|Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull|
|Developer(s)||Big Fish Studios|
|Publisher(s)||Big Fish Games|
|Series||Mystery Case Files|
Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull is an adventure-puzzle casual game developed by Big Fish Studios and distributed by Big Fish Games. It is the seventh installment in the Mystery Case Files series. The game is available exclusively on the Big Fish Games website.
Shortly after moving into a mansion in Louisiana, tragedy befalls Sara Lawson and her daughter after her husband, Marcus Lawson, mysteriously disappears. Sara contacts you, the Detective, to search for her husband and discover the secret of the 13th Skull.
Before Marcus was kidnapped, he became obsessed with the curse and the treasure after finding a map of the estate. His daughter Magnolia believes her father was kidnapped by the ghost of a vengeful pirate named Captain Phineas Crown, seeking to protect his lost fortune and stop those who try to find it. With the locals all talking about the curse of the 13th Skull and their belief that Crown lived in the mansion and buried his treasure there, Sara despairs of finding her husband.
Later in the game, the Detective discovers that the couple's real names are Alice and Dennis Blanston, and the husband was never really kidnapped. Rather, it was all a ploy to use the Detective's skills to discover Captain Crown's hidden treasure. After all the revelations about the Blanstons, Dennis aims a gun at the player while he or she solves puzzles to find the skulls that are key to unlocking the Pirate's fortune. Finally, the pirate ship where the treasure is hidden suddenly rises out of the swamp, and the ghost of Captain Crown appears and washes the entire Blanston family away.
In the end, Captain Crown was destroyed when all the skulls were positioned together with the crew's bodies. The Collector's Edition of the game will reveal hints for the next installment of the series.
This is the third Mystery Case Files series to feature a live-action cast after Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst and Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove. Unlike Dire Grove, where you watch videos of the missing students, and Return to Ravenhearst, where characters speak to you, in 13th Skull the characters are set in a painted scene where the players can talk to them and ask various questions about the case. These characters are:
- Alice Blanston a.k.a. Sara Lawson (Heather Poulsen) Magnolia's mother and Dennis' wife. She is a criminal along with Dennis and one of the antagonists alongside her husband.
- Dennis Blanston a.k.a. Marcus Joel Lawson and the Mysterious Stranger (Brandon Pette) Magnolia's father and Alice's husband. A criminal along with Alice and one of the antagonists alongside his wife.
- Magnolia Blanston a.k.a. Magnolia Lawson (Sophia Schloss) Alice's and Dennis' daughter.
- Mary Lee (Linda Jensen) The Blanston's/Lawson's manor cleaning lady and Lewis' wife.
- Lewis Lee (Bruce Weech) The Blanston's/Lawson's manor groundskeeper and Mary's husband.
- Travis "Cooter" Landry (Russell Hodgkinson) Blanston's/Lawson's neighbor and Charlotte's husband, he is the epitome of a redneck and will shoot at uninvited guests.
- Charlotte Landry (Devin Rodger) Blanston's/Lawson's neighbor and Cooter's wife, she has firm grip over Cooter and owns a doll collection.
- Momma Aimee (Karen Tucker) The Town's known voodoo priestess and Voodoo Absolute's owner.
- Vinton (Steven Shields) The Town's Librarian from Raceland he is vital in helping Master Detective with the newly arrived neighbors.
- The Bartender (Talena Bennett) Bartender of the 'Tater's Drink and Swaller' she is an expert of the surrounding swamps and knows the way. (According to phone numbers in the Swaller's office, her name could be Melba, Kookie, or Delphine.)
- Ashwin Poncer a.k.a. Phineas Crown / Captain Crown (Michael Ramquist) An evil ghost pirate and the main antagonist of the game. He's Grace O'Malley's husband.
- Pippi (Phil Boldman) The Blanston's/Lawson's pet dog.
Captain Crown's Crew
- Jack Dancer, a notorious gambler.
- John Ward, a filthy drunkard.
- Enrique Brower, who never lost a duel.
- William Knave, the double-crosser.
- Roberto Confresi, the dandy one.
- Rachaeli Ray, the crew cook.
- Howell Davis, an astronomer.
- Bryce Carver, the enfeebled one.
- James Bowen, a wealthy veteran.
- Lawrence Prince, the minstrel.
- George Booth, the chronicler.
- Edward Shortshanks, a dwarf.
- Grace O'Malley, the nurse and the wife of Captain Crown.
Players can talk to those characters and ask various questions about the case. Other forms of the game include a custom soundtrack of the deep South. According to Big Fish Games and GameZebo, the Game will offer 8–15 hours of gameplay.
In the game navigate your way around the estate with the help of a map. The first task is put the map back together after pippi rips it to shreds it to pieces. At the top right corner is a threat from Phineas Crown saying "Abandon all hope ye who seek my fortune". You also use this map to open the cannons at the end.
Shortly after the release of Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, it was announced that a seventh game would be released in late 2010. Big Fish Games opened an official forum on October 18, 2010, for fans of the game series to speculate about the forthcoming seventh game. On November 12, 2010, Big Fish Games announced the title of the game as 13th Skull. The Mystery Case Files official website was also updated, along with a teaser trailer of the game. On November 15, 2010, Big Fish Games announced a release party for the game and gave fans a chance to win tickets by answering riddles posted by Big Fish Games to find the location around Seattle and be the first to claim the tickets. On November 23, 2010, Big Fish Games released a sizzle reel of the game. The game was available to purchase in advance a day before the actual release for Big Fish Games Game Club members.
On January 8, 2011, a Standard Edition was released and had a sale for only $6.99 along with the Collectors Edition for only $14.99. Big Fish Games also gave away Coupon Code's for the Standard Edition.
This is the second Mystery Case Files series to have a Collector's Edition copy of the Game. As always it showcases Bonus Features that includes a built-in Smart Guide, high-quality wallpapers, "Behind the Scenes" concept art and a bonus gameplay that continues the Main Plot of the Game. A Standard Edition of the Game was released but does not have any of these features.
In the collector's edition of the game, there is a bonus game called Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull: Last Rites. In this game you can go back anywhere (even though you don't need to) and your controls are the same. After the skulls were placed on the platform, the ghost of pirate Phineas Crown takes the Blanstons/Lawsons under the water. You, the detective, must get on the pirate ships and free the souls of the crew.
IGN reviewed 13th Skull "Good" with a 7.0 rating for its Presentation, Gameplay, Graphics, Sound and Lasting Appeal for an approximately of 6.5 to 7.5 per Category. In GameZebo, they reviewed the Game with a 4½ Star rating based on 53 different Reviews.
- Mystery Case Files Official Site
- Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull on Big Fish Games
- Mystery Case Files Official Facebook Page
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