Masters of Mystery: Crime of Fashion, grabs you from minute one by putting a uniquely different spin on the standard hidden object game. The player isn’t just plunked down in front of a messy scene of objects with little rhyme or reason to them as with similar games. Masters of Mystery immediately builds character involvement by creating an interesting and intricate story around a full-blown murder mystery.
Playing as New York City detective Carrie Chase, you are sucked into this foray of fashion forensics when your hard nosed Sergeant gives you a brief (and I mean brief) tour of your office, a quick background of your case, and leaves you to begin work. The investigation starts in your cluttered office, in a typical object search, but the differences in this game quickly become apparent. Working from a list on the side of the screen, you collect your objects, and one by one, they are removed from the list. Pretty straight forward, but here’s the interesting part. Some of these objects, like a flashlight, duster, magnifying glass, and UV light, will be retained in your inventory for use at later crime scenes.
Just as you begin to make some sense of your new office, the sergeant calls, and you hurry off to a crime scene where the real mystery begins. As you work, following clues to various locales such as apartments, a private yacht, a club, and even a backstage dressing room, you begin to reveal unique aspects of the game. Boarding the yacht at night during a thunderstorm, you are unburdened by the cheesy background music found in many similar genre games, instead being provided with realistic thunder and lightening effects, while you work in the darkened boat. Don’t forget to use the flashlight from your inventory, which will help illuminate the cabin. Also, remember to use the hint button on the right hand side of the screen to focus in on minuscule and sometimes indecipherable objects such as credit cards, pens, pencils, etc. Street noise and life-like sounds at other scenes continue to enhance the realistic atmosphere of the game. .
At later crime scenes, you will find that the UV light will come in handy to collect blood samples, the duster will help you locate fingerprints, and the magnifying glass will zoom in on smaller items. Along the way, mini-games will allow you to compare differences in blood samples, match fingerprints, and even decipher mysterious word puzzles created by letters cut from magazines discovered during the course of your investigation.
The well-written and often humorous dialogue between characters, as well as the banter between you and your sergeant, adds credibility to this crime scene thriller. The main draw back to the game is that once the mystery has been solved, the idea of playing again obviously loses a bit of its luster. Still, it’s always fun to try to improve upon previous performance and Masters of Mystery: Crime of Fashion provides hours of brain building and intriguing entertainment, where cracking the case is only half the fun.
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