Podcasting a Murder 

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The popular podcast concept is used as the driving centre for this murder investigation.

Opening with a warning regarding its content having graphic depictions of violence, Elephant Game's title of It Happened Here - Streaming Lives places you in a city that is being plagued by grisly murders.  You are cast in the role of a mature journalist, called Emily Smith, who still bears the scars from the death of her husband after 25 years of marriage.  On the advice of friends, you decide to create a podcast based on the various murders affecting the city and begin this Hidden Object adventure game.

Available in Collector's Edition format, this game allows you to create profiles to record the progress of different players.  Adjustments can be made to the volume levels used by background music, sound effects, environment and voice delivery.  Other options are available for full and wide screen viewing with special effects and a custom cursor.  The game can be played in a choice of Casual, Detective, Super and Custom difficulty which provide features such as  different rates of Hint and Skip charging, the use of sparkles to identify active areas and the noting of tasks on a map facility.

As part of the introduction to your characters in this game, you will reveal the main tools available to you.  Running across the base of the screen is an inventory which can display six items before chevrons are required to scroll through objects.  The inventory can be locked in place or set to disappear when not required.  To the left of the inventory are icons for Map and Task features while the right side holds Strategy Guide and Hint options.  Later icons will appear in the upper left corner of the screen giving access to a mobile phone and recorder features that become available at different stages of the game as part of your investigation.

With its concept of creating a podcast about the spate of murders, it is not surprising that other modern tools will have a part to play in the searches conducted by a journalist.  Both the mobile phone and a recorder of audio content are featured regularly.  Along with recording information, communication and map facilities, these tools are generally available as part of the usual game play action.

You will need to move between different locations and explore them for clues.  At regular intervals the game's Hint feature will direct you back to a previously visited scene to carry out a necessary task.  Meeting with other characters are kept to a minimum but when they do occur any dialogue will be delivered by a voice actor.  This did produce one slight anomaly when an American police officer spoke with a clear British Northern accent.

The usual mixture of Hidden Object action and mini game puzzles make an appearance throughout the game with 13 instances of each type.  With Hidden Object action you will be required to search for items listed in text format, or shown as images and silhouettes and, in one case, in a movable grid that needs to be moved around a scene in order to discover matching items.  As well as single scenes, pages of a book or a collection of photos are used for displaying required items.  Often involving linking points, moving around objects and arranging items, the mini game puzzles replace the Hint feature with am option to skip the particular task.

Completing the main game as you discover who is responsible for the crimes committed, you will gain access to the title's various bonus features.  You can replay Hidden Object scenes and mini game puzzles plus examine any collectibles found, view achievements gained and access to a secret room.  There is also a bonus chapter to help clear the name of an innocent victim.

I must admit to feeling slightly disappointed with the game's ending which was a bit of an anti-climax.  I downloaded my copy of the game from where it is priced at $19.99.  The game is also available from Big Fish Games priced at £16.00.  The game requires a 2.5 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM and 1.12GB of hard disk space running Windows 7 and later but nothing in the game warrants its initial warning.

It Happened Here - Streaming Lives Collector's Edition | Big Fish Games

It Happened Here - Streaming Lives Collector's Edition | GameHouse

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OverallIt Happened Here - Streaming Lives Elephant Games rated 60 out of 100

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