Review by GGAGAHC
"The Best Of The Bunch"
Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspects is the 2nd game of the series and is a definite improvement to the first game. I don't really have much backstory...so...let's just get on with the review!
The story to this game is pretty irrelevant. The Hope Diamond has been stolen and it's up to you, detective, to search for clues and find the culprit who stole it. In a game such as the Mystery Case Files series, the story never really plays an important part (save for Ravenhearst). It doesn't drive the game. It doesn't capture your attention. It's nothing special. That's not to say that it's bad. It's more...mediocre. As you play this game, the story will probably be the last thing on your mind as you search for hidden clues scattered about. On the plus side, at least the game isn't brought down by the story. Just know that if you're going to play this, you should not expect a compelling story that will leave you amazed when you finish.
Sound & Graphics:
Normally, I'd separate these two when reviewing a game. However, in this game, along with the other Mystery Case Files, the sound and graphics are irrelevant. The sound is barely noticeable. You can hear the background music if your volume is high enough but I found it better to just switch it off and play my own music instead. The background music does fit the sort of sleuthing setting, but it's not something that you'll remember and it's not something you'll concern yourself with. The other sounds of the game include...hmm...doors slamming, footsteps, etc. All these small things help to set the environment and to give the setting a more detective-like mood, but as with the music, it's not something you'll bother yourself with. The graphics are simple enough. The game, after all, is just you staring at a backdrop and looking for items within this backdrop. So, everything looks nice, of course, but when your game is just a backdrop after backdrop after backdrop, it'd BETTER look nice.
Left mouse button. That's all there is to it and that's as simple as it gets. Why did I even include a controls section in this review?
Ah, here we are: the root of this game. Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspects, along with the other Mystery Case Files games don't try to sway you with fancy graphics, compelling storylines, or amazing sounds - it entertains you with its addictive gameplay. It's a simple concept: You're given a scene or backdrop (whatever you want to call it) of a setting. In this backdrop are various (and I mean VARIOUS) items scattered about. You're given a list of things to find and you simply search through the backdrop, finding each item on the list that you can. Think of it as "I Spy." It's very much like "I Spy." "I spy with my little eye...two forks!" Then you find two forks. The gameplay is VERY addictive. I found that I wanted to keep on playing on and on, simply because the game is addictive. I don't think I need to say at all that this is all a matter of opinion. Whereas I can spend hours occupying myself with finding hidden items in a backdrop, some will find it extremely boring. So before you play this game, think to yourself: Is this a kind of game you think you'd like? It's hard to dislike Mystery Case Files, though. Even if you can't stand to sit for hours looking at one scene, you can spend a little time here and there just searching for items to one scene, ending your game and continuing on with your life before coming back for another round. There's really not much else to say about the game. So what makes this game a bit different from the others in its series? There's the idea behind it. In Huntsville, after finding all the "clues" (i.e., the items hidden in each scene), you're given a puzzle to solve to find the culprit to the crimes. In Ravenhearst, after finding all the "clues," you're given a sort of jigsaw puzzle to solve to continue the story. Those two suffer from the same sort of repetitive gameplay. Prime Suspects boasts three different puzzles that they give you to solve (as opposed to just one) after finding the clues. You'll have to solve the typical Mystery Case Files: Huntsville puzzle (unscrambling a scene), a matching-the-pairs puzzle, and a word-search puzzle. While these two additional puzzles aren't very ground-breaking or innovative, they at least take away from doing the same puzzle over and over again. That makes this game much more interesting, I believe.
I just want to say here that the suspect profiles are very humorous, which is a good thing, of course (I didn't really like Ravenhearst's dark setting). This game is a little more light-hearted than the other MCF games, which I prefer.
After you finish the game once, you'll probably discover that you know where most of the hidden items (or clues, whatever you want to call them) are, so playing it through another time isn't difficult at all. However, that also means that there isn't much reason or interest to want you to play again. You'll generally be finding the same clues anyway (maybe in a different order or whathaveyou) and the suspects are always the same (though the PRIME suspects and the culprit are usually different) so I'd have to say that this game has little replay value. It's fun here and there to just play again, but you'll get tired of it very quickly. That much I assure you.
It's a game that isn't for everyone, that's for sure, but Mystery Case Files is very fun and very addictive if you do find yourself drawn to it. Out of the current three MCF games (Huntsville, Prime Suspects, and Ravenhearst), I recommend this one the most. I'm sure that you won't be disappointed with it at all.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/13/07
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