Videogame / Phantasmat
Phantasmat is a hidden object game
series distributed by Big Fish Games. The first game was created by Codeminion, the second was created by ERS Game Studios, and the third was created by Eipix Games.
The first game, Phantasmat
deals with the protagonist having crashed their car on a stormy night, and winds up in the Drowned Dead Hotel. Soon, they start having flashbacks about the town and realize that the people here aren't what they seem.
The second game, Crucible peak
was released by ERS Game Studios. It takes place in the Alps, and the protagonist winds up in a hotel and village that has become empty due to an avalanche years ago. It also seems as if someone is stalking them.
In the third game, Endless Night
, you play the mother of a high school student who is headed to her prom. But events from the past are coming back to haunt you.
In the fourth game, The Dread of Oakville
, you are an author on her way to a book signing, only to become lost and then trapped the ghost town of Oakville by a dark entity known as 'Mr. Nightengale'.
In the fifth game, Behind the Mask
, a relative of yours has invited you to a family reunion at the dilapidated estate. The other family members seem a little odd, but nice enough. But things take a dangerous turn when the clock strikes midnight...
What is interesting about this game is that its Hidden Object Scenes can be swapped for a Match-3 mode. By obtaining golden eyes that drop to the bottom of the screen, they can be used to immediately obtain objects on the list.
Tropes present throughout the series include:
- Closed Circle: The games take place in the ruins of a city. The people there can't leave until they finally recognize the fact that they're dead.
- Dead All Along: All people you meet in the games are dead at that point in time, the only exception to this rule is Father Litch and Officer Gutner in Crucible Peak's Collector's Edition since you're taken back in time prior to the avalanche. In the third game, that includes the HEROINE, who died in the car crash at the beginning of the game.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The flashbacks are portrayed as this in the first game. In Phantasmat 2, Peter's flashbacks are this because his problems aren't related to the avalanche. It stems from his divorce. Also, the flashbacks of the boy playing with the matches and the man having acid poured onto his arms? Those are Otto's memories prior to him causing the avalanche.
- The End... Or Is It?: Both games end with the protagonist leaving the city they were stuck in, only to fall back as if they're going into a flashback. In these cases you're sent back in time to fix something involving one of the people there.
- Featureless Protagonist: Both games have this. Crucible Peak ramps this up by revealing the protagonist donning black snow gear and a huge set of goggles to obscure their face.
- Flashback: The protagonist gains these throughout the game. They are crucial to understanding the backstories of the "spirits" that still linger.
- Foreshadowing: In both games.
- In the first game, look closely as the Hotel Owner steps forward. His eyes are glowing and he's covered in seaweed, hinting that he was dead.
- Adding to that, the hotel is called The Drowned Hotel. The hotel owner, mayor's wife and young girl all died when the dam broke and flooded the city.
- In the second game, one of the early Hidden Object scenes shows a container of Nitroglycerin and Greta notes about Otto being a pyrotechnic guy. One of the flashbacks shows a guy whose arms were burned with acid, and Otto has a sweater of sorts under his shirt.
- Ghost Town: Justified in that natural disasters killed everyone.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The people you meet gain it as you uncover more and more about their past complete with Madness Makeover.
- Hell Hotel: The Drowned Hotel in Phantasmat 1, and The Alpion in Crucible Peak.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In both games.
- In the first game, the Hotel Owner gets this when he killed the original owner in order to hide the money from his criminal past. The Mayor's Wife gets this after she poisons her husband in order to gain his money, realizing that she truly did love him.
- In the second game, Otto gets this when he realizes that he caused the avalanche that killed everyone, believing that he had been dreaming them the whole time.
- Once an Episode: The protagonist finds themselves in an accident, meets up with a stranger that points them to a hotel, fixes the power line so they can call someone, find out that there's something wrong with the phones and then start getting flashbacks about the town/people.
Tropes present in Phantasmat:
- Always Night
- Cue the Sun: Once you free the souls of the people you met.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Hotel Owner, Mayor's Wife and Girl/Young Bride.
- Rule of Three: Three people you meet up with and, three items you need in order to set them free.
- Tampering with Food and Drink: The Mayor's Wife slipped poison into her husband's drink in order to kill him and obtain his money.
- Your Cheating Heart: The Girl/The Young Bride fell in love with a stranger and waited to marry him at the church. Unfortunately, this was when the flood came in and she died waiting for a lover that would never come. The Collector's Edition expands on this with the Mayor's Wife having a friend who described the man's cheating affairs.
Tropes present in Crucible Peak:
- Ax-Crazy: Otto.
- Christmas Episode: It was released in mid-December, and the bunny logo is dressed up like Santa Claus.
- Death by Materialism: Greta could've escaped the avalanche had she not want to take all of her possessions with her.
- Four Is Death: There are four people that you meet in the game. Not only are they all dead, but the fourth soul you set free is the cause of their deaths!
- The Ghost: You find notes and a receive a phone call from Father Litch and Officer Craig Guthner throughout the story. You meet them in person in the Collector's Edition.
- Go Out with a Smile: Otto gives a creepy one when he dies after causing the avalanche.
- Hollywood Acid: One flashback notes a man who had acid poured on his arms—said man is Otto.
- Irony: Peter's been sending letters to his wife and kids and has grown bitter because he hasn't received word from them. It turns out, they have given him a letter, but by then he was already dead.
- It's All My Fault: Schultz thought that he caused the avalanche when in reality, he didn't.
- Logo Joke: The ERS Logo is decked out in Christmas paraphernalia.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In-universe: as you get closer and closer to finding the truth, Otto's accent changes, revealing his maniacal side.
- Mad Bomber: Otto, who caused the avalanche in the first place.
- Sequel Hook: In the standard ending, the player meets with a shadowy figure as he uses the snowmobile and even by defusing the bomb in the Collector's Edition, there's still the matter of a time bomb that was not like Otto's own.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The collector's edition has Otto take you back just before the avalanche hit so you can warn the townspeople about his scheme and ensure their safety.
- Slasher Smile: Otto, prior to causing the explosion which made the avalanche.
- Snow Means Death: The town in this game, and many of its inhabitants, died from an unforeseen avalanche caused by Otto's pyromania.
- Stable Time Loop: When you first have a flashback of Greta, her car crashed in the town square. When you find her car, it's in an underground tunnel. However, the Collector's Edition has you go back in time and reveals that your actions to diffuse the bomb helped Officer Gunther call Greta and tell her to get out which would soon lead to her death at the town square. Thus, the first flashback is the right one.