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The Mystery at Greveholm is a pedagogic game with problems related to subjects such as music, language, technology and logistics.

Anyone aged 6 and over can play this highly enjoyable and instructive game.
~ from the back of the CD jewel case

Any Swede of a certain age would surely know of The Mystery at Greveholm, or Mysteriet på Greveholm as they would call it. It may be a charmingly a spooky kids show, but it was originally part of STV's annual Christmas event known as Julkalender (or Christmas Calendar to English speakers). A new episode would air each day from the 1st of December concluding with a spectacular finish on Christmas Eve. Out of all of them, Greveholm appears to be the most fondly remembered and perhaps the only one with some recognition outside of its homeland thanks to release of a trilogy of point-and-click adventures.

We begin the game in the entrance of a spooky mansion where a couple of jolly spectres phase through a door giggling to themselves. This door is locked, though. As is every other door you come across save for the front door. You cannot go upstairs either, as the steps have been replaced with a slippery slope. Even the long and linear walk outside eventually leads to a dead end. It's time to do some puzzling.

Drag the yellow icon to the briefcase to add it to your inventory (left).
Each item has its own spot in there. Double-click on any to get an interactive 3D render of it (right).

Remarkably given the attraction hadn't been invented yet, the game plays out much like an escape room. Hidden switches turn on contraptions and oblique puzzles open doors, but the difficulty is more about finding and understanding them more than solving them. Not one of the puzzles are explained to you, requiring trial, error and a little bit of gumption to figure out. One such puzzle confronts you with a row of alarm clocks in front of a randomly generating digital readout. If you click on a clock face, the readout will change but through trial and error I managed to get a light bulb on the right hand side to light up...  before it disappeared again on the next click. I had thought that there was to be a sequence to figure out, that each clock represented a certain amount of time that needed to be added up. In actuality, you have to click on any one of the clock faces that displays the same time as the readout. It's easy to over-think things sometimes.

This is not the only puzzle that's like this, and the fact that you get zero help within the game actually makes it rewarding to solve. That "a-ha" moment when you realise how much more simple the it was than you were thinking is perhaps equally as gratifying as solving a challenging brain-bender. While there is no help system per-se, you are not entirely devoid of hints. Easily missed clues (and red herrings) are strewn across each room, whether they be a magic eye painting or a helpful schematic cooked on a frozen pizza that will gradually get eaten by those pesky poltergeists from earlier. 

Real and fake magic eyes are perhaps a little over-used. I can't tell the difference anyway (left).
Your pizza schematic will gradually get chomped on by hungry ghosts (right).

While there are a few of those single-screen conundrums scattered around the unkempt mansion, you will also have to contend with some inventory puzzles too. The cursor will change when hovered over something you can interact with, and if you can pick it up and yellowed outline will appear on top of it. Drag it over to the briefcase icon on the bottom of the screen and it will be added to your inventory. For frequent adventure gamers, the way Greveholm uses items is a little different than the norm. A single click on your desired item will not transfer it to your cursor, but to the top of your briefcase. From here, you must drag and drop it onto where you wish it to go. It works, and it isn't exactly unintuitive. It's just different and - like those puzzles - unexplained. In a way, figuring out this method is a little puzzle in and of itself.

Other than you inventory, the bottom of the screen features four other icons. On the far left is an outline of Greveholm mansion itself. This acts as the game's main menu where you can save, load, quit and tweak the audio volume. Just to the right of this is the map. This is where you will get quick access to that pizza schematic I mentioned earlier. Think of it like Indiana Jones' grail diary, only tastier. On the far-right is a light bulb. I initially thought this would be a help system, but for much of the game it is inaccessible. In fact, it is only used in one specific spot at one specific moment. I won't give it away, but when you see it lights up, click on it.

In the centre is your movement, and perhaps my biggest gripe with the game. Unlike most other first-person adventures of this era you do not click on the image itself to move, but on one of these four directions. Using the mouse, it is cumbersome and slow but thankfully the arrow keys will do the same thing. While some of the nodes can be a tad discombobulating - particularly in the crate-filled warehouse - the mansion is small enough to get a decent sense of your surroundings. 

A rare FMV cutscene. While speech is minimal, it is all is its native Swedish (left).
It may take a second, but everything important is written in English anyway (right).

Even though The Mystery at Greveholm was released in several European countries, only the text was translated for each region. Given the fact that there are - by my memory - only three lines of spoken dialogue, it's not much of an issue and the only one that isn't subtitled is easily understood by English speakers anyway. Pizza seems to be pizza no matter where you're from. I do have a suspicion that some lines were completely removed, with one character towards the end of the game talking to you in silence. This would bring my spoken lines up to four, but again, it's no deal breaker.

The Mystery at Greveholm is one of those exceptional educational adventure games that don't seem educational at all. That clock puzzle, for instance, is a puzzle in its own right even if it does test your clock-reading skills. You will also get non-preachy lessons on (Swedish) spelling, typing, triangulation, music and logic but don't let that fool you - they're just bloody good puzzles really.

To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses the DOSBox-X build of DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 321 Mb.  Install Size: 669 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


The Mystery at Greveholm is © Young Genius
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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