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Casual Playthrough #9 - Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove

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Welcome to the Mystery Case Files - Dire Grove playthrough.

Dire Grove was released in December, 2009. It is the sixth game in the Mystery Case Files franchise. Two of those games I have never played, nor, for that matter, have ever heard of. The other three are Madam Fate, a truly horrible game, and Ravenhurst and Return to Ravenhurst.

All the preceeding games had various “firsts” for casual games. FMV was first introuduced in Dire Grove. Another Dire Grove claim to fame is that it is the first casual game to be introduced with both Standard and Collector’s Editions. A dubious distinction at best.

The game was produced by Big Fish Games Studios, the same company that did the Drawn trilogy. I think you will see a similar graphic excellence and attention to detail,

But, enough of that. Dire Grove starts as many casuals do, with you, the protagonist, being stranded by a snowstorm. Your immediate need is finding shelter. Along the way to the Hotel/Rooming House you will run across a video cassette. (Hopefully you also found a video player before abandoning your car.) The cassette is one of many you will find. While it would be easy to call them “collectibles” when viewed in sequence they offer helpful clues as to what happened in the town of Dire Grove.

The game is divided into seven segments.

1. The introuction scene thru the full exploration of the Hotel and its immediate surrounds
2. The rescue of Student One
3. The rescue of Student Two
4. The rescue of Student Three
5. The rescue of Student Four
6. The endgame/conclusion
7. The description/discussion of the Collector’s Edition bonus material from those who purchased the CE (I didn’t)

The first segment is the longest, so I’m going to give it five days. Segments 2 thru 6 should only take three days each. Segment 7, which will include discussion of the game itself, in addition to the bonus material, will last for as long as people continue to discuss it.

Like many games introduced at the same time as Dire Grove, this game is a bit heavy on Hidden Object scenes. The second game, which we’ll be playing after this one, has far fewer HO scenes, and the ones it does have exhibit much more variety.

Because this playthrough is starting at almost the same time as the AGCPT, and many playing this playthrough are also playing that one, I’m going to give the other playthrough a five day head start.

In that time, please let me know when you have the game loaded. You can “play” until you hit the intro screen. (seen above)

We’ll start the game on May 15. You will play from this scene

Well, maybe not there. But certainly from here.

Continue playing Until you make it into the Hotel manager’s office

You should accomplish that by May 20. As always, if we need to adjust the timing, we will do that.

Let’s have some fun!

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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I have the game loaded and tested, so I’m ready to go.


Just a question: is there a way to play this fullscreen WITHOUT it stretching the image on a widescreen? I don’t mind black bars on the sides, I do mind stretched graphics (and I don’t really want to play windowed)...

     

Now playing: Blade Runner (post-CPT) | The Witcher: Enhance Edition (on hold) | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (on hold) | Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS)
Recently finished: Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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The only way I know is to play in a Window and alter the Window size to fit your requirements. Offering Full Screen, Widescreen, and other video options wouldn’t be in the Options menu for another three years or so.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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Mine is installed and ready to go.  I have the CE.

Big Fish is having a half-off sale today for all SE and CE games.

     

Not only did I fall off the diet wagon, I dragged it into the woods, set it on fire, and used the insurance money to buy cupcakes.

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Lady Kestrel - 13 May 2015 03:24 PM

Mine is installed and ready to go.  I have the CE.

Big Fish is having a half-off sale today for all SE and CE games.

Darn, they didn’t have that on Monday. Frown

I have the SE to both games, btw.

     

Now playing: Blade Runner (post-CPT) | The Witcher: Enhance Edition (on hold) | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (on hold) | Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS)
Recently finished: Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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Everything’s working and ready to go here too. I have the SE version.

     
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SE version installed and ready to go.

TimovieMan - 13 May 2015 04:23 PM
Lady Kestrel - 13 May 2015 03:24 PM

Big Fish is having a half-off sale today for all SE and CE games.

Darn, they didn’t have that on Monday. Frown

I bought both on the mothers day sale with a 65% discount (I believe it was) Tongue

 

     

You have to play the game, to find out why you are playing the game! - eXistenZ

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TimovieMan - 13 May 2015 12:27 PM

Just a question: is there a way to play this fullscreen WITHOUT it stretching the image on a widescreen? I don’t mind black bars on the sides, I do mind stretched graphics (and I don’t really want to play windowed)...

You can probably change you general windows screen settings into a 4/3 view with black bars on the sides.

     

You have to play the game, to find out why you are playing the game! - eXistenZ

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Installed and ready to go!

     
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Iznogood - 14 May 2015 01:17 AM

You can probably change you general windows screen settings into a 4/3 view with black bars on the sides.

Thanks! I hadn’t considered looking there. Found a “maintain aspect ratio” option among my video card settings, which completely solves the problem (and will do so for all games as well)... Cool

     

Now playing: Blade Runner (post-CPT) | The Witcher: Enhance Edition (on hold) | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (on hold) | Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS)
Recently finished: Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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I’m ready to start. I’ve been twiddling with the car controls in the main menu screen. I found four moving parts that are absolutely useless: Madame Fate bobblehead, horn button, steering wheel, and shifter (which moves like a real stick shift)Nerd

     

These days I go everywhere with a carpetbag containing a crowbar, a flashlight, a screwdriver, an oilcan, a ladder, a zipper tab, and a chihuahua.

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cluelass - 14 May 2015 04:43 PM

I’m ready to start. I’ve been twiddling with the car controls in the main menu screen. I found four moving parts that are absolutely useless: Madame Fate bobblehead, horn button, steering wheel, and shifter (which moves like a real stick shift)Nerd

The sky, as seen through the windshield changes when you move the shifter.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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OK! According to my desktop atomic clock it is now a bit after midnight GMT. So let’s have at it.

The objective of this episode is still to enter the hotel manager’s office by whatever means available. We will stop there. Please report in when you have finished.

I did say that exploring the Hotel and it’s immediate environs was necessary. That’s partially true. You will also need to explore some paths that will lead you farther afield. If only to see what inventory items you will need to collect in order to complete the following chapters.

Also, remember to collect and watch the videos.

We have until May 20, or for you on the other side of the pond, 20 May to complete this episode.

I will see you at the finish line.

In the meantime I need to gird loins for whatever will happen on another thread. I have no idea what gird loins means. I did find this, but since I’m wearing jeans and a Notre Dame sweatshirt I’m not sure it applies.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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Joined 2012-03-13

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I am noticing different things this time around and it seems to me that the descriptions accompanying clicking on an object resemble responses from the old text adventures. Particularly when you are outside.

Love the atmosphere and the way the story unfolds. This game badly needs a remake as far as the hidden object scenes though.

     
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Please give me an example. I’m not noticing that, but that may be because I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to.

Another difference between this game and others we’ve played is the Hint button. In prior games if you didn’t know what to do next you could hit the Hint button. You would see directional arrows that would lead you to the next location. Not here! Not sure what to do next? Well good luck, because you’re on your own.

One thing that I’m not sure of are the puzzles/mini-games. I’m not finding a description of the puzzle objective. I’m solving them because I remember what I was supposed to do from the last time I played it. But if that wasn’t the case, I would be lost.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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