Eagle Eye Mysteries
Hi, I'm Jake Eagle...
Eagle Eye Mysteries is a two-part Edutainment Game series developed by Stormfront Studios (now defunct as of 2008) and published by the Creative Wonders (EA*Kids) studio. It was released for the PC and Apple Macintosh computers and playable on DOS, as a first-person detective game involving reading, puzzle-solving, and much research on the part of the player. The series is for players aged 8 and up, which means adults can get in on the fun as well.
The first game, Eagle Eye Mysteries: The Original (referred to as EEM Original in this article), was released in 1993, and its sequel, Eagle Eye Mysteries in London (hereafter identified as EEM London), was released in 1994.
The premise: Pre-teen twin siblings Jake and Jennifer Eagle are the founders of the Eagle Eye Detective Agency, which is based out of their hometown of Richview, USA (it's never stated where exactly the town is situated). In the first game, they solve mysteries that take place in and around Richview and that involve their friends, neighbors, and other close residents. In the sequel, the two go on vacation to visit their Aunt Miranda, Uncle Basil and cousin Nigel (also Eagles themselves) in London, England, hoping to take a break from sleuthing...only to find mysteries waiting for them in London and its environs. You, as the player, are a member of the Agency who can partner with either of the siblings to solve cases, collect clues and help the police collar criminals.
In-game, Jake and Jennifer use a hand-held electronic notebook called a TRAVIS (short for Text Retrieval And Video Input System), which can store notes and photos of suspects or other pictures for easy reference later when going through clues to solve the mystery. According to the game manual, they also adhere to a strict series of rules that govern mystery-solving, allowing them (and you) to better sift through clues, identify the ones that are most relevant to the case, and thus correctly identify the guilty party.
Each game begins with a practice mystery that the player can access to get a feel of how gameplay works. In EEM London, when you start playing for the first time, you're immediately launched into the practice mystery, as it sets the pace for the game's underlying Story Arc, where the kids will have to match wits with an elusive criminal known only as Macavity.
The mysteries are separated into "books," each containing roughly 25 mysteries. In EEM Original, there are three books, Book 1, Book 2, and a "Challenge Book." The cases in Books 1 and 2 have the same names, but those in Book 2 are only slightly more difficult, have different clues and come with different outcomes. The Challenge Book contains only six mysteries, all having the same names as their namesake cases in Books 1 and 2, but with significantly higher difficulty.
In EEM London, there are two books, with the cases in Book 1 being very different from those in Book 2 and with approximately the same level of difficulty across all the cases. (On a side note, both books in EEM London contain exactly 25 cases, which means you get to solve 50 mysteries in all - not counting the introductory mystery that you get when you first start playing the game.)
Its character sheet is complete (for now). Also has several other sub-pages, listed at the top of the article.
Tropes in Both Games
- Action Prologue
- Adults Are Useless: Actually, no, adults are very helpful when it comes to giving information. The police's ability to solve cases without the Eagles' help, on the other hand...
- All There in the Manual: The manuals for both games show you how to work your way around the various menus and maps and how to select clues in the TRAVIS to solve each case.
- EEM London's game manual contains guides for semaphores, hieroglyphs, train schedules, and the names of British monarchs and when they reigned. The game also comes with a map of in-game London that the player can use to find his/her way around.
- Alliterative Name: Most of the case-names in both games, although it's subverted with EEM London's "Case of the Sherlock Holmes Hoax" and "Case of the Robin Hood Hacker."
- Bad Liar: Many of the guilty suspects turn out to be this when you're interviewing them.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: A necessary part of both games' practice mysteries. In-story, in EEM London's "Case of the Marlford Murder," Count von Coburg does it constantly, forgetting that he's supposed to be playing the murder victim and is therefore supposed to be playing dead.
- Catch Phrase: "Cool!", "Aha!", "Hmmm...", "You got it!", "You figured it out!", "Excellent!", "Let's check the evidence!" (in the first game only), and "Let's go!" (at the partner select screen when you start the game).
- City of Adventure: Richview in the first game, London and its surrounding environs in the sequel.
- Conviction by Contradiction
- Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: If the player selects the right clues but accuses the wrong suspect, Jake/Jennifer will simply tell you that you're wrong, and then you have to select the clues again.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Many characters, many times.
- Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat
- Did Not Do the Research: In-game, the guilty party will sometimes be revealed to have committed this trope, and oftentimes it overlaps with the Idiot Ball to the point of them appearing Too Dumb to Live. You, as the player, must in such cases invert the trope.
- Difficulty Spike: In the first game, the mysteries in Book 1 are extremely easy and require that you pick five clues to solve each one. Then comes Book 2, whose cases are slightly more difficult and require that you pick four clues to solve them. And then comes the Challenge Book, which for at least one of the cases will require you to take out actual pen and paper to keep track of the facts, and all of which require you to pick three clues before you can choose the guilty party.
- In EEM London, all the cases in Books 1 and 2 require you to choose five clues before choosing the right suspect. The cases in Book 2 are only a little bit more difficult than those in Book 1, with "Case of the Envelope Espionage" being one of the most noteworthy difficult ones.
- Eagle-Eye Detection: Trope Namer.
Jake/Jennifer: That's why we named ourselves the Eagle Eye Detective Agency, (player's name). Because we never overlook a clue!
- Edutainment Game
- Even Evil Has Standards: One of the suspects in the first game's "Case of the Reckless Robber" is stated to have perfect manners. Also, Macavity in the sequel goes the extra mile to ensure that his/her criminal schemes don't actually harm anyone, as Inspector Gage admits.
- Everyone Is a Suspect: In quite a few cases. They include "Case of the Midnight Masquerade" and "Case of the Basketball Blooper" in EEM Original and "Case of the Marlford Murder" in EEM London.
- The Faceless: The first person perspective is given with you, the player.
- Fair Play Whodunnit: For seasoned players.
- Foreshadowing: Pay keen attention to anything that is learned regarding Mrs. Harper's family finances in EEM Original. It'll be important later on.
- In the same game, in Book 1's version of "Case of the Midnight Masquerade," there's a slight animation error that will later prove to be a vital clue in Book 2. The tear in the gorilla costume.
- Anything regarding the Cheswicks in EEM London will be important to the outcome of the game's final mystery.
- Hidden in Plain Sight
- Hints Are for Losers: Subverted; in both games, at the screen where you can select clues from your TRAVIS to accuse the guilty party, you can click on Jake/Jennifer's head to get up to two hints as to the clues you need to pick.
- Hyper Awareness: The player gets to develop this with repeated playing, as each scene he/she visits has bright blue box outlines around people who can talk to you, or around clues in the area. In the sequel, the boxes can be disabled in the game's menu screen to increase the difficulty of sleuthing (also lowering or canceling the Hyper Awareness in favor of making the player actually search the screen for the mouse icon to change, indicating that something of relevance can be checked).
- Idiot Ball: Handled often by people who you would expect ought to know better, especially when it comes to their field of expertise. Read: cops, scholars, and other people in authority.
- Justified Tutorial: Both games have a practice mystery where the player can get a feel of how gameplay works. In EEM London, when you begin playing for the very first time, you're immediately launched into the practice mystery, although you can quit it midway through and go straight to the main cases to be solved.
- Limited Wardrobe: It's rare to see any of the characters in anything other than their regular outfits.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Magical Computer: The TRAVIS.
- Masquerade Ball
- Meaningful Name: Most characters across both games. For the protagonists, in the second game's "Case of Bronwyn's Bequest," Jake and Jennifer's cousin Nigel remarks that the family got its surname because their ancestor, Perceval Eagle, was a falconer who trained a great eagle for a monarch.
- Not Now Kid: Averted; despite the main characters being children, nobody ever brushes them off. This is justified, as by the time your character joins the Eagle Eyes at the start of the first game, they've already established themselves as competent detectives.
- Oh Crap: Bobby Garcia in EEM Original when he realizes he may have allowed a con artist to clean him out of all his birthday money, some of which he should have put in the bank like his mother had instructed him to.
Bobby Garcia: If my mom finds out I spent it all...I'll be grounded till I'm 65!
- Politician Sir Toby Uppingham has a very similar reaction in EEM London's "Case of the Envelope Espionage," when he realizes that the seal on a top-secret government envelope in his possession has been tampered with.
Sir Toby: Oooohhh...the Minister will send me to be Postmaster of an uninhabited island...!
- Inspector Gage has an epic dismal reaction in "Case of Macavity's Mace," when he realizes that Macavity is very likely among a group of guests touring various sites throughout London...who are, at that moment, touring the Tower of London, where the Crown Jewels are kept.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: In this case, they always turn out to be someone or something that's been mistaken for a ghost.
- Player Headquarters: The Eagle's Nest in the first game, and the Eagle family's upstairs garret in the second game.
- The Player Is the Most Important Resource:
Our most important resource is you. You're our partner in all the Eagle Eye cases, and we depend on you to notice things we might miss and help us out during the course of our investigations. And in the end, it's up to you to point to the guilty party.
- Police Are Useless: Evidently, wherever the Eagle Eyes are (Richview or London), the local police can't completely solve crimes without their help.
- Punny Name: All over the place, sometimes overlapping with Meaningful Name.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Most of the authority figures in both games fit the bill.
- Red Herring
- Remember the New Guy?: Happens several times in both games, where characters are introduced who the player has never seen before but who Jake and Jennifer have apparently had prior offscreen acquaintances with. One of the most glaring examples of this is found in the first game, where late into the game two brothers, Michael and Christopher Gallin, are introduced who have certainly never shown up at any earlier point in the game but who the Eagles are evidently familiar with.
- Noticeably averted in EEM London's "Case of the Perilous Pixies." At the start of the mystery, Rae Maringh - who you've never met in any of the cases prior - phones the detectives at the Eagle family home and acknowledges that you and she have never met, but that she knows of your exploits through Nigel, who's a good friend of hers.
- The Reveal: At the end of each case, when the player has correctly identified the guilty party.
- The Rival: In EEM Original, Willy Barr has at least two rivals for his skateboarding skills, Mike Walker and Dave Grant. EEM London has musical rivals Astrid and Regina, and their respective bands Stiff Upper Lip and Tone Def.
- Rogues Gallery: Consists mostly of one-shot criminals who are never mentioned again at the close of a case. Recurring antagonists between both games include Mark Moriarty, Dave Grant, Ned Bassett, and Macavity.
- Shown Their Work: Regarding the research put into assembling the factual details pertaining to each case.
- Too Dumb to Live: Some of the guilty suspects come across this way.
- Trophy Room: After each mystery is solved, clippings of newspaper headlines praising the detectives' work or letters of gratitude from those who were helped are kept in scrap-books by the Eagle Eyes.
- Urban Legends: In EEM Original's "Case of the Ghastly Ghost," it's revealed that the town of Richview has a legend about a woman named Niagara Tumbel, who supposedly fell off the balcony of the Egyptian Theater after fainting while watching a horror movie there in 1925. In reality, as the Eagle Eyes soon learn, Ms. Tumbel was an actress who pretended to faint while watching the movie, in order to attract publicity for the film.
- In EEM London's "Case of the Perilous Pixies," it's discovered that most of Dartmoor's residents believe very strongly in the existence of faeries, pixies, and the like. Plus, there are all the familiar stories about King Arthur and Camelot, which are the focus of "Case of the Crumbling Castle."
- World Map: The two games provide maps of Richview (in the first game) and London (in the sequel). When you're at the map screen, the locations you need to visit are identified by flashing diamonds, with the scene of the crime marked by a flashing red diamond (and thus it being the first place you should go to). Once you've collected all the information at a given location, its diamond will stop flashing and turn solid blue (including the crime scene diamond); in EEM London, if new information is available at a previously-visited site, its diamond will flash again.
- Worthy Opponent: Both Mark Moriarty and Macavity consider the Eagle Eye Detective Agency as this.
- You Meddling Kids
Tropes in EEM Original
- Clear My Name: The underlying mission in Book 1's version of "Case of the Runaway Reptile."
- Clear Their Name: The focal point of Books 1 and 2's versions of "Case of the Basketball Blooper" and "Case of the Midnight Masquerade."
- Den of Iniquity: Mark Moriarty's fort, in the extreme southwestern corner of Richview. He and Dave Grant generally hang out here, and the place is dirty, unkempt, and littered with trash (the scenery animation shows a rat scurrying in and out of a corner every few seconds).
- Down in the Dumps: Again, Mark Moriarty's fort. The land itself is adjacent to the Arnold couple's land.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Amy Jolanna and Mrs. Harper are the two most noteworthy examples; in Amy's case, during Book 2's and the Challenge Book's versions of "Case of the Midnight Masquerade," she wears (respectively) a blue sapphire tiara and an emerald pendant, and in her avatar picture she wears a necklace and earrings. Nicola Hamble, a recurring character from the same game, is always seen wearing a necklace in her avatar picture, and a few other women in the town wear very noticeable earrings.
- Everytown, America: Richview itself.
- It's Personal: "Case of the Pilfered Pop" starts with the gang's private soda stash having been stolen from its place at the bottom of their tree-house base, and "Case of the Runaway Reptile" centers on finding out who stole the Eagles' pet iguana Watson. In Books 1 and 2's versions of "Case of the Midnight Masquerade" from the same game, the case becomes this when Nancy Marx, one of the Agency's members, is made a suspect in the case's robbery mystery.
- Geographic Flexibility: Richview, as stated above.
- Local Hangout: Pisa Pizza Palace and Sweet Treats, a pizza restaurant and ice cream parlor, respectively.
- The Mall: Richview Mall.
- Malt Shop: Sweet Treats.
- Pet the Dog: Bobby Garcia, the resident Butt Monkey, gets a break in the aftermath of Book 2's and the Challenge Book's versions of "Case of the Authentic Autograph."
- Secret Test: The Challenge Book's version of "Case of the Attacking Aliens."
- Suburbia: Richview on a whole. At its north end is a farm area; northwest is the local Buccaneer Beach; downtown has two jewelry stores and a bank; and most of the map's lower half is residential.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Most of the kids in Richview, including Jake and Jennifer, appear to enjoy pizza. In one mystery, Mark and Dave polish off an extra-large "Pig Lovers' Pizza," which contains ham, sausage and Canadian bacon.
- Treehouse of Fun: The Eagle's Nest.
- Two-Teacher School: Richview's local Kennedy School only ever has three of its teachers revealed: Mr. Minas, the math teacher; Sgt. Morrow, the football coach; and Ms. Skerzo, the music teacher.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: All we really know about Richview's location is that it's somewhere in the United States.
Tropes in EEM London
- And the Adventure Continues...: Hinted at the end of the game.
- Beware of Vicious Dog: "Case of the Horrible Hound."
- Black Sheep: In "Case of the Vaporous Victorian," the kids investigate the supposed appearance of the ghost of a teenage tennis star's ancestor, who has been long ostracized by the family for defying the norms of Victorian-era England.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The kids think Greenbeard's crew has done this to Aunt Miranda in "Case of the Pirate Prank," but she quickly informs them that the crew actually doesn't do any real piracy at all.
- The Butler Did It: In two murder-themed mysteries in EEM London. Both times, the murders are part of an annual game with the "victim" either playing dead or being a very lifelike doll.
- Continuity Nod: It's established in EEM London that Macavity learned about the Eagle Eyes by reading newspaper clippings of their exploits in Richview, as documented in EEM Original. Also, EEM London makes reference to one of your cases in EEM Original where you and the Eagle siblings come to the aid of movie star Amy Jolanna.
- Covers Always Lie: Unfortunately the case with EEM London's box art, pictured above. Despite what the box art portrays, Jake and Jennifer are never shown in-game as using a flashlight in any of their investigations. And the mysterious man standing underneath the street lamp? He is only ever seen in-game during a transition cut-scene when you traverse London by bus, where he sits beside your partner reading a newspaper.
- Driving Question: Who is Macavity?
- Fantastic Racism: A number of British-born characters in EEM London have a little of this toward Americans. On the other hand, in the same game's "Case of the Renegade Raven," French journalist and minor character Mademoiselle Le Chaton has nearly nothing good to say about the British.
Le Chaton: So-called security here in England is no better than the dreadful English cooking!
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted with the Sherlock Holmes Pub (in London proper) and Smuggler's Inn (in the Dartmoor area); both are very obviously bars that serve alcoholic drinks as well as non-alcoholic beverages, and at one point your partner will inform you that Smuggler's Inn has a "no kids allowed after dark" policy.
- Love Makes You Crazy: The motive behind "Case of the Pilfered Phone".
Jake/Jennifer: (player's name), sometimes people do foolish things in the name of love!
- My Local: London's Sherlock Holmes Pub and the Smuggler's Inn in Dartmoor.
- Paparazzi: In "Case of the Renegade Raven," one of these tries to get a story on apparent laxness in security at the Tower of London by hounding the head warden and groundskeeper on the furor being caused by the disappearance of one of the eight local tower ravens (according to legend, if all the ravens leave the Tower, the monarchy will crumble).
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Done in "Case of Blood's Bold Bauble." Aunt Miranda wants to get information from Ritz Hotel desk clerk David Herrick, but he won't co-operate. You and your partner volunteer to try and get the info from him instead...so your partner borrows Aunt Miranda's glasses and puts them on you, then pretends to Herrick that you're the star of a new TV show, "Kid Detective," and that he/she is your promoter/agent. Herrick's a bit suspicious, as he's never heard of "Kid Detective," but Jake/Jennifer tells him that's because it's not on the BBC--yet. Then you get the info you want.
- Put on a Bus: Everyone in the first game who's not the player (you) or named Jake or Jennifer Eagle, is put aside to make way for the new characters in the sequel. Justified in that at the start of EEM London, the detectives are going on holiday to a place that is an ocean away from their home town. Amy Jolanna does make a cameo in the sequel, though.
- Rule of Symbolism: Cats play a frequent and crucial role in EEM London.
- Separated by a Common Language: Serves as a plot point in three of the sequel's cases.
- Serious Business: Animal rights is this for Macavity. Capturing Macavity is this for Inspector Gage. Keeping silence in the library is this for Mr. Sneed. Chess practice is this for Philip Mynd in "Case of the Chess Club Caper."
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The ruby in "Case of the Rajah's Ruby" is covertly bought by Macavity at the end of the case and never shows up again for the rest of the game - not even among the wealth left behind by Macavity at the end of the game.