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Murder on the Mississippi
Front cover of the Commodore 64 version.
Front cover of the Commodore 64 version.
Developer(s) Activision
Publisher(s) Activision, Jaleco
Designer(s) Brad Fregger (producer)
Adam Bellin (designer)
Rob Swigart (storywriter)
Hilary Mills (graphic designer)
Composer(s) Ed Bogas
Platform(s) Apple II, Commodore 64, Commodore 128, MSX2 (Japan-only), Famicom (Japan-only)
Release date(s) October 31, 1986 (FC)
1987 (MSX2)
Genre(s) Adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Media 5¼-inch floppy disk, cartridge
System requirements Joystick, Famicom controller

Murder on the Mississippi, fully titled as Murder on the Mississippi: The Adventures of Sir Charles Foxworth, is a 1986 detective adventure game developed and published by Activision for the Commodore 64, Commodore 128 and the Apple II computers. It was also licensed for release exclusively in Japan by Jaleco, who ported the game to the Nintendo Famicom and the MSX2 as Mississippi Satsujin Jiken (ミシシッピー殺人事件 lit. "Mississippi Murder Case" ?). It is an adventure game in which the player must solve a murder mystery on the luxury ship "Delta Princess". Most people fall in a hole and get a game over before finding the victim.



While heading to New Orleans from St. Louis on the ship "Delta Princess", detective Sir Charles and Watson are caught up in the midst of a murder case by chance, that they must solve.

Characters (passengers and crew)

  • Sir Charles (チャールズ卿 ?)

Not Holmes. Becomes the second victim. His appearance is similar to that of a painting of Sherlock Holmes by Charles Doyle (Arthur Conan Doyle's father). Image

  • Watson (ワトソン ?)

Known as "Regis" in the Activision version. Only a few of his memos can be taken. He occasionally takes walks by himself without any notice. After Charles' death, he longs to do everything over again the right way.

  • Dizzy (ディジー ?)

A prostitute, staying in Room 8. Going to New Orleans to visit her Aunt Pearl. Her aunt's secret formula for Okra soup is popular among the passengers.

  • Taylor (テーラー ?)

Prostitute from Nevada. Staying in Room 2F20.

  • Carter (カーター ?)

Judge staying in Room 9. Has a reputation for drinking.

  • Helen (ヘレン ?)

The widow of a millionaire, staying in Room 2F23. Has a very bad reputation amongst the passengers.

  • Nelson (ネルソン ?)

The captain. Speaks of the incident even before entering the cabin and discovering the body.

  • William (ウィリアム ?)

Philanthropist staying in Room 2F15. His hobby is shooting, and he often hits birds.

  • Henry (ヘンリー ?)

Crew member staying in Room 1F27. Brown's illegitimate son. Is in love with Taylor.

  • Brown (ブラウン ?)

The victim, found dead in Room 4. Owner of the Delta Princess, which he co-manages with Nelson. Also managed many additional businesses.


Sir Charles is staying in Room 3, and the normal assumption is to start the investigation in Room 1- however, pitfalls exist in Room 1 and Room 14. Falling through one of these holes results in death and an instant game over. There is also a trap in Room 16, in which a knife flies through the air towards Sir Charles immediately after he enters. Unless the knife is dodged it hits Sir Charles in the head and kills him, resulting in another instant game over. While solving the case reveals the true criminal, the identity of the person that set these traps remains a mystery. Since Watson does not fall through the pitfall traps, some players suspect that he might have been the one to set them.

Re-interviewing characters

Each suspect can only be spoken to once per piece of new information— consequently, if there is a piece of information missed the first time around, since it is impossible to talk to them again this can lead to the player becoming impossibly stuck in the game and unable to progress any further. While this bears a sense of reality, it has angered many players.

Bad ending

There is also a bad ending in the game. During the final stage of the game, the player must present evidence to reveal and prosecute the true criminal. However, if insufficient evidence has been examined/obtained the player will simply receive a game over due to lack of evidence.

External links

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

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Murder on the Mississippi
Box artwork for Murder on the Mississippi.
Developer(s) Activision
Publisher(s) Activision, Jaleco (Japan)
Japanese title ミシシッピー殺人事件 (lit: Mississippi Murder Case)
Designer(s) Adam Bellin
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Adventure
System(s) Apple II, Commodore 64/128, MSX2, Famicom
Mode(s) Single player

Murder on the Mississippi is a detective adventure game designed by Adam Bellin for Activision in 1986. It appeared on the Commodore 64 and the Apple II. It was licensed for release in Japan by Jaleco, who ported the game to the Nintendo Famicom as well as the MSX2.

This game is widely known as one of the first Adventure games which didn't use keyboard input at all. The classic interface had been replaced with simple joystick controls: moving the joystick causes the player's sprite to move in the direction request, and pressing the button opens a menu with appropriate commands for the current situation.

This system still proves to be very intuitive today, allowing even younger gamers to concentrate on solving the case itself instead of fighting with the interface. This task is - compared to later Adventure games - a relatively short one, though it's of comparable length as the direct competition of the time.

The difficulty level and nature of the challenges are on par with other contemporary games: Interrogating the other passengers is necessary, but it doesn't go out of hand. Finding hard pieces of evidence is the other major aspect of the game. Here, a small oversight of the game designers comes into light: It's necessary to search locations several times, standing on exactly the right spot - sometimes to find an item which wasn't even visible graphically.


Famous detective Sir Charles Foxworth is taking a holiday on the Mississippi with his servant Regis. He's just taking a stroll around the upper deck of the ship when he discovers an open cabin door. Behind it: a dead man. As it turns out, the body of Raleigh Cartwright III. Sir Charles has three days to find the murderer, because then, the ship will reach New Orleans, giving the culprit a safe chance to escape.

Table of Contents

Murder on the Mississippi/Table of Contents

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