Video Game: The Lost Crown
The Lost Crown: A Ghost-Hunting Adventure
is a British graphic adventure video game released in 2008. The Lost Crown
is the third full title to be written and developed by Jonathan Boakes, author of the Dark Fall
games. The screenplay follows the adventure of Nigel Danvers, as he experiences the paranormal in his quest to find the fabled Lost Crown of Anglia.
The game is vividly set in the fictional harbor town of Saxton in The Fens of eastern England, The Lost Crown
follows the adventures of two young ghost-hunters, Nigel Danvers and Lucy Reubans. Nigel has fled London, after the theft of several documents from his employer, The Hadden Corporation. The documents contain proof of Hadden’s involvement in experiments with paranormal forces, and the existence of ‘chasm ghosts’. Two Hadden agents, Mr. Hare and Mr. Crow, are dispatched to capture Danvers and return the stolen documents.
Nigel takes refuge in Saxton, where he meets local psychology student Lucy Reubans. Together they set out to solve local mysteries, study paranormal activity and discover the whereabouts of a legendary Anglo-Saxon crown, thought to be buried somewhere around town. Nigel’s presence in the town does not go unnoticed and there are many threats to his life...not just from the living but from the dead also!
Two more Crown-hunting games, The Last Crown
and The First Crown
, have been adrift in in Development Hell
for some time, while an additional haunting-investigation, Blackenrock
, is currently slated for a May 2015 release.
Provides Examples of:
- Agent Scully: Lucy has shades of this initially, although she's willing to concede that something weird is going on.
- Ambiguous Time Period: Nigel never does get a straight answer when he asks what year is it in Saxton, a region filled with anachronisms due to its numerous hauntings.
- Ancient Tomb: The hiding place of the Crown is one of these. Nathaniel Ager's crypt is a not-quite-so-ancient version.
- Animal Nemesis: Someone in Saxton is stealing and skinning the cats of Saxton. When the culprit's lair is found, it's revealed that they did it because they're guarding the Lost Crown, and somehow got suspicious that their natural curiosity meant the cats were looking for it.
- Apocalyptic Log: Molina's diary, which manifests only a couple of pages at a time to recount the tale of his wife's illness.
- Ascended Extra: Nigel is a minor character from the first Dark Fall game, now starring in a scenario of his own.
- Asshole Victim: Hardacre
- Artifactof Doom: The Lost Crown appears to be one by the way everyone including the spirits react to Nigel looking for it.
- Being Watched: Between Nigel's own suspicions, soft sounds in the woods, and surveillance photos from the Nightmare Room, it's implied that someone or something is always stalking him. Plus, Mr. Hadden is apparently observing his every move... somehow.
- Book Dumb: Bob Tawney
- Camera Abuse: When Nigel uses the night-vision camera to explore the catacombs beneath Ulcombe Church, poltergeist activity tosses pebbles at his camera, as if trying to break the lens and strand him in the dark.
- Chekhov's Gun: An abandoned building that looks foreboding.
- In-Verse example: In Molina's diary, the water he mentions bringing Christina in the first two-page entry turns out to be contaminated and was the cause of her accidental death.
- Chiaroscuro: Some people you meet are in candle light or bathed in shadows.
- Continuity Nod: Several in fact, to the Dark Fall series.
- The lighthouse on the restaurant's sign is exactly the same image as from the cover of Light's Out, just flipped left-to-right. The primitive hut pictured on the price tag for Rhys's bundles of long sticks is one of the huts from that game's prehistoric fens. There's a copy of the lighthouse-lantern model from the top floor of the 21st-century lighthouse/museum in the entrance to Professor Oogle's museum, and a copy of a figurine from that game in the Old Net Hut.
- Two of the books in Celtic Corner were written by Andrew Verney, who appears as a ghost in Dark Fall 1 & 3, and were published in Dowerton where those games were set.
- A copy of The Ballad Of Tom Oliver is framed on the wall of The Bear, and a gravestone with that name is in one of the churchyards. Tom's ghost haunts the cellar in Dark Fall: The Journal.
- The scissors that keep turning up in Nigel's bedroom are from Dark Fall 1 & 3.
- At one point, the phone in Harbour Cottage plays a sound-clip from one of the Dark Fall games, too.
- Creepy Crows: Real ones, painted ones, and symbolic ones. Also a Meaningful Name for both the Agers and one of Hadden's men.
- Creepy Doll: Mr. Gruel's use of Jemima as his spokesdoll.
- Daylight Horror: Just because its mid-day doesn't mean you shouldn't worry about the phantom hands and ghostly visages that roam the house Nigel is staying at.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Black and white with occasional splashes of color in illuminated scenes, black and green when using the night-vision camera.
- Driven to Suicide: Edward Molina hanged himself in Harbour Cottage after his wife's death.
- Electromagnetic Ghosts: Taping EVPs and detecting electromagnetic-field disturbances are necessary for finding clues.
- Evil Is Not Well Lit: Some of the areas (the haunted house, castle, cave, etc) are very dark, dimly lit, or just foggy and creepy.
- Extremely Dusty Home: The little sea shanty Nigel is staying at has obviously seen better days....much better days...30 yrs ago perhaps.
- Fetch Quest: Several short ones, including soup ingredients for the Karswells and stone hands and coat-of-arms photos for one of the ghosts.
- First-Person Ghost: While most of the game isn't first person, the scenes where objects must be handled or combined only show those objects floating into place, with no sign of Nigel's hands. Granted, that kind of fits the general spookiness of the scenario.
- Flies Equals Evil: A swarm of Ager-conjured flies appear to attack Nigel in the Nightmare Room.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: The Saxton Bell is used to enhance the creepiness, as well as mark transitions between phases of the game.
- Foreshadowing: One early encounter with Alex Spitmoor takes place next to the phone booth. He's standing in front of the "Reubans Fayre" poster Lucy put up, which hints at his true identity: Detective Alex Reubans, Lucy's brother.
- Meta example: in the Steam version, the achievement icon for "A Warning to the Curious" (exhausting all of Nigel's conversation options during his encounter with Hardacre on the first night) is a scythe. On Night 4 at Harbour Cottage, Nigel uses the crystal ball to determine who stole the crown from his bedroom, and sees Hardacre killed by someone wielding a scythe.
- Fortune Teller: Nanny Noah and "Mystic Morgan"
- Game-Breaking Bug: Clicking the walkie-talkie at the wrong time can leave you stuck inside the Nightmare Room with no way to get the key. In-universe, Nanny Noah's "treasure hunt" would be impossible to complete on May Day because one of the clues is in the Museum, which is closed, although Nigel finishes it on a different day.
- Ghost Lights: Several in fact.
- Ghostly Gape: One of the ghosts has this appearance.
- Ghostly Goals: The Ager brothers' goal is to keep Nigel away from the crown!
- The friendlier ghosts usually want something — Guerny's hands and coats-of-arms, Emily's Pasque flower, Tim and Nancy's letter — that Nigel can retrieve for them.
- Haunted Headquarters: While nearly every location in or around Saxton is haunted (see below), Nigel encounters more ghostly phenomena in Harbour Cottage, where he's staying, than anywhere else.
- Haunted House: More like haunted everything: houses, churches, caverns, village businesses, train tracks...
- Hearing Voices: You get to hear creepy whispers and notes of worth in some portions on the EVP sections and sometimes just at random.
- Also happens a lot in other locations, such as The Bear's back rooms, although you don't get the chance to record those.
- There's a ghostly typist at work in the room behind the phone booth, heard only at night.
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Takes place on and around May Day, a major holiday for Saxton.
- I See Dead People: Some of the ghostly images appear briefly, only the cameras can let you see some of it clearly...other parts are a little....spooky...see the Spooky Photography explanation below.
- If Jesus Then Aliens: Played with when Nigel is frustrated by Lucy's skepticism about ghosts, yet pokes fun at Hardacre's speculation that dragons might have a factual basis.
- It's Always Spring: True because it's the end of April, but not this trope because the weather varies widely (cold, fog, wind, thunder, sunshine, rain), much like a realistic British springtime.
- Jerkass: Hardacre is downright rude to Nigel at every chance and later steals the Crown from him, only to become an Asshole Victim.
- Just Take The Poster: Nigel takes a poster for Cat Watch with him after reading it.
- Last of His Kind: William was the last of the Ager bloodline.
- Lightning Reveal: Done with creepy mystical energy-discharges in Ganwulf's tomb.
- Mini-Game: The EnviroMeter poses a few small ones when used to pinpoint ghostly activity in Harbour Cottage.
- Mind Screw
- Mission Control: Whomever is monitoring the remote cameras in Harbour Cottage. Lucy temporarily takes on this role over a short distance when she directs Nigel around a pitch-black room using the night-vision camera.
- Monster Shaped Mountain: Saxton folklore holds that the jagged rocks along the shoreline are spines on the back of Grindle, a dragon from local legend.
- Mysterious Employer: Mr. Hadden
- Non-Action Guy: Nigel barely fights or does more than run.
- Occult Detective: Nigel is forced to act as one during the game.
- "Open!" Says Me: Lucy kicks a door open to save Nigel in the Old Net Hut.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Seems like every variant Boakes could think of makes an appearance, from disembodied voices to wraiths of the still-living to full-body corporeal presences that don't know they're dead.
- Punch and Judy: Mr. Gruel stages such a puppet show for May Day.
- Red Herring: A few clues point you in the wrong direction where you eventually get the right direction.
- Riddle Me This: More of an in-universe example than a game challenge, as the dialogue between Nigel and Timmy talks you through the solution.
- Seasonal Baggage: The clues for the "mill stones" puzzle.
- Shout-Out: Several to Barrow Hill, whose designers assisted with Lost Crown's visual effects.
- Also several to M. R. James and his A Warning To The Curious. A big one is a skeleton found in the woods which you can identify as a victim of the Ager brothers. Doctor Black is a character from the television adaptation of that story.
- The phone in Harbour Cottage plays an eerie recitation of Walter de la Mare's poem "The Listeners" at night.
- Shown Their Work: Boakes joined some actual ghost-hunting expeditions to research their methods, and their techniques inspired several of Nigel's spook-detecting Hadden devices.
- Significant Anagram: Spitmoor
- Spooky Painting: The Agers' group portrait from the Nightmare Room, and Thomas Ager's from Northfield Church. The "Tree of Crows" is haunted also, but less menacingly-so.
- Spooky Photographs: Nigel uses a digital and video camera to sniff out clues in the game. Seeing the whole world in gray-scale or night-sight green sometimes really makes it more creepy to see said ghostly images.
- Some ghosts or spooky images are clues, some are down right freaktastic, while others are just bizarre and don't have much to do with the game play.
- Spooky Seance: Several, some with simple props.
- Stupidity Is the Only Option: After you find the crown, you have the problem of finding a safe place to keep it. What you're supposed to do is put it in the trunk in Nigel's bedroom. This leads to a man breaking in, stealing the crown, and dying for his troubles. The thing is, at that point in the game you know there's a safe in the basement and what the combination is. It's only after the crown's stolen from you that Nigel figures to put it in the safe instead.
- Rationalized away in the revised edition of the game released on Steam, as Nigel can't bear to go down to the basement because it smells really, really foul down there.
- Super Smoke: The Agers manifest both as glowering human figures and as columns of malignant black vapors.
- Swirly Energy Thingy: A supernatural version appears in the photos Nigel stole. Also in Ganwulf's tomb.
- Taxonomic Term Confusion: Jasper the Not-Really-A-Parrot
- Undead Child: The ghosts of Verity, Nancy, and Timmy. Also Emily Travers if teenagers count.
- Unfinished Business: Most of the ghosts have some. Nigel himself will remark that he's not finished investigating if you try to make him leave an area or go to bed prematurely.
- The Unintelligible: Doctor Black. Also, Gruel speaking through "Jemima", unless s/he's saying her name.
- Unnaturally Blue Lighting: Not exactly blue but the whole game is in gray coloring with only a few objects (flowers, certain animals, train, some objects, some buildings) having splashes of color like blue, green, yellow, or brown. In Night-Vision mode everything is green which makes it irritating to the players eyes after a while.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Soft-hearted players can let Nigel stuff Cairon the pig with leftovers to their heart's content. And then be heartbroken when Bob dishes up pork at the Fair.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Pretty much everything about the town of Saxton. Weird time compression? Odd people? Ghosts running about? Nope. You never learn anything about all that.
- What Year Is This?: Nigel never gets a straight answer to that one, and neither does the player, really.