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Elephant Games is a Russian video game company that specializes in highly detailed Hidden Object Games. Their games span a wide variety of genres, from supernatural mysteries to fantasy to lighter puzzle games.
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They first became known for their Mystery Trackers series of games and have since branched out into other stories, such as the Surface and the Grim Tales series. Gamezebo has praised their stunning artwork and immersive game environments.

    Game series 

Game series developed by Elephant Games include:

  • Mystery Trackers
    • The Void
    • Raincliff
    • Black Isle
    • The Four Aces
    • Silent Hollow
    • Raincliff's Phantoms
    • Blackrow's Secret
    • The Nightsville Horror
    • The Winterpoint Tragedy
    • The Paxton Creek Avenger
    • Train to Hellswich
    • Queen of Hearts
    • Memories of Shadowfield
    • Mist Over Blackhill
    • Darkwater Bay
    • The Fall of Iron Rock
    • The Secret of Watch Hill
    • Fatal Lesson
    • Memories of Shadowfield
    • Forgotten Voices

  • Grim Tales
    • The Bride
    • The Legacy
    • The Wishes
    • The Stone Queen
    • Bloody Mary
    • The Vengeance
    • Colour of Fright
    • The Final Suspect
    • Threads of Destiny
    • The Heir
    • Crimson Hollow
    • Graywitch
    • The White Lady
    • The Time Traveler
    • The Hunger
    • The Nomad
    • Guest From the Future
    • The Generous Gift
    • Heritage
    • Trace in Time

  • Surface
    • Mystery of Another World
    • The Noise She Couldn't Make
    • The Soaring City
    • The Pantheon
    • Reel Life
    • Game of the Gods
    • Alone in the Mist
    • Return to Another World
    • Lost Tales
    • Virtual Detective
    • Strings of Fate
    • Project Dawn

  • Christmas Stories

  • Lost In The City
    • Lost In The City
    • Lost In The City: Post Scriptum

  • Riddles of Fate
    • Wild Hunt
    • Into Oblivion
    • Memento Mori

  • Chimeras
    • Tune of Revenge
    • The Signs of Prophecy
    • Cursed and Forgotten
    • Mortal Medicine
    • Mark of Death
    • Blinding Love
    • New Rebellion
    • Heavenfall Secrets
    • Wailing Waters
    • The Price of Greed
    • Cherished Serpent

  • Mystery Case Filesnote 
    • Fate's Carnival
    • Dire Grove, Sacred Grove

  • The Haunted Hotel seriesnote 
    • Haunted Hotel
    • Believe the Lies
    • Lonely Dream
    • Charles Dexter Ward
    • Eclipse
    • Ancient Bane
    • Death Sentence
    • Eternity
    • Phoenix
    • The X
    • The Axiom Butcher
    • Silent Waters
    • The Thirteenth
    • Personal Nightmare
    • The Evil Inside
    • Lost Dreams
    • Beyond the Page
    • Room 18
    • Lost Time

  • Detectives United
    • Origins
    • The Darkest Shrine
    • Timeless Voyage
    • Phantoms of the Past

  • Strange Investigations
    • Becoming

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Tropes Commonly Seen:

  • Alliterative Family:
    • Anastasia, Anna, and Alice Gray in Grim Tales
    • James and John Blackthorne in Haunted Hotel
  • Always Identical Twins: If characters in their games are twins, they are almost always identical.
    • Anna and Luisa Gray of Grim Tales
    • Agent Dorian Brown and his brother Mortimer in Detectives United are a somewhat ambiguous example, as we never actually see either of them (since they're both invisible). However, their in-game appearances are identical, so they are effectively this trope, with the bonus of also having identical voices.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Some of the series fall into this.
    • The first Haunted Hotel game from Elephant, Eclipse, appears to have a late Victorian or Edwardian setting; Personal Nightmare is explicitly set in 1958, and Beyond the Page seems to be in the late 90s or early 2000s. Yet all of these games (and several others) have James Blackthorne as the player's companion, and he hasn't aged a day.
    • Mystery Trackers: Raincliff is another example, as the Brown family who serve as the primary antagonists are shown in photographs which are clearly from the 1800s, even though the game is implied to take place in modern times.
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    • Detectives United is ambiguous to the point of Anachronism Stew. There are personal communication devices which amount to pocket-sized computers, but also antique-style landline telephones and phone booths. The first game in particular also has a sort of Film Noir atmosphere to parts of it, which only makes it even more ambiguous.
  • Another Dimension:
    • The Surface series is based on this trope, although it's revealed in The Noise She Couldn't Make that the dimension in particular is a coma patient's mind.
    • The bonus chapter of the collector's edition of Mystery Trackers: The Secret of Watch Hill involves one of these.
    • The second and third installments of Detectives United include some focus on one of these; the second installment actually mentions two, but only one is seen.
  • Bloody Horror: Some of the scarier installments of the various series fall into this, such as Haunted Hotel: The Axiom Butcher, which centers around the ritual antics of a serial killer.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Raincliff's Phantoms is the sequel to Raincliff, and one of the Brown siblings is mentioned in Black Isle as having joined the agency; he becomes a Player Character in Detectives United. One of the Browns' distant relatives is revealed to be the Big Bad in Raincliff's Phantoms and also in Detectives United: Origins.
    • One of the other Brown siblings from Raincliff is the Big Bad in Detectives United: Phantoms of the Past. The title of that installment is also a Call-Back to Raincliff, as the Brown siblings were known as "the phantoms of Raincliff" during that game.
    • Detectives United also includes various connections to the three characters' origin series. Grim Tales, in turn, makes occasional reference to the events of Detectives United.
  • Creator In-Joke: In many if not most of their games, you can expect to see an elephant with its trunk raised somewhere at least once. This can take the form of an item in a hidden object scene, an image on the wall, or any number of placements.
  • Crisis Crossover:
    • The Mystery Trackers help the player character of Haunted Hotel: Phoenix with the investigation at the arson-riddled Stone Spires Hotel.
    • The Detectives United series brings together James Blackthorne from the Haunted Hotel games, Anna Gray and her father Richard from Grim Tales, and Agents Brown and Shade from Mystery Trackers. They join forces to solve mysteries that would be impossible for them to handle on their own.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: Occasionally, scenes from one series will appear in another. For example, the camper's dormitory in Mystery Trackers: Fatal Lesson is all but identical to Alice's university dorm room in Grim Tales: Guest From the Future.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • The player character of Mystery Trackers has one, although this isn't made clear until the installment The Secret of Watch Hill. Watch Hill was the site of the incident which killed the player character's parents and brother, and she must return to the place fifteen years later to deal with a related issue. It also comes up in Fatal Lesson, in which a flashback in the beginning shows her at the organization's camp as a young woman, learning to be a detective alongside Agent Shade; her inner monologue mentions that her family was killed a year earlier.
    • Agent Brown, of the Detectives United, has one as seen in his debut game, Mystery Trackers: Raincliff. It doesn't come to light in the DU series until the fourth installment, when his past catches up to him.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Games made prior to the Mystery Trackers games had simplistic CGI characters and iffy gameplay. It wasn't until they produced The Void that they hit their stride.
    • The first Mystery Trackers game does not employ live actors as seen in later installments, and the CGI characters are less polished.
    • The first four Haunted Hotel games come across this way because they were made by a different developer, who later sold the series to Elephant. The games from before the sale don't have any sort of cohesive storyline tying them together, and James Blackthorne was not added to the series until after Elephant purchased it; he debuted in Eclipse, though his last name wasn't given until later. Eclipse also doesn't animate the figures, as later installments do.
    • The early installments of most series lack the interactive map used in later games, forcing the player to do a good deal of backtracking.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep":
    • The agents in the Mystery Trackers (with the unexplained exception of Agent Brown) are only ever identified by code names. The player character of most installments, however, goes unnamed all the way to the 18th game, Fatal Lesson; finally, in a flashback midway through the game, the Commander of the Mystery Trackers addresses her as "Amber." It's not clear whether that is her real name or if she is Agent Amber; since many of the Mystery Trackers use colors as code names, it could be either - or, as in the case of Agent Brown, both.
    • This is also true of some installments of Haunted Hotel, which does not have a recurring protagonist. In The X, the player is only ever called "brother" by his sister Samantha or "Mr. Detective" by the young girl he rescues. In other installments, like Eclipse and The Axiom Butcher, James Blackthorne is the player's companion and merely addresses them as "my friend."
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • The bonus chapter for Mystery Trackers: The Secret of Watch Hill involves a villainous version of the protagonist crossing over from a parallel universe, having been sent by the Dark Trackers agency to locate the game's MacGuffin. The chapter takes place concurrently with the main game, but the regular protagonist doesn't suspect a thing.
    • Beginning in the second installment, the Detectives United have to contend with their dark counterparts from another dimension. Quite possibly this dimension is the same one which is home to the Dark Trackers agency mentioned above, although this has yet to be confirmed. Anna Gray and Agent Brown's dark counterparts are the antagonists of the second game's bonus chapter, and Dark Anna is the antagonist of the third game.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Zig-zagged.
    • The most you'll get from the NPCs in some games is a reference to your title if you're a detective, but other games will state your gender.
    • Averted in The Pantheon and Game of the Gods, where you play as the protagonist and her appearance is shown in the opening scenes.
    • In The Soaring City and Reel Life, there is nothing stated about your appearance, but your gender is stated with voiceovers.
    • You play as Fred, Scrooge's estranged nephew, in their version of A Christmas Carol; nothing of your appearance is mentioned.
    • The player character of the Haunted Hotel games varies with each installment. Occasionally the player is James Blackthorne, but James more commonly appears as the player's friend, colleague, or relative; the player is usually, though not always, male. The most we ever see of the player character, regardless of who they are, is their hands.
    • It's implied in the Mystery Trackers games that the player character is usually if not always female; Paxton Creek Avenger shows the character wearing high heeled boots and the coat's hem resembles a dress. In The Secret of Watch Hill and Fatal Lesson, she has spoken dialogue and is definitely a woman. (In most installments, the player character is the same person, as evidenced by the presence of Canine Companion Elf.)
    • Grim Tales: Colour of Fright gives you your first glimpse of your character, psychic detective Anna Gray: you're seen in a photograph and while your face remains obscured, you're revealed to have auburn hair and an average body type which suggests middle age. By the time of the following game, The Final Suspect, you've become a white-haired, somewhat chunky, elderly Jessica Fletcher type. However, in Guest From the Future, you're a fairly young woman with blonde hair. (This is clarified in The Heir - Anna's father performed a ritual which restored her to her youth - and reiterated in the opening cinematics of Crimson Hollow.)
    • Completely averted in the Detectives United series, where you always play as one of the three members of the group, and each of them has a portrait on the screen to show you their appearance. The two you are not playing at a given moment are often seen as well. It's worth noting that in the fourth installment, which is centered around the absence of Agent Brown, his portrait is replaced by a question mark to indicate his disappearance.
      • In the bonus chapter of the fourth installment, you play as two new and temporary characters, but these are also seen during the course of the chapter.
  • Full Motion Video: Surface and Mystery Trackers started out using these with their characters and cutscenes, but by their respective fourth games, have settled for using traditional animation of the characters and dropping the full motion cutscenes.
  • Functional Magic: The supernatural definitely exists in the worlds of most Elephant series, including psychic abilities, magic rituals, time travel, ghosts, and invisibility. It may not always be clear to the player why or how the magic in question works, but it's a real thing.
  • Hidden Object Game: Gamezebo considers them one of the best creators in the casual game industry, on par with Big Fish Games, Alawar, Blue Tea Games, Boomzap Entertainment, and ERS Game Studios.
  • Hollywood Acid: Frequently used to dissolve locks and other metal items.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The Haunted Hotel titles began having this after the series was purchased by Elephant from its original developer. Beginning with the ninth game, the installments often reflect their numerical order in some way, either with Arabic or Roman numerals. For example, The Axiom Butcher is the eleventh game in the series (Axiom) while Room 18 is the eighteenth. Those which avert the trope often display their number as part of the game's logo instead; for instance, the nineteenth installment, Lost Time, has a number 19 on a clock face.
  • Kid from the Future: The title character in Guest From the Future, in the Grim Tales series, is Anna's future daughter Alice.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Christmas Stories games are much more lighthearted than their other hidden object games, as they are mainly riffs on classic fairy tales and fantasy literature.
  • Level-Map Display: One of their signature features is a Point-and-Click Map interface that eliminates backtracking. It's especially useful in the plot-heavy games.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Mentioned briefly in Grim Tales: The Generous Gift, when Anna finds the formal documentation regarding the subject. Her husband, Dorian, has changed his last name to hers rather than asking her to take his, and she acknowledges that she appreciates it because her name is synonymous with her detective work.
  • Medium Blending: The first three games of the Surface and Mystery Trackers series superimposed live actors moving against the painted backgrounds, but have since dropped it in favor of photo-filtered renditions of the actors for a more seamless blending.
  • Mission Control: Agent Shade is this for Anna, Brown, and James in Detectives United.
  • Non-Human Sidekick:
    • Starting with Black Isle, your Mystery Trackers character is accompanied by a miniature pinscher named Elf. It's then revealed that most agents in the Mystery Trackers agency have animal companions.
    • Fate's Carnival introduces Isis, Madame Fate's cat, as the Master Detective's sidekick in her journey.
    • Anna, in Grim Tales and Detectives United, has Richard - the ghost of her father, bound into his own skull, which she carries with her everywhere.
  • Occult Detective:
    • The Mystery Trackers are an agency that specializes in supernatural mysteries.
    • James Blackthorne in Haunted Hotel is this; his particular expertise is in helping ghosts with their Unfinished Business by solving mysteries related to the locations they haunt.
    • Anna Gray in Grim Tales is this, although most of the cases she solves are somehow related to her own family.
    • The partnership of the Detectives United also falls into this, since occult detecting is what its members do on their own; they join forces when the cases are too big to handle alone.
  • Paper Key-Retrieval Trick: Sometimes used to get out of locked rooms.
  • Passing the Torch: In the Mystery Trackers series, the installment Fatal Lesson introduces three junior agents codenamed Slate, Black, and Ginger. They become the player character team in Forgotten Voices, embarking on their first field assignment.
  • Role Called: The Strange Investigations series falls into this; the player character's name is Dana Strange, and she's a private investigator.
  • Scenery Porn: These games are beautifully rendered, but in the spookier supernatural settings such as Fate's Carnival or the Grim Tales series, it can lead to Scenery Gorn.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Haunted Hotel: Eclipse is something of an homage to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, with James dressed very similarly to the famous detective and the player character talking about what good friends they are and how they've solved many cases together.
    • Haunted Hotel: Beyond the Page makes a very obvious one to the Harry Potter books, with James mentioning "the soul artifacts in those wizard boy books you showed me."
    • In the Grim Tales series, Anna eventually marries a man named Dorian Black. As noted above, he takes her surname after the marriage, which means that he is now known as Dorian Gray.
  • Similarly Named Works: Riddles of Fate has an installment called Wild Hunt, much like the third game of the The Witcher series of games. They of course have nothing to do with each other.
  • Stock Puzzle: Klotski and Towers of Hanoi puzzles are seen occasionally in the various puzzle series.
  • Stock Subtitle:
    • Haunted Hotel: The X
    • Surface: Mystery of Another World
      • Surface: Return to Another World
    • Grim Tales: The Legacy
    • Detectives United: Origins
  • Tagalong Kid: Installments of Grim Tales which take place after the events of Guest From the Future have Anna's young daughter Alice taking a significant role in the events.
  • Title Drop:
    • The phrase "haunted hotel" crops up occasionally in the Haunted Hotel games. Also, in the installment Room 18, that's the name of the room which James and his brother are supposed to be occupying, so it gets mentioned a few times.
    • The Mystery Trackers are an organization whose name gets mentioned repeatedly throughout the Mystery Trackers series. Raincliff, Black Isle, and Silent Hollow are the locations of those games, so their names come up a number of times.
    • At the end of the first Detectives United game, Agent Shade proposes the series title as the name for the partnership. The name gets mentioned periodically throughout the rest of the series.
  • Two Guys and a Girl:
    • The Brown siblings in Mystery Trackers: Raincliff
    • James, Brown, and Anna in Detectives United
    • The original hotel owners in Haunted Hotel: Lost Time
    • Junior agents Black, Slate, and Ginger in Mystery Trackers: Fatal Lesson and Forgotten Voices.
  • Unfinished Business: If a ghost is wandering around in an Elephant game, they invariably have some of this. Unfortunately, more often than not, said unfinished business will have turned the spirit malevolent.
  • Whole Plot Reference:
  • Woman Scorned: Or man, sometimes. Many of the mysteries in the darker games revolve around this trope, usually involving a Love Triangle of some sort.
  • You Have to Burn the Web: Crops up from time to time as a puzzle solution.
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