Strange Cases: The Lighthouse Mystery PC CD
Published by: Focus Multimedia
Developed by: Sulus Games
Hidden object games are ten a penny these days. There are loads of them to choose from and few attempt to do anything to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Strange Cases: The Lighthouse Mystery is one of those rare few. It's a game that takes the essence of an hidden object game and blends it with a more traditional adventure game experience and the result is an enjoyable one that should appeal to fans of either genre.
You'll play as FBI Agent Claire Ellery who has been called in to investigate the death of her former partner Tom. The death is being treated as suicide but Claire isn't buying that theory and as she begins to investigate, the evidence certainly makes it clear that Tom didn't die of his own accord. In fact there's far more to Tom's death than anyone could have thought. The game's storyline is very interesting and personally I would have liked more storyline and dialogue.
In the game's numerous locations Claire will find blue, green or red cards (actually the red cards are closer to a tan colour). The blue cards will simply show a text list of things that you'll have to find in that location. The green cards will show you silhouettes of objects that have to be found whilst the red cards will have a picture of a few items that have been cut into pieces and the pieces scattered around the location. You'll have to find all of the pieces for each object to complete the card.
Once you've found all of the objects (or pieces) on a card you'll acquire an item that can be used to help you solve an adventure game style puzzle. Sometimes you'll have to solve a puzzle to get your hands on a hidden card or you'll need to leave that location and return once you've acquired the object you need to locate the hidden card. The puzzles have been well thought out and with a little thought are pretty straightforward to solve. The only criticism I would make is that the hints for the puzzles are actually pretty useless in that they simply tell you what needs to be done, rather than help you, and that much is obvious. It should be noted that these puzzles can be skipped if you wish.
The game can be played either in full screen or windowed mode. The game's screen resolution is 1024x768 and whilst it would have been nice to have seen the game supporting higher resolutions, it's a step up in quality from games such as the Mystery P.I. series, which only run at a resolution of 800x600, and it's certainly good to see crisper visuals in a hidden object game. The game does use 2D visuals like virtually every other hidden object game however and as a result the game should run on virtually every PC out there. The game is subtitled meaning you'll be able to follow the storyline and dialogues in the game. All important information is given visually and as a result the game shouldn't cause deaf gamers any problems.
Strange Cases: The Lighthouse Mystery is one of those rare examples that hidden object games don't simply have to follow the same old routine. There's an enjoyable mix of traditional hidden object and adventure game styles here and it all works really well. The puzzle hints could have been more useful however and at times I would have liked more dialogue to carry the storyline along but for the most part this is a game that does more than most to evolve hidden object games.