Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove

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Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove
Mystery Case Files - Dire Grove.jpg
Developer(s) Big Fish Studios
Publisher(s) Big Fish Games
Series Mystery Case Files
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS (removed), Nintendo 3DS
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows
  • WW December 12, 2009
Mac OS X
  • WW February 19, 2010
iOS
November 17, 2011 (Collector's Edition)
Nintendo 3DS
  • NA April 3, 2014
Genre(s) Interactive movie, Puzzle adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove is an interactive movie puzzle adventure game developed by Big Fish Studios, and distributed by Big Fish Games. It is the sixth installment in the Mystery Case Files series. The game is available exclusively at Big Fish Games website. The Mystery Case Files franchise is the number one brand in casual games and has sold more than 2.5 million units to date.

Gameplay[edit]

There are no discernible levels or stages, as both the hidden object screens and other forms of puzzle are integrated in the quest you have to complete. As the Master Detective, the player travels throughout numerous locations to find the solutions to numerous tasks the game gives to you.

Story[edit]

With Ravenhearst Manor destroyed, the Master Detective is attempting to return to London when a fierce blizzard rises, making travel impossible. The sleuth stops at a small deserted town named Dire Grove, a tourist destination that has closed for the autumn season. Ahead, the Master Detective sees a second abandoned car; investigation reveals a hastily scribbled note--"SHE IS REAL. THE LEGEND IS REAL."-- and a camcorder containing a tape of a young woman. She records herself writing the note, then leaves a desperate message begging for help. Determined to find the woman, the Master Detective travels closer to town, and discovers that the mysterious woman left several tapes behind in the hopes of being found. A dropped ID names her as Allison Sterling, a university student who traveled to Dire Grove with her friends Susan, Jack, and Matt after archaeologists discovered a relic nearby that Allison hoped to study.

The Master Detective travels to an abandoned inn, where Allison and her friends had established a small camp. The entire area is under a wintry storm, and the weather seems to be growing worse as the sleuth investigates. More tapes found in the location reveal that Allison was pursuing a long-lost legend for her dissertation--the story of the "Ice Lady," a banshee who supposedly haunts Dire Grove. Both locals and the academic community dismiss the tale as a mere urban legend, but Allison believes that there is truth to the rumors. While exploring the inn and its surrounding area, the Master Detective discovers both strange holes in the ground and Matt. The young man is frozen solid, yet alive, in a small fishing shack on Dire Grove's lake; a strange relic engraved with a puzzle sits in his lap. When the sleuth solves the puzzle, the entire relic glows and reveals a shining gemstone. After the Detective takes the stone, Matt briefly awakens and mindlessly repeats the phrase "I am the Fisherman" before falling back into a trance-like state. The thick coating of ice prevents the Master Detective from taking the young man to safety, but his strange condition seems to be keeping him alive, thus, forcing the Master Detective to leave him.

With the help of a key found near the fishing shack, the Master Detective explores the inn further, and is surprised to find a makeshift rope ladder made from bedsheets dangling from an upstairs window. The ladder leads to a small graveyard, which, like the area surrounding the lake, has violently dug holes dotting the landscape. A nearby hunting lodge contains the frozen form of Susan, who, like Matt, has a puzzle-inscribed relic on her person. Solving this puzzle reveals another glowing gemstone and prompts the young woman to spring to life, chant "I am the Hunter," and fall back into slumber. Susan also clutches a small walkie-talkie which reveals that Allison is still alive and conscious, screaming for help from another location. Spurred to solve the mystery, the Master Detective travels to Dire Grove itself and continues to explore.

Camcorder tapes found in Dire Grove reveal the legend that Allison was researching: Dire Grove was originally a settlement for Celts, and over a millennium ago, four particular individuals--a fisherman, a hunter, a blacksmith, and a farmer--used magical items to conduct a ritual to communicate with the dead. Though successful, the spell created a link between the world of the living and the underworld, depicted in this particular mythology as a frozen wasteland. Angry spirits began to spread an eternal winter over the globe, prompting the four summoners to capture a young woman and use her as a human sacrifice to seal the portal between the realms. The rumors state that this young woman became the Ice Lady, who swore to return when the four relics were recombined and cast the Earth into a perpetual winter in vengeance for her fate. The Master Detective realizes that the Ice Lady is the "she" who has been hinted at throughout the mystery, and that furthermore, the spirit has somehow possessed the students in the area to become the reincarnations of the four original summoners and dig up the lost relics. This theory is proven when the frozen Jack is found in Dire Grove's museum, having broken in and destroyed a display case to recover the relic unearthed by the archaeologists; claiming this relic's gem awakens the young man who, like his friends before him, intones "I am the Blacksmith" before falling back into trance. More tapes reveal the actual possession process, with Matt, Jack, and Susan slowly falling under the Ice Lady's spell.

The Master Detective decides to find Allison, who is apparently still free, in the hopes of stopping the spell--but unfortunately, exploring an abandoned farmhouse reveals that the sleuth is too late. Allison has already been brainwashed to find the final relic and is frozen; with no choice, the Master Detective solves the puzzle she guards and listens to her repeat "I am the Farmer" before returning to her comatose state. With few options, the sleuth decides to travel to the excavated ruins near the town in the hopes of preventing the Ice Lady's return from the grave. By arranging the gemstones taken from the four relics, a hidden path opens to the heart of the ruins, where a sheer icy drop prompts the Master Detective to recover a ladder from the farmhouse--but the ladder has gone missing, with fresh footprints nearby. All four of the students have vanished from their previous locations as well.

The Detective realizes that the recovery of the four gemstones and opening of the ruins was always the Ice Lady's plan; she has deliberately used the sleuth to remove the barriers preventing the ritual from being completed. The Master Detective rushes back to the ruins, not only finding the missing ladder, but also discovering the four brainwashed students reciting their titles and dropping the relics into a glowing hole in the ground, which completes the spell and allows the Ice Lady to escape; she immediately begins spreading her violent winter over all of England. However, all hope is not lost--Allison (apparently resisting her brainwashing) has dropped a final camcorder tape near the site of the ritual, which reveals an important factor in her research. The Celts greatly revered the classical elements of mythology, with each of the four original casters representing one (the Blacksmith as Fire, the Fisherman as Water, the Hunter as Air, and the Farmer as Earth). Furthermore, the civilization believed in the existence of a fifth element, which they dubbed the "silver soul," that could negate the other four's powers and seal the gateway forever. The Master Detective dives into the portal and discovers the frozen body of the original sacrifice, along with five altars inscribed with riddles which, when translated with Allison's notes, describe objects representing the five elements. The sleuth finds these objects--a pile of ashes in an urn, a shaker of sea salt, a feather, and a packet of seeds--and places them in their respective altars, which begins to force the Ice Lady back into her prison. The Master Detective then determines that the "silver soul" described by Allison is mercury, and places a vial of the fluid on the final altar, which completes the binding spell. The Ice Lady is vanquished, the students freed from her thrall, and the eternal winter negated.

An epilogue reveals Allison presenting her findings to a much larger crowd--including her restored friends--and thanking the Master Detective for saving both them and the entire world. But this happiness is short-lived, as the sleuth later receives a phone call from a mysterious man (heavily implied to be Victor Dalimar, a villain from the last game), who was apparently hiding in the basement of Dire Grove's general store throughout the events of the case. The man warns that an "icky bird"--that is, a raven--is still scheming, hinting that the Dalimar line is still awaiting its revenge on the Master Detective.

Cast[edit]

  • Davie-Blue Bacich as Alison Sterling
  • Banks Boutté as Jack Larson
  • Lauren Dobbins Webb as Susan O'Reilly
  • Justin Kay as Matthew Ryan

Promotion[edit]

Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove was announced October 30, 2009 by Big Fish Games on their blog with slim details and an additional screenshot from the game. Mystery Case Files had posted a sizzle reel of Dire Grove on the main page of their website on November 10, 2009.[1] This led to a lot of speculation a few days later and many users posted comments on a Big Fish Games Dire Grove forum.[2] On November 17, 2009, Mystery Case Files revamped their website to promote the upcoming release. Release dates, deeper plot details and more screenshots were released the same day. Also an official trailer was posted to help promote the standard edition as well as the Collector's Edition.[3]

Collector's Edition[edit]

Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove was released on December 12, 2009, however a "Collector's Edition" was launched on November 25, 2009 exclusively for Big Fish Game Club members.[4] The Collector's Edition includes additional gameplay, levels and achievements; an integrated strategy guide; and behind the scenes artwork and videos, with the latter being a series of videos chronicling the live-action cast's visit to rural Argentina where their footage was shot. Whilst Collector's Editions are common amongst "core" PC games, Dire Grove is the first such example amongst casual games.[5]

Bonus Gameplay[edit]

In the Collector's Edition of Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, there is bonus gameplay and at the end of the game. The player has to use a certain phone number, one that you calculate from the credits, and dial it on the telephone and a message is spoken:

"Well, hello again detective, nice of you to drop by. I would have stuck around for a chat but the weather seems to have taken a turn for the worse. Feel free to make yourself at home, but I wouldn't dally if I were you. The man with the icky bird has been very busy in the dark. There is something he would like to show you. Clicky, clicky detective. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise."

While it is never revealed who this is, the most likely suspect is Victor Dalimar. This is due to the fact that a solved puzzle in the same room as the repaired phone reveals a map of the grounds of Ravenhearst Manor after its fiery destruction, and the "icky bird", is a probable reference to a raven. However, the player won't be going to the ruins just yet, because in the MCF chronology, the Detective is summoned back to America, because the 13th Skull mystery awaits him in Louisiana.

Reception[edit]

Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove received mostly positive reviews. It has a Metacritic score of 82[6] and a GameRankings score of 75.00%.[7]

Sequel[edit]

After the end of Dire Grove's story 5 years, They continue to visit once again, and solve to the end. The sequel called "Dire Grove, Sacred Grove" is the eleventh installment of Mystery Case Files, this game to be expected release in November 2014. The survey test has been started in June 2014.

External links[edit]

References[edit]