Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove [Standard Edition] (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)
May 29, 2012 by Dennis Amith
Big Fish Games’ “Mystery Case Files” are known to be among the best hidden object games available and with each release, there is always something to look forward to. With the sixth game in the series, “Dire Grove”, this dark and creepy game features an enjoyable storyline, challenging gameplay and also videos that have that “Blair Witch” freak-you-out type of style to it! “Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove” is highly recommended!
VIDEO GAME TITLE: Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove
YEAR OF INITIAL RELEASE: 2009
VIDEO GAME GENRE: Hidden Objects/Interactive Hidden Objects
PUBLISHER: Big Fish Games
MEDIA: (Available on several Viva Media Packs or as a download)
MEDIUM REQUIREMENTS: Windows 7, Vista, XP, (also available on Mac and iPad)
RATINGS: E 10+
RELEASE DATE: November 25, 2009
VIDEO GAME HIGHLIGHTS:
The Celtic legend of Dire Grove has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. When a recently unearthed artifact in the United Kingdom corroborates the legend there begins a journey of survival for a small band of researchers in the small resort of Dire Grove. Discover the secrets hidden deep within the snow that now blanket the once peaceful community of Dire Grove!
When it comes to hidden object games, Big Fish Games is known to deliver. Especially when it comes to their hit series “Mystery Case Files”.
With a total of eight games released on PC (some games are available on Mac and iPad), one game on mobile phone, Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii, including a novel series, the “Mystery Case Files” have garnered many fans all over the world who are looking for mystery, dark and sometimes eerie hidden object games.
The sixth game in the series “Dire Grove” was released in December 2009 and was released in a standard edition (released alone or bundled with “Mystery Chronicles: Murder Among Friends”) and a collector’s edition (which offers a strategy guide, achievements, extra levels and additional gameplay for the more experienced players), “Dire Grove” was praised for its storyline and for its use of full-motion video.
The story of “Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove” takes place after “Return to Ravenhearst” and as you are driving back home, you go through a vacation town known as “Dire Grove”. But because of a heavy snow storm, your car gets stuck. And in front of you is another car that seems to be abandoned.
As you look inside the car, something seems unusual and inside appears a video. Fortunately, you have a crime computer that can play video tapes and when you play it, a frantic young woman is seen screaming in fear and hoping someone can save them. And a note that reads, “She is real. The legend is real…”.
As a mystery case detective and the fact you are stuck in the area, you have no choice but to see what is going on and up ahead is the Dire Grove hotel. Everything seems a bit creepy in this town that seems to be abandoned. But the door is open and inside are camp bags but no people.
You find another video and learn that the young woman that was screaming earlier is a college student named Alison Sterling (as portrayed by Davie-Blue), a young woman studying the Celtic legend of the Banshee as part of her research. When news comes out that someone in Dire Grove has found a certain object, Alison feels that this object may be one of the four, according to Celtic legend that was used in trying to resurrect the dead, but instead, four individuals using these mysterious objects had opened the doorway to the underworld. And a woman was sacrificed to the underworld and her soul has become a banshee.
Of course, this is just a myth… or is it? Alison believes it is worth researching. So, she and her friends Susan (as portrayed by Lauren Dobbins), Jack (as portrayed by Banks Boutte) and Matthew Ryan (as portrayed by Justin Kay) have traveled to Dire Grove to check out this mysterious object. But for some unknown reason, these four individuals get caught in an unusual snow storm in Dire Grove and now something may have happened to them.
As a mystery case file detective, find out what is going on in Dire Grove and what happened to these four individuals and if they can be saved.
Installation of “Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove” is easy. Big Fish Games has one of the best installation panels plus game organizers (for Big Fish Games only) for their casual, hidden object games.
I was absolutely captivated by “Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove” and is definitely one of the best hidden object games I have played. This is a game that requires visiting various areas by clicking on the screen to move to various rooms or scenery (very quick) and finding hidden objects featured on a list and you are rewarded by another hidden object which will be used in another scene. Also, there are a number of puzzles that need to be solved.
For the most part, the hidden objects games if rated one for easy, three for average and five for the greatest challenge, I rate the hidden objects gameplay as a three. The hidden objects are easy to find, some a bit harder than others but are not so small that they are too difficult to find. If anything, a challenge that some people may experience is the use of certain words that one may not know and will need to look it up.
The game has hints that recharge and the puzzles have NO solve button. So, you will need to play all puzzle games and beat it. Puzzle games if compared to the similar rating as the hidden objects game, the puzzles are challenging and are a four in ranking. I’m typically one to never use strategy guides, but there were two puzzles that I had to briefly look up and get an idea what I had to do to beat that certain puzzle.
As for quick clicking, you can not do this on the hidden objects, or else the screen will freeze and you will not be able to move for many seconds.
Overall, gameplay took me anywhere between 6-8 hours. The puzzles were a thorn in my side but fortunately, the walk-through helped me beat two of them. But for anyone curious about this game, “Dire Grove” is fantastic. It’s a very enjoyable hidden objects game!
If by any chance, you do get stuck and need help with beating this game, I recommend visiting this link on the Gamezebo walkthrough website.
Although I am reviewing this game in 2012 and it was made in 2009, while there have been graphical improvements in “Mystery Case Files” with the seventh game “13th Skull” and the latest eighth game “Escape from Ravenhearst”, “Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove” still looks fantastic considering when it was made. The hidden object puzzles are well-detailed and full of detail, the locations are just as beautiful to look at.
“Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove” features a wonderful musical soundtrack, some creepy and eerie noises (and overall ambiance) but it’s the videos that gives the setting for fear and terror in “Dire Grove”.
While there may not be any replay value for the “Standard Edition”, that is why Big Fish Games included a second bonus game (“Mystery Chronicles: Murder Among Friends”). Although, those who want more levels and challenge will want to find the collector’s edition version now available for PC, Mac and iPad.
“Mystery Case Files” games are known for their wonderful gameplay (note: I’m specifically talking about the PC/MAC games, not for the portable systems) and Big Fish Games really delivers in creating an environment and look that fans will love.
As a frequent visitor on the Big Fish Games forums and also a big fan of their games, I have to say that “Mystery Case Files” are among the top hidden object games out there and for casual gamers, if you want to start out with hidden object games, especially titles that are good, you can’t go wrong with the eight games available on PC and Mac.
As for “Dire Grove”, what a fantastic game this one turned out to be. I love the creepiness of the game but by no means is it horror. It does try to use certain types of “Blair Witch” playing with your mind type of tactics, especially with the use of video in this game. But the whole adventure and just the feeling of being stuck in the middle of a snowstorm and in a vacation town where everyone is gone and creepy things are happening all over the place, it definitely made things much more intriguing.
And what I loved about the game is that it’s challenging. Sure, the hidden object game is not too difficult, just about right without becoming frustrating (although some words, you may need to Google and look up what they are) and of course, you get many hints (although the hint does take a while to charge up). But it’s the puzzles that provide the challenge. There is no solve button to beat the puzzles and skipping puzzle just means quitting but yet you still have to beat it. So, I love the game for its challenge.
As for the standard edition of “Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove”, you do get two games including “Mystery Chronicles: Murder Among Friends” (which is more of a straight hidden objects game, no puzzles) and you can find this game for less than $10 online. Which is fantastic!
While there have been many improvements in the Mystery Case Files games since “Dire Grove”, still… this one has a lot going for it. A dark and creepy storyline, great graphics and audio, video is also quite interesting to watch and it’s definitely one of the most entertaining HoG games that I have played. And makes me want to go out and purchase the collector’s edition of the game!
For “Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove [Standard Edition]“, I give it a RATING: A
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