is a series of hidden object games
produced by ERS Game Studios
and published by Big Fish Games. The series tells of different protagonists who wind up in a haunted cemetery and cannot leave unless they help give final requests to three souls.
The first game: Curse of the Raven
has the protagonist driving on a rainy night before accidentally crashing their car in the cemetery. When they awake, they find themselves unable to leave the cemetery until they free the souls that cannot pass on.
The second game: Children's Plight
has the protagonist become the target of an undead warlock who curses them. To stop them, the protagonist needs to gather the seals that would trap the warlock back into its tomb.
The third game: Grave Testimony
starts with the protagonist being a witness to a kidnapping then captured by a group of gangsters. After being buried alive, they find themselves on an island and can't leave unless they gather 3 soul stones as payment.
The fourth game: Salvation of the Lost
has the protagonist, and their dog, accidentally board a train heading for a cemetery. The keeper of the graveyard captures the dog and will not let him go until the protagonist (you guessed it) frees the souls of three specific people.
The fifth game: Bitter Frost'', is set on Christmas Eve, and the main protagonist is summoned by Koturi, the Owl-Spirit, who asks the protagonist to stop the attacks of the Cold Spirit Wenonah from killing off the protagonist's ancestors.
This game series provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: Tons.
- In Curse of the Raven, Anna-Marie's father dies before he could save his daughter trapped in a burning building.
- Children's Plight revolves around this trope as you must free all three children from the warlock in order to gather the seals, each of them trapped in a perilous situation ranging from a car dangling precariously off a cliff, one trapped in a bus filled with giant man-eating spiders, and the last stuck on top of a ferris wheel.
- Bitter Frost continues this tradition with Wenonah brainwashing a little girl to climb on top of a roof on a chilly Christmas Eve and then let her fall to her death.
- Afterlife Express: The protagonist (and their pet dog) riding one of these is what kicks off Salvation of the Lost.
- Alliterative Name: Mary Medson in Curse of the Raven.
- Always Night: The cemeteries in all the games minus Children's Plight.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: Bitter Frost has an owl instead of a raven/crow as a guide, and the storyline is more personal to the player character than the previous games.
- Art Shift: In Bitter Frost, Wenonah's backstory is played out in charcoal drawings.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The ferryman at the end of the bonus chapter in Grave Testimony.
- Big Bad: The warlock in Children's Plight and Wenonah in Bitter Frost.
- Buried Alive: How Grave Testimony starts. The gangsters push the protagonist into the pit in the Cold Open and then the log-in screen is the gangsters staring down at the player. The minute the player presses play, the gangsters start shoveling the dirt.
- Burn the Witch!: What happens in both Grave Testimony and Salvation of the Lost
- Cassandra Truth: The ghosts in Grave Testimony all witnessed supernatural things but no one believed them, and were all sent to their deaths. When the player goes to help them, they find out they were right.
- In Bitter Frost the fight between Elizabeth and her daughter Mary is due to Mary supposedly destroying a bottle of Elizabeth's perfume. Mary insists that she didn't do it and she's correct. Unfortunately, Elizabeth doesn't believe her.
- Christmas Episode: Bitter Frost.
- Creepy Cemetery: The player ends up in the beginning of each game. The first one was after accidentally crashing into its gates, the second was from being cursed by an evil warlock, the third was after being Buried Alive by some gangsters, the fourth one was from accidentally boarding an Afterlife Express, and the fifth one has Koturi sending them there.
- Cue the Sun: The ending cutscene in Grave Testimony's bonus chapter.
- Cute Kitten: Mr. Whiskers, the family kitten in Bitter Frost. There's also a cat that the character feeds in Grave Testimony.
- Cymbal-Banging Monkey: One is found in Children's Plight, powered by batteries.
- Darker and Edgier: Children's Plight is significantly darker than the other games with emphasis on Adult Fear as the warlock wastes no time in killing off the children's guardians and putting children on the brink of death because he can. There are also more decayed bodies in the game as there are in the others.
- Demonic Possession
- The miner in the first case of Grave Testimony due to uncovering an ancient Mayan treasure.
- In the bonus chapter of Salvation of the Lost, this is what happens to the main character's dog.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In Bitter Frost, think you can just use your puppy pal to scare some birds off? Nope. Turns out the puppy's more scared of them!
- The Dog Bites Back: The hydraulic plant in Salvation of the Lost has the criminal drown due to the cat, who was previously locked in the cupboard by him, attacking him and saving the protagonist.
- Double Meaning Title: Each game has different meanings.
- Curse of the Raven can either mean the curse that prevents the player from leaving the cemetery or rather the curse that the raven is afflicted with, as seen in the bonus chapter.
- Children's Plight can mean the situation in regards to helping the children or rather the fact that the children are in trouble.
- The 'Grave' in Grave Testimony could either mean dangerous (due to the supernatural elements involved with each soul) or how it meant that the people who saw these were sent to their graves.
- Salvation of the Lost can either mean the poor souls that were killed off in each of the ghost's past, or rather the salvation is for the ghosts themselves for being unable to help out those in need.
- The 'Bitter' in Bitter Frost means the bitter cold (the Big Bad is the Cold Spirit Wenonah) or the fact that Wenonah is bitter from having Koturi—the god she loved—choose a regular mortal over her as the one he loved.
- Eaten Alive: The zoo-keeper's ghost in Salvation of the Lost pleads with the player to save a young journalist who was eaten by a tiger.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The gangster ghost in Grave Testimony states that the kidnapping in the beginning of the game was just for ransom money, but when she was killed by the demonic miner he begs the main character to save her.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: The penguin exhibit shown in the zoo-keeper's memories in Salvation of the Lost. A sign reveals that they're pretty aggressive.
- The Ferryman: One is found in Grave Testimony. The Collector's Edition has the protagonist help him with a case that makes him unable to rest in peace.
- Full Motion Video: The characters in Grave Testimony use real people instead of the company's usual hand-drawn characters.
- Ghost Ship: In Grave Testimony. The pirate there explains that he ran afoul with a Voodoo priest who cursed the ship to only appear by moonlight.
- Gotta Catch Them All: The Collector's Edition of Salvation Of The Lost has medals scattered throughout the game which can be used to play mini-games with the puppy.
- In the Hood: Hina with her hooded cloak in Salvation of the Lost and Wenonah with her hooded parka in Bitter Frost.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In Grave Testimony, the protagonist is Buried Alive due to being a witness to a kidnapping. Seconds later, the gangsters are all dead while the protagonist is fine. Lampshaded by the ghost of one of the gangsters.
- Magical Guide: The Raven Warlock in Children's Plight, Hina in Salvation of the Lost and Koturi in Bitter Frost.
- Meaningful Name: Hina in Salvation of the Lost is named after a Hawaiian goddess of the moon.
- My God, What Have I Done?: One of the ghosts in Salvation of the Lost realizes this when she caused an innocent maiden to be burned at stake.
- My Greatest Failure: The ghosts in Salvation of the Lost can't rest until the player character saves someone they couldn't save before.
- Mysterious Watcher: The raven in Curse of the Raven appears after the protagonist completes a soul's last wish.
- Mythology Gag: In Bitter Frost, a puzzle used to collect photos of the protagonist's ancestors involves connecting faces. If you look closely, many of the faces belong to characters from previous ERS titles.
- The cat, Mr. Whiskers is actually the model for the cat in Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's Masque of the Red Death.
- No Name Given: The ferryman in Grave Testimony and the raven warlock in Children's Plight are never given any names.
- Once an Episode: The protagonist somehow finds themselves in a cemetery and must rescue three souls in order to escape.
- The Owl-Knowing One: Koturi appears as in the form of a snowy owl in Bitter Frost, in contrast to the ravens and crows in the previous games.
- Precious Puppy: The protagonist's in Salvation of the Lost. It becomes a plot point as the guardian of the cemetery won't free him until you free the souls. The protagonist befriends a husky puppy in Bitter Frost and looks even more adorable when draped with a blanket.
- Ravens and Crows: The theme of most games. Curse of the Raven has a mysterious raven watching over the protagonist, Children's Plight has a Raven Warlock guiding the protagonist, Grave Testimony and Salvation of the Lost has one of these (crow for former, raven for latter) as an ally to help gather objects the protagonist could not usually obtain. The only exception is Bitter Frost (see above).
- Rule of Three: Three souls to free in each game (minus Collector's Edition). In the third game, you need to gather three soul stones as payment for the ferryman, and the fourth game needs three parts of a seal.
- Samus Is a Girl: The protagonist of Bitter Frost, although you only know this if you played the beta.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The end of Children's Plight has the warlock sealed in a statue. The bonus chapter in the Collector's Edition is to ensure that the statue is destroyed, thus destroying the warlock along with it.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The main concept of the game. The dead all have regrets and send the protagonist back in time to fix their mistakes. By helping them out, the ghosts can finally be set free. Bitter Frost tweaks it by making sure the character prevents Koturi from doing damage to the timeline.
- Snow Means Death: The theme of Bitter Frost, seeing as the Big Bad is the Spirit of the Cold, and the protagonist enters the past of their ancestors during Christmas Eve.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: The CE of Curse of the Raven reveals that the Mysterious Watcher raven is one. He was in love with a woman but her jealous suitor wouldn't have that. The suitor killed him and cursed his soul to become a raven. Once the player reunites two halves of a specific locket, he and the woman can rest in peace.
- Suddenly Voiced: While characters were already voiced since the beginning, the protagonist gets a voice in Bitter Frost (only in the beta version).
- The Teaser: Many are shown prior to the log-in screen. Curse of the Raven has the main character crash his car in front of the gates of the cemetery in a dark rainstorm, Grave Testimony has the main character kidnapped by gangsters and pushed into a freshly-made grave, Salvation of the Lost has the main character in the Afterlife Express along with a Flashback of their beloved pet dog and Bitter Frost has Koturi transforming into an owl and flying off to the main character's house.
- Time Stands Still: One of Koturi's abilities in Bitter Frost.
- Title Drop: The title is the name of the cemeteries in Curse of the Raven and Salvation of the Lost.
- Vampire: Found in the cowboy's memories in Grave Testimony.
- Werewolf: One of these caused Mary Medson's death in Curse of the Raven.
- Weakened by the Light: The vampire in Grave Testimony. And by "weakened", we mean completely burns into ash.
- Whodunnit to Me: One of the ghosts in Curse of the Raven asks the player to find out who did. It's revealed to be her husband.
- Would Hurt a Child: The warlock from Children's Plight and Wenonah from Bitter Frost.
- Woman Scorned: Wenonah was not happy with Koturi for choosing a mortal over her.
- The X of Y: Curse of the Raven and Salvation of the Lost.
- You Have to Burn the Web: In Children's Plight.