy businessman Niklos Karaboudjan aboard his newly restored ship. Grabbing a chance at a vacation, Raoul readily accepts, and is ferried onto the vessel.
He is immediately met by Hector, Karaboudjan's butler, who informs him that something terrible has happened to his master. Following Hector to Karaboudjan's office, he finds the businessman's body dead on the floor. But before he has an opportunity to investigate, the two are ambushed and knocked out. When they wake up again, a whole night has passed and the ship is now well out on the ocean. Even worse - the body has disappeared.
With little to go on, Raoul now has a day to solve the mystery and finger the murderer, before the ship returns to the port.
Cruise for a Corpse is a mouse controlled point and click adventure. Based on the second version of Delphine's Cinematique engine, it featured an improved and streamlined interface, with a contextual menu of the available actions on the left mouse button, and the inventory on the right one.
The goal of the game is to gather evidence as to the identity and motive of the murderer. While there are some regular adventure game puzzles in the game, Raoul's investigation is mainly done through dialog, where his knowledge is represented by a series of keywords he can pick from during conversations. Asking the right person about the right subject will gain him new information, unlocking another keyword. Additional keywords can also be gained by gathering physical clues or witnessing certain events.
Progression through the game is symbolized with time, which will advance 10-45 minutes whenever Raoul discovers something of significance. The passing of time also causes changes in the game world, as characters will move around the ship and certain events or areas will only be available at specific times.
When the clock reaches 6:30 PM, the captain will announce that the ship is about to land, and the inspector gathers the suspects to present his evidence. The player is then given choice of who to accuse, and a good or bad ending will play depending on whether the correct person was picked.
Raoul Dusentier - A French police inspector, and the protagonist of the story.
Tom Logan - Karaboudjan's solicitor. Confident and ambitious, he may not be content with simply taking care of other's business.
Rose Logan - Tom's wife. She puts on a happy face, but some say their marriage is doing poorly.
Rebecca Karaboudjan - Karaboudjan's wife. A cold socialite, some think she's having an affair.
Daphne Karaboudjan - Karaboudjan's daughter. Young and rebellious, she did not take well to her father arranging her betrothal.
Julio Esperenza - Daphne's fiancé. A playboy from a rich Spanish family.
Father Fabiani - A priest and friend of the family. There are murmurings he's being investigated by the church for inappropriate behavior.
Suzanne Plum - A friend of Fabiani's. A fearless woman of integrity, or a loudmouth lush depending on who you ask.
Dick Schmock - A recent addition to the family. Nobody seems to want to say much about him.
Hector - Karaboudjan's butler. Unflinchingly loyal, but there may be things in his past he'd rather not discuss.