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A fine romp in the great MCF tradition!

  • Dec 2, 2010
  • by

After shivering through “Dire Grove” I am still shivering in the clamminess and torrential rainfall in rural Louisiana where the action occurs in this fine MCF production 13th Skull.” A decrepit mansion is the headquarters, the lynchpin, of ghostly evil but you’ll be sloshing all over the place.


You as Master Dectective have to save a young family, the Lawsons, who are bequeathed  an antebellum mansion, from the curse of a pirate who hid his treasure there. The people in the town fully believe the mansion is cursed.The game opens with the abduction of Marcus Lawson , snatched out the door of his daughter’s bedroom in a crescendo of bright light while his little girl, Magnolia, is hiding under the bed.


Marcus Lawson had been studying old maps while trying to locate a treasure secreted away by Phineas Crown , a notorious brigand, and Lawson’s little girl, Magnolia, believed he was snatched by ghosts to prevent him from finding the fortune.The live actors are beautifully integrated into the game and are superimposed on painted backgrounds very expertly.They speak with the proper (I guess)  Cajun accent although they picked up the Southern drawl remarkedly quickly as they have just moved  from Ohio to the derelict house bequeathed to them by a great aunt. The acting is slightly hammy but not really objectionable in any way. And the integration of the videos of the actors with painted backgrounds is remarkable


Your first task is rather silly for a master detective as you have to find the cleaning supplies scattered over the house, as the cleaning lady, Mary, abandoned them and asks you to retrieve them in exchange for information. I actually had fun finding the mops, sponges, brooms, etc maybe because I was glad somebody else was doing the cleaning and not me!


And if that isn’t enough, you are then obliged to hunt for the little girl Magnolia’s misplaced crayons, then free the cellar of rats as Magnolia is afraid of them.You have to perform menial chores to get informationout of  any of the characters concerning the pirate’s curse. It is a sort of blackmail, you find whatever or do whatever I want  and I’ll tell you more. You’ll be searching for Mary’s husband’s rain gear, making gumbo, cleaning toilets, all the while moving around the decrepit mansion, collecting data, and then slogging along through the rain to interview the neighbors, a very mixed bag of rural characters. You pick up information as you go, searching every cranny, performing essential tasks to advance the plot, visiting a voodoo practioner, a sleezy tavern called “The Drink and Swaller”replete with rats and cockroaches, a creepy cemetery and its moldering citizens and much more. Of course you have to find out what happened to Mr. Lawson , and what the thirteen skulls mean, and you’ve got a great many things to do before you solve the mystery.

The colors are clear and\rich and in incredibly sharp focus which will help you in searching for the hidden objects and the game holds your hand if you want it to by delivering lots of hints. This production is big on insects for you to find and you’ll be looking for a cicada, a termite, a fly, a caterpillar and a pill bug with spiders and cockroaches just about everywhere. There are some bees buzzing around that are little works of art, they are so incredibly realistic, and oddly, yellow butterflies soar and dip in the pouring rain. The little details in this game are a wonder.


The mini-game puzzles are fun and interesting and certainly no pushover, and they are not the usual boring exercizes stuck into the game to flesh it out, a fault of many HOGs. 13th Skull exudes autheticity and it’s quite easy to imagine yourself suddenly transported to an antebellum mansion in small town Louisiana. What the MFC productions have is flair and they really are the hallmark against which other adventure-HOG games are measured. Although 13th Skull is more leisurely than “Dire Grove”, you’re in the deep south, after all, you’re going to be remarkably busy. A fine game where you can poke around to your heart’s content and which should take you eight hours or more to finish but don’t forget your umbrella and your rain boots!

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January 06, 2011
13th Skull won the Big Fish customer favorites award for best game of 2010.
More Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull reviews
review by . May 01, 2011
Atmospheric and challenging!
Not long ago I was shivering in my chair as I tramped around the snowy, cold and desolate town of Dire Grove. Now I am sweating in Louisiana as I slog around in the rain and steamy heat. A Ohio family has inherited a decrepit southern mansion but soon after they move in, the father, Marcus Lawson, disappears while reading a bedtime story to his little daughter Magnolia. Magnolia, a cheeky and somewhat demanding little girl, believes her father was spirited away by a ghost. Dad had been deeply involved …
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Pam Sharp ()
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   I'm a retired botanist with degrees from Smith College and the University of Arizona. I'm currently into designing T-shirts and other items for Zazzle. Am interested in almost everything … more
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About this video game


The newest Mystery Case Files game (#7 if you're counting) is right around the corner, and Big Fish Games has shared some new info and screenshots with us. In Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull you'll help Sara Lawson find her husband Marcus, who disappeared shortly after the family moved into a creepy mansion in Louisiana.

 13th Skull

Sara’s daughter, Magnolia, believes her father was kidnapped by the ghost of a vengeful pirate seeking to protect his lost fortune. With the locals terrified of the pirate’s curse, you are the family’s last hope. Only a Master Detective can locate Marcus Lawson, and uncover the frightening secrets of the 13th Skull!

 13th Skull

As we saw in the video trailer, 13th Skull integrates live-action video into the gameplay. Players will interact with twelve mysterious characters, asking questions to uncover clues. Other highlights include a custom soundtrack of bluegrass, jazz and blues music to help immerse the player in the atmosphere of the deep South. According to Big Fish Games, the game will offer 8-15 hours of gameplay.

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Developer: Big Fish Studios
Console: Computer Games
Price: $13.99

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