Mystery Case Files: Escape from Ravenhearst Collector's Edition

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

(January, 2013)

The haunted grounds of Ravenhearst Manor beckon yet again. This time, the player will discover why Charles is who he is. If you've played the previous Ravenhearst games — Ravenhearst and/or Return to Ravenhearst — then you will be familiar with the souls Charles kept imprisoned there. It seems Charles has recaptured them and wants to lure the Master Detective (you, the player) into his prison as well, claiming that his intentions are for you to understand who he is and why by experiencing his life as a child. The following warning is posted with the game:

"This is an intense psychological thriller that may reveal deep-seated fears. Not for the young or faint of heart. Consider yourself warned."

I thought the warning was a bit silly and intended as a ploy to intrigue the player, or a fun gimmick...and perhaps that's all it is. However, as a victim of child abuse, I must say I did find some of the scenes and especially the sound effects disturbing. Therefore, I played the game for relatively short periods of time; usually not more than an hour and then alternated with a less intense game.

In this game, the hidden object scenes contain items that morph — change shapes — rather than a list of specific objects to locate. I think I prefer the more traditional hidden object scenes where a list of items to be found is indicated. Patience is not one of my strong suits. Waiting for morphing objects to catch my attention is frustrating. I find myself being distracted by other moving objects in the scene like mice, spiders, or dripping water. (Which is probably why the game designers put them there in the first place!) Thankfully, the game designers have provided unlimited hints, with a quick re-charging interval.

The Collector's Edition includes several bonus features including additional hidden object scenes and an integrated strategy guide. Frankly, without the strategy guide, I would still be wandering around...lost...without a clue, so to speak. I can't even imagine how players can figure out all of the clues and puzzles without a little help. Of course, some players rely on tips and clues from other players they glean from the forum or the blog walk-through.

The full version game (1.29 GB) is too big for a CD so it must be downloaded directly from the Big Fish website. Since I only have dial-up access to the internet, this meant a 4-day downloading session for my computer. The game is listed at $19.99, however I only paid $13.99 with an online discount. (All Big Fish games can be played for a one-hour free trial period.) I was not disappointed that I purchased the game, but I strongly recommend trying the free one-hour trial version to make sure it is your "cup of tea," as they say. Overall, I liked the second game in this series, MCF: Return to Ravenhearst, the most.

Game System Requirements:

OS: Windows XP/Vista/Win7/8
CPU: 1.8 GHz
RAM: 1024 MB
DirectX: 9.2
Hard Drive: 1591 MB

Game Manager System Requirements:

Browser: Internet Explorer 7 or later

Link to: MCF: Escape From Ravenhearst

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