Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator is the main title of a planned series of 8 games made in AGS by Francisco "Grundislav" Gonzalez. To date, there have been 4 games released in the series, each game being a separate "case" investigated by Ben Jordan, the protagonist and player character. Each game features the main title and a subtitle, usually relating to the plot of the case. The series distinguishes itself from other games about paranormal investigating in that many of the paranormal phenomena are taken from real-life legends and folklore.
While each case in the series features a self-contained plot relating to the current investigation, the author has hinted that there is an overall story arc linking all the games together. Observant players may be able to pick out plot elements which play key roles in later games from the cases currently available.
- CAUTION: Spoilers Ahead! Do not read if you have not completed the games!
Case 1 - In Search of the Skunk-Ape
Ben's first case begins with him speaking on the phone to his disappointed mother about his recent decision to become a paranormal investigator. He is just about to give up his dream when he receives a phone call from a park ranger in the Florida Everglades, who tells him that a sasquatch-like creature known as the Skunk-Ape is suspected of causing several disappearances and murders. Desperate for a case, Ben agrees to go to the Everglades and investigate.
Upon arriving, a ranger named Ernie informs Ben that the ranger who called him has become the Skunk-Ape's most recent victim. After some initial interrogations and investigating, Ben meets a ranger named Rick who agrees to go out into the forest and camp out to see if they can find the Skunk-Ape. Ben finds the beast's lair and discovers several packets of cocaine hidden in a deep hole. He concludes that someone must be controlling the Skunk-Ape to guard their secret stash.
That night, Ben and Rick talk over the campfire and become friends. However, later on in the night Ben is woken by a noise and finds Rick about to shoot the Skunk-Ape. Rick reveals that he only wanted to find the Skunk-Ape for his own financial gain, and is promptly killed by the monster. Ben passes out, and awakens to find himself outside the cabin of Jed Johnson, the man controlling the Skunk-Ape via an electronic collar. Ben manages to run inside the cabin and interfere with the Skunk-Ape's control mechanism, causing Jed to be killed and the Skunk-Ape to return to the forest.
Case 2 - The Lost Galleon of the Salton Sea
In Ben's second case, he is called out to Dunesberg, California, a small town in the middle of the desert. A woman named Annie Roberts tells Ben that her husband George has gone off searching for something known as the Lost Galleon, and has not returned after two weeks. Ben sets out to find out more about the Lost Galleon and George.
Driving out to the Salton Sea, Ben finds several treasure hunters already there. Throuh his resourcefulness, Ben manages to locate the galleon and dives in to explore, but something in the water causes him to black out. When he wakes up, he finds himself in a cell with George Roberts, who tells him that the ghost of the captain is the one holding them captive. Ben and George manage to escape, then meet the ghost, who tells them they are trapped in the Galleon as his prisoners. However, Ben manages to create a "Spirit Box" which traps the ghost and forces it to transport them back to Dunesberg, where George is reunited with his wife.
Case 3 - The Sorceress of Smailholm
Ben's third case sees him going to Smailholm, Scotland, to investigate the murder of two little girls. The people in the town suspect that it was the work of local witches, and have imprisoned a young woman named Mary Blaine, who is accused of consorting with a local suspected witch and was found at the scene of the crime.
- This game marks a turning point in the series, as it introduces a rival investigator, Percival Quentin Jones, who challenges Ben every step of the way, as well as Mary Blaine, Ben's love interest. It is considered by many fans to be their favorite game of the series so far. The game is also different in that it features a branch in the story. Depending on whether or not the player performs a key action, the game will end differently.
In the not-so-good ending, Ben is captured by the local constable, but manages to escape. Mary reveals that she and the whole town are actually all witches, and their leader is a vampire-witch named Zortherus. In the end, Percival Jones rescues Ben from being sacrificed, and Ben kills Zortherus, causing the rest of the witch cult to age rapidly and die. In this ending, many plot points are left unanswered.
In the good ending, Ben releases Mary from jail and the two fall in love. Ben discovers that the girls who were murdered never really existed, and the whole story of the murders was just a hoax to lure him to Smailholm and be sacrificed. This time, it is Mary who comes to Ben's rescue, but she is killed by Zortherus in front of Ben. Ben, in a rage, manages to escape and kill Zortherus. Percy Jones finds him and Ben shows him the bodies of the witch cult.
Case 4 - Horror at Number 50
Back in London, Ben is at Percy Jones's office, when a man named Randolph Miggs comes in and tells Ben he is looking for him. He tells Ben the story of Number 50, Berkeley Square, a building with a haunted past which Miggs now owns and has converted into a rare bookshop. He says that there is a ghost known only as "The Horror" which has been dormant for as long as he can remember, but has recently begun making its presence known again. Ben agrees to investigate.
Upon arriving at the house, Ben discovers that he will not be investigating alone, as Miggs has called on four other paranormal investigators, including Simon Booth, an English ghost-hunter, Alice Wilkins, an American major in parapsychology, Otto Schneider, a mysterious German, and Madame Tilly Rosenquist, an over-the-top English medium.
The five investigators collaborate and finally hold a séance to make contact with the spirits. This causes Madame Tilly to go into a comatose state. Simon discovers a door that leads to a series of rooms that are inexplicably larger than the entire house, and ends up vanishing without a trace. Finally, Ben is able to get into a locked room at the top of the stairs, and he, Otto, and Alice are able to banish The Horror, which has possessed Madame Tilly, back into the Dimension of Death. In the end, it is revealed that Simon survived and is alive and well.
- This game is also important to the series as it introduces the characters of Alice Wilkins and Simon Booth, both of whom play large supporting roles in the rest of the series.
The Ben Jordan games have been praised for having strong character development, even in the earlier, shorter episodes. As of the third and fourth games, there have been several characters who have become important to the series.
- CAUTION: Spoilers Ahead! Do not read if you have not completed the games!
Ben Jordan is the main character of the series, a young man from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in his early twenties who has recently graduated college with a degree in International Relations. However, his dream is to be a paranormal investigator. Ben is curious, brave, and altogether likeable. However, he seems to suffer from the unfortunate bad luck of losing people he becomes attached to. As a result, he has become wary of getting too attached to people, and becomes angry more easily than before.
Percival Quentin Jones
A professor of Criminology at Oxford, Percival Quentin Jones met Ben Jordan in Smailholm, where he was investigating the murder of the two children there. At the time he was rude and condescending towards Ben, but his attitude quickly changed after the case was solved, and he was quite helpful during Ben's investigation of the Horror at Number 50. Not much is known about Percy, but his final comment at the end of Case 4 would suggest that there is more to him than he lets on...
A young Scottish lady, living in the village of Smailholm. Ben met her while she was in jail on the accusation of being a witch and having murdered the two McBee children. In reality, this was all an elaborate setup by the entire village who were witches, and wanted to lure Ben in to be their sacrifice. Following the "good" ending of Case 3 as canon, Mary found herself falling in love with Ben because of the kindness and compassion he showed her, and Ben fell for her as well. Unfortunately, she was killed by Zortherus, which upset Ben greatly.
An English ghost hunter from Birmingham, Simon is an outgoing, likeable guy. He and Ben met outside Number 50, Berkeley Square, and the two quickly became friends. As of Case 4, it seems likely that he will team up with Ben on future investigations.
A young lady from Sacramento, California, studying parapsychology at Harvard. Alice was also present at Number 50, and took a liking to both Ben and Simon. Although she and Ben share much in common, Ben seems reluctant to become romantically attached to her. Whether or not this will change in future episodes remains to be seen...
Francisco "Grundislav" Gonzalez - Writing, Art, Scripting
Andreas "Ghormak" Slotte - Music
Adam "DarkStalkey" Hay - Sound Effects (Case 4)
Berian "AGA" Williams - Additional Puzzle Design (Cases 1 & 2)
Edmundo "netmonkey" Ruiz - GUI Assistance