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Dark Tales is a series of hidden object games created by ERS Game Studios (now known as AMAX Interactive) and distributed by Big Fish Games. Based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, the games allow you to play the role of friend and colleague to the master detective C. Auguste Dupin, and assist him as he travels, solving mysteries based on Poe's works. Originally released solely for PC and Mac, most of the series is now also available for iOS devices.
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Now has a Character Sheet with tropes specifically about Dupin or the player.

    Games in this series 
  • In the first game, Murders in the Rue Morgue, a horrific murder has been uncovered in the Rue Morgue. The player character meets Dupin for the first time, and becomes his partner to solve both the murder and the disappearance of the victim's sister.
  • In the second game, The Black Cat, you and Dupin must solve the disappearance of Mark Davies' wife Sarah. The investigation takes you throughout their estate, a puzzle- and contraption-filled mansion once owned by an illusionist. As the case progresses, the ghostly figures of Sarah Davies and a black cat seem to be following along.
  • In the third game, The Premature Burial, you and Dupin are summoned to help a despondent young man, Julien, whose true love Victorine was wed to banker Renelle Fore against her will. Victorine died very suddenly, and Fore had her buried so quickly that no one was able to pay their respects. Julien suspects something is very wrong - and it's up to you to figure out what.
  • In the fourth game, The Gold Bug, Dupin receives a letter from his dear friend William LeGrand, who has uncovered clues regarding Captain Kidd's treasure. However, there are mysterious figures standing between him and the lost pirate loot, and he needs you and Dupin to help him crack the clues.
  • In the fifth game, The Masque of the Red Death, Dupin receives a letter requesting his help in the city of Lumineaux, where you join him. A man with a bright red mask is killing off city officials, and it's believed that Mayor Prospero will be the next target. The people of the city are angry with Prospero, who has ruled with an iron fist for several years. The real question is, who is the most guilty and who will be the one who will face justice when the time comes?
  • In the sixth game, The Fall of the House of Usher, Dupin receives a letter from one Dr. Morris regarding the curse of the Usher twins Roderick and Madeleine and their esteemed manor. Madeleine is missing, and her brother's failing health suggests that both twins' lives could be in danger. But the truth about the Usher family curse is much darker than anyone could imagine...
  • The seventh adventure, The Mystery of Marie Roget, features Dupin assisting his friend Jacques Lumin, who has recently married a lovely girl named Marie Roget. But ever since the wedding, strange things have been happening in their home - unearthly screams and weeping, glass objects shattering for no reason - and Marie herself is distracted and upset. What secret are she and her aunt hiding?
  • The eighth game, The Tell-Tale Heart, takes the player character and Dupin to the seaside town of Gurtos, where a young woman has been brutally murdered. The wound to her heart is strange and suggests that the crime is very personal, but little else is known. The officials need help solving not just one, but two murders - and the clock is ticking.
  • In the ninth game, Metzengerstein, Dupin and the player travel to Hungary at the behest of Baroness Mary von Metzengerstein. Her daughter, Frederica, is the last heir to the illustrious family. But their dark past quickly catches up with young Frederica when she's apparently kidnapped by a ghost, and the detectives must learn the truth and rescue her before it's too late.
  • For the tenth game in the series, ERS presents The Raven, which many players had been requesting. Dupin and his friend are summoned to examine the death of famous archaeologist Alan Dillinger, who seems to have committed suicide; his death note speaks of his love for a woman called Lenore. But Dupin's client believes it was murder, and sets the detectives on the hunt. Complicating matters is the mysterious White Crow, an individual who has a very different approach to solving the case, and it's up to the heroes to find out the truth - about Dillinger and also about the enigmatic Raven Society.
  • The eleventh game is Lenore, set in the community of Goldstone. The town has been beset by multiple kidnappings and murders, with a mysterious group called the Crows League apparently responsible. The detectives must outwit this outfit and recover the missing children. In a slight departure from the rest of the series, this game is a direct sequel to The Raven.
  • The twelfth game, Morella, is based on one of Poe's short stories. The McDougall family has gone missing inside their own home, which is known to locals as the "Devourer of Souls," and the police are frankly too scared to investigate. It's up to the detectives to find out what became of the missing family, and learn the truth about the house.
  • The thirteenth game is The Pit and the Pendulum. Dupin has been summoned to an ancient manor called Pendulum House, where his friend Zula the illusionist is performing. Zula has been receiving death threats, and Dupin calls on you to join him there and keep an eye on the situation.
  • The fourteenth game is The Oval Portrait. The detectives are asked to investigate a series of disappearances. All of the missing women posed for the famous portraitist Leonard Tussole before they disappeared, so he's the prime suspect. Is he really guilty? Can you stop him - or whoever it is - before your client becomes the next victim?
  • The fifteenth game is Speaking with the Dead. Some time ago, Dupin served as a witness in the murder trial of Dr. Brian Marsh, who was found guilty and executed. One of the jurors from the case alerts him to the fact that they're being threatened, and the culprit seems to be Dr. Marsh... back from the dead. It's a race against the clock to stop Dupin and the jurors from becoming victims of a fiendish revenge plot, and find out who's really responsible.
  • The sixteenth game is Ligeia. The detectives make their way to the Phoenix estate, where a nobleman has been receiving threatening letters - which seem to have been sent by his late wife. Has Ligeia Phoenix truly risen from the dead? Dupin and his good friend must find the truth - and avoid being murdered themselves.

In addition to the main series, Big Fish Games and ERS Studios released Nightfall: An Edgar Allan Poe Mystery, a Freemium game which also featured Dupin. Players could create an avatar for themselves and join his new detective agency, completing hidden object puzzles to solve mysteries in Paris. However, as of August 2015, Nightfall was discontinued; the server has since been deleted and the game is now unplayable.

August Dupin is also set to appear in the game Worlds Align which is set to be an Intercontinuity Crossover with Dark Tales, Puppetshow and Haunted Legends acting as a guide to the player.

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    Tropes Present Throughout the Main Series 
  • 100% Completion: Starting with Masque of the Red Death, the collector's editions of the games offer various achievements to be unlocked which are a way of measuring this.
  • Adaptation Expansion/Pragmatic Adaptation: It varies from one game to the next how much is changed, but each of the stories featured are altered in some way by the developers to make them playable. The original game in the series pretty much follows the plot of Poe's story, with only a few small changes to the story. From the second game onward, larger changes have been made to the stories to make them longer and more detailed. Averted with Speaking With the Dead, which does not seem to actually be based on a work of Poe's (although the Content Warning at the beginning says that it is).
  • Adventure Duo: You and Dupin become this.
  • Ambiguous Gender: While the player character is definitely a Featureless Protagonist, one of the few details anyone has been able to determine is their gender - which is entirely inconsistent. In some games (Masque, Tell-Tale Heart, Metzengerstein, Lenore, Oval Portrait) it's left completely vague and unaddressed. In others (Black Cat, Gold Bug, House of Usher, The Raven, Morella, Speaking), the character is definitely female. In still others (Rue Morgue, Premature Burial, Marie Roget, Pendulum, Ligeia), the character is definitely male. This then begs the question of whether it's been the same individual throughout the series or not; however, Dupin always interacts with the player character as if they are the same person every time, and the certificates in the character's office in Masque would suggest that it's been the same person in at least the first five games. The devs have yet to make an official Gender Reveal; the character sheet has a full list of observations.
    • The idea that the player character in the main games is female was supported by Nightfall when it was still playable. After entering your name and selecting a gender, you would meet Anna Fleurs, who introduced herself to you as Dupin's assistant. Such an introduction suggests that she may well be the player character of the main Dark Tales games.
      • According to the bonus chapter of Morella, Anna is the player character in the main series. A newspaper article found in there talks about how Dupin and his partner solved the mystery of the Raven Society (the plot of The Raven, although it has the wrong town name), and it has a photograph of Dupin and Anna. Seen here. This still doesn't clarify the games where the character is expressly indicated to be male, but it does confirm that Anna is the player character at least some of the time.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: It's definitely supposed to be the 19th century, but most of the games don't give specific years, and we don't always know which games happen in what order either. Up to at least the fifth game, they've been released in the order they take place, but the later games subvert this somewhat. The timeline page contains an attempt to sort it all.
  • Anachronism Stew: The games take place during the 19th century, but this trope is all over the place. This may be Hand Waved by the notion that the games take place in some sort of Alternate Universe (which, given the presence of magic in several of the games, is entirely possible).
    • You find toy pandas in Masque of the Red Death; pandas were not yet known in Europe at that time.
    • In House of Usher, you encounter a modern drum set and helium balloons, and the player character makes a few references to Sherlock Holmes - who debuted in A Study in Scarlet, published in 1887 (more than ten years after the game's events).note 
    • It's not stated when the stories take place, but if they are set in the years Poe wrote them, then the six-cylinder breech-loading cartridge revolver seen in The Gold Bug, Masque of the Red Death, and The Mystery of Marie Roget should not exist yet. The first-ever cartridge revolver was not manufactured by Smith & Wesson until 1856, seven years after Poe's death.
    • In Metzengerstein, Dupin and the player character arrive at Ravensoul Manor in an automobile. The game takes place in 1848; while there were some prototype autos by that time, the type of car they are riding in came a couple decades later.
      • Similarly, in Ligeia, they arrive at the Phoenix estate in what looks to be an even more modern vehicle; in the bonus chapter, which takes place at least ten years earlier, Judge Phoenix owns an automobile as well. Even more confusing, both of these cars are specifically shown to use a key to start the engine - something that didn't happen until Chrysler introduced the modern car key in 1949.
  • Art Evolution: Compare Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Black Cat to the later games and you see a huge difference.
    • Somewhat subverted for House of Usher. In the opening animation, Dupin is rendered in three-dimensional CG, but his appearance in the actual gameplay reverts to that of previous installments in the series. However, he has gone back to being the mostly non-moving figure he was in the first two games, as opposed to the other games where his mouth moves while he talks. He returns to being more fully animated in Marie Roget.
    • Very much averted when it comes to Dupin's sprites in-game, for the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh games. He got a whole new sprite set for each game for the first three games, but after Premature Burial no large sprite changes have been made, although on occasion a new sprite has been created when necessary such as when Dupin gets shot in Masque of the Red Death. Dupin's sprites from The Gold Bug on is a combination of the sprites from the second and third games. The second game's sprite has black hair and no textures (though one was added later to make it more consistent), the third game's sprite has brown hair and a texture on the jacket that is subtle but fairly noticeable. Since Dupin's dialogue has been cut a great deal in the fourth through sixth games, his sprites show up less often and mainly in cut scenes, so it can be difficult to spot; the second game sprites are the ones where he faces you directly, and the third game ones usually are quarter view or three-quarters view.
  • Big Bad: Varies from story to story. Special note goes to Masque of the Red Death, where you have to be the one to decide whether Mayor Prospero or the Red Masque is more deserving of the title.
  • Bigger Bad: You'll only learn about them if you play the bonus chapters of the collector's editions, but several of the games have The Man Behind the Man pulling the strings in one way or another.
    • In The Black Cat, the Davies' mansion was previously owned by a famous illusionist. A rival magician, with whom he had a well-known feud going, sent him a painting as a reconciliation gift. The painting actually had a terrible dark spell on it which drove the illusionist mad, and later drove Mark Davies to murder his wife.
    • In The Premature Burial, the cemetery's Crusty Caretaker is revealed to be the one who persuaded Renelle Fore to murder his wives.
    • In Masque of the Red Death, it turns out that Jacques Morro is playing both Prospero and the Red Masque for chumps so he can become the new Mayor of Lumineaux.
    • In House of Usher, the real villain is the very stone from which the titular house was constructed!
    • In The Pit and the Pendulum, Zula and Jacob - your allies in the main game - are revealed in the bonus chapter to have been playing the Big Bad, you, and Dupin for chumps the entire time.
  • Canon Foreigner: In addition to you and Dupin, this happens quite a bit in the games, probably due to the fact that Poe's stories usually had very minimal casts. In several of the games, this trope applies to literally everyone in the game, due to the frequent lack of named characters in the stories.
  • Collection Sidequest: Starting with Premature Burial, every game in the series has at least one of these. Roses, feathers, morphing objects, figurines, cards... there's always an extra something in there to keep the player searching.
  • Content Warnings: Starting with The Tell-Tale Heart, every game has one of these at the very beginning, advising the player that what they are about to see may be disturbing. Beginning with Lenore, these warnings include a mention that the events are based on the Poe work in question, although how accurate that assessment is tends to vary.
  • Continuity Nod/Call-Back:
    • The first journal entry for The Black Cat refers to the player character's adventures in Murders in the Rue Morgue; the journals in the next few games likewise refer back to the previous ones. The player character's office in Masque of the Red Death has a wall of plaques, four of which are dedicated to the previous games of the series.
    • Pluto, the titular Black Cat, returns in House of Usher, although this is never remarked upon by either Dupin or the player character. There's also a statue of a dog that, when given life, resembles a Newfoundland like Arthur in The Gold Bug. A red mask like the ones from The Red Masque shows up as part of a puzzle.
      • Pluto also shows up very briefly in Marie's room in The Mystery of Marie Roget, running out of her closet. If you look closely, you can see his ruby eye.
      • Pluto appears a few times in Metzengerstein, but never with any bearing on the plot; however, his appearance in the bonus chapter (complete with identifying name tags) is vital to the resolution of one puzzle.
      • Pluto has been made an official part of the opening of all of the games starting with Lenore. He appears on the opening screen where the player is advised that "For the best experience, please play with sound." He wears not only his own name tag identifying him, but also Dupin's hat, and has the detective's walking stick in his paws. The different animation style used here makes him look much more like a real cat.
      • In The Oval Portrait, Pluto naps on a couch on the achievements screen.
      • Pluto is an active character in the bonus chapter of Speaking With the Dead, although here it seems to be just a lookalike by the same name; the ruby eye is not present, with the red eye being a real eye instead.
      • Pluto also appeared in Nightfall; he was in one of the loading screens being held by Dupin. He also showed up as a living cat in the gambling hall, reclining on the piano.
    • The detective agency badge which Dupin gifts to the player character in Marie Roget makes a return in Tell-Tale Heart.
    • Since Lenore is more or less a direct sequel to The Raven, it has a number of connections.
    • The bonus chapter of Morella has a newspaper article about the events of The Raven, and also has seven collectible portraits of characters encountered in previous games. After the chapter is finished, the player can read their biographies on the Extras menu under "Brave Ladies." (Note that the spellings of the names are different in some of these biographies.)
    • One of the collection sidequests in The Oval Portrait involves gathering figurines which represent the previous games in the series.
    • Speaking With the Dead brings back a handful of characters from previous installments to be Distressed Dudes alongside Dupin.
  • Distress Ball: Usually averted, but Dupin occasionally picks this up - it seems to be happening more frequently as the series progresses. He's been tied up, knocked out, shot on two different occasions, trapped by semi-sentient vines, kidnapped, hypnotized, and turned to stone.
    • Morella mixes it up by handing the ball to you instead.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first two games, and the first one especially, are very different from those which followed. As noted above, the art style is different; they're also the only two games which don't have voice acting, and the bonus chapter of the collector's edition for the first one is entirely disconnected from the story. For some reason, the sixth game is something of a return to their format, at least as far as the lack of animation is concerned.
  • Exploring the Evil Lair: Well, how else can you find the clues to the mystery?
  • Extended Gameplay: Found in the collector's edition of each game. The extra gameplay of Rue Morgue is merely a miniature adventure in Poe's own home, and has nothing to do with the main story. But starting with The Black Cat, each game has a Playable Epilogue - a continuation of the main story, revealing additional details.
    • House of Usher adds further extended gameplay in the form of a completely unrelated case which Dupin wants the player character to solve, requiring the acquisition of various equipment.
    • Marie Roget does the same in the form of a puzzle that can only be unlocked by getting all of the achievement award trophies.
    • In The Tell-Tale Heart, collecting all of the Dark Tales cards scattered throughout the scenes unlocks an additional bonus game. Metzengerstein does something similar, with a different kind of card.
    • In Lenore, the game wants you to find 66 golden feathers scattered throughout the scenes. After they're found, the bonus features menu allows you to turn them into puzzle pieces to assemble an image of Poe's study.
    • In Morella, you're hunting for sixty fortune cookies. Like the feathers in the previous game, there's an extended gameplay in which they are turned into puzzle pieces; this time, the image is of the house. The bonus chapter adds two more collectible mini-games which unlock more features on the Extras menu.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The player character is never seen and is generally addressed only as "detective" (except by Dupin, who more often addresses you as "my friend"). They have no Dialogue Tree until The Raven, which is the tenth installment, making it difficult to ascribe any sort of personality to the character. Also, the gender of the character is an incredibly controversial matter, as it's presented inconsistently throughout the series; see Ambiguous Gender, above.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The opening animation of each game is slightly spoiler-laden, although the game must be played through to the end to find out exactly what happened and why.
  • Friend on the Force: In some games, there's a police official who helps the detectives and is a personal friend of Dupin's, such as Commissioner Loyalle in Speaking With the Dead.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Starting with Usher, the games have collection sidequests.
  • Gratuitous French: Well, the games are mostly set in France. The vast majority of the dialogue is in English, though, which makes the instances where French does get spoken seem like this trope. Possibly the best example is in some of the later games where, if you attempt to use an object in a way not intended by the developers, the player character will say "Mon Dieu, can I be wrong?"
  • Hidden Object Game: Most of the puzzles, especially in the early games, are of this type. The later games in the series have a wider variety of puzzles, but still plenty of hidden object scenes.
    • House of Usher adds a twist in which, if a hidden object puzzle is proving too difficult, you can replace it with a Match-Three Game instead.
  • In-Game Novel: Not exactly, but close. The collector's editions of some of the games will allow you to save copies of Poe's original stories to your hard drive.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: If you try to use an object in any way but the one intended by the devs, your character will comment on it.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Some of the puzzles in earlier installments can make the player feel like this is what they're supposed to use. Almost none of the puzzles in Murders in the Rue Morgue have any instructions about how to solve them, leading to a bit of Try Everything.
  • Late to the Tragedy: You and Dupin usually only get involved with a situation after something terrible has already occurred. Justified because you are detectives, not psychics.
  • Loading Screen: In the main series, you see one of these when you first open the game. The title appears, along with some flickering candles, an open book, and a skull. A flash of lightning illuminates the title.
  • Locked Door: Often, and you have to find the keys. Occasionally, you even have to make them. Other locks are destroyed through the use of Hollywood Acid.
    • This gets weird in The Gold Bug, in which you have to unlock two shops that already have shop workers inside them. There's no indication the shops are closed for business and the men working there don't tell you this either; if they want customers to come in, their shops shouldn't be locked! (On the other hand, the gunsmith has a "Closed" sign on the door, and the clock on the building shows that it's after 5 pm, so quite possibly they are closed for the day.)
    • Gets weirder still in Marie Roget; when Jacques leaves his home, he locks the two of you inside. It would make more sense for him to leave the door open and have you lock it when you leave.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Naturally, given that it's animation, but there are some blatant examples of animal cruelty in these stories. The titular Black Cat was killed by the abusive Big Bad of that game, and it's hinted that the cat's missing eye is also his doing. The villain of The Gold Bug starts the game by throwing a puppy in the river. Luckily, he misses and the dog lands in a boat.
  • No Fourth Wall: Dupin looks at and speaks directly to you. Granted, the idea is that you are supposed to be a character in the game, but the result is still this trope.
    • Some characters in the games seem to be addressing both Dupin and the player, such as the hansom cab driver in the first game. From the third game on, it's made more clear when people are talking mainly to Dupin; some characters still seem to be addressing both the player and Dupin, though.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Several of the games take place in different regions of France, or occasionally in other countries - but you'd never know it by the voice acting. This is especially glaring in Marie Roget, where some of the voice actors mispronounce the names of characters; Dupin refers to his friend Jacques as "Jack," and Jacques in turn calls Auguste Dupin "August."note 
    • Some voice actors in earlier games would also mispronounce French names; for example, the voice actor for Julien in the third game pronounces Fore as "four" and not "four-ay" at least once. The first voice actor for Dupin was much better at pronouncing French names than his replacement.
    • When the player character speaks to her partner in Morella, she pronounces his name as "Doo-pin" rather than the French "Du-pahn."
  • Notice This: Important puzzles and objects glint subtly to catch your attention on the easier difficulty modes.
    • However, unimportant or unusable objects sometimes have the same glow. In The Black Cat, there's a chicken that has a glowing light above it; clicking on it results in a cut scene with the chicken, but it's not important to the story; the chicken just ends up back in the same place after the cutscene is over, and the chicken doesn't prevent the player from accessing the hidden object scene in the same area. In The Premature Burial, the hook in the ceiling of Julien's room glints with the same light, but there's no way to use the hook for anything. Similarly, a church window in Lenore has the glint, but the player character observes that it's a Red Herring since they don't need anything from inside the church.
  • Occult Detective: Both played straight and averted. More than half of the mysteries that you and Dupin solve together have some sort of supernatural connection, frequently ghosts. Many of the stories on which the games are based are ghost or horror stories, so this makes sense.
  • Once an Episode: Starting with The Premature Burial, the games usually open with Dupin beginning to read a letter regarding the case in question. In some games, he gives the letter to you for you to read yourself; in Pendulum, the letter is actually sent to you from him.
  • Pixel Hunt: The iPhone and iPad versions of the games sometimes come across this way, as they are very insistent that you touch exactly the right spot on the screen.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: If the relationship between Dupin and the player character is not meant to be regarded as Ship Tease, it almost certainly falls into this, as they are indicated repeatedly to care for each other very much.
  • Plot Immunity: Played straight and averted, to varying degrees. The earlier games in the series grant this to Dupin and the player, preventing them from being too heavily affected by things which affect other characters; for example, the demonic painting in The Black Cat apparently has no influence on their minds. As the series progresses, however, it becomes more and more common for one or both of the heroes to be affected by whatever is causing problems in the game, such as the eponymous Oval Portrait or the hypnotism of the Big Bad in Pendulum. It happens more frequently to Dupin than to the player, which is why he picks up the Distress Ball so often.
  • Point-and-Click Map: Used intermittently throughout the series. Most of the games have maps, but while some are interactive and enable fast travel, others do not.
  • Precision F-Strike: The player character usually says "damn" when angered. Most notable is in the bonus chapter of Masque of Red Death, when "that damned Morro" fires his gun at Dupin and wounds him. In Pendulum, they also refer to a couple of the bad guys as "bastard."
    • Dupin himself does this in House of Usher, when he mentions how "those damn vines" snapped his favorite cane when he was captured.
    • Swearing in the games falls under Anachronism Stew as well, since it was considered impolite to swear in the 19th century, and was considered especially rude when done by women or in front of women. Writers of this time period even wrote "damn" as "d—m" or "d—-" in their stories so as not to offend people.
  • The Reveal: Pretty much necessary to the plots of the games, since these are detective tales and the truth is often hidden by the villains. In the collector's editions, the bonus chapters have a reveal that will explain some other part of the plot that wasn't obvious or could not have been shown in the main game; the first game is the exception to this, as its bonus chapter is something else entirely.
  • Scenery Porn: There are beautifully rendered backgrounds in each game.
    • Scenery Gorn: However, there's also some of this to be found.
  • Ship Tease: There's at least a little of this between Dupin and the player character in several of the games. He begins many cases by remarking how happy he is to see you, he often boasts to other NPCs about your skills, and one piece of dialogue in Murders in the Rue Morgue has him suggesting that he take you to dinner at the fancy restaurant you're exploring. This has been dialed back somewhat as the series has continued, though the friendship is always strongly presented.
    Dupin: Your presence gladdens me as always, my friend.
    • Nightfall contains subtle bits of this concerning Dupin and Anna. Of particular note is the timed mission, mentioned under Distress Ball, where Dupin is wounded. Once all is said and done, he urges the player to comfort Anna, who is deeply upset by Dupin's injuries. He also clearly trusts and depends upon her, given how much he has her overseeing and assisting you, and her loyalty to him is indicated to be absolute. note 
    • In Morella, where the character is quite blatantly female, we have the strongest indications of ship tease so far. During their earliest conversation, Dupin addresses her as "my dear friend" instead of merely "my friend." Later, he gives her the biggest smile of the entire series, and at the very end of the game, he takes her hand.
  • Short Title: Long, Elaborate Subtitle: Each game's full title is Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's [Title of the Story]. Because of the length of their original titles, several of the games are particularly strong examples of this trope. Averted by Nightfall, probably because it isn't part of the main series.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Many of the puzzles which aren't hidden object scenes are of this type, especially with regards to unlocking doors and otherwise removing barriers; it's simply not something you'd normally encounter in Real Life.
    • The diary in Murders in the Rue Morgue notes that Dupin is fond of ciphers and puzzles, so it wouldn't be completely out of character for his house to have the puzzles you are required to solve in the beginning. It's still amusing that he uses them as a test for your character, though.
    • The Black Cat gives an in-game explanation that makes the puzzles plausible. The mansion you're investigating once belonged to an illusionist who was a huge puzzle enthusiast, so he incorporated weird tricks and contraptions throughout his home.
    • The Raven also provides an in-game explanation for some of the puzzles; the mysterious Raven Society deliberately uses codes, ciphers, and other means of keeping outsiders from finding them or learning their true purpose.
    • In Lenore, a few characters have this arranged as a sort of Secret Test of Character for the detectives.
    • This is more or less the "game" being played by Lilly in the first act of Morella - she considers you and Dupin her "toys," and she likes to watch you play.
  • Strategy Guide: These can be purchased and downloaded for each game; they come included in the collector's editions.
  • Suddenly Voiced: All of the dialogue in the first two games appears only written onscreen. Starting in The Premature Burial, however, the characters have voice acting. In The Raven, even the player character can occasionally be heard gasping, and in Morella, the player character has a single spoken line.
  • Take Your Time: No matter what the games say about you needing to hurry up, there's no penalty for taking your sweet time in any situation. This is perhaps most egregious in the bonus chapter of Masque of the Red Death; first you must escape from a burning room, but the fire never actually gets any closer. Later, you have to run around to find medical supplies to save Dupin's life after he gets shot, without any ill effects no matter how long it takes. Similarly, you must assemble ingredients and concoct an antidote when you yourself are poisoned in the bonus chapter of The Raven, and again in the main game of Lenore; but no matter how long it takes, nothing bad happens. This is also the case in Pendulum when various characters are in danger.
  • Transplant: Anna Fleurs, who properly debuted in Nightfall, is shown in the bonus chapter of Morella to have been the player character of The Raven, thus officially moving her into the main series.
  • Travel Montage: Seen Once an Episode starting in Lenore. Dupin and the player character enact a ten-second one of these, showing them (mostly Dupin) getting ready for the journey and hiring a carriage to take them to wherever the mystery is happening.
  • Trespassing Hero: Averted for the most part, especially by the first two games, which is unusual in games of this type. Dupin and the player character are usually invited to the initial investigation scene by either the homeowner, the police, or a concerned bystander (which, in the first game, is actually you). When entering a new residence or business outside of the initial area, Dupin will ask the owner's permission to conduct an investigation. However, Dupin isn't above conducting an investigation when the owner isn't home, as he does in the salon and windmill lodge areas of the first game.
    • Since The Black Cat takes place entirely on the Davies estate, Mark Davies is the only one that needs to give permission for it to be searched, making this the only game where going wherever you want was already permitted by the owner.
    • Starting in Premature Burial, Dupin's manners start slipping, partially due to having more locations per game with a smaller cast of characters; his lines per game are also being cut, though, to the point that he comments only rarely in The Fall of the House of Usher. Dupin enters locked shops and semi-private places (such as hotel rooms in The Gold Bug) without asking permission, though usually after finding a key; occasionally a lock is picked or destroyed by acid, or a building is entered through an opened window. He only notes that you two are trespassing when on Renelle Fore's property.
    • In Masque of the Red Death, you and Dupin break a window to get into a bakery; though it's been abandoned, it's still breaking and entering in addition to trespassing, and Dupin says nothing about it. Walking into private offices and what appear to be private places occurs quite frequently; it's interesting to note that the one time that you actually knock on someone's door, you get a gun pointed at you (but it's the mayor being paranoid).
    • In The Fall of the House of Usher, Roderick gives permission for Madeleine's room to be searched without being asked, but shops are still being entered without permission, though at least the keys are being found. Two of these places belong to the doctor you meet at the start of the game.
    • Jacques, in Marie Roget, gives permission without being asked to search his house for clues. The theater owner LeBlanc also does the same with Lola's room. Dupin and the player are actually called out on this by both LeBlanc and Madame Roget when a key is used to open the locked doors.
    • When exploring the suspect's home in Tell-Tale Heart, Dupin specifically remarks that they need to avoid being caught.
    • Although Dupin and the player have been invited to the Metzengerstein estate to help with the situation in the ninth game, they do lapse into this when they visiting the neighboring property belonging to their longtime rivals. However, since it's understood that the entire family is dead, there's no one to object to their presence.
    • In Lenore, it's very important that the detectives not be caught while exploring the Crows League's "nest," since the organization wants them dead. However, in the bonus chapter, Dupin notes that Alan Guillinger knows and trusts them and probably won't mind them going through his house in search of clues.
    • Inverted in Morella, where the house itself forces you to investigate in order to escape.
    • Dupin lampshades it in Speaking With the Dead by saying, "I never imagined I would ransack the same house twice."
  • Voiceover Letter: As noted above, many of the games begin with Dupin reading a letter which invites him to help solve the current case; while he reads (or allows you to read), the letter writer usually provides a voiceover of the letter's contents. In Pendulum, Dupin himself actually wrote the letter to you, so he's the one doing the voiceover.
  • The Watson: You! Although as the player you're the one doing all the real legwork, you still play this role to Dupin's Mr. Exposition.
    • May be flipped in House of Usher, where Dupin still provides exposition, but your first diary entry starts with the words "My assistant and I..." On the other hand, this could still be the trope played straight; since (unlike in previous games) the diary never mentions him by name, it's entirely possible that Dupin is writing the diary this time.
      • A diary entry written by Dupin also shows up in Premature Burial, just before you trespass on Renelle Fore's estate. It's obviously him because it includes the phrase "my friend." It's hard to say sometimes who is writing the diaries in some of the games; it could be that you always are, with an occasional but very rare entry from Dupin in some instances. It's also possible that the "diary" works more like "shared case notes," which is why Dupin would even be reading and writing in it in the first place.
  • Watsonian vs. Doylist: The games generally take a decidedly Watsonian view of things, with Dupin and the player character being actively involved in the stories as they unfold. However, House of Usher puts a Doylist spin on the matter by bringing Poe himself into the game and making reference to his works in a few puzzles; Pendulum also invokes him in a similar manner.

    Murders in the Rue Morgue 
  • Ascended Extra: Mademoiselle L'Espanaye. In the original story, she was murdered with her mother and stuffed up the chimney; here, she is rescued from her mother/sister's place and is found alive. (In the game, Mademoiselle is stated to be Madame's sister in the bank, jail, and newspaper accounts, but her daughter at the docks. She was also Madame's daughter in the original story.)
  • Big Fancy House: Dupin lives in a rather stately home in Paris, as seen in this game.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Pluto, the cat from the next game The Black Cat, appears in the bonus chapter. He's missing his ruby eye, but the book on a table and the sneak peek at the next game's concept art suggests strongly that it's him. (The concept art misspells his name on his tags as Pluton.) Doubles as a Production Foreshadowing.
  • Empathic Environment: The weather starts out on a dark, cold and rainy night. It briefly clears up and the moon shines when you pass Dupin's tests and he agrees to help you. It starts raining again and continues to do so until just after the crime scene is investigated. From there on the weather starts to clear up as the investigation moves forward to its conclusion, ending with day breaking at the final scenes.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage: Takes a more Real Life approach to this trope than the usual humorous one; the gorilla is the one that killed Madame L'Espanaye after it got loose from its cage and ran amok in the city.
  • Eye Take: An animal version of this occurs in the hidden object scene in front of the gorilla's cage. It's either hilarious or disturbing, or maybe both.
  • Fortune Teller: The laundress says this is what the murder victim did for a living.
  • Goodies in the Toilets: Seen in the bonus chapter; one of the missing pieces of the grandfather clock is inside the not-very-clean toilet... try not to think about it too much. (Though at least it's in the tank and not the toilet itself; you can even get it without getting your hands too wet.)
  • In Vino Veritas: Monsieur Odenheimer, the restaurant owner, is reluctant to tell you what he knows about the murder until you loosen his lips with a glass of wine.
  • Infant Immortality: While Madame L'Espanaye was being murdered, Eric L'Espanaye escaped being killed by hiding under the stairs. The murderer did go down the stairs but didn't see him, luckily.
  • Killer Gorilla: Quite literally, this is the murderer of the story. (Poe's original story had an orangutan.) The story also explains that the ape committed the murders accidentally because it misinterpreted the women's reactions to it; the game doesn't go into the same detail as the story.
  • Missing Mom: The victim's sister/daughter has a small son who is despondent over his mother's disappearance. She turns up okay in the end and they have a happy reunion.
    • Disappeared Dad: Eric's father is not in the game (justified, as he's a Canon Foreigner), and the fact that he exists at all adds questions that are never answered. Of note: his mother is identified as Mademoiselle, which is used for a woman who has never been married.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Invoked deliberately by Dupin himself. When you turn up to help him solve the murder, he makes you first solve a series of puzzles in and around his home. These puzzles have nothing to do with the case at hand - he just wants to make sure you're going to be able to keep up with him!
  • Pimped-Out Dress: According to the laundress, the murder victim's wardrobe was chiefly made up of these. When you find her missing sister/daughter, she's wearing one such dress.
  • Police are Useless: This seems to be Dupin's opinion. He remarks that the officials will go through the motions, but rarely exert any imagination or special effort.
  • Precious Photo: A small portrait of Eric L'Espanaye is found in his grandmother/aunt's safe deposit box at the bank.
  • Taxonomic Term Confusion: The gorilla is referred to as a monkey in-game. However, there are people that would argue that gorillas are apes, not monkeys. See the trope page for the full argument.
  • Torture Cellar: The locked prison cell in the gendarmerie is revealed to be this.
  • Weather Dissonance: It's pouring rain throughout most of the game... and a luminescent full moon is visible in the sky at the same time.
    • This is actually possible; it can rain and still show the sun or moon through gaps in the clouds. The moon shining when it rains is rather improbable for long periods of time, however. As suggested above, the weather in this game is more of an Empathic Environment, as the rain stops and the sun rises towards the end of the game.
  • What Happened To The Evidence?: The pipette that you give to the doctor in Madame L'Espanaye's house that's filled with blood. You never get the doctor's test results back, so you never learn whose blood it was, or why it was important to the case. Possibly a Red Herring.

    The Black Cat 
  • Animal Motif: A number of the puzzles involve animal images of one type or another.
    • Mark Davies is shown carrying a snake-headed cane in the ending. While this could at first be seen to symbolize the fact that he's an evil man who callously abused his wife and pets and murdered his wife in cold blood, there is a second meaning: his mind has been poisoned by the evil painting seen in the bonus chapter.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Replacing a cat's missing eye with a ruby is a bad idea. For starters, getting it in would be almost impossible, as many cats would squirm or fight before they'd let anyone do something like that, even a beloved owner. The cut gem can still cut or irritate the eye socket, leading the cat to dig or scratch it out; the eye socket could also become infected or gangrenous. Modern veterinarians will sew the top and bottom eyelids together instead.
  • Asshole Victim: Mark Davies. He abused his wife and Pluto. He knows his wife is dead but reports her missing instead. When Dupin and the player arrive at his house, he is initially hostile and defensive. When confronted with the crime, he's still hostile and very unapologetic. The bonus chapter reveals that Mark isn't really like this and was being possessed by an evil painting, but it's still hard to feel sorry for the guy.
  • Ax-Crazy: Mark Davies. You find out what drove him crazy in the bonus chapter. The opening cinematic even shows him murdering Sarah with an axe.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Despite the fact that her body was found, Sarah Davies' spirit is still not able to cross over into the afterlife because of the demonic painting; finding the painting and releasing the trapped figures within it is the plot of the bonus chapter.
  • Big Fancy House: The entire game takes place on the grounds of a massive estate which includes one of these.
  • Captain Obvious: If you click on the crackling fire in the drawing room without having the item needed to interact with it, your character observes: "Ouch! That's hot!"
  • Clucking Funny: There's a chicken standing by the side of the house that makes a cut scene play when you click on it.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Pluto is a black cat; black cats in Western society (and mentioned in Poe's story) were thought to be witches' familiars and were associated with black magic. While Pluto is oddly intelligent for a cat, he is incredibly loyal to Sarah and helpful to the detectives; he even assists them in their investigation and in helping to put Sarah's spirit to rest.
  • Dead All Along: Sarah and Pluto. Dupin remarks very early in the game that Sarah is deceased and that you're searching for her body; much later he notes that Pluto also must be deceased, which is proven to be the case when Sarah's body is finally found.
  • Die, Carriage! Die!: In order to get to the boathouse, a carriage blocking the way needs to be blown up.
  • Domestic Abuse: Eventually revealed to be part of the game's backstory.
  • Follow The Black Cat: Pluto seems to be leading the detectives around the estate, and following him in several areas will point to, and subsequently unlock, other areas that need to be explored. Dupin even lampshades the fact that Pluto obviously wants the detectives to follow him.
  • Ghostly Goals: A character wants the mysterious circumstances of her death explained.
    • Pluto also leads Dupin and the player character around the estate as if pointing out places they need to go in order to solve the mystery. In the bonus chapter he is there as well, encouraging the detectives to find the painting and set his and Sarah's spirits free.
  • Go into the Light: Finishing the bonus chapter allows Sarah and Pluto's spirits to do this.
  • Kick The Cat: Pluto's missing eye is the result of Mark Davies' animal abuse; a letter in the lake gazebo that was written by Sarah notes that Mark had been abusing their pets. Mark may have even buried Pluto alive in the wall where he put his wife's corpse; when Pluto is shown atop her corpse, he is practically skin and bones (a marked contrast to his appearance throughout the rest of the game), indicating he starved to death while in the wall.
  • Klotski: One of the locks in the Davies estate takes the form of this kind of puzzle.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: There's one in the wine cellar; it also involves glasses filled with wine.
  • Meaningful Name: Pluto shares his name with the Roman god of the dead. He's dead, of course. His loyalty to his owner is similar to the mythical Pluto's faithfulness to his wife, Persephone. Underworld deities are often associated with dark magic and mystery as well.
  • Paper Key-Retrieval Trick: Used to unlock one of the upstairs rooms.
  • Pixel Hunt: The Black Cat is probably the worst offender of this sort in the series to date. Some of the items in the hidden object scenes are dimly lit, partially concealed behind other items, very small, and/or strangely shaped.
  • Plot Lock: The main game places one of these on the east wing of the mansion house by having it be so badly damaged as to be unsafe to enter. In the bonus chapter of the collector's edition, the lock is removed, with the wing being magically restored; Dupin even comments on it. The demonic painting is hanging in this wing.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Pluto, the eponymous cat, has one red eye. It's actually a ruby that replaces a missing eye. The cat himself is not evil, but his missing eye is an early warning of the fact that things in the Davies household aren't quite right.
  • Red Herring: Seen when you repair the telescope and take a good look at the lake, only to spot what may be the body of the missing lady. It turns out to be a mannequin.
  • Sanity Slippage: Mark Davies. A painting of him and his wife from a few years earlier show the two being happily married. The letter at the gazebo at the center of the lake indicates that Mark had started drinking heavily and had been abusing his wife and pets. He eventually murders his wife. The bonus game reveals the true reason for Mark's actions being the influence of an evil painting.
  • Spooky Painting:
    • One of the hidden object scenes features a painting of the missing Sarah Davies. The eyes of the painting follow your computer cursor around the screen, and occasionally blink.
    • There is a picture of a black cat in the bonus chapter that has eyes that will follow the mouse cursor around as well.
    • In the illusionist's room, there is a poster of him where the eyes will suddenly glow yellow for a split second before returning to normal.
    • The trope is taken Up to Eleven in the bonus chapter, where you discover that a demonic painting is responsible for Sarah being murdered by her husband, and also for the home's previous owner having disappeared, most likely after he went insane.
  • Stealth Pun: There is a newspaper clipping which notes that the illusionist who previously owned the estate "suddenly disappeared". Making themselves, other people, and objects disappear is what magicians do best...
  • Timmy in a Well: Pluto displays an unusual amount of intelligence for a feline, deceased or otherwise. He seems to know who the detectives are and why they're there, and he deliberately leads them to and around the estate, opening up several areas for the detectives to explore. Dupin even comments on the fact that Pluto is leading them around. In the bonus chapter, he does the same thing in order to help the detectives put Sarah's soul to rest. Pluto also signals the fact that the painting is evil by hissing at it, just in case its evilness wasn't apparent by the way it looked.
  • Together in Death: Sarah and Pluto. Both were buried together inside the wall. At the beginning of the game eyewitnesses claim to have seen Sarah with Pluto, and Dupin and the player initially see Sarah with Pluto from outside the house. Throughout the course of the game, the two are frequently shown together. In the bonus chapter, Sarah and Pluto walk into the light together.
  • Undying Loyalty: Pluto, to Sarah. Not only does he assist the detectives in finding his owner's body, he's completely unwilling to move on to the afterlife without her. The bonus chapter states that neighbors can hear a cat howling, which is one of the reasons why the detectives investigate the house once more.
  • What Happened To The Illusionist and Mark Davies?: The illusionist in-game is said to have just disappeared; there is no explanation as to whether he is still alive or dead. The painting at the end is shown to release the figures of Mark and Sarah Davies and the illusionist; Sarah obviously moved on to the next life, but the illusionist isn't seen. Mark is still alive, so what effect did releasing him from the painting have?
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: You can't open the safe in the drawing room, even if you remember the code from a previous playthrough, unless you first find the clue. You have to repair the clock in the study and receive a scrap of paper, then light the fire in the drawing room and use the scrap on the fire to make the numbers appear.

    The Premature Burial 
  • Arranged Marriage: Julien and Victorine were in love with each other, but Victorine's family did not approve of this and instead decided she would marry the wealthy Fore, against her wishes and without either of the couple having any sort of affection for one another.
  • Asshole Victim: Renelle Fore. His deceased wife kills him and he does deserve it, but the reason why she kills him is because the cemetery caretaker has made sure that any ghostly revenge enacted by Renelle's deceased wives will fall on Fore instead of him. The caretaker is the one that masterminded the plan in the first place, and he even did research to help him avoid Louise's vengeance; Fore may have never thought of murdering rich women himself otherwise. It's impossible to feel sorry for Fore, though, as he did kill his wives willingly. He also takes sadistic glee in realizing - and telling you - that he's taking the secret of Victorine's location with him into death.
  • The Bluebeard: Renelle Fore. He is the rare version of this trope that murders his wives out of greed.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Louise Fore. Killing her husband for revenge helps her to pass on; unfortunately, she doesn't realize that the real mastermind avoided her revenge entirely.
  • Buried Alive: As hinted by the title.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The caretaker, when it comes to vengeful ghosts! This is why he had Fore bury his wives alive; the ghosts would enact their revenge on the one that directly killed them, not on the person that came up with the Evil Plan in the first place.
  • Creepy Cemetery: Unsurprisingly, one of the main settings.
  • Cry Cute: Victorine is weeping when you find her still alive in the crypt, and it only makes her look that much more beautiful.
  • Darker and Edgier: Poe's story of The Premature Burial was pretty much a spoof of the Buried Alive stories. The game has Dupin and the protagonist meet up with a ghost swearing revenge and the mystery involving the deaths of Renelle Fore's wives.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Louise Fore, the ghost that appears at the beginning of the game, has black hair and wears a dress that is mostly black. She causes the carriage to crash in the opening cinematic when she scares the horses, but nobody seems to be injured by it; she seems to have done this mainly to get the detectives' attention and not because she was out to harm them. Even though she's quite angry, she never threatens the detectives; her anger is rightfully directed towards the person that killed her. Unfortunately, killing Fore makes Victorine's rescue more difficult, as he dies before revealing where Victorine was buried; Louise has no way of knowing this because being dead doesn't make you psychic, and Fore probably wouldn't have said anything anyway, but rather would have had the detectives arrested for trespassing. In the bonus chapter, it's hinted that your presence is what made Louise manifest in the first place, so she has no reason to want to harm you.
  • Dead All Along: Played straight and subverted. Victorine is still alive inside the crypt, but Fore's previous wife Louise is definitely dead.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The caretaker. He's the one who came up with the whole scheme to bury cataleptic women alive in the first place. Suspicion never falls on him in the main game at all, and it's not until the bonus chapter that he's revealed. The fact that, as the caretaker of the graveyard, he's the one that would have been one of the first to notice that Renelle was burying his wives very quickly and quietly, that he'd buried three of them this way, and that the caretaker had never mentioned this to anyone or tipped off the police are all early signs that he was in on it from the beginning. You get more specific proof of his guilt in the bonus chapter.
  • Evil Plan: The caretaker's plan that he proposed to Fore was to get a list of wealthy women with catalepsy (see below), marry one of them, deliberately distress her enough to put her into a cataleptic state, have her declared dead, and then bury her before she woke up in order to inherit her wealth.
  • Faux Death: As the game progresses, you learn that Victorine was diagnosed with catalepsy, a medical condition which causes the sufferer to enter a rigor mortis-like state easily mistaken for death (at least in Poe's time). Her husband's previous wives had the same thing. It's the specific reason he married them.
  • Go into the Light: What Louise wants to do. As she tells the detectives, she can't rest because of the way she died. After the detectives arrive in time to see Fore die from whatever she did to him, she appears to them one last time, calling them her friends and thanking them for helping her get her vengeance, before apparently doing exactly this.
  • Greed: What motivates Fore to kill the women he marries. Presumably it's the caretaker's motivation as well, but there's no evidence of Fore sharing the wealth with him; you only find trophy items in the caretaker's hut but no large amounts of money. The caretaker may have kept it elsewhere or even buried it, however.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • One of the clues found in the pharmacy office is a list of women with catalepsy, including their wealth and marital status. When you play the bonus chapter, and learn how many times Fore has pulled his stunt, you realize that all of his wives are on that list. The others are either married or not sufficiently wealthy for his plans.
    • Near the end of the game, the detectives learn from the caretaker about the older part of the cemetery which has been walled off. The player character remarks that the caretaker seems very uneasy about sharing this information with them. Come The Reveal in the bonus chapter and you learn why - he's The Man Behind the Man, and he knows that Victorine's probably still alive.
  • Ghostly Goals/Unfinished Business: A character wants the mysterious circumstances of her death explained. She also wants revenge.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: There are 33 roses that are scattered throughout the various scenes of the main game. You can collect them as you go or run around and get them all at the end, but they are needed to create the final Plot Coupon.
  • Happily Ever After: Suggested by the ending, as Julien and Victorine can finally be together.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Victorine hears spooky noises when she's locked in the crypt; when she's freed, she tells Dupin about them. This is what leads to your Solo Sequence in the bonus chapter. Although you never hear the sounds yourself, one possibility is that they were being made by the spirit of Fore's first wife, Laura. This would make sense, as Fore's death would have set her spirit free and thus she would no longer be making the noises, explaining why you don't hear them.
  • In Name Only: This is the first game in the series to have a plot that was nothing like the original story. Justified in that the original story was a comedy and not a mystery, but Poe wrote other Buried Alive stories that were much more serious and could have been adapted just as easily. One of these is The Fall of the House of Usher, which was later added to the game series.
  • Interrupted Suicide: You and Dupin arrive at Julien's shabby apartment just in time to stop him from hanging himself.
  • Lack of Empathy: Victorine notes in her letters to Julien that Fore is completely unsympathetic towards her; she states that his attitude is making her catalepsy worse and that he doesn't care about her illness. Averted by a note in the pharmacist's office where the pharmacist notes that Fore was in making inquiries about his wife's disease, and remarks that Fore is "a caring man". Unfortunately, the pharmacist is wrong.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Played straight when Louise kills her husband. Averted when the bonus chapter reveals that the caretaker was the true mastermind; he learned that a ghost would only take vengeance on the person directly responsible for their death, not the one that came up with the plan to kill them in the first place. As a result, he's able to avoid Fore's fate at Louise's hands, a fate that should have been his as well. It's up to the player instead to deliver this to the caretaker.
  • Lonely Funeral: An unusual variant. Julien reaches out to Dupin for help resolving the matter of Victorine's funeral, because her husband had it hushed up to the point that he didn't even allow her own relatives to attend - it was exclusively himself and the cemetery caretaker. Not only that, but nobody knows where she's buried, so they can't even go to pay their respects at her grave. That, of course, is so nobody can figure out she's alive in the crypt.
  • Marry for Love: Julien and Victorine are engaged by the end of the game; it's a given that this is what they'll be doing in the near future.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Fore killed Louise by burying her alive; Louise's spirit takes revenge on Fore by killing him in return.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Renelle Fore as the rich suitor and Julien as the poor one. This is a rare case of the rich suitor winning, but it's not because he's a nice guy or because Victorine truly loves him; it's because Victorine's relatives force her to marry him.
  • Rule of Three: Seen in the bonus chapter. The main game implies that Victorine is Fore's second wife and victim; the vengeful ghost seen throughout the game is that of his previous bride, Louise. But the bonus chapter reveals that Victorine was actually his third wife - he also killed his first wife, Laura!
    • Also seen in a puzzle in Fore's room; the hint given for the puzzle is that "(item needed to solve puzzle) always comes in threes".
  • Secret Underground Passage: It's how you get to Victorine to free her. Another one is present in the bonus chapter and is connected to Fore's house.
  • Solo Sequence: Although Dupin is right there with you most of the time (even though you can't usually see him), you get one of these in the bonus chapter. He takes the victims to make a full statement to the police, and leaves you to do the remaining sleuthing in the crypt.
  • Something About a Rose: As noted above, you have to collect 33 roses to create the final Plot Coupon.
  • Unable to Support a Wife: Julien is an artist and a poor man. This is most likely the reason why Victorine's family refused to allow him to marry her. Still in play by the ending, but Victorine doesn't care and apparently her family can't stop her any longer; she says she'll support both of them with her inheritance instead. With her horrible husband dead, she has not only her own wealth but also what she'll inherit from him, so she certainly has enough money to make good on the promise.
  • Uptown Girl: Victorine is a wealthy woman in love with a poor artist, Julien. Her family didn't approve.
  • Western Zodiac: One puzzle has the player connect the dots to create the constellation Pisces.
  • Whip It Good: You wield a whip during part of the bonus chapter. The player character uses it on the caretaker to defeat him.
  • You Have to Burn the Web: Part of navigating the underground tunnels in the final part of the main game.
    • One of the hidden object scenes may require you to do this to find an item on the list.

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    The Gold Bug 
  • Adapted Out: In the original story, LeGrand had an African manservant named Jupiter, who informed the narrator of LeGrand's suspect mental state and was necessary for the completion of the quest to find Kidd's treasure. He's obviously been removed for the game's story because such a character would be deemed offensive.
  • Ascended Extra: Arthur, the Newfoundland. In the original tale, he's named Wolf and is mentioned in passing when he gives LeGrand an insight as he jumps on the narrator. In the game, Arthur is used to sniff out clues and the game cannot be completed without his help.
  • Blinded by the Light: How you defeat the villain.
  • Foreshadowing: There's a dress in one of the hotel rooms. No, it's not in the veiled woman's room, it's in the concierge's room. Neither Dupin nor the player character comment on it; the concierge later admits to being the veiled woman.
  • Demoted to Extra: The titular gold bug. In the original story, this creature had the mark of a death's head on its back, which was extremely important to LeGrand's interpretation of the cryptic instructions and his search for the treasure. Here a gold bug was merely left with the un-decrypted first message to catch his interest; it doesn't show up again after this.
  • Fortune Teller: The detectives find and utilize a fortune telling doll called Cyril the Seer.
  • Gold Fever: The diary notes that LeGrand seems to have a form of this, being obsessed with the discovery of Captain Kidd's lost treasure, but also notes that he seems harmless nevertheless. This is a nod to the original story, but there the narrator also believes LeGrand literally has a fever after being told LeGrand got bitten by the gold bug.
  • Heroic Dog: Arthur the Newfoundland, who is used to sniff out clues. He also helps to subdue the villain at the end.
    • Precious Puppy: Arthur's companion and possibly his son, whom you save in the beginning of the game. Returning the puppy to Arthur makes him less vicious, so they do have some kind of connection to each other. It doesn't make sense, though, as Newfoundlands are generally fairly sweet-tempered dogs in the first place.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The villain is practically within arm's reach of LeGrand when he fires his pistol... and he still misses. He acknowledges later that he's a terrible shot.
  • Kick the Dog: At the beginning of the game, the villain attempts to throw a bag into the water. If he had succeeded, he would have drowned a Newfoundland puppy.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Gold Bug is arguably lighter than the other Dark Tales. Justified in that it's based on a treasure hunt rather than one of Poe's horror stories (The Black Cat, Masque of the Red Death and House of Usher), parodies (Premature Burial), or mysteries (Murders in the Rue Morgue).
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: The Big Bad finally realizes that he's not going to be able to solve the mystery surrounding Captain Kidd's treasure, so he just waits and follows you and Dupin.
  • MacGuffin Title: There is an actual gold bug in the game, in addition to LeGrand developing Gold Fever.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: The villain hides behind a mask. Combined with In the Hood.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The white cactus fish needed to save LeGrand. Lampshaded in the diary, where it's also noted that it gets its name from its prickly appearance.
  • Pet Interface: Arthur the Newfoundland is your canine companion in this game, and an exceptionally intelligent one at that. Examples of his intellect include using a hat as a makeshift nest for chicks, and figuring out that the detectives can use fireflies as a light source for a lantern.
  • Production Foreshadowing: The sound effects for hints and one of the music scores are both from the Maestro series that ERS Games produces. The game published after The Gold Bug was the third Maestro game, Music From the Void.
  • Red Herring: One of the suspects appears to have all the evidence stacked against him, until you actually examine it. Mike the gardener has a wound on his hand from using pruners, but his blood sample doesn't match that left behind by the perpetrator. Mike also works part-time at the gunsmith, but he wasn't the one who fired the shot.
    • The concierge is also the veiled woman; he claims to have done this to lead you and Dupin down the wrong trail. Since he didn't actually know you were coming or who you were until later, presumably he did this to throw off anyone who would be investigating either LeGrand's death or the theft of the treasure once LeGrand found it.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Dupin is particularly keen to have you with him on this adventure because of your renowned skills in codebreaking and deciphering. These skills were not mentioned in the previous games.
    • Remember all those messages you had to decipher? They were the instructions on how to find the treasure. LeGrand is never shown as ever having actually figured out what these messages mean; yet once you reach the tree with the skull on it at the end of the game, he suddenly knows exactly where the treasure is buried. Only somewhat justified in that he's been researching Captain Kidd for years; he still couldn't have figured out where the treasure was without interpreting those messages, which in the original story took LeGrand months.
  • Timmy in a Well: Arthur is a little bit too intelligent for a dog. While dogs can smell better than humans, when the detectives find the veil, Arthur makes a beeline to a hidden cache in the woman's room. However, the woman's scent would have been all over the room. Not even justified when it's revealed the villain was also the veiled woman, as the veil should have attracted Arthur towards the concierge's room instead; the source of the scent would have been far stronger in there. Modern-day cadaver dogs can sniff scents through cement and rubble, so Arthur should have easily smelled the scent through wood walls. Arthur also uses a lamp to find fireflies; the lamp hasn't been used in at least a hundred years or so, and was most likely only used with candles or oil. Any insect scents would have long worn off. Arthur's unerring accuracy is also unrealistic; while dogs are used to scent out people or items all the time, they do give false positives. Furthermore, Newfoundlands are not known for their scent detecting abilities and were never used as hunting dogs; their natural ability is in water rescue and they were used to pull fish nets and haul carts in the 1800's.
  • Took a Shortcut: When you and Dupin are about to uncover Captain Kidd's treasure, LeGrand shows up literally from out of nowhere, declaring that he's fully recovered (he had been poisoned) and eager to join you on the final leg of the search. The trope comes in when you realize that you had to take a boat to get to where you are, and yours is the only boat tied up on the shore... so how did he get there?!
    • Happens again in the junk seller's shop and on the island. You have to unlock the main door yourself; when you enter, LeGrand is already inside. This is justified because the junk shop actually does have a back door, but how LeGrand accessed it isn't possible for the detectives and the path he took is never accessible. At the island, no one can pass to get to the tree before an obstacle is removed. Not only does LeGrand get there before you, but he's already figured out where the treasure is buried. (In the original story, actually finding the treasure at the treasure site takes at least several hours.)
  • The Un-Reveal: The villain is not identified by name, leading a number of players to post in the forums that they didn't know who he was supposed to be. It's the concierge from the hotel - who is also never given a name. Not quite a Stranger Behind the Mask, since he is seen previously, but about as close as you can get to the trope without actually achieving it; his previous appearance is so brief that by the time he's unmasked, many players have forgotten all about him.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: The concierge admits that he's also the veiled lady; he claims to have done this to throw you and Dupin off the track.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Seen in the bonus chapter of the collector's edition. The only reason Mike steals the treasure is to pay for an expensive medical treatment for his mother.
  • Western Zodiac: One puzzle requires all twelve signs of said zodiac to be placed in order.

    Masque of the Red Death 
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the short story Masque of the Red Death, Prospero was a prince who held a masquerade ball for wealthy guests while trying to avoid the Red Death; he ignores the suffering of the poorer classes, but isn't responsible for the plague that's killing them. In the game, he's a Mayor Pain who is directly responsible for the suffering of the townsfolk.
  • Addressing the Player: In most of the games, you enter your name at the beginning (to create the save profile) and it's never seen again. However, in the collector's edition of this game, you visit your private office which is decorated with documents related to the previous games in the series, all of which have your name on them (even if you've never played any of the other games). There's also a personalized 'autograph' from Dupin to "my best friend."
  • Ascended Extra: In the original story, the man in the red mask only appeared at the very end of the story and was a ghostly representative of the plague, not an actual person. Here he's an actual person who has a much bigger role as a political activist and assassin.
    • The townspeople as a whole play a more important role than they did in the original. They're mentioned briefly in Poe's story as being afflicted by the plague; Prospero walls himself and his guests into his estate in order to avoid them. In the game, they're much more vocal in their disapproval of the mayor and of Morro at the end of the bonus chapter.
  • Beary Friendly: You encounter a bear who helps you by knocking apples down from a tree.
  • Big Damn Fire Exit: In the beginning of the bonus chapter.
  • Big Fancy House: Mayor Prospero's home, forming a stark contrast with the dwellings of most of Lumineaux's other residents.
    • In the bonus chapter, Morro's house turns out to be a castle.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: The Red Masque is shown to have one of these in a cutscene.
  • Call-Back: The player character finds a message stating that animals have escaped from the zoo. Near the end of the game, one of these - a lion cub - appears in Mayor Prospero's mansion.
    • Even earlier, the detectives run into the very same crocodile that's pictured on the poster!
  • Central Theme: Justice
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The dachshund seen in the beginning of the game is used to chase rats away. It returns at the very end to scare away the lion cub - see Call-Back, above - in the manor.
    • The old woman for whom you bake bread is only there to state how much of a jerk Mayor Prospero is. She ends up having a major role in the bonus chapter. She's Jacques Morro's mother, and she saw that her son was faking his death and was teaming up with the Red Masque.
  • Cosmetic Award: Your personal office eventually becomes filled with these as you unlock the various achievements.
  • Cute Kitten: The player adopts one and can collect toys and treats for kitty, then go into the office to watch him play with them. The cat doesn't play any role in the story; he's just an extra feature.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • In the mayor's fireplace, you find a letter from his young daughter, whom he has sent away from Lumineaux to stay with her grandmother for safety. She writes that she's enjoying her visit but she misses him and hopes he comes to them soon.
    • Jacques Morro has a sweet little daughter who loves him very much. It makes him being the Bigger Bad in the bonus chapter all the more unsettling.
  • Exact Words: As noted above, ERS Games stated ahead of time that Dupin would have his shirt removed in the bonus chapter of this game. What they did not say was that this would happen when he gets shot in the chest by Jacques Morro and the player character has to bandage him. Fortunately, the bullet doesn't reach his heart and the shirt is only removed up to the left arm and chest.
  • First Person Snapshooter: One of the achievements you can unlock in the collector's edition is to take photographs of every scene you encounter. It also has a useful function, in that you can jump directly to a scene you've photographed by opening the map portion of your diary and clicking on the picture.
  • Foreshadowing: The guard you meet early in the game mentions that he has a sister. You meet up with him again later as the first Red Masque because his sister, Amelie Durand, is sent to jail and he goes to free her.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: In the collector's edition, some of the achievements you can unlock in your private office are of this nature.
  • Heroic Dog: The player finds a dachshund to use as an inventory item; see Call-Back, above.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Rene Durand. He actually states in a note in the bonus chapter that he thinks Morro would be a better choice for town mayor; this is his motivation for making a deal with Morro and helping him fake his death in the main game. What he doesn't seem to know is that Morro overstepped his authority when he ordered executions; he was only authorized to make arrests by Prospero. Morro's own mother also left her son's home when she got fed up by his lust for power; Rene doesn't seem to have ever talked to her about Morro.
  • I Am Spartacus: The crowd at the end of the bonus chapter does this in a non-verbal manner. When Morro tries to claim that Dupin is the Masque when Dupin drops the fliers showing his guilt on the crowd, the crowd responds by throwing red masks in the air, indicating that all of them are the Masque.
  • Implausible Deniability: The ending scene of the bonus chapter has Jacques Morro exclaiming that he wasn't responsible for the crimes he committed or for faking his own death. The crowd doesn't buy it.
  • Lighter and Softer: Especially compared to its source material. The game revolves not around a plague, but rather a vigilante with a red mask trying to take justice in his own hands against Mayor Prospero.
    • The theme of a rich person completely ignoring the suffering of the poor but eventually getting their comeuppance is still the same, though.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: The Red Masque combines this with In the Hood.
  • Mayor Pain: Mayor Prospero.
    • Somewhat subverted in the bonus chapter. He was set up by Officer Rene Durand and police officer Jacques Morro, and it's never stated whether Prospero was really as evil as he seemed to be. The illegal executions that Morro performed were probably blamed on Prospero instead; Morro only had the authority to arrest people, not execute them, and Prospero failed to make sure that Morro wasn't overstepping his authority. Evil or not, Prospero was still a lousy mayor.
  • Meaningful Name: Lumineaux, the setting for the game, is French for 'Light'.
    • Prospero is Latin for "fortunate" or "prosperous". While the townsfolk aren't doing very well financially, Prospero himself most certainly is and he even has his own Treasure Room.
  • Milestone Celebration: In-universe. The game begins on the ten-year anniversary of Mayor Prospero's rule over Lumineaux.
  • Multiple Endings: You can arrest either Mayor Prospero or the Red Masque. It ends with one sent to jail and the innocent party walking out of the courthouse. Of course, as the bonus chapter in the collector's edition shows, it doesn't make that much of a difference.
  • Panda-ing to the Audience: In one puzzle, the player character finds two panda toys as part of a painting... in 19th century France.
  • Produce Pelting: In the beginning, there are villagers throwing eggs at a fountain of Mayor Prospero.
  • Properly Paranoid: When you knock on Mayor Prospero's office door and then open it, you find him pointing a gun at you. While he is justified because the Red Masque is targeting government officials for death, it's highly doubtful an assassin would announce himself by knocking on the door first.
  • Red Herring: The first Red Masque is Perenn, the town guard. He disguises himself as the Red Masque to free the prisoners (one of them being his sister), but he isn't the one who killed the town officials.
  • Shirtless Scene: The dashing Dupin gets a partial one in the bonus chapter. How and why he has one is another thing altogether. See Exact Words, above.
  • So Proud of You: Several of the awards hanging above your fireplace in the trophy room are from Dupin and express how much he appreciates your help in the four previous cases.
  • Tarot Motifs: Justice plays a prominent role. You obtain a set of scales hung by a woman in a blindfold, and a puzzle involves rearranging some books so the spines create the woman in the tarot card.
  • Treasure Room: Mayor Prospero has a hidden one in his office. It contains a Booby Trap in the form of an axe. Dupin makes a remark about both.
  • Torture Cellar: It's implied that one of the prison cells is this, although it's not actually shown.
  • Western Zodiac: One puzzle has a chest with a combination based on three zodiac symbols.
  • Wham Shot: A drop of blood landing on Dupin's glove after Jacques Morro fires his gun.
  • The X of Y

    The Fall of the House of Usher 
  • The Ageless: Estelle. She looks to be in her twenties when a picture of her with the Usher twins as babies is found; she still looks the same age now that the twins are grown up. In the bonus chapter, it's shown she's been alive since Henry Usher lived, as it's him in the Viking garb in the drawings.
  • Asshole Victim: Arguably, Roderick and Madeleine. Unless they were somehow charmed into obliviousness, they knew what Estelle was doing (sacrificing the townspeople) because they had to be present when someone was put into the stone coffin for the procedure to work. Neither one of them objected to innocent townspeople being killed in order to prolong their lives, nor did Roderick ever inform the detectives that this was happening (Madeleine being either missing or unconscious until the ending). Granted, most people don't want to die, but Roderick doesn't show any guilt that a number of other people have given up their lives to prolong his. Presumably Madeleine is the same, as she never mentions what's really going on in her diary. When the two of them disappear at the end of the main game, it's difficult to feel sorry for the end of their existence.
  • Big Fancy House: The eponymous house was probably this originally, but by the time of the game is apparently on the verge of collapse; the bonus chapter shows a few other houses in the nearby village which fit the trope too.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Usher twins have a bizarre connection which causes them to feel one another's pain - if something physically happens to one, it will happen to the other too. They are also incapable of leaving their estate, as the disease makes them too tired to travel far. Likely this is caused by the house as a means of preventing them from escaping.
    • This was introduced by the game, as in Poe's story Roderick is shown to have a premonition about his sister only once in his life; it can be interpreted there as more of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy than actual Twin Telepathy.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: The First Person Snapshooter activity from Masque is brought back. However, whereas in Masque it serves a useful function (forming an interactive map enabling fast travel), it's almost completely pointless in Usher; it does nothing except create a photo album in the player character's personal study. Many players complained about this in the forums.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: The pond behind the Usher house turns into one of these for no apparent reason, and you have to find the purifying elixir that will turn it back into normal water.
  • Buried Alive: Most likely included as a nod to the original work, the missing Madeleine Usher is sealed alive inside a stone tomb.
  • Cessation of Existence: Roderick and Madeleine turn into a cloud of dust and blow away at the end of the game.
  • Collection Sidequest: One of the achievements in your personal study can only be unlocked by collecting all of the gold coins concealed inside dollhouses which are hidden throughout the scenes of the game and bonus chapter; these are then spent to allow you to collect all of the necessary scientific equipment to solve an extra case, which will unlock the achievement.
  • Continuity Nod: Pluto, the titular animal from The Black Cat, returns in this game and is seen wandering around the Usher estate. Unlike in his own game, however, he doesn't interact with the detectives at all and is of virtually no use in solving the mystery. He's also alive in this game, not a ghost, as Estelle is shown holding him several times.
    • A Newfoundland that looks like Arthur is also seen early in the game, but the dog simply runs off without joining you.
    • LeGrand shows up in the forensic mini-game as one of the suspects, but he's got a different name for some reason.
  • Cosmetic Award: As in the previous game, your personal study becomes filled with these as you unlock the various achievements. However, this time there are no personalized documents noting your prior successes.
  • Creator Cameo: In the Creepy Cemetery of the game, there's a statue of Edgar Allan Poe that comes to life and quotes a few lines from The Raven.
    • The museum also has a pedestal dedicated to Poe; it contains a puzzle that has to be solved by finding emblems of four of his stories (a red mask, a pendulum, a well, and a black cat).
    • A third puzzle in the library has you put Poe's short stories in order.
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: The doctor's office has one; it's part of a puzzle.
  • Darker and Edgier: The original story of House of Usher was already pretty creepy, but the game dials it Up to Eleven with the addition of the house demanding blood sacrifices from the Ushers.
  • Dead Man Writing: A section of your diary keeps track of the photographs you find from the previous detective that investigated the Ushers. It also keeps track of what was written on the back of each photograph, which turns out to be a message from the dead detective detailing the curse of the house of Usher.
  • Deal with the Devil: The villain has more or less made one of these. Estelle agrees to keep supplying the bloodthirsty house with other sacrifices in return for Roderick and Madeleine's continued health; as members of the Usher family, one of them would traditionally be the house's next victim.
  • Death by Childbirth: Marianna Usher, the mother of twins Roderick and Madeleine, is noted to have died giving birth to them. No mention is made of their father, and they apparently have been brought up by a Parental Substitute, the housekeeper Estelle.
  • Doom Magnet: Dr. Morris's observations on the Usher twins and their curse suggests that they could be considered this. The bonus chapter explains that a cursed stone found by their ancestor, Henry Usher, was the real doom magnet.
  • Downer Ending/Everybody's Dead, Dave: Implied by the bonus chapter's ending. When the evil mechanism which lets the house devour the living is destroyed, Roderick and Madeleine vanish into thin air. Dupin saves Dr. Morris, but Estelle is crushed by falling rocks. However, the bonus chapter reveals her to still be alive, and the evil which powered the Usher house is still killing people throughout the village. Estelle is Killed Off for Real when the evil is destroyed, leaving Dupin and the player character as the only apparent survivors of the adventure.note 
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the player character's office, there is a portrait of two figures; one is clearly Dupin. The other has a blank face, but the figure and costume is clearly that of a woman. House of Usher was released in March 2014; Nightfall was released in July of the same year, and what features can be seen of the woman in the portrait (particularly the hair and hat) strongly resemble Anna Fleurs, Dupin's assistant in that game.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Bigger Bad, in addition to having eyes looking off in various directions, talks to you. The voice is deep and unsettling.
  • Fainting: The player character's initial reaction to seeing the violent ghost in the graveyard is this.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Seen in the bonus chapter, where it almost kills Dupin.
  • First Person Snapshooter: As noted under Bonus Feature Failure, this optional activity makes a return, but with no useful purpose.
  • Geometric Magic: One of the puzzles require you to make a leather pouch for a potion that has a magical geometric symbol on it; the potion has no effect without it. An unusual version of this, as it's made on an object and not drawn on the ground, and it's also made with thread.
    • Silver Has Mystic Powers: The thread used has to be silver, according to the directions. However, when the sewing is completed, it's multicolored.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The trope is utilized extensively; in addition to the Collection Sidequest noted above, the player must collect potion ingredients, crafting components, and photographs which are inserted into the scenery to make certain objects available for interaction.
  • Greek Mythology: Charon, the Greek ferryman of the dead, blocks the entrance to the cemetery.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Roderick and Madeleine are fraternal, but they look very much alike.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In the main game, Estelle tries to block your investigation several times and threatens the doctor in exchange for the swords needed to destroy the casket for the sacrifices. She shows up in the bonus game asking the detectives for help in stopping the estate from draining the people's life forces in town. Her turn is probably motivated by the fact that there are no more Ushers for her to serve any longer, but it still feels somewhat odd.
  • The Life Draining Mechanism Has Eyes: And lots of them.
  • Looks Like Cesare: Roderick, what with the pale skin and bags under his eyes. Justified considering the nightmare in which he's trapped; when Madeleine is seen later, she isn't much better.
    • The twins are stated in the beginning of the game to have some kind of disease in addition to their Twin Telepathy. The effects of the disease could be part of the explanation why they look the way they do. The other explanation is that, because one of them was supposed to be a sacrifice to the house, the house is deliberately draining their life energy in order to get one (or both) of them to fulfill that role, which also forces Estelle to find new victims constantly to appease the thing.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The titular house, which demands human sacrifices. The bonus chapter of the game indicates that other houses in the area become afflicted in the same manner because they were made out of the same stone as the Usher estate.
  • Perspective Magic: Seems to be utilized in this game, since some of the items you gather should logically be too large or too small for the uses to which they are put. For example, the cymbal from a large modern drum set is given to a wind-up toy monkey that realistically should have been much smaller than the cymbal itself, yet is able to hold it perfectly well in one hand.
  • Pet Interface: You acquire a mouse and train it to retrieve small objects for you.
  • Plot Lock: The game places one of these on the house's library. You can get the key to unlock the door, but are then thwarted in your attempt to enter anyway.
    • The plot lock is removed much later in the game, when you find an alternative way into the library. Estelle doesn't want you to go into the library because she doesn't want you to find the Secret Underground Passage to the sacrifice area, and the entrance is in that room.
  • Production Foreshadowing: In the forensic mini-game, two of the suspects are characters seen in A Wealth of Betrayal, which is a game in the Grim Facade series also produced by ERS. A Wealth of Betrayal would be the next ERS game released.
  • Properly Paranoid: The residents of the village founded by Henry Usher have long been suspicious of the members of the Usher family, and the suspicions have only gotten stronger since some of their neighbors started disappearing.
  • Saving the World: At the end of the cut scene in the cemetery, Dupin says, "We still have a world to save." It doesn't make any sense, though, as you're still searching for Madeleine at that point. It still doesn't make any sense by the ending in the context of this game or any other. You've never solved a mystery that threatened the entire world; at most it was a town, and here it's still just a village you end up saving.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: The player unleashes a benevolent spirit called "The Reborn One," who is able to give life to statues.
  • Secret Underground Passage: How you and Dupin access the last few areas of the game.
  • Shared Mass Hallucination: When you and he witness a group of apparent specters, Dupin outright asks whether it was a shared hallucination.
  • Shout-Out: When you first see him, Roderick sings a line from Poe's The Haunted Palace. Fitting, considering the circumstances. It's a nod to the original; Roderick in Poe's tale also does the same thing when meeting the narrator.
  • Taken for Granite: Inverted; the Reborn One has the power to turn statues into living, sentient creatures - only the ones with gold cracks in their surface, though.
    • Played straight when you actually first find them, however. Some of them even need to be repaired or moved before you can restore them to life.
    • There are a few statues, most notably the ones in the final areas of the game, that don't move or do anything else once the Reborn One restores them. Restoring them just enables you to get the item they're holding; otherwise they may not be anything other than actual statues.
  • Temporal Paradox: Implied by one puzzle, although it appears to have no negative effect on the heroes; they don't even seem to notice that something's weird. The puzzle requires you to arrange five of Poe's stories according to the years in which they were published. One of the stories in question is The Fall of the House of Usher, the events of which are going on around you.
  • Twin Telepathy: Roderick and Madeleine Usher have a form of this; see Blessed with Suck, above.
  • Useless Item: A non-weapon variant. The inventory panel includes the presence of a small rat who engages in various vaguely distracting activities such as eating sunflower seeds and falling off his perch. It serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever and you cannot interact with it in any way, nor can you turn it off or get rid of it.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The villain. Estelle goes to some crazy lengths, mainly sacrificing the lives of innocent villagers and outsiders, in order to keep her beloved Roderick and Madeleine alive.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Literally. When you use your trained mouse to distract the cat, they both disappear and are never seen again. Quite possibly, we don't really want to know what happened to the mouse.
    • It's implied by the animation that the mouse somehow scared the cat, which was definitely not a realistic reaction on the cat's part.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The diary of the previous detective found at the beginning of the game includes sketches of some of the missing villagers, one of whom is clearly a young boy.
  • The X of Y

     The Mystery of Marie Roget 
  • Adapted Out: A number of witnesses to Marie's movements on the day of her death as recorded by Poe are written out of this adaptation. Justified in that the story was adapted as a ghost tale instead of a Real Life crime; also, since no one knows that Lola is not Marie, they therefore don't know that a missing person's movements need to be reconstructed.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The fire in the theater.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Madame Roget's old friend Jory, in the bonus chapter, refers to her as "Esti" (short for Estel).
  • Animal Motif: There's a strong presence of animals and animal imagery in this game, including owls, sharks, ravens, spiders, and more.
  • Ascended Extra: Marie Roget. In the original story, she's discussed but never appears at all; Dupin's entire analysis of her murder is done through newspaper reports. Here, her ghost makes a significant appearance and is much more important to the plot.
    • Gaius also has a much larger role here than he did in the story; there he was not named and only mentioned in passing as being a companion of Marie. Here, he's the villain and the definite murderer of Marie.
    • LeBlanc was also only mentioned in passing in Poe's tale as the owner of the store where Marie worked. Here he is a theater owner and prominent witness and has more plot significance.
    • Madame Roget was Marie's mother in the original, and mentioned in passing as the one that reported Marie missing. Here her role has been expanded in having greater significance as the owner of a bakery where her niece Marie worked. Furthermore, Gaius has been threatening her and possibly trying to blackmail her as well; her will becomes evidence in the case, and she's also necessary for Marie to pass on to the afterlife. Finally, in the bonus chapter she is kidnapped, and it's revealed that Lola is actually her daughter.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Marie Roget. She can't rest because she was buried under another person's name, and because she wants revenge on Gaius for murdering her. She also needs the forgiveness of her aunt, for running away to marry Gaius against Madame Roget's wishes, in order to rest in peace.
  • Blackmail: The sailor Gaius is an expert at this. He's blackmailing "Marie" because he knows that she's really Lola Saunie. He knows this because he murdered the real Marie!
  • Bearer of Bad News: You and Dupin. The two of you have to take a letter and Marie's necklace to Madame Roget and inform her of Marie's death at the end of the game.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Although there really isn't any gore in this game, it has much more blood than any of the previous installments. However, most of the instances of blood are just visual effects created by the ghost, who wants to scare people into paying attention; blood pours from a fountain at one point, and giant puddles of it appear briefly in a tray sitting on a table. There is also some actual blood, as an injured character staggers through several scenes and you must follow the blood trail.
  • Bribe Backfire: Done with a twist. The destitute theater owner, LeBlanc, accepts a bribe from Gaius to misidentify the body of Marie Roget as being that of Lola Saunie. The backfire comes in when Gaius takes off without paying any of the money he promised.
  • Call-Back: A very subtle one can be found in one of the hidden object scenes, where an item you must locate is a golden beetle... in other words, a gold bug.
    • Pluto, the cat from The Black Cat, can be seen running out of Marie's closet at the beginning of the game. (The black crow seen at the beginning and ending cut scenes of the game is hinted to be him as well, since the crow has a ruby eye; this is questionable, however, since the crow's ruby eye is opposite of Pluto's.)
  • Cardboard Prison: Implied in the bonus chapter. Lola hasn't even had time to walk home from the cemetery at the end of the main game before Gaius has broken out of jail and is seen threatening Madame Roget. Dupin is even still talking to Jacques about the case when you get the news; Gaius didn't even bother to wait until you'd left town to break out of jail!
  • Close-Call Haircut: Occurs in the opening cinematic; a set of scissors floats up before Marie. The next shot is of a piece of hair floating down; presumably the scissors attacked Marie but she somehow avoided them. Oddly enough, Marie's hair doesn't show a piece missing at any time in the rest of the game.
  • Creator Cameo: Poe shows up in the opening cinematic of the game, sitting at his table presumably writing Marie Roget.
  • Creepy Cemetery: Where the final act of the main game takes place.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: A big part of The Reveal. Lola Saunie is pretending to be the deceased Marie Roget, because she just can't bear to tell Marie's aunt that her beloved niece is dead. As the bonus chapter reveals, however, Madame Roget knew all along that Lola was impersonating Marie; what she didn't know was that Marie was dead.
  • Demoted to Extra: Jacques, Marie's husband in-game. In the original story, he was suspecting of murdering his fiancée Marie, so a discussion of his movements and alibis is central to the analysis of Marie's death. Here his letter only prompts the investigation, and after explaining a game mechanic, he departs and never shows up again in the main game. In the bonus chapter, he's briefly shown speaking to Dupin, but their conversation is not revealed and is quickly interrupted.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Jacques mentions to you and Dupin that Marie's aunt owns "the famous Boulangerie Bakery." Boulangerie is the French word for bakery, meaning that it's the Bakery Bakery.
  • Due to the Dead: Part of the ghost's Unfinished Business. Marie Roget was buried under Lola Saunie's name, having been falsely identified. She wants her true identity so she can rest in peace.
  • Forbidden Romance: Documents turn up which hint that Madame Roget forbade her niece Marie to be romantically involved with the sailor Gaius. Marie was planning to elope with Gaius against her aunt's wishes anyway.
  • Generic Cop Badges: Dupin starts off the game by presenting you with one of these. Its only distinguishing feature is the inscription at the top, "Dark Tales Detective Agency." Your character has a quiet moment of squee, privately admitting to having always wanted one.
    • Unfortunately, it's used only once and then becomes a Useless Item after that. It does serve a function in the next game, however.
  • Ghostly Goals/Unfinished Business: As the game progresses, it becomes clear that there is a dead young woman who is behind all of the haunting, and part of the resolution of the game involves finding out what she wants.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: The young woman's ghost does this a few times.
  • Go into the Light: What Marie's ghost finally gets to do at the end.
  • Greek Mythology: There are a few references to the old myths in this game:
    • Chronos, the god of time, appears as a key for one puzzle.
    • The achievement for powering up the lighthouse is called "Prometheus."
    • Charon, the ferryman of the underworld, is referenced in the final puzzle of the main game.
    • One of the puzzles on the docks involves finding a trident. When clicking on the lock before solving the puzzle, the player character makes a reference to Neptune.
  • Happily Married: The young couple Dupin is trying to help. What impact the outcome of the game has on their marriage is never revealed.
  • He Knows Too Much: It's implied that the lighthouse keeper was murdered by Gaius because he (correctly) suspected Gaius of killing the "gorgeous dame" who was on the dock with him. He also stated in a letter that he was going to reveal all to the harbormaster; it's implied that he did, as the parrot is repeating phrases that indicate the conversation did take place. Whether the harbormaster believed him is unknown; he fired Gaius from his job for other reasons.
  • Identical Stranger: Marie Roget and the ballerina Lola Saunie bear a striking resemblance to one another. As the bonus chapter reveals, however, this is because they're actually cousins.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: While examining a leafy design on the mantel in Jacques's grandmother's room, the player character remarks, "I'd better not leaf this alone."
  • The Klutz: Jory, Madame Roget's friend seen in the bonus chapter, is this. He backs up suddenly and steps on a plate that causes you to be locked in a room; later he trips on some rope and falls into the ocean.
    • He admits that this is also how he met Madame Roget when they were both younger; he says he was inebriated at the time, and since he lives above a tavern he undoubtedly drinks there as well. The room you get locked in is a wine cellar of sorts; he already knows it can only be unlocked from the outside, probably because he's been locked in there before.
  • Left Hanging: The game never informs us whether Dupin told Jacques that Marie is really Lola. The bonus chapter shows Dupin talking with Jacques, but what he's telling him is not revealed. If Dupin did tell Jacques Lola's secret, then it's hard to believe that Jacques would not be, at the very least, startled by the news; whether their marriage stayed a happy one after that is also unknown.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: Used to get the lighthouse working again.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Seen in the bonus chapter. It turns out that Madame Roget went along with the ruse that Lola was Marie, and wrote out her will to leave everything to Lola, because Lola is the child she was forced to give up for adoption years earlier.
  • Magic Mirror: You use one to help solve the mystery. Certain objects can be placed on it to engineer extra clues.
  • Mind over Matter: Marie's ghost has telekinetic powers, as demonstrated when she stops a bullet in midair, turns it around, and sends it back to the shooter. She does this deliberately in order to save Dupin and the player character.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: The Big Bad triggers one of these, causing Dupin and the player character to become trapped underground. The player character is knocked unconscious, much to Dupin's alarm.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: When Gaius tries to shoot the detectives, the young woman's ghost intervenes and turns the bullet around to hit him instead.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Documents turn up which hint that Madame Roget forbade her niece Marie to be romantically involved with the sailor Gaius. Marie ignored her and planned to marry Gaius anyway.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The locket the detectives give to Madame Roget at the end of the game as proof of Marie's death. It and the note are what convince Madam Roget to forgive her niece and decide to get revenge against Gaius in the bonus chapter. How she was planning to do this is unknown because she gets kidnapped.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Explained in the bonus chapter, as noted above.
  • Visual Pun: In the bonus game, the key to unlock the tavern is shaped like a skeleton. You know, a Skeleton Key.
    • May also count as a Brick Joke, since the player character remarks at one point in the main game that they really ought to consider investing in a skeleton key, rather than spending so much time figuring out the various complicated locks.
  • The X of Y

    The Tell-Tale Heart 
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Averted. While all the games happen in the 19th century, this is the first game that gives specific dates for the investigation. The entire main game takes place in the first week of September, 1851.
    • The bonus chapter is stated to happen fifteen years earlier, in 1836.
  • Bait-and-Switch: As the game begins, the player character is holding a beating human heart in their hands, and Dupin is shouting "What have you done!?" Later, you learn that this only happens after you've dug up the eponymous Tell-Tale Heart, and Dupin is actually yelling at the killer.
  • Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: During Paul's testimony, he finds what is implied to be the murder weapon, as the knife has quite a bit of blood on it. He uses it to undo the ropes securing a ladder, almost certainly destroying any viable evidence in the process.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Unlike in the previous game, where the majority of the blood effects were illusions created by an angry ghost, this game features quite a bit of real blood - so much so that there is actually a warning at the start of the game (see below).
  • Call-Back/Gotta Catch 'Em All: Throughout the game, the player can pick up a total of 36 cards bearing images from all of the previous games (except Rue Morgue). Finding them all unlocks a special bonus.
  • Content Warning: For the first time in the series, the game begins by advising the player that they will see "violence and disturbing images." This warning is immediately followed by the depiction of the young woman's murder, just in case you thought they were kidding.
  • Copycat Crime: As seen in the bonus chapter. Assuming Felix didn't do the murders himself, the first murder in the main game is an almost exact replica of the way his wife Victoria was murdered fifteen years earlier.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: It's implied that Katarina, your first witness, is a lady of the evening, given that she goes out at the behest of a "client" who specifies how she should appear. After she gives you her statement, she becomes the second murder victim.
  • Eye Scream: There's a bit of an eye motif happening at the suspect's home.
  • Flash Back: Done twice in the main game, when the player takes on the role of witnesses giving testimony. The entirety of the bonus chapter is this, as Dupin tells you about his very first murder investigation.
  • Generic Cop Badges: The "Dark Tales Detective Agency" badge you received in the previous game makes a return, with slightly more use.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The main game begins, after the opening cinematics, with Dupin urging the player to wake up. You have apparently fallen asleep at your desk, and as your eyes open, he tells you there's a new case.
  • How We Got Here: Done repeatedly with flashbacks and witness testimony, and then the bonus chapter. Dupin's first investigation involved the exact same murder suspect, and extremely similar crime scenes.
  • In Name Only: Perhaps the worst offender in the series to date. Except for the fact that there is indeed a human heart buried under the floorboards of a house, and its alleged beating seems to have driven someone mad, this game bears almost no resemblance to the Poe story which shares its name.
  • In the Hood: When approaching the murder scene for the first time, the detectives encounter a hooded character implied to be the killer.
  • It's Personal: The odd nature of the killing blow in the young woman's murder leads Dupin to deduce that it must have been a very personal thing for the murderer. Ultimately somewhat subverted, however. While we do learn in the bonus chapter that the nature of the murder was very personal for the primary suspect, it's never clarified why he decided to do this - or even if he really did.
  • Let Off by the Detective: Possibly. In the bonus chapter, the player must determine whether a man is guilty or innocent of the crime of which he's been accused. (Regardless of which choice you make, Dupin reveals afterward that Felix really was innocent of the murders of his wife and daughter.)
  • Luck-Based Mission: Unusually for this series, a number of the "puzzles" are actually this. Possibly the most egregious examples come when you're experiencing the flashback testimonies of the witnesses, and you must correctly guess the pattern of blows to strike to drive off your attacker.
  • The Maze: How the streets of this town work, apparently. From the police station there are four different paths marked with a lightning bolt, a heart, a snake, and an eyeball. You have to get the correct directions to your destination from an NPC or you can't get anywhere.
  • Nice Hat: In the bonus chapter, we get a bit of a throwaway scene in which Dupin appears to decide he likes how he looks in a top hat.
  • Offing the Offspring/Domestic Abuse: Suspected in the bonus chapter.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Valentina, the mortician working on the murder victims, has braided blonde hair which falls almost to her knees.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: All of the suspects are missing one eye, and Katarina tells the detectives that in place of that eye, she saw "a blood-red light staring at me."
  • Ship Tease: This game has what is probably a very unintended piece of Ship Tease in the form of a newspaper, which you can read at the crime scene. It notes that "famous detectives Hello, [Insert Name Here] and Auguste Dupin have been brought in to assist with the investigation." The arrangement of the wording, combined with the fact that most players only put in their first names when asked, makes it look like the player character and Dupin are now a married couple. Dupin's dialogue insists that they're Just Friends, though.
  • Shout-Out: Possibly. An important character is named Felix, and Felix the Fish is the mascot of Big Fish Games, where the Dark Tales games are primarily distributed. It's not confirmed whether this is a deliberate nod; but since Dupin, in one line, refers to Felix as a "dangerous fish," it's very probable.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: The young woman whose murder Dupin and the player are called to investigate is killed quite brutally, then strung up into a tree. As the bonus game reveals, this is a duplicate of the way the suspect's wife was murdered fifteen years earlier; his young daughter, meanwhile, was killed in an equally brutal manner, then stuffed into a bag of flour and left to be discovered in the shed.
  • Tap on the Head: Seen in the bonus chapter. According to Felix, he was playing with his little girl in the yard when someone came up behind him and hit him in the head. When he woke up an uncertain amount of time later, his eye was missing and his wife and daughter had been butchered.
  • The Un-Reveal: The ending of the main game is left very ambiguous, as it's totally unclear whether Felix actually committed the murders or if Paul simply convinced himself that he did. The bonus chapter does nothing to clarify it. On the contrary, it actually makes this worse; see The Unsolved Mystery, below.
    • There's also an Unreveal concerning the character of Paul, your second witness. It's never explained who he is or why he's apparently living with the murder suspect.
  • The Unsolved Mystery: If you find Felix not guilty in the bonus chapter, you never know who really killed his wife and daughter, though Dupin says that he did go on to pursue the real killer. And as noted above, it's not made exactly clear if he committed the present-day murders either.
  • Weather Dissonance: Once again, there's a continuous thunderstorm happening right alongside a huge full moon.
  • Western Zodiac: One puzzle involves arranging a few of the traditional western zodiac symbols in a particular order.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In the bonus chapter, whoever killed Felix's daughter Maria.

    Metzengerstein 
  • Animal Motif: Ravensoul Manor, the seat of the Metzengerstein family, has a raven motif, and ravens appear on the family heraldry. The Berlifitzings, meanwhile, have a horse motif on their property.
  • Big Fancy House: Ravensoul Manor and the neighboring Berlifitzing Manor.
  • Bookcase Passage: How the final act of the game is reached.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Frederica! First she falls in love with the son of the family with whom hers is feuding. Her father disapproves the match. Her would-be husband dies in a fire which her father is accused of starting. Then she's kidnapped by a ghost. Then her father sets fire to the church in which she's being held prisoner. She's actually quite safe, but her father's lost his mind and attempts to kill just about everyone. And in the bonus chapter, her husband's original betrothed tries to kill her and makes her think she's going insane in the process.
  • Call-Back: Pluto the black cat returns once again, first appearing as a glass figure in Frederica's hope chest. He also seems to be locked in the stable at the Berlifitzing estate, although he's gone when the detectives get the door open, and a picture of Estelle holding him appears in one puzzle.
    • Scattered throughout the game are collectible cards for a bonus game; each card depicts a character or other important emblem from one of the previous games in the series.
  • Captain Obvious: Some of Dupin's observations make him come across like this.
  • Character Title
  • Creator Cameo: Poe appears as an image on the key to a book - which contains a quote from the original story Metzengerstein.
  • Creepy Housekeeper: In the bonus chapter, the player character is startled by the maid, who appears "from out of nowhere!" She's trying to kill Frederica.
  • Dead to Begin With: Wilhelm, to whom Frederica was engaged, died in a fire some time before the game begins. Or so we're led to believe...
  • Diary: The detectives learn some useful clues from Frederica's, complete with her voiceover.
  • Eye Scream: At one point, the kidnapper makes the detectives think that Frederica's eyes have been gouged out.
  • Fainting: Mary's response to realizing that her daughter has been taken is to fall into a dead faint.
  • Feuding Families: The Metzengersteins and the Berlifitzings.
  • Fight Unscene: Just after the player character starts to climb down an old well to get the last piece of evidence, Karl comes along to beat up Dupin, but all the player hears is the scuffling. Once Dupin has been subdued, Karl threatens the player, then cuts the rope.
  • First Person Snapshooter: The camera function returns in this game but serves a new purpose - taking pictures reveals hidden clues to puzzles.
  • Gender Flip: In Poe's original story, the last Metzengerstein was Frederick, not Frederica.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: After collecting all fifteen of the cards scattered throughout the game, you can play a bonus Memory-style card game to unlock one of the achievements.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: In the bonus chapter. It's eventually revealed that before meeting Frederica, Wilhelm was engaged to another noblewoman, but broke off the betrothal because of his newfound love. Yasmin, his ex-fiancée, is still in love with Wilhelm and trying to kill Frederica in order to get him back.
  • Happily Married: Seen in the bonus chapter.
  • Honey Trap: In the backstory of the Feuding Families. Berta Berlifitzing and Henry Metzengerstein were in love, but she was married. According to legend, Henry killed her husband, then stole a valuable Berlifitzing family heirloom and ran away to India. Berta went mad as a result. However, as Wilhelm's father came to realize, that madness meant she wasn't a reliable source of information and the feud may have all been for nothing. Sure enough, evidence surfaces to show that Henry was completely innocent and left for India so Berta would stay with her husband.
  • In Name Only: Except for The Prophecy (see below), the feud between the two families, and the fact that a character dies in a fire, there is nothing tying this game to the original Poe story.
  • Jump Scare: Courtesy of the scarecrow in front of Ravensoul Manor. After Frederica is kidnapped, go back outside and see that it has moved. Click on it.
    • An even worse one comes later, when the detectives break into the burning church to save Frederica - only to find her with her lips sewn shut and blood dripping from her bandaged eye sockets! Thankfully, it turns out to be an incredibly elaborate hoax.
  • Last of His Kind: Wilhelm is the last living descendant of the Berlifitzing line; Frederica is the last descendant of the Metzengerstein line.
  • Mama Bear: The Baroness von Metzengerstein will not stand for anyone causing harm to her beloved daughter. As the climax of the main game shows, she's also very protective of Wilhelm, even against her own husband.
  • Multiple Endings: Of a sort. The game ends the same way regardless, but Dupin allows you to decide whether Baron von Metzengerstein should be taken to the authorities for his attempts on Wilhelm's life or if he should simply remain under his wife's care (with a guard).
  • Paper Key-Retrieval Trick: How the detectives get into Karl's office.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Nearly. Frederica's father Karl did give his permission for Wilhelm to marry Frederica, but he was extremely angry about it. Her mother, Mary, is more tolerant of the situation. This is why Wilhelm faked his death and "kidnapped" Frederica, and why Mary was brought in on their plan to run away.
  • The Prophecy: An ancient prophecy claims that the mortality of the Metzengerstein line will end the immortality of the Berlifitzing line. Karl is convinced that his daughter will be destroyed by this prophecy, as she is the last descendant of his house, and his fear is affecting his sanity.
    • His fears seem to be realized in the bonus chapter, in which Frederica has become convinced that she's being targeted by a ghost regarding the prophecy.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The ghost, when he appears, seems to have command of a mysterious purple fog.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: A red-eyed crow flies about when the detectives arrive at Ravensoul Manor, and a scarecrow in the front yard also has what look to be bleeding eyes.
  • Royal Blood: The Metzengersteins and Berlifitzings are Hungarian nobility.
  • Sanity Slippage: Karl's becomes increasingly disturbing throughout the game. He not only attacks the detectives at one point, but at the climax, he insists that Wilhelm murdered Frederica, even though she's standing next to him.
  • Scary Jack-in-the-Box: A minor example in the bonus chapter, when the player opens a box on Frederica's dresser to reveal a creepy one of these with the lady's face on it.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: How Dupin figures out that the "ghost" isn't really a ghost at all. The detectives find the chemistry equipment and ingredients with which he's been making his weird purple fog, and Dupin deduces that he must be human if he's using chemistry.
  • Secret Underground Passage: The detectives must find one in the church to pursue Frederica and her abductor.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Frederica's mother Mary. Not only is she eventually brought in on the elopement plot, but she's the masked sharpshooter who saves Wilhelm in the end.
  • Sleepwalking: In the bonus chapter, this is part of the problem for Frederica.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: The detective must repair a church organ, find the coded tune, and play the notes which match the symbols in the code in order to locate a missing puzzle piece.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Frederica von Metzengerstein and Wilhelm von Berlifitzing fell in love despite the generations of feuding between their families.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Frederica looks very much like a younger version of her mother Mary.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: In the bonus chapter, Frederica's sleepwalking is caused by the maid drugging her tea. The "maid" is really her Unknown Rival for Wilhelm's affections.
  • Title Drop: A few times, since it's Frederica's family name.
  • Unfinished Business: Frederica seems to be plagued by the ghost of her dead love.
  • Unintentional Backup Plan: The entire plan, from start to finish, went completely off the rails for the ones masterminding it. Knowing that Frederica's father disapproved of their marriage, Wilhelm faked his death in the fire. All his servants abandoned the empty estate, so he was able to live there in secrecy until he could kidnap Frederica - who was in on the whole thing - and they could run away together to live in peace, away from the feud and the prophecy. What they didn't count on was Karl being driven mad by his fears of the prophecy and, upon finding them out, trying to kill Wilhelm for real. Fortunately for everyone involved, they also hadn't counted on the intervention of the detectives; with Mary's help, the feud is officially ended and Wilhelm and Frederica sail off to start a life together. By the time of the bonus chapter, they've returned and are living happily on the Berlifitzing estate.
  • You Have to Burn the Web: The solution to a few puzzles.
  • You Killed My Father: Flipped around - twice. Frederica accuses Karl of setting the fire that killed Wilhelm. Later, Karl accuses Wilhelm of killing his daughter.

     The Raven 
  • Adventure Archaeologist: This is revealed to have been Alan Dillinger's profession.
  • Ancient Artifact: The Heart of the Void is an ancient Sumerian treasure which has the power to bring the dead back to life.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Raven Society is this, although their original mission suggests that they were intended as an Ancient Order of Protectors who went off the rails.
  • Animal Motif: Ravens, of course, for the Raven Society. Additionally, the town of Coldstone (where the game takes place) has a crow motif; the crow is the town's emblem and they have an annual "Day of the Crow" where they celebrate this emblem with fireworks and costumes. Naturally, this makes it harder to find the similarly-dressed members of the Raven Society.
  • Anyone Can Die: In this game, more than any other in the series, this is proven to be true. Even Dupin dies!
  • Bad Moon Rising: Seen in the first chapter; interacting with the fountain on the street across from Dillinger's house causes the moon to briefly turn to blood, allowing the player to see just how unsettling their environment really is.
  • The Bartender: In the main game, the owner of the tavern on the docks is a scarred man who might have some information, if the right incentive is provided. He's actually Richard Black, the current Arch Raven of the Raven Society.
    • In the bonus chapter, the same tavern is now in the hands of a beautiful young woman who introduces herself as Sally. She can't provide any information when asked, explaining that she never met the previous owner. She's lying, of course - she's Richard Black's daughter, who has succeeded her father as Arch Raven and is determined to avenge his death.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: The Big Bad elects to commit suicide rather than allow himself to be killed by the White Crow.
  • Came Back Wrong: At the end of the game, Lenore wants to use the Heart of the Void to resurrect Alan. However, Alan tells her that he has been dead for too long, and to do so would result in this trope. The player must decide whether or not to do it anyway.
    • There's also a second, milder example. When Dupin is killed, the player uses the Heart of the Void to bring him back. For the remainder of the main game, his personality is a wee bit off; in particular, he seems to have become a tremendously skilled fighter, able to subdue a group of Raven Society assassins by himself. However, when seen in the bonus chapter, there's nothing especially unusual about him, so it may have been a temporary change.
    • The ending of the bonus chapter suggests that this trope may be in effect for Sally Black, whose eyes are most unsettling when they open.
  • Church of Saint Genericus: The chapel in the cemetery where the Raven Society keeps their crypt seems to subscribe to this. Despite being a chapel, it has no religious motifs whatsoever; the statues, altar, and stained glass window are all filled with imagery related to the Raven Society instead.
  • Content Warnings: For only the second time in the series, the game begins with a warning about graphic content which may disturb the player. This is immediately followed by a cinematic of Alan's suicide.
  • Creepy Cemetery: A large portion of the middle game takes place in one of these.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Seen in the bonus chapter. The mantle of the Arch Raven, Richard Black, has been assumed by his daughter - who turns out to be Sally, the new owner of the tavern on the docks.
  • Dialogue Tree: For the first time in the series, the player actually has to decide what to say to other characters. Some of the dialogue options have achievements connected to them.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: In the bonus chapter, Dupin's friend Professor Sharp has invented the Atmogen, a device which will provide endless supplies of energy to the entire world at no cost. However, he knows that the Raven Society is after him, because using the Atmogen in reverse will cause it to destroy a lot of the world's existing technology. To prevent this, he gives part of his invention to Dupin for safekeeping, and another part to another acquaintance.
  • Doting Grandparent: Jack, the retired sawmill employee the detectives meet on the docks, mostly keeps working in order to buy toys and treats for his beloved granddaughter Lizzy.
  • Due to the Dead: The cemetery in the game includes some elaborate tombs for past members of the Raven Society.
  • Dull Surprise: A number of Dupin's lines are delivered this way.
  • Easy Amnesia: When the White Crow attacks the player character, they wake up some time later in a cemetery - and they have no memory of how they got there or even who Dupin is. It's implied that the memories come back quickly, but this isn't actually addressed in the game.
  • Enemy Mine: The White Crow rescues the detectives from the gunsmith and kills him herself. She says that the Raven Society is hunting the detectives, and she is hunting the Raven Society; however, she warns the player not to mistake her for an ally, because if the detectives get in her way she has no qualms about killing them too.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: Inverted. One character encrypts a combination into Morse code in the hopes that everyone doesn't know it.
  • Fake Kill Scare: Used in the bonus chapter. The Raven Society wants revenge on Dupin for the death of the Arch Raven in the main game, so they set fire to the detectives' carriage and abduct him. To prevent the player character from trying to rescue him, they leave the burned body of one of their dead agents in the carriage, successfully tricking the authorities into believing Dupin is dead. The player character, of course, is not so easily fooled.
  • Fetch Quest: The detectives are given a relatively easy one by Bob, a crackpot junk vendor whose shop is next to the sheriff's office.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The collectibles in this game are a series of small figurines shaped like devils and other unsettling creatures. Examining them in the collectibles tab reveals that each one contains a scroll of paper which documents the activities of the Raven Society through the centuries. These scrolls show that, among other things, the Raven Society was directly responsible for the downfall of Rome, held great admiration for the Greek city-state of Sparta, and even had a hand in bringing down the civilization of the Aztecs.
  • Haunted Castle: As seen in the bonus chapter, the headquarters of the Raven Society could qualify.
  • He Knows Too Much: The Raven Society takes this attitude toward some people who make discoveries that they feel must be kept quiet. This was their feeling about Alan Dillinger, leading them to contract his murder.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: The Big Bad of the bonus chapter threatens to kill Dupin if the player doesn't surrender the Atmogen. You have no choice.
  • I Have a Family: The sheriff offers this exact plea when the White Crow tells him to Prepare to Die. It doesn't soften her in the slightest - on the contrary, it only makes her angrier.
  • In Name Only: Except for a few lines of the poem quoted at the beginning of the game and the fact that Alan's lost sweetheart is named Lenore, the game has nothing to do with the famous poem.
  • In the Hood: All the members of the Raven Society wear masks and hoods. When the detectives' client is seen, he too wears a hooded coat covering everything but his mouth.
  • Interface Spoiler: The achievements list reveals that Alan Dillinger, the alleged suicide victim, is the detectives' client long before the game does.
  • It's Personal: Dupin invokes this about the death of the gunsmith, noting that he regrets the man's death but not as much as he might have otherwise...
    Dupin: It was him or you. This investigation just got a little personal.
  • Join or Die: Notes found throughout the game indicate that the Raven Society takes this attitude toward anyone who develops technology they wish to possess. If they refuse to join the group, or at least surrender their findings, they will be eliminated. A few victims, such as one medical researcher in the bonus chapter, have the lives of loved ones threatened instead of their own.
  • Jump Scare: Courtesy of a cat inside the Dillinger house when the candles are lit.
  • Killed Off for Real: The White Crow kills a number of minor characters right in front of the detectives, and the deaths are Bloodier and Gorier than normally seen in the games.
    • The trope also applies to Dupin himself, although he gets better.
  • Locked in a Room: In the bonus chapter, the player character wakes up in a bed in the police station following the carriage incident which is believed to have killed Dupin. The attending officer offers a newspaper with an article about the crash, then says that the player character needs to identify the body downstairs in the morgue. He then leaves... and locks the player character in the room. This, coupled with the fact that a Raven Society agent is waiting to ambush the player character when they finally reach the morgue, suggests that the police (or at least this particular officer) are in league with the Raven Society.
  • The Lost Lenore: Literally. Losing his beloved Lenore is what is believed to have driven Alan Dillinger to kill himself. However, Lenore is actually still alive, and Alan was murdered.
  • Lumber Mill Mayhem: A large part of the action takes place in a sawmill on the docks. In the bonus chapter, the player character must rescue Professor Sharp from being killed there on a Conveyor Belt o' Doom.
  • The Maze: An unusual variant. Throughout both the main game and the bonus chapter, the detectives find a series of statues holding puzzle cubes. The player must guide a mechanical scarab through the increasingly difficult mazes inside these cubes, avoiding the deadly skull monsters and collecting keys, in order to access important pieces of evidence and other helpful items.
  • Never Suicide: Alan Dillinger's death was ruled a suicide. The mysterious figure who hires the detectives is unconvinced. Since the person who hired them turns out to be Alan, it's safe to say he's right.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: Alan being dead doesn't prevent him from hiring the detectives or leaving a series of clues for them to follow.
  • Old Save Bonus: In a manner of speaking. The detectives find a locked box in the Raven Society chapel, with a mechanical dragon figure on top, which can only be opened using a combination of symbols. The interface of the game informs the player that they can only open the box by coming back after having gotten the code from the next game in the series, Lenore. (However, some players have confirmed that the combination can be correctly guessed, enabling it to be opened on the first playthrough.)
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: To earn the wheel which will open the door to the sawmill office, the player must arm wrestle a sailor in the tavern on the docks. This is done through a fairly simple interface puzzle, meaning that beating him at all three attempts is extremely easy.
  • Poisoned Weapons: In the bonus chapter, the player character is shot by a crossbow with a poisoned bolt.
  • Replay Value: In addition to the Old Save Bonus, several of the achievements, particularly the ones dependent on dialogue choices, are mutually exclusive; the game must be played at least twice in order to achieve 100% Completion.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: It's eventually revealed that the White Crow's vendetta against the Raven Society is this. She's Lenore, who isn't dead, and she's on a campaign to punish those who were in any way responsible for Alan's death.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Seen a few times, most glaringly in the Raven Society chapel, when examining the Old Save Bonus box: "Lenor box is clossed."
  • Sarcasm Mode: A couple of the achievements are given as a reward for choosing the more sarcastic dialogue options.
  • Sequel Hook: The bonus chapter ends with the Heart of the Void resurrecting Sally, who was killed by an explosion.
  • Shout-Out: In the bonus chapter, an item which must be assembled is a small statue depicting a turtle with four elephant figures on its back, and an island resting on the backs of the elephants - an obvious nod to Discworld.
  • Tattooed Crook: In the bonus chapter, the body in the morgue has a Raven Society tattoo on his upper chest — just one more point proving the body isn't really Dupin.
  • Time Skip: If the proposed timeline is accurate, the bonus chapter takes place long after the main game.
  • Title Drop: Often, though usually in the context of "The Raven Society."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Arguably, the Raven Society as a whole qualified when they first formed. They are rightfully concerned about people who would use medical and scientific advancements and discoveries for evil purposes. However, when the organization formed, they decided that their goal would be to keep such advancements and discoveries out of the hands of all people, espousing the motto that "Knowledge does not need to be shared." Eventually, this goal became to keep these things out of the hands of all people except themselves, and they have no qualms about murdering people who feel differently.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The fictional community of Coldstone is revealed in Speaking With the Dead to be near Dover, England.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Apparently, the Raven Society. As revealed by one of the collectibles, once their leader learned of the existence of the Heart of the Void, he decided that their mission is to acquire and use the artifact so that its members can continue to control humanity forever.
  • Woman in White: The White Crow is garbed all in white, with a creepy mask of a crow's skull with three burning eyes.

     Lenore 
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The game takes place in either 1880 or 1885; see Time Skip, below.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • The White Crow refers to the group as her family, and younger members are called "nestlings."
    • Members of the Crows League address the White Crow as "my lady."
  • All There in the Manual: Achievements in this game take the form of masks, each of which can be viewed on their special screen. Like the collectibles in The Raven, looking at each reveals a piece of information - in this case, background trivia about the neighboring communities of Coldstone and Goldstone.
  • Animal Motif: Like its neighbor Coldstone, Goldstone has a crow motif in several places. It's also noted that the secret headquarters of the Crows League is known as "the nest."
  • Back from the Dead: What the White Crow is ultimately hoping to accomplish. According to a series of letters the detectives find, her lover is dead and she wants to use Alan's invention to bring him back. The same letters imply that Lenore is their biological daughter.
  • Batman Gambit: The "trial" held in the old theater is this. The White Crow pits Alan against Lenore and tells them that one of them must shoot the other; whichever does so will be allowed to plead their case on the charge of treason. She wants Alan to shoot Lenore so that Lenore will hate him, and not mind him being killed. However, Alan decides to Take a Third Option, and shoots the White Crow - which is how she discovers that someone has switched the blanks in her gun for real bullets.
  • Bearer of Bad News: In the bonus chapter, you explain to the banker that you're investigating the murder of his niece. Unfortunately, this is the first time anyone has informed him that she's dead, and he doesn't take it well.
  • Bomb Disposal: The White Crow leaves a color-coded bomb at the mine shaft to delay or kill the detectives; it must be defused before they can proceed.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: A low-tech variant, involving a handprint-locked box and a wax solution.
  • Call-Back: Since this game is a direct sequel to the previous one, it has several overlapping elements, including the White Crow.
  • Creepy Child: According to one of the achievements, the orphanage fire was suspected to be caused by a boy whom the people believed could construct a shield of flame around himself. After the building burned down, he was one of only two children who could not be found. The other, apparently, was Lenore - who had been taken in by the tavern owners.
  • Critical Annoyance: A minor example in the final third of the game. While trying to rescue Dupin, the player character is bitten by a snake. Until the antidote is brewed, a continuous red flashing occurs around the edges of the screen, signifying that you are dying from the venom.
  • Darker and Edgier: The bonus chapter pushes this game squarely into that category when one character commits suicide onscreen.
  • Dead to Begin With: In the bonus chapter, the two murder victims have met their fate before you ever reach Goldstone.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Your character shows more shades of this here than usual. For instance, when looking at Dupin's wanted poster at the Crows League hideout, there's this gem: "They captured your good side, Dupin! Don't look so disappointed."
  • Dialogue Tree: You have one of these again, but it appears very rarely and there's only one instance where what you choose to say affects the action at all. (When the ghost of the boy in the maze offers to guide you through it, you can accept and be teleported or decline and navigate it yourself.) Most of the other times when the tree is used, it just lets you decide the order in which you ask specific questions.
  • Distressed Dude: Alan, the Mayor's son, is locked in two different prison cells. Dupin gets captured by the Crows and left for dead in an oubliette.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the bonus chapter, two characters do this.
    • Mr. Brown the banker is so distraught by the murder of his niece (and the events which led to it) that he kills himself... right in front of you. And yes, it is shown onscreen!
    • At the end of the chapter, it's revealed that Alan was so guilt-stricken over having been tricked into murdering Agent Wind and an innocent girl that he committed suicide.
  • Due to the Dead: Seen in the bonus chapter; in the ten years since the events of the main game, Mayor Guillinger has passed away. The detectives realize this when they see his picture in Alan's house with a black ribbon adorning the frame.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In the bonus chapter, the sheriff ultimately decides that the Crows are too powerful to oppose and he's going to join them. Dupin calls him a Dirty Coward for it. (Considering that he was first introduced in the main game by the White Crow, it's confusing to learn that he hasn't been one of them all along.)
  • Foreshadowing: During your exploration of the Crows League hideout, you find a setup for brewing antidotes for various animal bites. You can't use it when you first find it, but you just know it's going to come back to bite you later.
  • Go into the Light:
    • The only way to leave the Old Smuggler tavern in the beginning of the game is to help Thomas and Mary do this, by reassembling the Magic Mirror and returning Mary's wedding ring.
    • Late in the game, you also do this for the founder of the Crows League.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: There are 66 golden feathers scattered throughout the various scenes, and also "morphing objects" (outlines of crows) to be found as well.
  • Happily Adopted: Lenore tells the detectives that although the Crows League is cruel, they are also just, and that they raised her and she considers them her family.
    • As it turns out, she was also this to the couple who owned the tavern. They weren't her birth parents; according to a piece of trivia found on an achievement, they took her in after the town orphanage burned down. The family album in the tavern suggests that she was only three months old at the time. The White Crow is - or claims to be - her biological mother.
  • Hollywood Acid: Used in the bonus chapter to break into a safe.
  • A House Divided: Revealed in one character's exposition. Long ago, there was a major split among the Crows League members; although they were founded to aid mankind through their unique talents, when a means of immortality was found, some of the members thought it should be shared with people while others thought it should be destroyed. This is a Call-Back to the previous game, which had that dilemma more front and center. It's vaguely implied that the Crows League was the faction which wanted to destroy the means of immortality, and that they split off from the Raven Society, but this isn't outright stated in the game.
  • In Medias Res:
    • Thomas's exposition in the tavern shows how he and his wife Mary were murdered by smugglers, and how Mary spent her final moments ensuring that their daughter could escape.
    • Later, exposition from the founder of the Crows League shows how and why the whole thing got started, and how he ended up where he is.
    • Also used in the bonus chapter, when the banker explains why he's bankrupt.
  • In Name Only: Like many of the entries in the series, it takes its name from one of Poe's works - in this case, one of his lesser-known poems - but has nothing to do with the content of it. The opening content warning claims that the game is "based on" the poem; it's unclear how.
  • In the Blood: One of the pieces of trivia revealed on an achievement mask is that members of the Guillinger family have served as mayor for the past eight generations.
  • In the Hood: Most of the members of the Crows League, except for the White Crow, wear hooded capes. Late in the game, the detectives assemble a pair of similar outfits so that they can go undetected in the Crows' headquarters.
  • Innocent Bystander: Elisse, the banker's niece, in the bonus chapter. She wasn't supposed to be murdered - she just happened to be in the vicinity when Alan killed Agent Wind, and became collateral damage when he killed her too.
  • Insistent Terminology: The instructions for brewing antidote for animal bites repeatedly refer to the animal's "poison." Animals are not poisonous - they are venomous.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Clicking on the little girl on the menu screen causes two adult ghosts to briefly shimmer into existence behind her. They are the focus of the first puzzle in the game. After you click the Play button to start the game, the little girl turns into smoke and is replaced by the figure of the White Crow, the mysterious leader of the Crows League.
    • After the main game is completed, wallpapers shown in the collector's edition reveal what the White Crow looks like without her mask - something never seen in the game itself. She strongly resembles Lenore, making her claim that the girl is her daughter fairly believable. She also looks identical to the previous game's White Crow, but there's nothing to suggest that they are the same character.
  • Invisible Writing: Alan's notes about the Crows League are written in this, and the detectives must brew the developer solution that will let them read it.
  • It's Up to You: In the bonus chapter, when the sheriff declares his Face–Heel Turn, Dupin makes the observation that the two of you are entirely on your own with the case and there's no one left who can help now.
  • Jump Scare: Clicking on the pumpkin outside the Old Smuggler tavern gives one of these.
  • Killed Off for Real: Several characters, both in the main game and the bonus chapter.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Dupin pulls this on you late in the game, volunteering to go with Alan and keep him out of trouble while you figure out how to destroy the Magic Mirror.
  • Level-Map Display: Overlapping with Point-and-Click Map, the one in this game not only shows you your current location and enables fast travel, it also shows locations in which you didn't pick up all the golden feathers. Your location is indicated by a little yellow figure wearing Dupin's hat. Sometimes it waves at you.
  • The Lost Lenore: Literally, as in the previous game, seen here in the bonus chapter. Alan is lured back to Goldstone to be a puppet for the new Head Crow because he believes Lenore has been murdered.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Not as bad as some installments, but a few of the puzzles do fall into this. There's another 'fight' puzzle where you have to make your moves based on the hiding place of a green tile, for example.
  • Magic Mirror: Three in total, and you have to solve the puzzles connected with each in order to continue your mission. The final one needs to be destroyed.
    • Mirror Monster: There are people trapped inside each one, although none of them are really monsters.
  • The Maze: You have to navigate a lengthy underground tunnel to reach the "nest" of the Crows League. It returns in the bonus chapter; there is an achievement earned by doing it with just the map instead of accepting the offer of help from a ghostly guide (which you can only do in the main game).
  • Minecart Madness: You'll need to do a version of this in order to follow the White Crow and her prisoners.
  • No Sympathy: The player character is guilty of this in the bonus chapter. After the banker's suicide, if you click on the body, you're treated to this observation: "He caused problems and shot himself! That's very manly!"
  • Non Sequitur: In the bonus chapter, pulling up the carpet in Alan's house causes the player character to make this bewildering observation: "It looks like this slot is for the clock; moreover, it's for the onion clock." This eventually does mean something, but at the time it's said, a Flat "What" from the player is not unwarranted. It doesn't even really get explained, since while there is a clock which goes into the slot in question, at no time is it ever identified as an "onion clock."
  • Not Allowed to Grow Old: Even though it's stated that the bonus chapter takes place ten years after the main game, Lenore still looks exactly the same.
  • Oddball in the Series: This is the first game in the Dark Tales series to be regarded as a direct sequel, since it's closely related to the previous game.
  • The Only One I Trust: The White Crow addresses one of her followers this way. Eventually she realizes he's the Reverse Mole.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Repeatedly.
    • Once you figure out how to get into the Old Smuggler tavern, you have to deal with the ghosts inside or you will never be allowed to leave. Thomas, the ghost who issues the challenge, implies that there have been a number of people before you who have attempted to resolve his Unfinished Business and failed.
    • In the underground maze, a ghostly boy blocks your way until you solve his puzzle; once you do, he offers the reward of guiding you through the rest of the maze instead of forcing you to figure it out with the map.
    • In the bonus chapter, the town banker won't speak with you unless you figure out how to get into his house, which he has outfitted with a few traps. He expresses surprise when you manage it, as he apparently expected you to either fail or not bother.
  • Plot Hole: There's a particularly glaring (albeit minor) one with regard to Alan's involvement with the Crows League. He tells the detectives that he only joined for Lenore's sake, initially thinking them harmless but then wanting to show her what they really are. But the detectives also find documents written by the White Crow in which she talks about introducing Alan and Lenore as young children who are already in the League, thinking that Alan will like Lenore and this will keep him more firmly in the Crows' grasp.
  • Posthumous Character: Lenore's parents, Thomas and Mary, appear as ghosts. Later, so does the founder of the Crows League, as well as an unidentified gentleman who is seen in the second Magic Mirror and the boy in the underground maze.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: In the bonus chapter. The Crows trick Alan into believing that Lenore was murdered to lure him back to Goldstone. This unfortunately works too well - see Driven to Suicide.
  • The Reveal: Thomas's exposition at the beginning of the game explains how he and his wife were murdered by smugglers. A letter found late in the game reveals that this is not quite true. They were murdered, but not by smugglers (although he may have believed that's what they were). Their killers were actually members of the Crows League, acting under orders from the White Crow to bring Lenore to her by any means necessary. When Thomas and Mary refused to accept money in exchange for their daughter, the Crows killed them.
  • Reverse Mole:
    • Lenore reveals that Alan is this to the Crows League - he serves as their secretary, but it's all just an inside job so he can compile evidence about their crimes, including multiple murders. When you get to talk to him, he explains that the only reason he even joined in the first place was for Lenore's sake, so he could show her what they really are and persuade her to leave.
    • There's another one in the group who helps the detectives infiltrate the ceremony at which Alan is to be killed. It's the sheriff, who is then Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves by the White Crow.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves:
    • The White Crow wants to do this to certain of her followers.
    • In the bonus chapter, the Crows seem to intend this for Agent Wind, since they want him dead. Subverted in that Agent Wind, as far as we are shown, isn't a traitor at all - he's a scapegoat.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Lenore vows to go on one at the end of the bonus chapter, swearing vengeance against everyone who "betrayed Alan and my mother!"
  • Rousing Speech: Lenore gives one at the end of the game, urging her brothers and sisters in the Crows to return to the organization's original and true purpose.
  • Secondary Character Title: Lenore's not quite the protagonist of the game, so it falls into this.
  • Secret Underground Passage: You need to open one in the cemetery, under the statue of a flute-playing angel, in order to access the old smugglers' maze which leads to the Crows League headquarters.
  • Self-Made Orphan: At the climax, Lenore kills the White Crow; assuming that the woman was correct about Lenore being her daughter, she is therefore this.
  • Sequel Hook: Lenore's declaration at the end of the bonus chapter. It remains to be seen if it will be connected to a future game's plot.
  • Shell Game: A pair of skeletal hands plays one of these with you in the Old Smuggler tavern, using wooden beer tankards and a moon piece needed to solve your way out of the place.
  • Ship Tease: Like the newspaper article in The Tell-Tale Heart, the letter sent by Mayor Guillinger gives the slight impression that you and Dupin are a married couple. The one sent by the deputy sheriff in the bonus chapter does the same thing.
  • Solo Sequence: The entire time you are in the Old Smuggler tavern, you have one of these, as the ghost of Thomas hypnotizes Dupin and puts him into a kind of magical sleep.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: You must play a "cherished melody" before you can pass through the tunnel beyond the second Magic Mirror.
  • Spanner in the Works: Alan, as well as the detectives, is this for the White Crow.
  • The Starscream: The White Crow was this for Arel Green, the first murder victim seen in the game, who adopted her as a young girl. He was the leader of the Crows and made her his deputy, but she betrayed him, got him kicked out, and took his place. We never learn why, but according to the source who tells you this, the Crows League became much more criminal under her leadership.
  • Take Care of the Kids: Thomas's final injunction, before he and Mary go into the light, is that you should never hurt their dear Lenore, "no matter what." Something of a Red Herring, as this never becomes a plot point - other people hurt Lenore, but not you.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: The White Crow regards the Mayor recruiting the detectives as this, saying that Alan must be punished severely for his father's actions. She also feels this way about the sheriff assisting them in their investigation.
  • Time Skip: Documents in the bonus chapter explicitly state that it takes place ten years after the main game. However, exactly when this is happening is less clear; Alan's diary entries are dated 1895, but a letter in the banker's mailbox is dated 1890.
  • Title Drop: Repeatedly, as she's a significant character.
  • Try Everything: You can expect to do this in at least one puzzle, where you must select different musical instruments according to variously difficult clues. If you don't know a lot about instrument history, your guesses are likely to be this trope.
  • The Un-Reveal: This game is full of them.
    • Who is the White Crow under the mask? She signs her letters "your W" - what does it mean? Is she in any way connected to the White Crow of the previous game? How?
    • Who is her deceased lover, whom she wants to bring back to life?
    • For that matter, what did Alan invent that allows dead people to be brought back?
    • Who is the man in the second Magic Mirror?
    • Is the White Crow really Lenore's mother? If so, how did Lenore end up in the orphanage?
    • The bonus chapter adds a few more:
      • Why is the deputy sheriff still just the deputy sheriff after ten years, especially when he was introduced in the main game as "our new sheriff"?
      • Why did Agent Wind borrow so much money from Mr. Brown?
      • Why did the Head Crow want Agent Wind dead?
      • Why do we find copies of Alan's written confession in the banker's locked box?
      • Where does the sheriff go after you give him the evidence?
      • Does Lenore actually believe that the White Crow is her mother, and if so, what changed her mind? And if she doesn't, why did she say what she did at the end of the bonus chapter?
  • The Unsolved Mystery: The whole reason you and Dupin come to Goldstone to investigate the Crows League is because children have been disappearing, including the Mayor's son (who turns out to be a grown man). Although the game's ending does include a brief image of Dupin rescuing the missing children from the Crows' hideout, it's never explained why they were kidnapped in the first place, nor does it seem like the Crows receive any punishment for the crime.
  • The Usurper: Alan's letter to his father urges him to resign as mayor and let someone "more qualified" take control of Goldstone; the 'someone' in question is the White Crow.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The fictional community of Goldstone is revealed in Speaking With the Dead to be near Dover, England.
  • Woman in White: The White Crow from the previous game makes a return, and the voice and figure confirm that she is female. However, it's a different person this time, at least as far as we can tell.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The new Head Crow conducts one in the bonus chapter. He tricks Alan into murdering Agent Wind by making him think that Wind murdered Lenore. He intends that this will both rid him of Wind, whom he distrusts as the killer of the previous Head Crow, and secure Alan's loyalty to the Crows so he will only make his inventions for them. When Alan commits suicide out of guilt after killing Wind, the Head Crow doesn't mind because he still got rid of Wind and now he figures he can have Lenore for himself.
  • You Keep Using That Word: The game can't seem to decide whether the town's name is Goldstown or Goldstone.
    • Some more in the bonus chapter:
      • Alan's diary seems to confuse the Crows League with the Raven Society of the previous game.
      • The player character, at the banker's house, makes a remark about how "I'll have to figure out how to walk across this broken ladder." The 'ladder' in question is an elegantly carpeted staircase.
  • You're Not My Father: Lenore refuses to believe that the White Crow is her mother, and insists that the murdered Thomas and Mary were her real parents. Confusingly, the end of the bonus chapter implies that she has come to accept that this is the truth after all.

     Morella 
  • Affectionate Nickname: Nurse Anna, in the bonus chapter, occasionally refers to Dr. Charles as "Dr. Charlie."
  • Another Side, Another Story: In the bonus chapter, which takes place two years before the main game, you play first as Lilly's birth mother Hope and then as Dr. Charles, the physician who saved Lilly from her unexplained illness.
  • Birds of a Feather: Eventually, you learn about the courtship and marriage of Morella and Earl Griswold. Part of their attraction was a mutual fascination with unlocking the secret of immortality.
  • Blue Blood: The Griswold family, who previously owned the house, were nobility.
  • Cool Old Lady: It's hard to say just how old she really is, but Madame Beauvois comes across like this, and repeatedly addresses your character as "darling." In her case, it's implied to be a Stock Schtick as part of her performance; still, she is genuinely nice to you and concerned for your welfare.
  • Creepy Cemetery: An unusual one, underneath the house. Morella, while inhabiting body #5, constructed a special tomb to house the four bodies she had already used up.
  • Creepy Child: Lilly in the game's intro, courtesy of Demonic Possession.
  • Cue the Sun: Invoked by Dupin at the end, when he remarks that he's never been so happy to see the sunrise.
  • Dark Is Evil: It certainly is in this game. Possessed characters have their hair turn black, and their eyes, and their veins...
  • Darker and Edgier: Possibly the darkest installment in the series to date, not least because the player character falls victim to Demonic Possession.
  • Dead to Begin With: Lilly's biological parents, Hope and Henry Griswold. The bonus chapter reveals more about them.
  • Destination Defenestration: Dupin falls victim to this. It's all the more horrifying since you are the one who shoves him through the window, due to the possession.
  • Diary: Diaries belonging to Louisa, Lilly, Morella, and Morella's husband are all important to advancing the plot and locating clues.
  • Distressed Dude: Dupin becomes this almost immediately after his opening exposition, as the door of the house opens and evil spirits drag him inside. You must get into the house and find him. And then it gets worse.
  • Elemental Rivalry: The house used to be the home of artifacts called the Amulets of Life and Death. They're still there.
  • Evil Old Folks: Morella herself in the bonus chapter. Unfortunately, Hope has no idea.
  • Evil Sounds Deep:
    • The detectives encounter a sort of Exposition Fairy in the form of a skeleton, shrouded in black mist and with glowing eyes, who speaks in an unsettling deep voice as 'he' explains that they have the chance to save Louisa.
    • Possessed!Lilly alternates between a sickeningly sweet tone of voice and one which sounds like a deep, evil rasp.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • While reviewing the doctor's notes about Louisa, you can also look at Lilly's information, which talks about her supernatural abilities including telekinesis. This document also mentions that her surname at birth was Griswold. After you rescue Mark and he gives you the research he's done on the house, you learn that this is the name of the family who used to own it. Later still, Lilly's diary reveals that she actually lived in the same house with her biological mother - and Morella. (The bonus chapter explains this more fully.)
    • After you rescue Mark, Lilly appears to tell you that you've won her 'game,' and your reward is behind the door beyond the wall of fire. Once you put the fire out and open the door, you use the Amulet of Death to drive Morella out of Lilly's body... and into yours.
    • In the bonus chapter, Hope, a former actress, receives a letter from a friend in her old performing troupe; the friend is worried about Hope and Lilly, and says that they should be careful living with Morella since they really don't know anything about her.
  • Fortune Teller: This was Morella's occupation at the circus. The same circus still performs nearby and Madame Beauvois currently holds the position; she uses her Crystal Ball, palmistry, and divination to assist the detectives, and presents the player character with Death's Hourglass to keep track of how long you have until the Demonic Possession destroys your soul.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Lilly wears her hair tied in two braids. It both highlights her sweetness and innocence under normal circumstances and also makes her possession that much creepier.
  • Go into the Light:
    • Winning the game allows you to help all of the spirits trapped in the house to do this.
    • Lilly's biological mother does this at the end of the bonus chapter. Something of a Foregone Conclusion, since the main game tells us that she died, but still sad.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All:
    • This time, you're on the lookout for sixty fortune cookies scattered throughout the house.
    • In the bonus chapter, you're on the lookout for desserts to sample. There are also seven scattered portraits to collect; after the chapter is complete, you can go to the Extras menu and click on "Brave Ladies" to see the portraits and read their biographies. They're all characters from previous Dark Tales games.
  • Grand Theft Me: Seen in the bonus chapter. Morella attempts to take Hope's body for herself, but is interrupted in the nick of time by Dr. Charles. His intervention is why Morella is only a spirit during the main game, but Hope still dies from her dark magic.
  • Happily Adopted: Right up until they moved into the cursed house, Lilly was this, having been taken in by the McDougalls. Reading Louisa's diary explains how they first met her, and notes that she was returned to the orphanage by multiple foster parents because of her bad temper. Saving her from Demonic Possession helps them be a happy family again.
  • Happily Married: Earl Griswold and Morella were this; in the present day, Mark and Louisa are as well.
  • Holding Hands: One of the final scenes of the game has you and Dupin doing this.
  • How We Got Here: The first part of the bonus chapter shows how Lilly's birth mother came to give her the Amulet of Life when she was very sick.
  • Ill Girl: Louisa McDougall is an actress who retired from the stage due to her declining health. Her diary notes that she doesn't think Mark is telling her the whole truth about her condition; sure enough, farther into the game you find the report from her doctor which indicates she has about a year to live.
    • Lilly herself is this in the bonus chapter, which is set two years earlier when her birth mother was still alive.
  • Immortality Immorality: The motivation of the true Big Bad is to be eternally young and beautiful.
  • In the Blood: According to Madame Beauvois, Morella's fortune telling ability is this, as the women of their family have been fortune tellers with that circus for generations. Morella's sister Madeleine was Madame's great-grandmother.
  • Just for Fun: At the circus, you have to use real magic to transform a few objects into other things. Optionally, you can also turn a metal rabbit carving into a real live rabbit; afterward, it hides itself around the circus arena and you can play a sort of hide-and-seek game with it by clicking on it.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Lilly's diary from her time in the orphanage talks about how the other children would make fun of her and call her a witch.
  • Magic Antidote: In the later part of the game, the detectives find an elixir guaranteed to cure anything except death or old age. They give it to Louisa, and it saves her from whatever was making her an Ill Girl.
  • Misfortune Cookie: Every time you collect a fortune cookie, you get to read the fortune. Some of them come across like this, although most are encouraging and oddly specific ("You will save a redhead").
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Sure, let's all move into a house known as "The Devourer of Souls" and see if nothing bad comes out of it!
  • Nephewism: Abundant in the bonus chapter, which helps to explain the family tree better. Lilly and her widowed mother Hope moved in with elderly "Aunt Morella" after Hope's husband died. Henry, the husband, was a nephew of some kind to Morella's husband the Earl, which is why Lilly's birth name Griswold is the same as Morella's; they're related by marriage. Before Hope dies, she asks that Lilly be taken to her own aunt, a nun named Sister Maria, who runs an orphanage.
  • Nerves of Steel: Invoked by the player character, if you click on Dupin while trying to get past the roots trapping you in the house's entrance room. It comes across somewhat humorously, since a moment earlier, he almost attacked you in the misguided belief that you weren't really you.
    "I don't know how Dupin has such a cool head right now."
  • Nice Girl: Nurse Anna, assistant to Dr. Charles in the bonus chapter, is a sweet young woman who cares deeply for her patients. She also sort of looks after her boss, who is himself a very Nice Guy.
  • No Name Given: Morella's husband's name is never given beyond his surname. Madame Beauvois calls him "Earl Griswold," but as Morella's own diary clarifies, Earl is his title, not his name.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Georgette the monkey assistant, in the bonus chapter.
  • Paper Key-Retrieval Trick: Dr. Charles uses this to get into the laboratory, in the bonus chapter.
  • Production Foreshadowing: In the bonus chapter, a colleague contacts Dr. Charles with instructions for how to cure Lilly's illness, and asks that Charles get an autograph from her actress mother Hope; enclosed with the instructions is an advertisement for Hope's appearance in a play called The Oval Portrait. This is the name of another game which came later in the series.
  • Psychic Powers: Notes about Lilly indicate that she has these. In the bonus chapter, we see that Morella caused her illness and attempted to use her in a magic ritual, which was interrupted before it could be properly completed. It's entirely possible that this is what gave her the powers in the first place, since it's noted more than once that she has no idea how to control them, and her diary indicates that she's rather frightened of them; likely this is all very new to her.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: When portraits of Morella are eventually seen in the game, it's clear that she had this.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The skeleton who is apparently guarding Louisa's soul has glowing red eyes.
  • Red Filter of Doom: Once you get into the house, after you examine the window, the light pouring through the window turns blood red.
  • Sacrificial Lion: The bonus chapter shows that Lilly's birth father Henry was this; he died saving five people from a fire.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The player character is female! Justified - as the story progresses, you learn that she sort of had to be, this time at least, because Morella only possesses the bodies of other women.
  • Sapient House: The main setting of the story, although it's really a Haunted House which has become sapient due to the many spirits inside. Griswold's diary reveals its backstory.
  • Secret Underground Passage: There's one leading into a short maze, which takes you from the house to a nearby circus. This seems odd until you learn about Morella's backstory.
  • Shell Game: Seen in the garden when raising the magic herbs for a potion; you have to watch the flower pots to make sure you're continuing to tend the correct one.
  • Shout-Out: Possibly. After they drag Dupin into the house, the spirits build a brick wall inside the front door, sealing him in there - which may be a nod to Poe's The Cask of Amontillado.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: You can find a page in the bonus chapter, ostensibly from Morella's diary, in which she expresses some mild regret for never having had children with her late husband; the wording hints that this might be at least part of the reason.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Hope, Lilly's biological mother, can be seen in the bonus chapter. Her daughter looks very much like her.
  • Title Drop: According to Dupin in the beginning, Morella was the name of the last person to own the house before the McDougalls, and she - like its other owners - disappeared mysteriously. Her name gets mentioned several more times as the story continues. She's actually the Big Bad, meaning that the game has an Antagonist Title.
  • Together in Death: The end of the bonus chapter shows Lilly's biological parents reuniting in the afterlife.
  • Vain Sorceress: Morella, in spades. Part of the reason she wanted immortality was so she could remain perpetually young and beautiful. By her own diary admission, she loved youth and beauty more than she loved her husband.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Apparently, Morella did, so she sold her soul for it. Her husband did too, but after a few lifetimes he grew tired of it, and figured out how to destroy the amulets so they could grow old and die naturally. She didn't want that, so she killed him and buried him in the garden.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In the bonus chapter. Morella eventually reveals to Hope that she's the one who caused Lilly's illness. Her plan is to use Lilly's life force to power one of the amulets, and take Hope's body for her next lifetime.

     The Pit and the Pendulum 
  • Black-Tie Infiltration: A minor variant, but the party at Pendulum House is by invitation only. Matt, the man watching the door, won't let you in until you produce your invitation, although he does pass you a message from Dupin telling you where said invitation is hidden.
  • Broken Bridge: After Jacob flees the party, he detonates a bridge to prevent you from following him.
  • Cassandra Truth: "You're on the wrong side this time, Detective!" That's actually true. Jacob seems like he's kidnapping Dupin, but he's really trying to protect him from the real killer.
  • Cat Scare: Twice after the murder, you encounter a cat who looks exactly like our old friend Pluto, which attacks you briefly each time. (However, the player character insistently refers to the cat as "she," while Pluto was male. It's a hint to the player that the cat is one of Zula's illusions.)
  • Compelling Voice: The Big Bad, being a master of hypnotism, uses one of these on his victims.
  • Defenestrate and Berate: Jacob and Dupin dive out of a window and wrestle in the garden.
  • Deprogram: You have to do this to Dupin. It's also what Jacob is trying to do when the Big Bad catches up to them.
  • Driven to Suicide: Invoked. Part of the Big Bad's directives for hypnotized!Dupin is that once he turns Jacob in for the murders, he turn the gun on himself because he "can't live with the loss" of you.
  • Enemy Mine: The hotel receptionist is less than enthused to help the detectives... until he realizes that the Big Bad they're chasing is the same guy who tricked him into gambling away his mortgage. Once they figure this out, he's eager to assist.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Seen in the bonus chapter. Zula and Jacob steal the artifact from the Big Bad before he gets arrested, so they can claim the priest's hypnotic mask for themselves. Interacting with their card on the collectibles screen reveals that this was the plan all along.
    • Jacob gets extra traitor points when Zula gets into a fatal trap; he declines to rescue her and instead you have to do it.
  • Faking the Dead: Twice.
    • Gregory the Illusionist faked his death in the asylum before the events of the game.
    • In the game itself, Zula is alive and well; she and Jacob stage her murder to distract her real would-be killer (and also Dupin, who is hypnotized).
  • Foreseeing My Death: The reason you and Dupin are at this private party is because his friend Zula, a famous illusionist, has had a premonition about being killed. Although he doesn't really believe in such things, Dupin does genuinely think she's in danger, because she's been receiving death threats.
  • Frame-Up: It's sort of obvious from the beginning that Jacob can't be the real killer, because he's unmasked too quickly. The twist is who is framing him, and why.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: 26 morphing objects and nine - just nine - collectible cards. Each of the cards provides further details about characters or places in this game, although their full contents can only be viewed by interacting with them after completing the bonus chapter.
  • Hypno Trinket: The standard pocket watch trick is seen in the game. On a greater scale, the Big Bad is looking to break into the tomb of an ancient priest who had a mask that enabled him to hypnotize multitudes.
  • In Name Only: Possibly the only example more egregious than Tell-Tale Heart - with the exception of the presence of a massive swinging pendulum-axe, this game has absolutely nothing to do with the original Poe story.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Implied to be the case for Zula and Jacob; according to their collectible card, they have been friends since childhood. Subverted at the end of the bonus chapter, which shows they're not as loyal to each other as the trope usually implies.
  • Master of Illusion: Dupin's friend Zula and her friend Jacob are this.
  • The Maze:
    • You follow Jacob through a series of catacombs which, according to a newspaper you can find and examine, are believed to date back to the Inquisition (and the torture devices found in the chamber at the end would support that theory). It's done differently than most mazes in this series; it's a top-down view with little cartoon sprites who use thought/speech bubbles. Along the way you have to collect some keys and help a ghost with Unfinished Business find a diamond so he can Go into the Light.
    • Later, there's a second one in which matching pairs of runes points to the correct path.
  • Memento MacGuffin: After Dupin leaves with the Big Bad and the captured Jacob, you find his hat and keep it for him. Once he's rescued, you return it.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: The priest's mind control mask shatters at the end of the bonus chapter.
  • Poisoned Weapons: The first murder is committed with a poison dart to the neck.
  • Poor Communication Kills: It makes sense that Zula and Jacob wouldn't have told Dupin what was really going on, because he's been hypnotized to serve the Big Bad. However, it might have been nice if they'd told you. It's arguably justified by the fact that they don't actually know you, but The Reveal does make Jacob's fistfight with you in the garden seem more than a bit unwarranted.
  • Pronoun Trouble: When attempting to get into the room where Jacob is, you can hear him say that he needs to hurry with whatever he's doing, because "he'll be here soon." He knows you're pursuing him... but he's not talking about you. He's talking about the real Big Bad. The Ambiguous Gender of the Dark Tales protagonist makes it easy to trick the player this way.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: You go on one of these in the very earliest part of the game because Jacob knocks both you and Dupin unconscious, then kidnaps Dupin.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Big Bad wants to avenge himself on both Dupin and Zula. According to his collectible card, Dupin was the one who sent him to prison years earlier; his reasons for wanting to kill Zula are less clear.
  • Shell Game: You play one of these with a clown automaton in the backstage area.
  • Ship Tease: Probably unintentional, but there's some in the opening letter, which this time is from Dupin to the player character. It starts with "My dear Hello, [Insert Name Here]" - but because the game doesn't know what name you'll choose, Dupin's voiceover just addresses you as "My dear."
  • Torture Cellar: According to one of the collectible cards, a special squad of the Inquisition used to live in Pendulum House, and performed some of their most awful interrogations in the underground torture chambers, including using the infamous 'pendulum' for which the house is named.
  • The Un-Reveal: It's never explained when the Big Bad managed to hypnotize Dupin, or how. Zula tells you that she and Jacob cooked up the fake murder when they realized that Dupin was hypnotized, so it must have been sometime before you arrived on the scene, but the specifics are never detailed.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Jim, the owner of Pendulum House is just a wealthy banker and Nice Guy who has a fondness for magic acts and tries to support them financially. The Big Bad got a job at Jim's bank so he could confirm that Jim really did have the artifact in his vault, then hypnotized him to make him surrender it.
  • Visual Pun: In the Big Bad's hotel room, there's a skeleton in the closet.
  • Wham Line: "I'm sorry you've come so far only to uncover the horrible truth... For this time, I am the killer." Said by Dupin... right before he shoots you.

     The Oval Portrait 
  • And Here He Comes Now: In the bonus chapter, Dupin has just mentioned Chief Constable George (Gabrielle's father, the police officer from the main game) when the gentleman in question telephones.
  • Artifact of Doom: An amulet with strange powers is used to suck the life and beauty out of the missing women.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Dupin, in the bonus chapter, remarks that it's basically the lesson of this game.
  • Call-Back: On the wall in the art gallery are portraits of Estelle (from House of Usher) and Frederica (from Metzengerstein).
  • Creator Cameo: Poe appears in a few paintings during the course of the game. Your character even recognizes him.
  • Dead to Begin With: Tussole's wife Elena died before the events of the game. Except not really.
  • Distressed Dude: Dupin, again, although much more briefly than in some of the other games. He picks up the magic amulet and it tries to steal his soul. Fortunately, there's a Magic Antidote.
  • Doting Parent/Papa Wolf: Gabrielle's father adores his daughter and will do anything to protect her.
  • Fake-Out Opening: A combination of this and Call-Back. Before the usual opening cinematic giving a bit of background, we're treated to what looks like a variation on the White Crow costume from The Raven and Lenore. This may lead one to possibly think that the game they are about to play is connected to those, but it's not.
  • Frame-Up: Everyone assumes Tussole is the one killing the women, because the one thing they all have in common is that they posed for portraits by him before their disappearances. But he's caught entirely too early in the game; the identity of the real Big Bad is the twist.
  • Gender-Blender Name: The kooky old witch is a woman named Elmer.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Morphing objects return, along with a series of collectibles relating to all the previous games.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the bonus chapter, Elmer uses the last of her life energy to revive everyone who was turned to stone.
  • I Owe You My Life: Dupin remarks as much to you when you save him from scuffling with the masked figure. Rather, what he says is that "It seems I owe you my life - again," referring to the times you've saved him in other games.
  • Ill Girl: Elena Tussole was sick for a long time before the events of the game.
  • Immortality Immorality: The motivation of the true Big Bad is to be eternally young and beautiful.
  • Karmic Death: In the bonus chapter, Bernard suffers the same fate he inflicted on so many others - being turned to stone.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Dupin asks this of you - he'll take Tussole to the police while you protect the next victim. Neither of you is successful.
  • MacGuffin Title: There are in fact multiple portraits in the game, but the only oval one is inside the Big Bad's medallion.
  • Mad Artist: The bonus chapter reveals that Bernard, the witch's brother, begged her for magic brushes. She unintentionally gave him the means to "turn living things to stone while transferring their vital beauty to the canvas." This is why, in the main game, you find a document in which a character claims that Gray Valley is cursed.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: One of these is going around and causing the disappearances. His motive is peculiar.
    "These girls must pay for their beauty! They all will die!"
    • It makes more sense when it's revealed that this is Elena in disguise.
  • Meaningful Name: Gray Valley is a village where many of the inhabitants have been turned into gray stone statues.
  • No Ontological Inertia: In both the main game and the bonus chapter, defeating the villain causes all of their victims to be freed of the spells which either bound them into paintings or turned them into stone statues.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: The player character believes Gabrielle's father has been killed by the masked man, but he turns up alive at the police station later to help the detectives.
  • Revenge: The Big Bad's other motivation - revenge against Leonard Tussole. According to Elena's diary, he was so wrapped up in plans for his big exhibition that he paid no attention to her worsening condition, and she wants to punish him for being selfish.
  • Secret Underground Passage: There's a tunnel maze leading to the police station.
  • Taken for Granite: In the bonus chapter, the second villain uses magic paintbrushes to turn people to stone... including Dupin. (For some reason, you aren't affected; apparently you're not in the painting he makes with the brushes.)
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The Big Bad poisons the old woman whom they forced to help them. Time for you to make another Magic Antidote!
  • The Unseen: The Big Bad can be seen telling someone that their blood and soul will be used in place of the lost Artifact of Doom, but it's unclear who is being addressed, as they're in a carriage with curtains drawn. We never do learn who this is. Most likely it's Tussole, since earlier in the game Elena told him that "if we ever meet again, your soul is mine."

     Speaking With the Dead 
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: After the hooded man abducts Valentina, he somehow manages to set the room where you are on fire, and you have to put it out before you, Dupin, and Commissioner Loyalle all burn to death.
  • Alliterative Name: In the bonus chapter, murder victim Reginald Reynolds.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The bonus chapter takes you back to three years before the events of the main game, when Brian Marsh was tried for the murder of businessman Reginald Reynolds. You play first as the presiding judge, then as each of the three witnesses who recount what they saw, then as the judge again.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Years after his execution, people who were affiliated with Brian's trial are convinced that he's come back for vengeance on them.
    • A newspaper at Commissioner Loyalle's house says that when he was alive, Dr. Brian Marsh claimed he could do this, but it also says that none of the people on whom he experimented ever actually opened their eyes.
    • The truth is that this is what the Big Bad and the Bigger Bad are trying to achieve - Brian hasn't come back, but they're planning to bring him by using the life force of the jurors and witness who convicted him.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the bonus chapter, Brian Marsh is on trial for murder. But at the end, you discover that this isn't the same one for which he was convicted and executed - he was tried for two different murders, with Dupin as a witness at both trials; as the judge at the first one, you have to determine whether he will go to prison for a year or go free. Your decision doesn't change much either way, since the events of the main game happen regardless.
  • Best Served Cold: It's been at least two years since Brian was executed, and the one pulling the strings has been biding their time to exact vengeance on those responsible.
  • Big Bad/Bigger Bad: This is a perpetual twist. At first it seems like the man in the hooded coat is the Big Bad, and then it would appear that it's really Valentina Loyalle. But they're actually just Co-Dragons to Brian's identical twin brother Lucas.
  • A Bloody Mess: Valentina, in the opening cinematic, awakens to see what looks like blood dripping onto her bed. Instead, it's red wax from a candle in the hands of the hooded figure standing there - which is hardly less terrifying.
  • Busman's Holiday: In the bonus chapter, Dupin is in Dover for what he hopes will be a "peaceful vacation," but he immediately has to solve a murder instead.
  • Call-Back: This game has the ultimate one of the series.
    • All six jurors on Brian's trial are characters from previous games - Dr. Morris from House of Usher, LeBlanc the theater owner from Marie Roget, Commissioner Simon Loyalle from Tell-Tale Heartnote , Mayor Guillinger from Lenore, Jim the banker from Pendulum, and Chief Constable Georgenote  from Portrait.
    • Simon's wife Valentina was also first introduced in Tell-Tale Heart - she was the mortician on the case.
    • A puzzle in Brian's house is a scrambled image of the town square from Premature Burial.
    • Pluto appears in the bonus chapter. The characters address him by that name and he still has his red eye, although it isn't a ruby here; it's just a natural eye with a reddish cast. He takes the most proactive role he's had since his original game, finding useful items for Maggie Turner. He also attacks the killer during the murder. Later, he guides Dupin to the murderer's house and back to the pet store.
    Dupin: Why is this cat following me? I seem to have a little friend.
  • Cane Fu: The first time the player character is held at gunpoint, a quick cutscene shows Dupin using his cane to disarm the gunman.
  • Captain Obvious: Seen on the collection screen. The feathers gathered in the game are added to a figure of a raven with wings unfurled, and hovering the mouse pointer over a feather informs you that "This collector's feather was found."
  • Handsome Devil: Invoked; when the player character finds a picture of Brian, they call him this.
  • In the Hood: The jurors are terrified by a man who runs around in a black hooded coat which obscures his features. It's to trick people into thinking that he's Brian.
  • Karma Houdini: Valentina Loyalle. Not only does her husband decide to forgive her for her affair with Brian, but she (unlike her co-conspirators) gets no jail time nor any apparent punishment at all.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Dupin leaves you to chase one guilty party while he escorts another to the police station.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Valentina turned on her husband after he helped to convict her lover, Brian. Meanwhile, Brian's henchman Harry kidnapped people for his experiments because Brian promised (but failed) to bring Harry's dead sweetheart back to life.
  • Mad Scientist: Brian's work as one of these is what led to his execution. As it turns out, he was actually the more ethical scientist; it's his twin, Lucas, who is really the mad one. Brian wasn't exactly the Good Twin, but he wasn't willing to murder.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: The detectives find one of these inside Brian's abandoned house.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Brian's twin brother Lucas is the one behind everything.
  • Meaningful Name: Commissioner Loyalle is a loyal friend to Dupin, and devoted to his wife. Unfortunately, it doesn't run both ways; she was already married to him when she got involved with Brian.
  • Oddball in the Series: This is the only game in the main series which is not named after one of Poe's works, as he never wrote anything by this title. (He did, however, write a poem called Spirits of the Dead, which may have inspired the name of the game.) Despite this, the opening Content Warning insists that the game is based on a work by that name.
  • Older Than They Look: Regardless of how much time has elapsed between their original appearances and this game, all of the returning characters look exactly the same as they did the last time they were seen. Special mention must go to LeBlanc, who has not aged a day since the events of Marie Roget, despite being close to 90 years old by now! (He has a confirmed birth year of 1787.)
  • Pixel Hunt: One of the bonus chapter's hidden object puzzles falls into this. When dusting the spiderwebs in Jerome Smith's cupboard, you have to pass the duster over exactly the right three spots, without clicking.
  • Precious Puppy: The Loyalles have an adorable white dog who is seen cowering in the opening cinematic. Don't worry, the dog is okay.
  • Properly Paranoid: In the bonus chapter, Reginald Reynolds is convinced that something terrible is going to happen to him. Dupin discovers that he's being threatened by The Mafia, so his concerns are justified.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Valentina Loyalle has a long blonde braid, just as she did in her first appearance.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: The "murder victim" in the bonus chapter is a body stolen from the morgue. Brian Marsh helped Reginald Reynolds fake his murder so he could flee the country and avoid being killed by the mafia. The final shot, a view in a crystal ball, shows Reynolds - still wearing the protection amulet given to him by Jerome Smith - relaxing in a tropical setting.
  • Rule of Seven: The process of bringing someone back to life requires seven people.
  • Shout-Out: A Mr. Watson who lives on Baker Street orders a snake from the pet shop in the bonus chapter. It's not that Watson - his initials are A.D., like Arthur (Conan) Doyle.
  • Techno Babble: In the bonus chapter, Jerome Smith's testimony begins this way. Commissioner Loyalle loses patience very quickly.
    Jerome: You see, on that night, the quantum matrix was bursting with electromagnetic forces. My consciousness was overwhelmed by the cosmic interaction of subatomic particles operating in the...
    Loyalle: Mr. Smith! Where were you that night?
  • Twin Switch: Brian was executed, but it was his identical twin brother Lucas who actually committed the murder for which he was convicted.
  • The Un-Reveal: In the bonus chapter, when Dupin takes the witness stand, he's asked why he was in Dover at the time of the crime; he somewhat stumbles over his answer before saying that he was there on "personal business." His later inner monologue indicates that he was simply on vacation, but his wording at the trial leads one to wonder if there was more to it than that.
  • Verbal Business Card: Jerome Smith, in the bonus chapter, prefers to be called by his "true identity," which he says is "Seer Hieronymus, Master Magician, Prophet of the Future!" People who insist on using his regular name are "commoners."
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: At the end of the main game, Dupin has some exposition in which he explains what happened to the people who were arrested during the course of the adventure.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The bonus chapter reveals that the whole thing has been taking place in Dover, England. This actually answers that question for The Raven and Lenore; in the main game, Commissioner Loyalle refers to Mayor Guillinger as being from a nearby town, which means that the neighboring towns of Goldstown and Coldstone must be close to Dover. Dover is just across the Strait of Dover from Dupin's native France.

     Ligeia 
  • Affectionate Nickname: In the bonus chapter, Fowles calls his sweetheart Victoria "my Vicky."
  • Ambiguous Time Period: There is almost no indication as to when in the 19th century this game takes place. It must be in the latter half of the century; Dupin is driving a car, and in the bonus chapter Judge Phoenix also has one. This is our only timeline clue - but as noted under Anachronism Stew in the series folder, it's really not much of a clue at all.
  • Animal Motif: Being the Phoenix family estate, the Big Fancy House where the case takes place naturally has a recurring phoenix motif.
  • Another Side, Another Story:
    • When the player character's life meter drops to its final segment after they're poisoned, he can no longer remain conscious. For the first time in a main game in this series, you then play as Dupin.
    • In the bonus chapter you play as Robert Fowles, the Phoenix family retainer, as he recounts his history to Dupin in a tavern over drinks.
  • Bears Are Bad News: In the bonus chapter, a wild bear has Ligeia (who is a child) trapped in a tree and fearing for her life.
  • Buried Alive: No, not Ligeia. When the hooded figure kidnaps Rowena, he seals her inside Ligeia's stone sarcophagus. She's not strong enough to break out on her own, but you find her in time.
  • Captain Obvious: The hooded figure appears and drags Morrissey's second wife Rowena out of the house to an unknown destination. Morrissey pleads with the detectives to go after her because "Rowena might be in danger!" Yeah? You think so?
  • Character Title: Ligeia is the name of Royce Morrissey's first wife; thus, there are numerous Title Drops throughout the game.
  • Damage Over Time: As measured by the meter in the upper right corner once the player character has been poisoned, they grow steadily worse as the game progresses.
  • Dead to Begin With: Ligeia died six months before the events of the game.
  • Demonic Possession: Of a sort. After Morrissey shoots Allan, Ligeia's spirit attacks him. She then takes possession of Rowena's body, saying that she will remain there until her husband has been punished for his crimes. Ligeia's not a demon, however; she just needs Rowena's body in order to be able to communicate with the living. Once the case is solved, she releases Rowena as promised.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: According to Morrissey, Ligeia died in his arms.
  • Distress Ball: You and Dupin share it this time. While you're starting to succumb to Morrissey's poison, he's on the verge of drowning in a locked room.
  • Drowning Pit: Dupin gets chained up in one of these.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Morrissey is a genuine jackass who murdered his first wife, then kills her brother and tries to eliminate the detectives so as to leave no witnesses. Nevertheless, he's shown to really love and worry about his second wife.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Finally averted - this game gives us our first clear look at the player character. He's male this time, with a pale face and short brown hair.
  • Frame-Up: In the bonus chapter, Frederic Clifford frames Fowles for the murder of his wife, Anna. It was really an accident, but Frederic caused it, and takes advantage of the reformed thief's presence to shift the blame away from himself. Fowles then spends the rest of the chapter working to Clear My Name.She's actually not dead, but he doesn't learn that until close to the end of the chapter.
  • Go into the Light: Ligeia at the end.
  • Gold Digger: It's eventually revealed that Morrissey married and then murdered Ligeia for her inheritance. He also admits, however, that he was miserable after her death, and the money brought him no joy.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: This time, the player is on the hunt for bottles of medicines and poisons scattered throughout the game.
  • Happily Married: At the end of the bonus chapter, Fowles is pleased to finish his story by adding that he and Victoria married and have been quite happy together.
  • In the Hood: The locals around Midton are alarmed by sightings of a figure in a mask and a red hooded cloak. This same individual is the focus of the case, and according to Morrissey, the cloak belonged to Ligeia.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: In the bonus chapter, Clifford's notes on the crimes of various local officials describe Judge Patrick Phoenix (Ligeia and Allan's father) as this, noting that he has nothing to hold over the guy's head because he's totally incorruptible.
  • Innocent Bystander: Rowena, Morrissey's second wife, is this. She's actually the one who sent the anonymous letter asking the detectives for help, and to judge by the fact that Ligeia leaves her alone for the most part, she had nothing to do with her predecessor's murder.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Dupin subtly invokes Poe at the end of the bonus chapter (though not by name), remarking that Fowles has quite the story and "I know a writer who might be interested."
  • Leave No Witnesses:
    • The reason that Morrissey attempts to kill the detectives once they learn the truth.
    • In the bonus chapter, this is also true of Clifford, who is determined to kill his wife in order to silence her.
  • Love Redeems: In the bonus chapter, Fowles reveals that he gave up his life of crime because he fell in love with a young artist, Victoria, and he was determined to become the man she deserved.
  • The Maze: In the bonus chapter, Fowles must sail through one of these to escort the young Ligeia safely home.
  • Meaningful Name: Ligeia's maiden surname is Phoenix. She's believed to have risen from the dead to kill everyone. She hasn't. Her brother Allan stole her body and hid it in a secret crypt in his house, and is masquerading as her.
  • Old Retainer: Fowles, whom Morrissey describes as his housekeeper, is actually this to the Phoenix family. He doesn't get much screen time in the main game, but the bonus chapter is entirely from his point of view and shows how he came to have that role.
  • Paper Key-Retrieval Trick:
    • In the main game, you have to do this to get into the house to prevent the hooded figure from killing Morrissey.
    • In the bonus chapter, this is how you break into the hospital to save Anna Clifford from being strangled by her husband.
  • Poison Is Evil: The real murderer uses poison. It's how he killed Ligeia and how he attempts to kill you.
  • Prequel: The bonus chapter is this, as it takes place several years before the main game and explains how Fowles came to be a fiercely loyal retainer and defender of the Phoenix estate.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Ligeia was this in life, as shown in portraits and also in the bonus chapter where she appears as a young girl. She had very fair skin and long black hair; she also wore a red cloak, which with her hair made her appear to have a Red And Black Color Scheme.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Judge Phoenix in the bonus chapter. He knows Fowles is a criminal, but he's also willing to hear him out, since he risked his neck to save Ligeia and bring her home safely.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The opening cinematic shows a hooded figure placing a flower on a grave, noting to the deceased that "I know what they did to you" and that "my revenge will be merciless." Eventually you learn that the grave belongs to Ligeia, and the hooded figure is her brother Allan, who knows that she was murdered and is out for vengeance.
  • Second Love: Rowena Trevanion, who had been Ligeia's maid, became Morrissey's second wife.
  • Secret Underground Passage: The hooded figure escapes through one of these in Lord Allan's house. It leads to the secret crypt where Ligeia's body is hidden.
  • Solar and Lunar: The Phoenix estate crypt cannot be opened unless the guardian angel at the door is holding both the Book of the Sun and the Book of the Moon.
  • Something About a Rose: There are roses around the property whose petals are etched with unsettling phrases like "You'll die soon" and "I know."
  • Take Your Time: After Morrissey shoots the player character with a poison dart, a timer in the upper right part of the screen keeps track of how long you have to find an antidote. However, much like the Demonic Possession in Morella, the timing of this is controlled by the plot and you don't have to actually rush.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Ligeia sent a message to her brother, the doctor, saying that she believed someone was poisoning her food. She was right. It was her husband.
  • Unfinished Business: Ligeia won't rest until she avenges her own death and that of her brother.
  • Woman in White: Ligeia wears white dresses in every appearance, even as a child. She was also buried in one.

     Nightfall 
  • Ambiguous Gender: Sort of. When you create your avatar, you decide whether they are male or female. However, it seems that the default is male, judging by some hints in the game. One set of quests has you looking for items for a disguise. One of these items is a fake mustache, which Dupin has you try on at the end of the quest and then states that it's not enough and that a fake beard should be added to make you unrecognizable. But of course, if the character were female, fake facial hair would not be nearly enough of a disguise by itself, and Dupin at no point mentions a need to dress like a man.
    • Also, one of the items you can buy for your office is a picture of a man with Dupin. The man is what you would look like if you selected "male" as your gender and were wearing a particular set of clothes that can be bought in-game. There is no female version of this picture. (There is also no portrait of Anna, nor of Anna with Dupin.)
  • Anachronism Stew: There are airships that will fly across the map on occasion. They're of the steampunk variety.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: There is a wardrobe in your personal office where you can select different garments in which to attire your avatar. Purchasing and wearing full ensembles provides specific bonuses.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: Also in the personal office is a space where you can purchase and equip different pieces of decor for the room, such as blind curtains to keep out prying eyes. These can give extra gold, experience, or boost your chances of finding items after completing a hidden object scene.
  • Background Music: Nightfall uses the same background music as the other games in the series, but lampshades it a bit when you visit Dupin's house... and see his record player constantly running.
  • Continuity Nod: Pluto from The Black Cat appears in one of the loading screens being held by Dupin. He also shows up as a living cat in the gambling hall, reclining on the piano. His ruby eye, which should be his right, is shown here on his left, but the name tags he wears show that it is indeed him.
  • Cool Airship: These will fly across the map on occasion when the player's level gets to a certain point. Clicking on them allows you to speak to the pilot for a quest. At least one of the pilots looks like a Sky Pirate.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: Those who are familiar with the paid-for games in the series will notice that many backgrounds in the free game are similar or identical. Justified in that not everybody buys the extras when they play free online games, so reusing the artwork allows them to keep the game free.
  • Difficulty Spike: The hidden object scenes will sometimes be subjected to these, such as darkening the entire scene except for where you shine your flashlight, or experiencing an extremely localized weather anomaly (see Weather Dissonance, below).
  • Distress Ball: Anna picks it up in the timed quest where Dupin gets injured by a thug. Dupin comments at the end of the quest that you should go back and comfort Anna, whom he knows is deeply upset by the turn of events.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Averted. At the start of Nightfall, you enter your name and select a gender for yourself, which determines the appearance of your avatar. The choice of gender has no real impact except that it determines whether your clothing options will be suits or dresses.
    • However, as noted under Ambiguous Gender, the player character is heavily implied to be male.
  • Fetch Quest: A good number of the quests you're given are to retrieve a mundane item from another area and bring it back to the person who gave you the quest. They have nothing to do with any crime that has been committed and seem to be a poor use of your detective skills.
  • Find the Cure!: At least two of the rotating timed quests have you finding a cure for a sick person.
  • Gratuitous French: Nightfall has a little more of this than the main series, with Dupin addressing the player as "mon ami" and exclaiming "Magnifique!" when a particular quest is completed. Other characters will also use "Magnifique!" when you complete a quest.
  • Hidden Object Game: The game consists of almost nothing but this type of puzzle, with only a few other kinds thrown in occasionally for variety.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: They appear on the map every half hour or so and usually contain gold or a collection item. There are also inexplicable treasure caches that appear once a day at different times, open up in three hours, and contain gold and special items.
  • Loading Screen: Nightfall has two initial loading screens. One features Dupin, Anna, and one other character in the game; the second is the standard loading screen for the paid-for games. The loading screen between scenes features what look to be watch gears spinning around in the center of a black screen.
  • Lovely Assistant: To some extent, Anna is this to Dupin. She's hinted to be the player character from the main games, which means she's a very competent detective in her own right; but she's mostly seen here handling minor matters for Dupin, such as providing you with instructions and rewards.
    • She's also this to the player, since she appears in any hidden object scene that doesn't have another character associated with it. There are a great deal of these, meaning that she's accompanying you just about everywhere. Her comments for those scenes take the forms of advice or observations, as if she were your guide around Paris.
  • MacGuffin: Nearly all of the challenges in this game involve hunting down particular items for various characters, which is achieved by solving hidden object puzzles.
  • Magic Map: Usually, your Point-and-Click Map of Paris is just a means to travel quickly from one hidden object location to another. However, it occasionally becomes involved with puzzles itself. For instance, a prison break will have you squinting at the streets to spot the escaped convicts in their tell-tale black and white garb, and grabbing them by clicking on them.
  • Nice Hat: Dupin wears his top hat from the main series, and Anna wears a fancy lady's hat trimmed with a peacock feather. Various hats are included among the unlockable rewards.
  • Orphaned Game: As noted at the top of the page, the game has been formally discontinued as of August 2015. As of February 2018, it is no longer playable and the servers cannot be reached.
  • Plot Lock: The map is filled with these, as nearly all of the buildings shown are locked to you at the start of the game. Over time, they gradually become unlocked as the plot unfolds.
  • Pretty in Mink: Anna wears what seems to be a fur half-cape over her shoulders.
  • Relationship Values: There are meters beneath various characters that determine your reputation with them. These meters can only go up, not down, and are raised by completing the hidden object area they're associated with, not (as one might assume) by completing quests given by those characters. You get achievements for maxing some of them out; the game states that unique items or clothing will also be awarded, but this was never programmed (and, given the fact that the game has been canceled, never will be). The character who has the most scenes associated with her, Anna, doesn't have an achievement - probably because she's the easiest one with whom to get 100% reputation.
  • Shout-Out: The entire game is basically a Freemium shout-out to the main Dark Tales series. You begin by joining Dupin's detective agency and, after going through the tutorial-esque beginnings, immediately start to help him solve the case of the original game. There are other cosmetic nods to the main games as well.
  • Start My Own: The basic premise of the game is that Dupin, the greatest detective in Paris, has decided he needs to create his own detective agency to facilitate the solving of the most puzzling crimes. It seems to be a very small agency, though - just him, you, and Anna.
  • Take Your Time: For the most part, quests have no time limit. However, this is averted by a special set of quests that do have a timer and usually need to be done in 24 hours. The hidden object scenes also have timers, and if they aren't completed in a certain amount of time the player will fail them. This can happen most often when the scene is under the influence of a hurricane.
  • Thought Bubble Speech: Arthur, LeGrand's dog, has these if you accept the quest to feed him for seven days while his owner's away. Most of his thoughts are complaints about how his owner never visits him and how hungry he is.
  • Weather Dissonance: The hidden object scenes are sometimes under the influence of a hurricane... which is affecting only the building in question. It's really just an excuse to speed up the timer on the scene, thus increasing the difficulty, but it's visually rather humorous.
    • This also happens with Fog, Frost, and "Chaos" (which looks like a thunderstorm), which also have different effects on the hidden object scene. Fog will literally obscure the scene with fog; Frost will freeze hints and helper items; and Chaos scrambles the words of the items you need to find.
    • In the Rue de la Reynie street scene where some of the timed quests take place, if you look very closely, the rain is moving upward, not downward. This can be hard to see if you aren't an animation fanatic.

Alternative Title(s): Nightfall An Edgar Allan Poe Mystery

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