[[quoteright:164:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Scratches_front.jpg]]

->''"I arrived at Blackwood Manor one cold Saturday morning amidst a thick veil of fog, the weather didn't look good and there was an unnatural calm surrounding the area. Yet... I soon became entangled with the place..."''
-->--'''Michael Arthate''', on the opening monologue.

''[[http://www.meridian4.com/games/scratches Scratches]]'' is an Argentinian mystery/horror [[AdventureGame point-and-click adventure game]] for the PC released in 2006, a Director's Cut was released a year later featuring an alternate ending. It was developed by the now-defunct ''[=NucleoSys=]'' and published first by Got Game and currently by Meridian 4.

It features a soundtrack made by ''Cellar of Rats'', which helps [[NightmareFuel building the atmosphere]].

The game has you playing as Michael Arthate, a [[MostWritersAreWriters rising horror writer]] who has acquired a [[HauntedCastle Victorian mansion]] to [[ReclusiveArtist inspire him into finishing]] his new book. However, he soon discovers the mansion's horrible past with a murder committed by the manor's former owner James Blackwood followed by his sudden death and subsequent disappearance of James's best friend and house caretaker, Christopher Milton. In addition, Michael [[ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight hears strange, unnerving noises echoing through the house every night]].

Michael then becomes poised to solve the mystery.

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!!''Scratches'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AirVentPassageway: Unusually, it's [[spoiler: a ''hot'' air vent in the back of the furnace]].
* ApocalypticLog: The diaries and letters of James Blackwood and Christopher Milton.
* ArcWords: [[spoiler: Robin]]
* ArtifactOfDeath: The cursed mask.
* BeautifulVoid: See SceneryPorn.
* BigSecret: James Blackwood and Christopher Milton again.
* BlackoutBasement: [[NightmareFuel And you'll sometimes wish you hadn't turned on the lights...]]
* CanonDiscontinuity: [[spoiler: Last Visit invalidates the secret ending.]]
* ChekhovsGun: Almost anything that looks peculiar, or seemingly useless item collected, or object you can interact with in the first minutes, you can bet it will play a major part much later.
* ChekhovsSkill: Michael's secretary, Barbara, mentions that she's been studying languages in her spare time. [[spoiler: This becomes useful when Michael reveals a letter in Italian and sends it to Barbara for translating it]].
* ConscienceMakesYouGoBack: See ScrewThisImOuttaHere.
* CreepyBasement: Quite possibly the creepiest in video game history.
* CreepyCathedral: The chapel is a very good example, even though it's well-lit.
* CuriosityKilledTheCast: [[spoiler: Certainly did for James Blackwood, almost for Michael...]].
* {{Curse}}: [[spoiler: [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane Or is it?]]]]
* DarkestAfrica: [[spoiler: The curse lore hails from it]].
* DreamSequence: Two of them.
* TheEndOrIsIt: The first game: [[spoiler: The monster (Robin) is still in the mansion, and he has dug a tunnel to freedom.]]
** Last Visit: [[spoiler: Blackwood manor has been demolished, Robin is implied to be in a mental institution, but the cursed mask is still out there.]]
* EvilLaugh: [[spoiler:The Mask]]
* EvilMask
* GameBreakingBug: If you try to play this game out of the box on Windows 7, you are in for a nasty surprise in the form of the BSOD. Fortunately, [[http://justadventure.com/yabb/YaBB.pl?num=1265318270 there is a fix for it]]. And the {{Steam}} version has this fixed.
* GuideDangIt: How to get the secret ending.
* HauntedCastle: Blackwood Manor. [[spoiler: Possibly subverted according to what was found on Last Visit.]]
* HearingVoices: Early on in the game, there are the eponymous scratching noises. Later on [[spoiler:the main character starts hearing whispering voices (that might or might not be real) mocking him during the exorcism of the cursed mask]].
** [[spoiler: James Blackwood also heard whisperings coming from the mask's room, Christopher Milton in his diary questions his sanity when he also mentions hearing them.]]
* InUniverseGameClock: The grandfather's clock in the entrance, which serves as an indicator of progress since it advances only when a puzzle is completed; And certain events can only be completed at certain times.
* ItsForABook: Michael tries to get information from the retired police-officer William Bailey by pretending to be a reporter writing about famous murder cases.
* IronicNurseryTune: First with the music box hidden in the attic, then [[spoiler: on the nursery and near the ending.]]
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler: Christopher Milton's fate]] at the end of Last Visit.
* LawOfConservationOfDetail: There are many hints and codes hidden in seemingly mundane objects or apparently randomly stacked objects.
* LetsPlay: By the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGA6oSXNF9c&list=PLcbACK_uiNo7d8xj1IFvsb6b4mKCSQe7l Gamehorder]].
* MistakenForMurderer:[[spoiler:James Blackwood.]]
* [[spoiler:[[MadwomanInTheAttic Madman In The Basement]]]]: [[spoiler:Robin]]
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: [[spoiler: The game never actually shows whether there were really any supernatural events in mansion or if everything was only a series of unfortunate events that Blackwood in madness blamed to a curse. ''Last Visit'' at the end gives a rational explanation for everything but the final coda hints that there's still a missing piece and something doesn't fit...]]
* MultipleEndings: There's a secret ending that appears only if you perform certain tasks in a certain order.
** [[spoiler: The secret ending is unlocked by being a diligent writer. Going to Michael's typewriter and writing a page of his novel until it has finished gives you a story in which Michael has not experienced anything paranormal - he's gone mad, like James Blackwood before him.]]
** [[spoiler: And it explains just who was in the first casket of the crypt: Milton.]]
* MusicalSpoiler: Averted and played straight.
* NothingIsScarier: "''I strained my eyes to detect if there was anything useful amongst that junk... but instead I got the impression of a sinister presence lurking in the shadows."''
* NowWhereWasIGoingAgain: The Director's Cut has Michael's journal to serve as this.
* OccultDetective: First [[spoiler: James Blackwood]] then Michael.
* OhCrap: [[spoiler: Your reaction when in the middle of the night, you find that the cursed mask is not in it's place...]]
** And just before the ending...
* OminousMusicBoxTune: Found in the attic.
* OrWasItADream: The dream sequences.
* PaperKeyRetrievalTrick: [[spoiler: Subverted]]
* PixelHunt: Probably a consequence of having photorealistic graphics in a darkly lit game, but some items can be difficult to notice.
* RealAfterAll: [[spoiler: Most people say it's a Red Herring.]]
* RedHerring: [[spoiler: Possibly. [[ScoobyDooHoax The curse may not be real in the first place.]]]]
* SassySecretary: Michael's secretary, Barbara Stiles.
* SealedEvilInACan: [[spoiler: A mask in this case.]]
* ScareChord
* SceneryPorn: Seriously, exploring Blackwood Manor is akin to visiting a virtual art museum.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: [[spoiler: Subverted, Michael fixes his car and attempts to leave the mansion on the third day, but he doesn't because he fears that something terrible might happen to someone in the future, so he decides to stay until he solves the mystery.]]
* SelfDeprecation: Arthate's working notes for his book, [[spoiler: in which he can't decide if a supernatural force is responsible for the scary events or not, and points out the flaws in choosing either alternative. The game itself seesaws between supernatural or natural explanations, and ends ambiguously.]]
* SequenceBreaking: Even if you correctly guess [[spoiler:Robin]]'s name and use it to open the box in the study, you will still be forced to go through the puzzle in the crypt to try and find it.
* ShoutOut: Mostly to Creator/HPLovecraft.
** The back cover of Arthate's first book is a ShoutOut to ''VideoGame/DarkFall: Light's Out'', whose creator Jonathan Boakes worked on ''Scratches''.
** The entire process that unlocks the secret ending is a reference to ''TheShining'', as it involves clicking Micheal's typewriter multiple times throughout the game, and each time Micheal says something different, also noted in his diary. [[spoiler: Over time, he eventually goes mad, eventually not wanting to look at the typewriter at all and saying in his diary, "I am not Micheal Arthate. He used to be a great writer. But me, I can't write. I am a nobody."]] Another step requires selecting the responses in the conversation with Chief Bailey that sound more unhinged.
* SkepticismFailure: [[spoiler: Christopher Milton, but later he starts experiencing the same things James Blackwood did.]]
* SpookyPainting: The painting called ''The Hands Resist Him'' AKA ''The Haunted eBay Painting'' appears on the second floor near the bathroom.
** And it's just one of several.
** The Last Visit shows that this hallway full of paintings was robbed of all but one: Chronos eating his children. "Most likely too scary for the burglars to take."
* SundialWaypoint: Twice: [[spoiler: Once in the crypt and later when you use the tip of the tower's shadow as a reference to find Catherine Blackwood's tomb.]]
* JustForFun/SurprisinglySimilarStories: The game shares several similarities with ''[[VideoGame/ChzoMythos 5 Days a Stranger]]'', namely: They are both set on England in a Victorian mansion that the protagonists cannot leave, there is a terrible backstory on the manor's former owners, the games' progress is divided in days, [[spoiler: they also involve finding a secret room by looking at the mansion's plans, an African artifact is pinpoined as the source of the curse, theres the action of entering an inaccessible room by rappelling from the outside, and the MadwomanInTheAttic trope]].
* TakeThat: If Michael inspects the bookshelf in his room, he finds a book of a certain someone whom he seems particular displeased with:
-->''"[[Creator/StephenKing King!]] What a overated bloke!"''
** He also discovers ''""some boring book called [[VideoGame/{{Myst}} Worlds of Myst]] "''.
* ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight: The scratching noises.
* TownWithADarkSecret: Inverted, Blackwood Manor is situated on Rothbury, where the majority of the townspeople want to know what exactly happened in that mansion.
** Micheal's book "Vanishing Town" plays it straight, according to the summary on the back.
* TwistEnding
* TheUnseen: The mailman who delivers the correspondence to Blackwood Manor, and Mr. Electrician.
* VictorianBritain: The entire game is set on a Victorian mansion and its grounds.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: There is [[spoiler:an empty bottle of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide Thalidomide]]]] visible in the master's bedroom; during ''Last Visit'' the player character can make a comment on this.
* TheVoice: Michael's real estate manager, Jerry Carter and all of the other characters as none are ever seen. [[spoiler: Except one at the very end...]]
** [[spoiler: You also see the [[TheFaceless lower body]] of James at the end of Last Visit.]]
* WhenItRainsItPours
* WritingIndentationClue: [[spoiler: Michael uses the pencil trick to reveal a letter from the former house maid, Eva Mariani]].
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: The Director's Cut features an additional chapter: ''Last Visit'' set after the events of the game. This chapter invalidates the hidden secret ending from the original game.
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