Like all Tex Murphy games, The Pandora Directive takes place in post-World War III San Francisco in April 2043. After the devastating events of WWIII, many major cities have been rebuilt (as is the case with New San Francisco), though certain areas still remain as they were before the war (as in Old San Francisco). WWIII also left another mark on the world: the formation of two classes of citizens. Specifically, the Mutants and the Norms. After the events of Under a Killing Moon, tensions between the two groups have begun to diminish. The end to the Crusade for Genetic Purity was a turning point in the relations between Mutants and "Norms". Tex still lives on Chandler Ave., which recently underwent a city-funded cleanup. The events of WWIII still left the planet with no ozone layer, and to protect their citizens many countries adopted a time reversal. Instead of sleeping at night, and being awake in the day, humans have become nocturnal, in a manner of speaking. Though Tex lives in what is considered a Mutant area of town, he himself is a "Norm".
In The Pandora Directive, Tex is hired by Gordon Fitzpatrick to find his friend, Thomas Malloy. Tex quickly discovers that Fitzpatrick isn't the only one who is looking for Malloy. Tex is dragged into a dangerous situation. With few he can trust, Tex must try and unravel the mystery surrounding Malloy, and along the way he'll learn the devastating truth behind the greatest government conspiracy of all time.
The virtual world
The Pandora Directive is the second game in the Tex Murphy series to use virtual world technology. Using their own 3D engine, Access Software developed a 3D world that the player could fully explore - something very rarely seen in adventure games of its time. In this virtual world, you control Tex searching for clues that will lead you to find Thomas Malloy.
Another thing The Pandora Directive does differently from other adventure games lies in how it handles conversations. Instead of providing you with a list of responses showing the exact words that Tex will say, the game designers chose a different route. You still have Tex choose from a list of possible responses, however only descriptions (often humorous in themselves) of the responses are given. This is another element that helps make the Tex Murphy franchise unique among adventure games.
Multiple paths and endings
The Pandora Directive was one of the first games on the market to take interactivity to the next level by offering multiple game narratives and endings. The player could take Tex down "Mission Street" where he takes the high road and wins the love of his long time crush, Chelsee Bando. Mission Street has three possible endings. Down "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", Tex is a selfish and cynical jerk worrying only about the big payoff. Boulevard of Broken Dreams leads to four possible endings. If the player chooses neither path, Tex will go down "Lombard Street". On this path, he's not really a nice guy, but he's not mean either. Lombard Street leads to two possible endings, both of which are common to Mission Street.
The "best" Mission Street ending is an Easter Egg in that two conversation paths have to be followed exactly earlier in the game.
Entertainment and Game Players modes
The Pandora Directive provided two difficulty settings, Entertainment and Game Players mode. On Entertainment, hints were available and you could bypass certain puzzles if you so chose. Some minor objects and video scenes were available on this setting that were not available on Game Players mode. A total of 1500 points were available on Entertainment mode. On Game Players mode, no hints were available and puzzles could not be bypassed. Bonus points were available to those who solved certain puzzles in an allotted time or within a certain number of moves. In addition to this, extra in game locations and puzzles were available on Game Players mode that weren't available on Entertainment mode, making for a more challenging game playing experience. A total of 4000 points were available on Game Players mode.
- Chris Jones as Tex Murphy
- Kevin McCarthy as Gordon Fitzpatrick
- Tanya Roberts as Regan Madsen
- Barry Corbin as Jackson Cross
- John Agar as Thomas Malloy
- Nicole Tindall as Emily Sue Patterson
- Suzanne Barnes as Chelsee Bando
- Bill Bradshaw as Archie Ellis
- Sterling Brimley as Elijah Witt
- Cat Hammons as Lucia Pernell
- Kevin L. Jones as Mac Malden
- Randall Edwards as Louie LaMintz
- Doug Vandegrift as Rook Garner
- Steve Barnes as Clint
- Curley Green as Zack Williams
- John Timmons as Nilo
- Chris Conners as Gus Leach
- Wayne Brennan as Crazy Gary Lee
- Pearl Leidy as Garden House Landlady
- Marcia Dangerfield as Glenda
- Aaron Conners as The Black Arrow Killer
Directed by: Adrian Carr
A novelization of the game was written by Aaron Conners in 1995. It differs slightly in details from the game, but the overall story is the same.
Other Tex Murphy Games
- Mean Streets (1989)
- Martian Memorandum (1990)
- Under a Killing Moon (1994)
- Tex Murphy: Overseer (1998)