Her Interactive’s third game was Message in a Haunted Mansion. This game was made in November of 2000, and is rated E for Everyone. The game is designed for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7. Unlike the two previous games, this one is available through Her Interactive.
In this game, Nancy Drew is called in by a friend (who is connected to Hannah) to investigate a series of mysterious accidents. Rose Green bought an old Victorian mansion in San Francisco, and is hoping to turn it into some kind of hotel. Unfortunately, she’s falling further and further behind because of some weird things that have been going on. The mansion is rumored to be haunted. Of course, Nancy Drew thinks something else is going on. So in she goes to investigate the haunted mansion.
Rose Green: As mentioned before, Rose Green purchased the mansion and is trying to renovate it into a bed and breakfast. She has spent all of her life savings on this endeavor. Her friends can’t believe she’s done this.
Abby Sideris: Abby pitched in her money with Rose to buy the mansion. She is absolutely convinced that the mansion is haunted. She believes in the paranormal.
Charlie Murphy: He is a community college student working as a handy man to help restore the mansion.
Last but not least….
Louis Chandler: He is an expert on the Victorian era. He is doing research in the mansion’s library. He’s providing his expertise to Rose to help her make the renovations as authentic as possible.
I can’t think of too many cons for this game. The graphics aren’t too bad here. For being an older game, they’re pretty realistic.
You have to ensure that you are taking notes of all the Chinese symbols in the game. There is no task list in the game or hint list, so Nancy does not keep a record of the symbols she finds in the game. If you happen to miss one in the game, you have to retrace your steps to find exact symbol you need (or you can just go to the GameBoomers walkthrough for the answer to the ending puzzle if you don’t want to do all that).
This game had a little bit of a “jump” factor in it. I wouldn’t call it scary, but since you’re supposed to be in a haunted mansion, you occasionally do see some kind of creepy shadow or hear something weird. It can make you jump a little bit if you aren’t expecting it.
This game incorporated San Francisco Chinese history into it. You learned about Chinese symbols and used them in a big puzzle. I always enjoy games that have history in them. There’s also some zodiac stuff in the game.
You have to do some time management in this game because you can sneak into people’s rooms when they aren’t there. Rose has a schedule of when people are working, so you have to check it regularly and set your time on the alarm clock to wake up at the right time.
There were some complicated puzzles in this game, more so than Secrets Can Kill or Stay Tuned for Danger. As hinted in above sections, you have to keep a lot of notes to beat the end of the game. In this way, the game improved greatly from the previous games.
Some interesting points
You have another slider in this game, and also a safe. I think Her Interactive really likes the slider puzzles. Me? They’re okay. It does get a little old sometimes.
As mentioned before, there were some moments when you jump, like going up the stairs and hearing “I See You” from a portrait.
The game quickly turns out to not being just about the haunting. Nancy also learns about an outlaw in the game and a love story. That part of the game is just as fun as discovering what the hauntings are all about.
If you play the beginning of the game right, there’s a séance. I thought it was a bit cheesy, but it was fun nonetheless.
To break into Louis’ computer, you had to do a “maze game.” It was kind of like the mini games you find on the newer games. It was kind of fun the first time. If you don’t like it, it goes pretty quick.
EDIT: If you find the overlay puzzle or the slider puzzle in this game difficult, there are plenty of walkthroughs on the internet for it. Here is a technical support page for the Bird Inlay Puzzle on Her Interactive. Check other video walkthroughs for a solution to the slider puzzle if needed.
This is my favorite game of the three I’ve played so far. I really liked the “haunting” part of it, and learning about the Chinese in San Francisco. If you can get access to this game, I would highly recommend it.
This is the first game with an official trailer. You can see it here:
You can look at this game at: Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion
To see the Her Interactive website, go to: Her Interactive
© Amy Burney, Amy’s Fantastical Writings