Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator is a series of eight freewarepoint'n'click adventures by Francisco "Grundislav" Gonzalez. It details the adventures of the eponymous hero, a young man from Philadelphia, as he travels around the world solving supernatural crimes, each part being a separate case.Along the way he meets Simon Booth — a British ghost hunter — and Alice Wilkins — a parapsychology student from California — who accompany him on his later cases.After a while, though, it becomes apparent that it is not just a coincidence that Ben has been getting so many cases during his short career…The eight games are:
There is also a short film based on the series called Ben Jordan: Le Château Macabre (revealed to have taken place after one of Case 8's possible endings), starring Francisco Gonzalez himself as Ben Jordan. Another film, Ben Jordan Must Die, is in production from the same cast and crew.
The games use the following tropes:
108: Conveniently, Case 5 is set in Japan... and the most points you can get? 108. Coincidence?
Acceptable Breaks from Reality: If the Osaka Police department worked the way a police department REALLY did, Ben would probably have not only been a) Probably turned away before he could do anything, b) have had a LOT harder time obtaining evidence if he wasn't turned away, and c) would have made for a boring game.
Lampshaded and justified in Case 8 - apparently, Percy has the ability to sway people's wills and has been doing so to help Ben on his adventures.
Big Bad: Kind of split between Cardinal Genovese, who is directly responsible for every paranormal danger Ben has had to confront, and Zortherus, a powerful strigoi with a close vendetta against Ben's family (though Ben only faces him once, and he mostly figures into the backstory).
Bigger on the Inside: "The Horror", in Case 4, traps Ben and Simon in a place like this. And it has no obvious exit.
Big Good: Percy turns out to be an angel-like entity tasked with protecting Ben.
Bilingual Bonus/Gratuitous Spanish: The ghost captain in the case 2 remake speaks actual, proper Spanish, though it can be somewhat difficult to understand with the heavy reverb effect.
Bittersweet Ending: Case 3. Sure, Ben might have stopped the witches of Smailholm, but his love interest, Mary, is dead and is going to haunt him for many Dream Sequences to come.
If Ben kills Genovese in Case 8, Alice abandons him forever.
Brick Joke: The prospector loans Ben his car near the end of Case 2, which winds up crashed. When it's all done, the prospector asks where his car is. Cue Oh, Crap from Ben.
The person from "Bean There Done That" mentions that there are no other places hiring. Much later in Case 5, he shows up working for Yamamoto's corporation, and then shows up again as a receptionist for the TV station.
Cruelty Is the Only Option: To solve one of the early puzzles in Case 6, you have to get a guy arrested and steal his camera. Just so a local will tell you a good tourist destination.
Darker and Edgier: While first two episodes are pretty lighthearted, the series takes a slightly darker turn around Case 3. Case 1 and 2 has since then been remade to fit with the atmosphere of the later games.
Doing In the Wizard: Double subverted. It appears that Case 5 is the only case without a supernatural element, but in Case 8, Percy tells Ben that there was some supernatural activity he just wasn't aware of - namely, the appearance of an Oni which helped Yamamoto put his evil plan together.
In Case 3, it's not immediately clear what to do to achieve the "best" ending, which is also considered the canon one right from the very next episode.
In Case 8, you could not guess that not doing a certain action at some point is needed to get two more possible endings. Although the game gives a subtle hint by autosaving at that point.
Good luck finding out how to access the secret ending of Case 8.
Idiot Ball: Ben picks up one in case 8 when he hands a relic over to a member of the clergy. Ben, the Knights of St. Anthony are involved in the Clergy....
Slightly justified in that Ben didn't know that the crypts are normally not open to the public.
Improvised Weapon: Ben's quite fond of these. Objects he has used to defeat his enemies include: a table with some cocaine on it, a crowbar, a sharp hook on a rope, part of a drain pipe, a camera, a customized vacuum cleaner, a rusty old trident, a 2000-year old amulet with a demon trapped in it, and a statue of Atlas. Oh, and a stolen gun.
In Case 8, Arthur and Percy use a piece of wood with some brambles on it, a fire poker and a fire extinguisher to put a few bad guys out of action.
Informed Flaw: In the Chateau Macabre, Ben thinks Percival's "really let himself go." He looks just as healthy and a good deal younger than he does in the games.
Our Vampires Are Different: Sighisoara, the village of Vlad the Impaler made popular by Bram Stoker's novel, has some problems with vampires - it's just that they are a bit different from your usual Dracula.
The Remake: Case 1 was later remade into the Deluxe Edition, which has better graphics, more puzzles, an extended storyline and voice acting. Done again with Case 2, whose second act (the locations around the Salton Sea) has completely different locales, characters and puzzles compared to the original.
Sadly Mythtaken: Simon describes Sirens as taking the form of a beautiful maiden and causing sailors to go mad with desire, jumping off their ships to get to them. When they got close, the Sirens would reveal their true form and eat them. In Simon's version, Odysseus tied himself to the mast and plugged his ears with wax, but he's wee bit off: in The Odyssey, it was the rest of the crew who plugged their ear with wax, while Odysseus tripped out on the Siren's songs, after they'd tied him to said mast. Not to mention, Sirens didn't eat sailors, they just lured them to the rocks.
Shaggy Dog Story: Turns out Ben shouldn’t have bothered with his last two cases.
The computer in the original version of case 1 is labelled "Compy 386".
In case 3, Wilma's house is described as being "a thatched-roof cottage, suitable for burnination".
Shown Their Work: Case 5 features zombies who leave fingerprints at the scene of their crimes. When Ben asks the detective if they can find anyone linked to the fingerprints, he mentions that unless they match someone who is already in the database, they can't include them as a suspect, or pin them to the crime. Forensics aren't magic, after all.
Despite that the details about the siren are a bit wrong, the mermaid-figure is actually quite a common interpretation.
Sinister Minister: Cardinal Genovese and many of the Knights of St. Anthony are members of the clergy.
Thriving Ghost Town: Many of the towns Ben visits are practically ghost towns. Several of them are pretty much meant to be small towns. Even lampshaded in 2, where the person working at "Bean There Done That" says that there really aren't that many other jobs. (Medicine Man, Grocer, and Bartender are all taken.)
The Many Deaths of You: There are very few ways to actually die in the series, but at least the deaths make sense.
Yes Ben, by Case 8 you've been through a lot. Drink a little something to drown your sorrows for a little while, you have earned it! And while you are at it, why don't you have another one for the other leg? And how about one more for the road? And then one more...