Escape the Museum is a trilogy of Hidden Object Games developed by Gogii Games, chronicling the adventures of the family of Susan the museum archaeologist.
It consists of three installments, released over a two-year period.
- Escape the Museum (2008): Susan decides to bring her daughter Caitlin to serve as her assistant at her museum job. Due to Susan's family living near the San Andreas Fault Line, earthquakes strike. Susan and her daughter Caitlin are now trapped in the National Museum, and must escape under the guidance of Metro City structural engineer John Harris. Susan is also tasked with collecting various scattered artifacts for safekeeping, as ordered by museum curator Marcus Duval.
- Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure (2008): A sequel set months after the earthquake. Susan receives a mysterious, valuable notebook comes into her possession, she sets out on a quest to find out its secrets.
- Escape the Museum 2 (2009): A P.O.V. Sequel focusing on Susan's husband David, which returns to the story of the earthquake of the original Escape the Museum. After sharing a goodbye with Susan and Caitlin (who are headed to the museum) one morning, David rudely wakes up to see the devastation of the earthquake laid bare to him. Worried about his family's safety, he sets off on a journey through his quake-torn neighborhood in order to reach the museum and rendezvous with his family again. Along the way, he is guided by a helpful homeless man who knows very well how to navigate the place.
They were originally released on Microsoft Windows but have been ported to a few other systems.
The Escape the Museum games provide examples of:
- In Escape The Museum, Susan must retrieve various artifacts from other rooms of the museum. Several of these rooms are rooms that Susan had previously escaped from.
- In Escape The Museum 2, David must backtrack to previous levels if he forgets to pick up any parts required to raise the lowered drawbridge.
- Broken Bridge: Many times, Susan and David will run into many impassible obstacles such as literal broken bridges, locked doors, large gaps, enormous piles of debris etc. preventing them from using obvious exits. However, unlike most examples of this trope, most of the time they encounter a broken bridge, they must aggresively find ways to force their way across to proceed.
- Genre Roulette: The levels alternate between finding hidden objects and escaping a dangerous situation in the style of an Adventure Game regularly. The original Escape The Museum has even more main gameplay modes that were dropped when 2 rolled around.
- MacGyvering: A series staple. Susan and David must use various means of opening doors, passing over gaps, and removing obstructions, often using the most unlikely tools for these tasks. Susan even remarks that they must be a "resourceful family" at the end of Escape The Museum 2.
- Point-and-Click: As usual for a Hidden Object Game, the series is played entirely with the mouse.
- Two-Part Trilogy: Escape The Museum and Escape The Museum 2 center around the earthquake and how Susan's family survives it. Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure is set outside of this arc and is framed around Susan's quest for treasure.
- Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Multiple times, Susan is forced to used archaic weapons and tools taken directly from museum exhibits in her escapes.
- Susan is forced to start a fire with pure manual friction in order to melt an ice block containing a preserved Neanderthal in order to exit one level. She does this with a very primitive bow, and it was so difficult for her to ignite the fire that she swears that she would never do it again.
- Susan must use a sword to destroy a pillar to generate a hole from its fall.
- Susan must set off an American Revolution-era cannon in order to blast open a locked door in "War of Independence".
- Susan must use a blowdart to shoot a magnetic card that is situated too high to reach down to the ground.
- There Was a Door: One level has Susan deliberately destroy a column to have it fall into a wall so that it can create a hole she can pass through.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Multiple times right after completing certain levels, Susan is forced to either fix a broken painting or fool weight-based security systems to retrieve heavy artifacts.
- Artifact Title: In this game, David does not escape a museum; but instead, he escapes towards the museum.
- Damsel in Distress: When David steps out of his house in "Outside Front Steps", he is immediately greeted with a woman trapped in her car by a downed electric pole. Of course, you must extract her from the car to finish the stage.
- Distressed Dude: David has to rescue a man pinned to the ground by an ATM machine.
- Earthquakes Cause Fissures: Due to the earthquake, a few large fissures have opened up, forcing David to cross one right in front of the museum with the help of a tree.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- The very first large decision David makes in the game is for him to rescue a woman trapped in her car due to a downed electric pole in "Outside Front Steps". This thereby establishes David's tendencies to risk his own life and defy proper procedures for the sake of heroism.
- The homeless man also gets such a moment in "Gallant Street", wherein he is established to be very helpful, knowledgeable and cool-headed, just at the cost of making you do inane tasks for him first. When David is frustrated at being unable to cross a large sinkhole, the homeless man first makes David collect 10 toy cars, and then subtly suggests to use a skateboard and a ramp to jump across the gap.
- Good Morning, Crono: The game begins with David bidding farewell to Susan and Caitlin as those two head off to the National Museum. David decides to sleep a bit more, and he wakes up to a rather rude awakening: an earthquake has struck.
- Hint System: The homeless man serves as this. If you cannot find an item during a Hidden Object section of a level, you can call on him to throw a beer bottle at where the item is. There is a cooldown between uses.
- MacGuffin: David must collect parts of the museum's drawbridge equipment across previous levels in order to lower the bridge when he finally encounters it much later on.
- Police Are Useless: The cops do nothing substantial to the plot but attempt to force David into the evacuation safe zone for his own safety. The cops fail both times.
- P.O.V. Sequel: Escape The Museum 2 returns to the earthquake in the original Escape The Museum, but this time puts the player in the shoes of David, husband of Susan and father of Caitlin.
- Spanner in the Works: Invoked by David when he discovers a cell tower about to collapse. Reminded of him being unable to call his family at the beginning, he decides to steady the tower so that others in the neighborhood do not suffer the same fate.