Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator
Cover art for Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator
|Engine||Adventure Game Studio|
Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator is a freeware episodic point-and-click adventure video game for Microsoft Windows developed by Francisco Gonzalez of Grundislav Games. The game consists of eight individual episodes, or cases, with an overarching plot connecting them together. The game has won numerous Adventure Game Studio Awards, including a 2005 Adventure Game Studio Award for "Best Gameplay in an AGS Game" for Horror at Number 50.
Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator is a point-and-click adventure game, designed in the style of the classic 1990's era games from that genre. Each case has a paranormal mystery that Ben must solve, by collecting evidence and other items, and using his notebook for important information. Like most games in the genre, the collected items are stored in an inventory, and can be used on items in the environment in order to solve the game's puzzles. Each episode ends with a final confrontation with the paranormal creature that is featured in that case.
The game's titular character, Ben Jordan, is a recent college graduate who decides to become a paranormal investigator. In each case, Ben is called upon to investigate a different paranormal phenomenon. The game uses real life myths and legends as the basis for the paranormal creatures that Ben encounters.
Ben Jordan has just graduated from college, and decides to become a paranormal investigator. Shortly after advertising his services, he is called to Florida in order to investigate a series of murders in a national park. Ben learns that the murders were believed to have been caused by a sasquatch known as the skunk ape.
After successfully solving his first case, he soon receives a call from a distraught woman whose husband has gone missing after searching for gold from a lost Spanish galleon that was rumored to be buried in the Salton Sea.
As Ben's reputation is growing, he receives a call to come to London, England to investigate a mysterious house known as the number 50, which was said to be haunted by the victims of a horrific incident that happened there 150 years prior. Ben discovers that he is only one of five paranormal investigators that have been called to investigate, and soon finds himself working with others for the first time in his career.
Ben becomes friends with two of the other number 50 investigators, Alice Wilkins and Simon Booth. He accompanies them to Osaka, Japan to investigate the mysterious deaths of important company managers which are believed to be caused by zombies.
After solving their second case together, the trio decides to take a vacation in Greece. Once there, however, Ben learns about Sea People which are said to drag villagers in Agia Anna down into the ocean to eat them. He decides to investigate, without letting his companions know of his plans.
After Ben's sixth case, he spends Christmas with his family in Philadelphia. Afterward, he is called to Rome by an actor who killed a priest, but claims that he only did so because he was possessed by a demon. While investigating, Ben discovers a secret organization known as the Knights of St. Anthony, and also learns about a plot which threatens his future.
After the tragic events in Rome, things look bleak for Ben. However, he soon learns secrets which allow him to confront the mad man behind the plot.
The game was separated into eight episodes, or cases, that were released over the course of nine years.
|Chapter||Episode Release date|
|Case 1: "In Search of the Skunk-Ape"||May 27, 2004 (Original)
August 8, 2006 (Deluxe)
|Case 2: "The Lost Galleon of the Salton Sea"||June 26, 2004 (Original)
March 25, 2010 (Deluxe)
|Case 3: "The Sorceress of Smailholm"||October 3, 2004|
|Case 4: "Horror at Number 50"||March 4, 2005|
|Case 5: "Land of the Rising Dead"||February 2, 2006|
|Case 6: "Scourge of the Sea People"||August 29, 2007|
|Case 7: "The Cardinal Sins"||August 13, 2008|
|Case 8: "Relics of the Past"||August 8, 2012|
Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator was released over the course of nine years. As the game developers honed their skills, the presentation had improved. Because of this, remakes of the first two cases were released with the art style and interface of the later games in the series.
Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator received more media attention than is usual for a freeware adventure game. It was reviewed by PC Zone, Adventure Gamers, and Just Adventure, and it was covered by Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 1UP.com named it one of "the best games that money can't buy", PC Gamer recommended it in their Year of Free Games feature, and Maximum PC named it one of the "free adventure games you should be playing right now".
- IndieGames.com's Best Freeware Games of 2007, Case 6: Scourge of the Sea People
- IndieGames.com's Best Freeware Games of 2008, Case 7: The Cardinal Sins
- Adventure Game Studio Award for "Best Gameplay in an AGS Game", Case 4: Horror at Number 50 (2005, won)
- Adventure Game Studio Award for "Best Voice Work", Case 2 Deluxe (2010, won)
- Adventure Game Studio Award for "Best Player Character", Case 8: Relics of the Past (2012, won)
- Adventure Game Studio Award for "Best Non-Player Character", Case 8: Relics of the Past (2012, won)
- "Adventurers Get AGS Awards, International Chamber". GameSetWatch. 2006-03-03. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- "AGS Rewards Results Announced". Adventure Gamers. 2 March 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "Review: BJC5:LOTRD". PC Zone. February 2007.
- "Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator Review". Adventure Gamers. June 23, 2004. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
- "Ben Jordan: Case 5 - Land of the Rising Dead Review". Adventure Gamers. August 1, 2006. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
- "Ben Jordan: Case 7 - The Cardinal Sins Review". Adventure Gamers. October 7, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
- "Review: Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator Case 1: In Search of the Skunk Ape". Just Adventure. December 14, 2004. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
- "Review: Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator Case 2: The Lost Galleon of the Salton Sea". Just Adventure. December 14, 2004. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
- "Point, Click, Vote: The AGS Awards". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. February 25, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
- "101 Free Games 2007". 1UP.com. December 19, 2006. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
- "Year of Free Games". PC Gamer (UK). July 2008.
- "The Five Free Adventure Games You Should Be Playing Right Now". Maximum PC. 2008-10-20. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "IndieGames.com's Best Freeware Adventure Games 2007". IndieGames.com. January 21, 2008. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
- "Feature: Best Freeware Adventure Games 2008". IndieGames.com. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "The Journey Down Wins Big at AGS Awards 2010". IndieGames.com. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "The 2012 AGS Awards". IndieGames.com. Retrieved 15 December 2013.