"You people know them well. The eyes gazing from the shadows. The claws scratching in the attic. The freaks under your bed, the spooks in your closet. Let me tell you a secret. They're all real."
With this darkly intriguing intro, plus music that sounds like Twin Peaks composer Angelo Badalamenti in an especially sinister mood, we are thrust into the world (the Old World) of Bela Kovacs. Kovacs is a sunglasses-wearing, beard-sporting, motorcycle-riding former detective from the mean streets of Budapest. He's carrying a head full of bad memories and trouble knows where to find him.
This beautifully realised noir adventure by Extropia Games is more interactive mini-movie than a straightforward puzzle or platform game. It stands out from the off because of its highly stylised design, which brings to mind another tortured cop from the dark underbelly of the city, Max Payne.
Indeed, use of photography and actors add to the game's movie feel and help to bring a realistic edge to the creepy, paranormal story in modern day Hungary.
The case unfolds in five chapters, opening with Bela (well, you) investigating a crime scene - the apartment of your brutally murdered niece, no less - to find clues as to what's going on. Some are fairly obvious (the huge smear of blood on the couch, for example) but as you point and click around the room, you'll find you need a keen eye to pick out all the pieces of the puzzle.
As the old detectiving grey cells start to fire, the "ghosts" of the case start to appear and the full, terrible picture starts to emerge. But still, something about your suspect just doesn't make sense...
To get more information, you'll need to pay a visit to your old stomping ground - Homicide Division. Here, the game takes another little twist as you have to pick the right bit of chit chat to win friends and influence people.
You'll also need to turn your eye for clues around the office to crack computer passwords and get the leads you're after - and have enough flannel to talk your way out of trouble, or you might end up in the slammer yourself.
Once the net starts to close on your suspect, you'll have to investigate his hideout and, in an unusual diversion for a dark detective story about a serial killer, craftily gather the ingredients to mix a cocktail (yes, really) to bring you closer to the awful, awful truth.
Things are getting pretty complicated by now and you'll find that continuing the pursuit requires some lateral thinking and combining, in a not always entirely obvious way, the bits and pieces you come across to ensure the bad guy's collar is well and truly felt.
But just what is the terrible secret behind the crimes? Will you ever find out what really happened to your niece? When will the forces of darkness stir again? Does that beard really work? Find out all the answers when you play Bela Kovacs and the Trail of Blood here.