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Video Game / Hidden Expedition

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Hidden Expedition is a long-running Hidden Object Game series. The first five games were produced in-house by Big Fish Games; starting with the sixth, the hands-on work was taken over by Eipix Entertainment with Big Fish retaining distribution. Beginning with the 19th installment, The Price of Paradise, the games are now produced by Domini Games, again with Big Fish retaining distribution.

The early games are almost purely hidden object hunting with a few bonus puzzles for variety. By Devil's Triangle, the series switches over to IHOG (interactive Hidden Object Game) format.

The games in the series are:

  1. Titanic: The player character, a member of the Hidden Expedition Adventure League, has been called on to search the wreckage of the Titanic.

  2. Everest: The player character is racing three other groups to the top of Mount Everest. All the groups are on the trail of an eccentric explorer who claimed to have discovered a shortcut to the peak.

  3. Amazon: The player character has to track down a missing scientist.

  4. Devil's Triangle: A pilot for the Hidden Expedition Adventure Team has disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.

  5. The Uncharted Islands: A sequel to Devil's Triangle, the player character is trying to escape the Bermuda Triangle.

  6. Smithsonian Hope Diamond: The player character, a new recruit to the Hidden Expedition League of Preservation, has to find missing fragments of the Hope Diamond and solve the message coded into them before a band of thieves gets them.

  7. The Crown of Solomon: Can you keep the fragments of King Solomon's crown out of the wrong hands?

  8. Smithsonian Castle: The player character must solve a mystery connected to the founding of the Smithsonian Institution.

  9. Dawn of Prosperity: Strange earthquakes in Montana put the player character on the path of a hidden community.

  10. Fountain of Youth: Follow the path of Ferdinand Magellan's voyage to find your fellow agents.

  11. Midgard's End: The player character must stop an attempt to trigger Ragnarok.

  12. The Eternal Emperor: An expedition into the tomb of Qin Shi Huang leads to danger.

  13. The Lost Paradise: A lost civilization may hold the key to a new energy source.

  14. The Pearl of Discord: A wily thief has made off with a priceless pearl discovered by Marco Polo.

  15. The Curse of Mithridates: The long-lost palace of a man known as the Poison King has been unearthed, and H.E.L.P. must send a rescue team to save the missing archaeologists.

  16. The Golden Secret: A rare artifact is up for auction in Geneva, and H.E.L.P. needs to win the auction to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

  17. The Altar of Lies: Following an ambush in Honduras, the player is mistakenly identified as a double agent, and has to evade H.E.L.P. long enough to find out what really happened.

  18. Neptune's Gift: Help with research in the ancient city of Pompeii, where a powerful artifact threatens to overwhelm the world with the sea god's might.

  19. The Price of Paradise: The Aztec goddess of nature, Coatlicue, has awakened and ensorcelled a human to carry out her will; he must be stopped before it's too late.

  20. Reign of Flames: After volcanic eruptions reveal hidden caves in Samoa, H.E.L.P. has to prevent an ancient weapon called the Sun Drop from being found and used for nefarious purposes.

  21. A King's Line: The player is summoned to Europe, where archaeologists believe they may have found the final resting place of King Arthur himself. A local philanthropist intends to turn the land into a research center for climate change, but is willing to suspend these plans if it really is Arthur's tomb; however, one of his major investors is not as benevolent.

These games contain examples of:

  • Beneath the Earth: Parts of A King's Line take place here. Justified, since they're looking for an ancient tomb.
  • Big Fancy Castle: These show up from time to time as settings. Smithsonian Castle is one of the best examples, as it literally takes place in the eponymous building.
  • Bloodless Carnage: A mild example in The Eternal Emperor. Two characters get shot (one fatally); but not only is there no blood, their hazmat suits aren't even damaged. This is despite the fact that getting Gunshot Victim #2 out of the tomb before the mercury vapors finish him off is a plot point.
  • Celtic Mythology: Figures into much of A King's Line.
  • Childhood Friends: In the opening cinematic of Smithsonian Castle, two children are shown playing together while one narrates as an adult. They are, as might be guessed, extremely significant to the plot.
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  • Clear My Name: This is a huge part of the plot of Altar of Lies, when the player is wrongly accused of being The Mole.
  • Continuity Nod: The prototype sub in Devil's Triangle is powered by tech based off discoveries in Amazon.
  • Cosmetic Award: Reaching the summit of Everest in, well, Everest earns your character a certificate of merit.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": In the first few Eipix-produced games, Sam calls your character "Rookie"; later games change this to "Agent".
  • Excuse Plot: Yeah, even the later games are pretty much "how can we link these locations together into a single game?"
  • Featureless Protagonist: The final cutscene in Titanic shows a generic figure in a diving suit, but that's as much as we ever see. Many games, however, make it clear that the character is female, as various characters will address her as "ma'am" or "madam" and, on the occasions that she is voice-acted (such as in Smithsonian Castle), she speaks with a clearly female voice.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: The plot of Smithsonian Castle delves into time travel; however, this trope is never implied to be an issue. No one ever questions the time-displaced characters about their wardrobes or style of speech; and, apart from some concern about getting back to the correct time and fixing the problems caused by the time travel, the affected characters don't seem particularly troubled.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Once Eipix takes over and changes the name of the organization you work for to Hidden Expedition League of Preservation, having a minor character say they "need HELP" shows up a lot.
  • The Good King: King Arthur, in A King's Line, is believed to have been this just like in his legends.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The collector's editions of the game include a number of things to find while searching each scene. Among the items to gather are 'clue cards' which can then be examined in the Hidden Expedition box; they don't impact the gameplay at all, but provide various pieces of trivia about the location which is the subject of the current installment.
  • The Greys: The shortcut in Everest was apparently built by these guys.
  • Identical Grandson: Sam, as it turns out, is the spitting image of his great-grandfather, who was also a high-ranking H.E.L.P. agent and is seen during the plot of Smithsonian Castle. Seems that being a member of H.E.L.P. is often In the Blood.
  • In Medias Res:
    • Smithsonian Hope Diamond starts off with you and Sam imprisoned on a train. Once you escape, the story jumps back to how you wound up there.
    • Everest starts off with what amounts to a tutorial level, but the level in question is one from late in the game.
    • Lost Paradise opens with the player character waking up on a beach next to a wrecked speedboat, and must put together what happened.
    • The opening cinematic of Smithsonian Castle is basically this, giving the tragic backstory of an unidentified character who later becomes important to the plot.
  • Legacy Character: A King's Line turns King Arthur into one of these, revealing that there were actually multiple Arthurs through the centuries and that's why the legends are so contradictory.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Sam and his green plaid shirts.
  • Pixel Hunt: At one point in Uncharted Islands, you need to cut a string with a pair of scissors. If you don't position the correct part of the scissors over a specific (but unidentified) spot on the string, it won't cut... and there's no skip button on that puzzle.
  • Public Domain Artifact: Finding the Holy Grail factors into the resolution of A King's Line. It's hidden in a magnificent chamber beneath Mount Snowdown in Wales.
  • Put on a Bus: Sam in Lost Paradise and again in A King's Line.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Just about everyone you encounter in Devil's Triangle/Uncharted Islands is this trope.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Once Eipix takes over game development, it's made clear that the player character is female. (Not surprising, since female protagonists are part of Eipix's house style.)
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: At one point in The Eternal Emperor, it is so freaking obvious that the player character's partner has been put under mind control. She remains completely clueless about this until mind-controlled Sam gets hold of the MacGuffin.
  • Time Travel/Time Travel Escape: Factors heavily into the plot of Smithsonian Castle.
  • Timed Mission: In Titanic, each "dive" (level) is timed and misclicks subtract from your available "air" (time). Everest tracks how much time you take as part of the whole "race three other groups" thing, but shows relative progress between the four teams instead of an actual timer. Later games in the series are untimed.
  • Wire Dilemma: One of the minigames in Devil's Triangle is to cut the wires on a bomb in the correct order.

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