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    Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake

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    genkicoll

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    Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake

    Post by genkicoll on Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:00 pm

    Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake
    by Big Fish Games - November, 2012

    Series linksMystery Case Files 1: Huntsville, Mystery Case Files 2: Prime Suspects, Mystery Case Files 3: Ravenhearst, Mystery Case Files 4: Madame Fate, Mystery Case Files 5: Return to Ravenhearst, Mystery Case Files 6: Dire Grove, Mystery Case Files 7: 13th Skull, Mystery Case Files 8: Escape From Ravenhearst, Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake, Mystery Case Files 10: Fate's Carnival, Mystery Case Files 11: Dire Grove, Sacred Grove, Mystery Case Files 12: Key to Ravenhearst, Mystery Case Files 13: Ravenhearst Unlocked, Mystery Case Files 14: Broken Hour, Mystery Case Files 15: The Black Veil

    Available at:
    Big Fish for PC as Collector's Edition / Standard Edition
    iWin as Collector's Edition / Standard Edition



    Uncover the evil legend that haunts a forgotten town in Mystery Case File: Shadow Lake! In 1973, something wicked took over the town of Bitterford, Maine, after an unsuspecting inmate unearthed a mysterious object from beneath the prison floor.

    Years later, Bitterford lies in ruin. You must join forces with psychic Cassandra Williams, played by award-winning actress Lea Thompson, to investigate the events that led to the town's destruction.

    Only you can expose the evil that lurks in the depths of Shadow Lake. But beware... What you discover may haunt you forever.

    The Collector's Edition includes:

    • Exclusive bonus gameplay
    • Unlockable Morphing Objects
    • Beautiful screensavers & wallpapers
    • Exclusive behind-the-scenes video
    • Dynamic casebook and integrated Strategy Guide

    For the Standard Edition

    Click images to enlarge
    __


    Last edited by genkicoll on Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:00 am; edited 11 times in total


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    bribling

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    Re: Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake

    Post by bribling on Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:16 pm

    It's a "No Buy" for me. I had no technical difficulties. Although the screen had black borders, it was a larger screen than most games are on my computer. There is a High Def option which I had turned on. I played Casual.

    I found the acting too over done, the locations very dreary and unattractive and the Hidden Object part confusing.

    It's an ugly game in appearance. Graphics are a big part of why I buy a game and this one is too ugly for me - Sorry BFG. I did not finish the Demo.

    The Hidden Objects are not traditionally displayed in one scene. I played only long enough to get to the first one(s). I clicked on a scene and a list of objects popped up. I was instructed that not all objects could be found in one scene. This was true. So, not only do you have to find HOs (Hidden Objects) but, you have to find the HOS (Hidden Object Scenes) as well. I found two Hidden object scenes before I quit. I did not find all the objects or object scenes. obviously you need to find more than one HOS in order to find all of the HOs. This was also off putting to me.

    The game begins at a seedy, run down Motel. From there you go to an ugly broken down prison. Nothing at all attractive about the scenes or the art. I can't say more because I quit after entering the prison and discovering the annoying way the Hidden Objects are hidden. This game seems to me to be one of those that is either loved or hated with little in between. I had hoped to buy two other CEs at half price along with this game. So, That is a "No Sale" of three games. Too bad, BFG.
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    genkicoll

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    Re: Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake

    Post by genkicoll on Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:39 pm

    Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake CE (IHOG)

    NOTE: If you have the CE, don't leave the prison until you find the key to the Quarry!  I did not find it until almost the end of the game, thus I missed out on most of the bonus content! >_<

    I bought the CE the day it came out, and here we are, almost a year later, and I've just now gotten around to playing it.  Admittedly, I did have some technical difficulties, and was put off by the plethora of poor reviews, but now I can add my own views on the game.

    First off the technical stuff.  Options include separate sliders for Music, Effects, and Environment, as well as windowed, high quality, subtitles, and hardware cursor.  The game automatically adjusted for my widescreen, and looked great that way, with no black bars.

    The Tutorial is optional.

    You can choose between Casual and Expert modes, and liking a challenge, I went with Expert... which meant NO instructions for mini-games!  You cannot change your setting once you've made your choice, unless you want to start a new profile.

    HINTS will either bring your attention to something on the screen, or tell you where you should be looking via a text pop up.

    Just a note that if you return to the main menu or exit the game, it will backtrack a bit, and you will have to redo an action or two.  Not a big deal, and actually nice if you have the CE and want to go back to find morphing items after the game has finished.

    I generally do not like live actors in my games, and Shadow Lake is no exception.  I don't think that Big Fish integrates their live actors as well as some other game developers do, but after a while, I found that I didn't mind anymore.  By now, unless you're semi-new to the casual-gaming scene, you've heard that Leah Thompson overacted, and... Yes, it's true.  She really chewed the carpet, so to speak Sweat drop  I simply think that she was a poor choice for the role, as her personality is not quirky enough.  I believe that the game would have been better received had they cast someone else in the role of Cassandra.  The rest of the actors did a good job, and I got a real chuckle out of the dude from Ghost Patrol Snicker

    The graphics in the game are not pretty, but they're beautifully done, especially as we discover new areas.

    We have a MAP, and it is required to move about within the game.  It will jump us to a section, but not to specific scenes in that section, if that makes any sense.  Say we need to go to a location in the prison.  The map will jump us to the prison entrance, and we have to hoof it from there.  I didn't have a problem with getting lost, the system is pretty easy to understand.

    Hidden object scenes are done differently than we're accustomed to, and better yet, we have a very logical REASON to be collecting these items!  Love that!  Back to the HOS, though.  What we have is a list of items to find.  Nothing unusual there.  What's different is that they can be found right where you're currently standing, on a zoom-in (or several,) and across multiple scenes (no more than two, if I remember correctly.)  If you've moved to a place where nothing can be found, the list will disappear.  Go back, and the list appears again.  The zoom-in portions will automatically close once you've finished finding everything you need there.

    In addition to the HOS, we have drawings that we have to match to our surroundings.  Those who played the CE of Escape from Ravenhearst will recognize these as the "door tokens" that we had as bonus content.  For those who don't know what I'm talking about, here's how it works:  We're given drawings as inventory items, and we have to "place" the drawing where it matches up exactly with the background.  This isn't as hard as it was in EFR -- generally the places can be found in the order in which they are given to us.  We work with a set of five or so at a time, and get more as the game progresses.  When we return the "charged" drawings, we get a mini-game (which repeats, but is different and harder each time,) followed by a new piece of the story.

    Our case file (aka journal) has a task list, and tracks important information, but doesn't really give us any extra story.  Via these pages we can also re-watch any cutscenes.

    Shadow Lake has a dark storyline, and some truly creepy moments, but it's not a scary game.  I think that the developers of casual games are just too worried about appealing to as many people as possible to actually make their games frightening.  I must say that I'm tired of the characters in our games responding to the supernatural and/or horrible circumstances with little to no emotion.  Puh-leez!  I understand that the characters MUST be brave in order to have a game (lest they run away,) but c'mon!  How about some emotionShadows: Price for Our Sins is the only game I remember playing where the main character actually got panicked by her circumstances!

    But I digress... (no surprise there! Belly laugh  )

    CE Content:

    • Integrated Strategy Guide
    • 3 Wallpapers
    • 3 Screensavers
    • 50 Morphing Items (which you must unlock)
    • Making-of Video

    As I mentioned above, BE SURE that you find the key to the quarry before you leave the prison!  You're going to want to unlock the morphing objects as soon as possible... Don't be like me and miss it until the end of the game Snicker

    Once you get inside the quarry, "you're on your own."  There are no hints, you just have to figure out what to do to unlock the morphing items.  I was at a loss for a bit... I've come to find that I'm a bit impatient, but I'm really happy to have gotten it unlocked on my own.  It didn't take me more than 15 minutes to get it done, but finding 50 morphing items would DEFINITELY expand the gameplay by a LOT!  Apparently something happens when you find all 50, but I don't know what it is Sweat drop

    The strategy guide is "smart" and opens to show you -- in pictures, with very little text -- what you need to do next.  You cannot go forward or backwards in the SG, it ONLY shows what you need to know right then.

    I didn't really care about the walls or screen savers since the art isn't something I want to look at every day, but I do appreciate that they included them in the CE.

    I haven't watched the making-of video, yet, so I can't comment on that part of the CE.

    Overall, this game was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be after having read others' input.  I think that, like Dire Grove, the demo portion of the game really doesn't give you a good idea of the coming gameplay, which gets more engaging as you progress.  While Shadow Lake is not what I would consider an EPIC game, I will definitely play it again someday. Okay


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    RenaissanceMom

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    Re: Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake

    Post by RenaissanceMom on Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:35 am

    Thanks for the indepth review, Genki! I was a little disappointed by the demo and never bought it, a first for me and MCF games. But after another year of 'same old, same old' reading your review reminded me of this game and that it was at least different. I'm getting it after all!
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    JustTheFacts

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    Re: Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake

    Post by JustTheFacts on Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:30 am

    Perfectly Within The MCF Tradition

    Sunny Sunny SunnySunny

    BASED ON COMPLETED GAME

    FIRST IMPRESSIONS
    Well, here it is a year since I bought this game, and with Fate’s Carnival already waiting for me, and I am just now getting around to playing this game. I guess I was put off by all the controversy. And the really scary (as in, undoable) video-jigsaw mini-games.

    Regarding the controversy, let me say just this. MCF has always been about leading edge game play, like morphing objects and live actors, and testing the limits, as in Escape From Ravenhearst. So, OF COURSE it’s not going to be like the others, that’s a given. But there are, I think, two styles of MCF game. There are the Ravenhearst games, with their unique take on “Spooky Mansion”. And the “Sleuth” games, which include  games made to an obvious formula. (You could make a case that Dire Grove and 13th Skull are the games that do not follow tradition – no arguments from me.) This formula is, for example, the same as that used in Madam Fate. Each chapter is a unit in itself, with a daunting new type of puzzle at the end of each. And we are guided by and return to a ‘seer’ after each episode.

    SIGHTS & SOUNDS
    The game starts with a wonderful sepia-toned movie that flows into the ‘real’ scenes. Graphics are very good. A bit murky in parts, but this is very much in keeping with the story. The insertion of live acting is unbelievably well done, and it’s wasted on Lea’s appallingly histrionic performance, but I do like the Ghost Patrol's Jack Talon, his overacting is delightfully in keeping with his role.  The sound track is innovative and fun. As well as the usual ambient sounds, sometimes a radio might filter in and then disappear again, and sometimes the background clatter is an identifiable pop song!
     
    WHAT’S HAPPENING
    A spiritualist calls for our aid when things get out of hand in Shadow Lake. She is one of the team who produce the TV show, Ghost Patrol. We arrive to find everyone else is gone, and the team of Ghost are hastily packing up and getting out too. Eventually we find the person we’ve come to see. And we embark on an investigation of the history of the local prison and a strange artifact.

    MAKING PROGRESS
    The gameplay is indeed new and different to other games. Whilst still a HOPA, the emphasis is on directed action, and the HOPs are almost invisible. The puzzles are even fewer, and I don’t think I skipped more than a couple. The HOPs take two forms. The ‘seer’ gives us a list of items needed, and they can be found in any of the scenes-within-locations-within-a-building, that each ‘chapter’ involves.

    The second type is a group of drawings that mimic the true scenes in your search for clues. Finding them in the scenery is the way ahead. The ‘video jigsaw puzzles’, which could keep you occupied for hours on their own, are brilliantly conceived. They are challenging and totally absorbing, yet not so difficult that I was tempted to give up – even when it did take me forever to finish them. And they differ each chapter with increased difficulty.

    The ‘seer’ controls a great deal of our movements, so the map is a joke. Looks great though. You can use it to jump, but it really is useless. The hints are very good, giving you hints that are usually enough to get you back on track. There’s a journal with important clues.

    FINAL VERDICT
    I am very impressed. I don’t know what I expected, but this game was absolutely wonderful to play. I even forgave the ‘seer’ her performance, but she is a large part of the game, so it does lose a star.

    I Recommend This Game!
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    djrum

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    Re: Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake

    Post by djrum on Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:45 am

    Yeah, MCF: Shadow Lake was pretty much panned in Reviews and I agreed after demo'ing, having been frightened by the repetitious "floating" cubes puzzles and panoramic (can't see nothin' & hate matching up tiny fragments of pics) HO scenes.

    I picked up the CE during a BOGO sale. I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed the game, although it's definitely not my favorite in the MCF line.
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    genkicoll

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    Re: Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake

    Post by genkicoll on Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:03 pm

    Great review, Justie!  Okay  I absolutely agree with you.  As bad as the reviews were, I didn't want to play it, despite buying it the day it came out Sweat drop   Leah WAS over-the-top, but eventually I was able to overlook her poor acting... and just like you, I LOVED Jack Talon Snicker  Too funny!


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    JustTheFacts

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    Re: Mystery Case Files 9: Shadow Lake

    Post by JustTheFacts on Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:23 am

    "YO GHOSTS! TAKE ME DOWN!!"  Evil Grin

      Current date/time is Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:29 pm