Last requests: On “Mourir En Mer”

I’m currently enjoying our remaining weeks in training, or at least trying to. Apart from having to absorb a lot of information (even for someone who’s worked fairly long in tech support), I’m planning how to possibly finish TGR and do my other stuff within the next 1 to 2 weeks. Hmm. We’ll see.

In the meantime, though, I’ve finished playing Daniel Muller’s adventure game Mourir En Mer, thanks to a Len Green hint near the final stretch (yeah, yeah, so much for playing with no walkthroughs). The original game was released on 2003, and, if I remember correctly, was supposed to be part of an AGS game competition.

[SPOILER ALERT: This section of the article contains several spoilers.]

Mourir En Mer revolves around disease and deformity, two subjects rarely used in games. Without giving too much away, your objective here is to help fulfill a young man’s last request: “mourir en mer,” to die at sea (or near one).

Where It All Begins

One cannot help but feel pity for the player’s character in this game; more so, I believe, than in Stephen Bond’s IF piece Rameses. The section on the attic alone, though it was generally easy, provides enough motivation (especially when you don’t make it the first time) for the player to keep plodding on. Muller nicely had the foresight to create auto-saves so I didn’t have to worry about getting caught red-handed.

The plot was handled delicately, focusing more on accomplishing the central character’s request than commenting on societal reactions. There are still situations wherein “normal” reactions could be seen (e.g., the fast food section), but for the most part, it was really about getting him where he wants to go.

During the first few times I played Mourir En Mer, I strangely felt nervous again at the thought of going back to the attic. Just to catch a damn mouse? The thought of facing the character’s father again made me shudder. Fortunately (after about 2 tries), I was able to do it and get out just before he opened the door.

I appreciate that kind of reaction to a game. It was similar to what I felt while I was playing Croshaw’s 5 Days a Stranger: the tension one feels when you’re nearing the end of a good movie when you unwittingly hit the Stop button on your remote. When you find yourself screaming “WTF?”

The only beef I have with the game? The length. It would have been great if Muller expanded the game further, but this doesn’t really deter the quality.

Overall, Mourir en Mer is a brief, solid adventure game with a big heart. If you don’t mind feeling a bit somber after playing an adventure game (and can read French), try it.

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