Category Archives: Game Reviews

Secret of the Old Clock

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Cover Art

Cover Art

It’s 1930 and Nancy’s visiting Emily Crandall in Titusville at the Lilac Inn.  Her mother recently died.  She and her mother had been counting on the financial support of their neighbor, Josiah Crowley, in his will.  However, he gave all his money to Richard Topham, his ESP teacher.  Did Josiah really give all his money to Topham when he promised the Crandalls that he would take care of him?  Did he really have that great of a change of heart?  Or is something else going on?  Find out in this game based on the very first Nancy Drew book, Secret of the Old Clock.

Characters

Jim Archer—He’s the local banker in town, and the executor of Josiah Crowley’s will.  His bank is also on the brink of failure, and he’s been meeting with Topham for something.  How far would he go to save his bank?

Jane Willoughby

Jane Willoughby

Richard Topham—He’s a self-proclaimed expert on ESP.  He lives in the house that once belonged to Josiah Corly by the Lilac Inn, and teaches ESP.  Is his ESP stuff an act, or does he really believe in it?

Emily Crandall—She’s only seventeen years old, and she owns the Lilac Inn.  She’s been plagued by mysterious incidents.  Is she “losing her marbles,” or is something going on?

Jane Willoughby—She’s Emily’s guardian.  Gloria Crandall was once her friend, and she asked Jane to look over Emily.  She’s not doing a really good job with guardianship.  Is she really looking out for Emily?  Or does she have other intentions?

Cons

Driving and delivering telegrams.  That became so annoying, particularly when I blew a tire on a pothole.  Ugh.

Doing chores for everyone.  I think at one point in the game, I had been running around for two hours getting things for everyone to progress in the game.  That got really old fast.

Pros

I liked the William Shakespeare integration, particularly dealing with some of his lines from A Midsummer’s Nights Dream.  Josiah Crowley had a wide range of interests.

I loved playing miniature golf!  I played that a few times.

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Some Interesting Points

The music in this game really sounded like it was from the 1930s.  It put you in the mood to play the game.

Lilac Inn makes pies.  Lots of pies.  So many, and you had to sort them for the driver.  That made me go cross-eyed.  And it made me hungry for pie.

Gameplay Moments

You fished for a big mouth bass so someone could print off raffle tickets.  The fish was apparently really stinky.

Apparently I’m not a good seamstress.  I botched that part quite a few times.

Overall Impression

After the Curse of Blackmoor Manor, this game seemed so quick.  I think I finished it in 3-4 hours.  I remember the first time I played it, I was really surprised by the ending.  Josiah Crowley was very interesting.

The puzzles seemed really simple.  I don’t think I needed any spoilers.  However, here’s a walkthrough if you get stuck.

I’m glad that Her Interactive made a game based on the first Nancy Drew book.  It was a return to the “classic” Nancy Drew books.  Still, it was so quick, and it seemed so simple compared to the previous game.  Plus I hated driving around and delivering telegrams.  I didn’t love it, but I didn’t dislike it either.  It’s just okay.

Here’s the trailer:

Her Interactive

Secret of the Old Clock

The Curse of Blackmoor Manor

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Cover Art

The Curse of Blackmoor Manor is rated E for Everyone.  This is Nancy’s first international adventure.  It takes place in England.  This has been called by many as one of the scariest games that Her Interactive has ever made.

Nancy is called in to visit Linda Penvellyn at Blackmoor Manor.  She has been struck with some mysterious maladies.  She will not allow anyone to see her.

Your mission is to figure out what’s keeping her ill.  Is she just sick?  Is she having mood swings?  Has she been cursed?  Is she turning into the Blackmoor Beast?  Find out in Nancy Drew:  The Curse of Blackmoor Manor.

Characters

Nigel Mookerjee—He is a historian doing research on the Penvellyn family in the library.  He has much to say on the Penvellyn’s scandalous history, including the Penvellyn family treasure and the Blackmoor Beast.  Why is he so interested in the Penvellyns anyway?  Is he truly interested in their history?  Or is it something else?

Jane Penvellyn—She moved to Blackmoor Manor from the United States, and she is very unhappy.  She loves to play games, and she’s kind of lonely.  She knows a lot about the mansion and its secrets.  Does she know so much that she’s creating mischief?

Ethel Bossiney

Ethel Bosinney

Linda Penvellyn—She married Hugh Penvellyn and moved from the United States to Blackmoor Manor, his home.  What is really going on with her?  Is she hiding something?  What does she mean by, “There are some doors that should never be opened?”

Mrs. Drake—She is Jane’s Great Aunt and Blackmoor Manor’s housekeeper.  She doesn’t like talk of magic or curses, but she can be superstitious herself.

Ethel Bosinney—She is Jane’s tutor, and she teaches Jane a variety of subjects, some that seem inscrutable.  She seems nice, but she has a mysterious side to her.  What is her story?

Cons

Having to make cake constantly for LouLou and playing games with Jane to get glowsticks can get frustrating.  Especially when you’re at a pivotal point in the game.

Pros

This mansion is so huge!  There are constantly new places to explore.  Lots and lots of snooping!

The game is long and complex.  Even though I’ve played it many times, it still took me three days to play the game.

There are many many puzzles, all of which seem to fit in with the overall plot of the game.  Some were more difficult than others, but a walkthrough is always helpful.  Score!

Rich history, plus alchemy.  I love the Penvellyn family history.  It’s so mysterious.  I also really enjoy learning about alchemy.

LouLou!  She makes me laugh.

You get to go on a ghost hunt!  Fun!

Some Interesting Points

I can see how people may be uncomfortable with parts of the game, including alchemy, strange rituals, and the Lady in Black.  It is rated E for Everyone, but people should ensure that they are comfortable with these features before they install the game.  I found it fascinating, but that was just me.

I had fun with trying to figure out the Cockney from Tommy in the Boor’s Head Pub.  You had to guess what you would get for dinner.

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Gameplay Moments

There are many moments in the game where something “supernatural” comes up.  Some examples include when you first arrive, and during the middle of the night.  This can be kind of creepy, but fun at the same time.

*Tip*  Get an Easter egg by clicking on something in Jane’s room quite a few times.  Then set your alarm clock at night to say…9 AM holding the Easter egg.  Get ready for spookiness!

Watch out for the carnivorous plant in the conservatory!  *Shivers*

Overall Impression

This is probably one of the more controversial games in the Nancy Drew series (with the alchemy and whatnot).  Still, this is one of my favorite games.  It’s very long, with lots of snooping and great puzzles.  You learn quite a bit in this game, which is always a plus.  I also love the creepiness.  I didn’t find it that scary, probably because I’ve played it so many times.  However, the playing it the first time would definitely creep you out.

Great game!

Here’s the trailer:

Her Interactive

Curse of Blackmoor Manor

The Secret of Shadow Ranch Game Review

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Cover Art

Cover Art

The Secret of Shadow Ranch takes place at Shadow Ranch in Arizona.  Nancy is supposed to be vacationing with her friends Bess and George at the Rawley’s Ranch, but Uncle Ed is bitten by a rattlesnake, and Bess and George couldn’t fly in on account of bad weather and airline problems.  Meanwhile, there’s lots of weird accidents happening at Shadow Ranch, exactly the same time as a phantom horse starts riding up.  So it’s up to Nancy to figure out what’s going on at the Ranch.  Has Dirk Valentine’s horse come back for revenge?  Or is it just bad luck?

Characters

Shorty Thurmond—He’s the cook at Shadow Ranch, and he loves to gossip.  He’s been looking for gold recently around Shadow Ranch.  Could he be trying to scare off the Rawleys so he can look for Dirk Valentine’s treasure?

Tex Britten—He’s the horse wrangler at Shadow Ranch.  He’s not exactly personable, and his sister seems to have a bad relationship with the Rawleys.  Could he be working with his sister to send the ranch into disaster?

Mary Yazzie

Mary Yazzie

Mary Yazzi—She runs a store by Shadow Ranch.  She’s part Native American, and seems to have it out for the Rawleys.  With her horse expertise, could she be sending out the phantom horse to scare the Rawleys into selling her their ranch?

Last but not least…

Dave Gregory—He’s the ranch foreman.  He’s very polite, and is very cute.  Could he be using his looks to try and cause some harm for the Rawleys?

Cons

Picking up the vegetables.  I would say I messed that part up every single time, and I was always getting yelled at for it.  That was kind of annoying.

Constantly getting yelled at for doing something wrong in my chores.  That was really annoying.

The maze nearing the ending.  Even with a walkthrough, I always get lost.  I’ll never figure that out.

One of the puzzles dealing with the favorite flowers never makes sense.  I have no idea how you figure out every single flower, and which order they go in.  Every single time I play this game, I need a walkthrough or a large spoiler for it.  Normally, after playing a game at least five times, I can figure out the complicated puzzle.  This one, however, always baffles me.

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Pros

In this game, you were trying to figure out who was causing all the accidents at Shadow Ranch, but you were also involved with a love story between an outlaw and his girlfriend using old love letters.  You were never bored in this game, and there was quite a bit of romance in it.

Horses!  You rode horses, did barrel racing, and fed them.  That was quite fun.

Between those two features, the love story and the horses, this truly was a “Western” game.  You were in the Wild Wild West, and it showed, particularly with the ghost town.

Some Interesting Points

You met Charleena Purcell for the first time in this game.  You deal with her in a few other games.

Baking!  Need I say more?  (I love baking).  I didn’t like dealing with the measurement conversions though.

Gameplay Moments

Nancy wanted to find out what note Dirk Valentine left for his girlfriend, Francis.  Regretfully, it was in the jail cell.  Let’s just see what some bank robbers have to say about that….

Tex got mad at me quite a few times when I forget to put the bridle away.  Apparently, I’m not a good cowgirl… 😦

Overall Impression

I can certainly see why this is considered one of the “classic” Nancy Drew games, and why it’s a fan favorite.  There were so many things to do in this game.  There was a love story in it, and you rode horses!  It combined everything I think of when I think of the Wild West into one game.  It’s not my favorite game because of the chores, one of the puzzles, and the maze at the end, but I can understand why other people really like it.

Here’s the trailer for the game:

Her Interactive

Nancy Drew: The Secret of Shadow Ranch

Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island

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Danger on Deception Island was made in 2003 for Windows XP/Vista/7.  In this game, George’s friend, Katie Firestone, invites you to Deception Island in Snake Horse Harbor.  However, someone wrecked her boat before Nancy arrives.  The island is in turmoil because of an orphaned killer whale that appeared in the channel.  Who vandalized Katie’s boat and why?  How does this orphaned whale fit into Nancy’s mystery?  Find out in this Nancy Drew game involving whales!

Characters

Holt Scotto

Holt Scotto

Andy Jason:  He also runs whale watching excursions.  Getting close to the whale would help his business, but he can’t because Katie is the only one that has permission to monitor it.  Would he wreck her boat to eliminate the competition?

Holt Scotto:  Veteran fisherman.  He’s running for harbormaster.  He would love to get rid of the whale that is stopping him and his fellow fisherman from making a living.  Could he have wrecked Katie’s boat to intimidate her?

Jenna Deblin:  She owns the local coffee shop, and has lived in Snake Harbor her whole life.  She thinks the orphaned whale should be returned to her pod.  Would she wreck Katie’s boat to do this?

Katie Firestone:  She’s a marine biologist to owns a whale watching tour.  She’s the only one that can take fellow biologists and visitors up to see the whale.  She thinks the whale is sick, and should go to an aquarium for research.  Her opinion is also unwelcome.  Could she have trashed her own boat to gain sympathy for her cause?

Cons

Riding on the bike can get old sometimes.

Searching for clams can seem like an endless chore that never ends.  Plus slipping on slimy rocks…  Ouch.

Pros

Need I mention whales?  I love whales.  I’ve been on some whale watching tours myself, so that really made the game fun for me.  You even went on a whale watching tour in the game!  Whales Rule!

What a plot!  It starts off really small, but rapidly expands as you explore who vandalized Katie’s boat.  This definitely made up for the last game.

Yummy…clam chowder.  I love that coffee shop.  I wish I could go there in real life.

You explored a whale museum and played whale games!  That was so fun.

Canoeing around the harbor was so peaceful.

I’ve been to the Pacific Northwest, and this game really made me feel like I was back there.  The atmosphere was incredible!

Screenshots

Screenshots

Some Interesting Points

Somewhere along the journey, you meet up with someone else who has gone a little “kookoo.”  Nancy gets to work with her to discover what is going on with the town.  Lots of scavenger hunts.

You explore a lighthouse!  I wish I could go in a lighthouse.

Gameplay Moments

Bad bad poetry…  Whoever heard of a “strange anvil rock” or “words only a sailor could love?”

This game had a lot of second chances…From canoeing too far in the harbor, to almost being squashed on the head.  Nancy had to watch herself a lot.

Overall Impression

I love this game.  It’s one of my favorites.  I love whales, and I loved how you never knew where you were going to end up.  The game never seemed to end.  There were so many puzzles in here.  If you just wanted to play one Nancy Drew game, this should be one to consider.

Here’s the trailer:

Her Interactive

Danger on Deception Island

Also, I had posted some information on whale watching in Alaska.  Since that talks about whale watching too, here’s a link to that post.  You might like it.

Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel

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Haunted Carousel Cover Art

Haunted Carousel Cover Art

The Haunted Carousel was made in 2003 for Windows XP/Vista/7.  It’s rated E for Everyone. In this game, Nancy Drew investigate a series of accidents at Captain’s Cove Amusement Park.  The lead horse on the carousel goes missing, and there’s a roller coaster accident.  The carousel also turns on by itself at night.  Is it haunted?  What’s really going on at the amusement park?

Characters

Elliot Chen:  The visual design artist at the park.  He’s been really falling behind on his work from procrastination.  Would he sabotage the park to get the park shut down so he can cut down on his work?

Harlan Bishop:  Security guard.  He’s done a lot of job hopping in the past, and has a bit of a shady past.  Would he set up the sabotage so he could swoop in and save the day to be the hero?

Ingrid Corey:  Engineer.  She maintains all the rides in the park, and says the park is cursed.  Does she really believe this, or is she using this to deflect blame from herself to appear “cooky?”

Finally, Joy Trent:  Her father used to own the park, but Paula Santos, the owner of the park, bought him out.  Is she resentful that she’s just a bookkeeper in the park when her father used to own it?  Does she have an ulterior reason for working here?

screenshots car

Cons

I did not like barnacle blast at all.  I’m not great with hand/eye coordination, and the ball moved too fast.  That wasn’t fun.  You had to play two levels too…

The game seemed really short to me.  I don’t know why…  It just…ended it seemed.  I don’t know.  There was something missing to it.

Pros

Riding the carousel was fun!  I liked catching the brass ring.

I liked helping Joy work through some of her issues.

I liked playing the harmonica.  That was fun.

Some Interesting Points

You got to go behind the scenes of the theme park attractions.  I’ve never done that, so that was interesting.

You learned a little about carousel history.  I didn’t know about the different horses on a carousel.

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Gameplay Moments

Nancy gets trapped by the roller coaster, right after she finds something from one of the characters.

At one point in the game, I was frustrated with Harlen.  I was trying to do something, and he kept calling me back.  He really had to talk…

Overall Impression

I don’t know why, but there was a missing element to this game.  It seemed short, and didn’t have the “magic” seen in many of the Nancy Drew games.  I wasn’t very fond of it.  The plot was very intriguing, but something just seemed off.

Here’s the trailer:

Her Interactive

The Haunted Carousel

Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake

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Do you like dogs?  Do you like ghost dogs?

Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake came out in November 2002.  It’s rated E for Mild Violence, and is for ages 10 to adult.  It’s for Windows Operating System 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7.

Nancy Drew is called by her friend Sally McDonald to investigate some dogs at her house.  When Nancy gets there, Sally is gone because she can’t stand another night there.  Apparently her house is haunted by the dogs of Mickey Malone.  However, Nancy starts to think that the dogs have been trained to attack Sally’s house?  Who would do that?  Why?  Is someone trying to scare Sally out of her house at Moon Lake?  Is there more to Sally’s house than  Nancy realizes?

Characters:

There’s only three main characters in this game:

Emily Griffin:  She runs Emily’s Emporium.  She’s the friendliest of Nancy’s neighbors at Moon Lake.  She showcases a lot of things in her store, and she has a lot to tell about the history of Moon Lake.  Does she know more than what she’s telling?

Jeff Akers:  He’s the park ranger of Moon Lake.  He’s mad because he can’t get an assistant to help him out.  If he just had more park land, he would be able to get an assistant.  Jeff also has family ties to the Malone legend, so he could know a lot about the Malone house.  Is he searching for something at Moon Lake?  What would he do to find it?

Finally, Red Knott:  Avid birdwatcher.  He seems to think that Moon Lake is the perfect place for bird watching because there isn’t a decent establishment anywhere around it.  He thinks all the problems in the world could be solved if people weren’t allowed at Moon Lake.  Could he be trying to force Sally out of her house so he the woods are peaceful for birdwatching?

Screenshots

Screenshots

Cons:

I did not like collecting bugs in this game at all.  Why do we have to search for creepy critters that crawl on their bellies?

Because I am a dog lover, I was not happy with the possibility of anyone using dogs to accomplish their own ends.  Dogs are so nice and friendly.  Why would you use them?

I don’t like sorting roman numerals.  It gets so repetitive, and I go cross-eyed.

Pros:

You learned about prohibition history and speakeasies.  That was pretty cool.

You met Vivian Whitmore.  She was pretty funny, and she seemed to have a big story to tell.

This game seemed peaceful in the forest during the day.  You heard many bird calls, and there was pleasant music.  It was like walking through the forest.

Some Interesting Points:

You had to do lots of chores for Emily.  Some of them seemed irritating, like bug collecting.  I guess a detective’s life isn’t so glamorous.

The shed almost burned down!  Someone tried to kill Nancy!  Yikes!

All of Malone’s dogs had the same death date.  Was that just a coincidence?

Each of Malone’s dogs was associated with a color based on their collar.  You saw this in their paintings somewhere…

More Screenshots

More Screenshots

Gameplay Moments:

Your batteries went out right at the moment when you were going to explore something.  Great timing, huh?  Darn.  Back to Emily’s for another task.

Nancy gets knocked out as she sees something on the house.  That reminded me of being knocked out in Treasure in the Royal Tower.

Overall Impression:

This game was just okay for me.  It seemed short, and it involved bugs.  Plus, I didn’t like how the dogs were used in the game.  I can’t say that I want to immediately replay it.

Her Interactive

Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake

Nancy Drew: Secret of the Scarlet Hand

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Secret of the Scarlet Hand Cover Art

Secret of the Scarlet Hand Cover Art

The Secret of the Scarlet Hand is a Nancy Drew game about the Maya.  It was made in June of 2002 for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7.  It is rated E for Mild Violence, and its age range is from 10 to adult.

Nancy Drew is taking a break from cases, and she landed an internship at Beech Hill Museum in Washington, DC.  She starts some basic curatorial jobs, such as rearranging the recordings at exhibits and reorganizing the Mayan numbering system, in preparation for the launching of a new exhibit involving a huge Mayan monolith in the garden..  When one of the museum’s most prized possessions, a jade carving of King Pacal, is taken, Nancy gets thrown into an increasingly complicated mystery involving a mysterious scarlet hand print and Mayan history.  Who took the carving and why?  Who can be trusted?  Is this a single occurrence, or is it part of something bigger involving a serious of thefts?

Characters:

Alejandro del Rio:  Ambassador to the Mexican Consulate in Washington, DC.   He believes that all Mexican artifacts should be returned to their homeland, and that anyone who takes these artifacts are “conquistadors.”  He insists that the jade carving of King Pacal should be returned to Mexico.  Would he steal the carving to accomplish this goal?

Henrik Van Der Hume:  Henrik is an expert at translating Mayan glyphs.  He was working on translating the glyphs on the monolith.  Did he steal the jade carving because he discovered a secret?

Joanna Riggs:  She runs the museum.  She doesn’t really help Nancy in her tasks, and doesn’t appear to have much time for her.  It is rumored that the museum obtained the jade carving and monolith illegally.  Could she have stolen the jade carving to cover this up?

Finally:

Taylor Sinclair:  He sells priceless artifacts to the museum like a shady used car salesman.  He can sell anything given the right price.  Could he have stolen the jade carving to sell it on the black market?

Screenshots

Screenshots

Cons:

The ending is creepy in a gross way.  Yuck.

Nancy was wandering around in circles for me in this game.  She seemed to be waiting for a lot of packages to arrive.  This was hard because I just wanted to continue on in the mystery.  It became frustrating.

Pros:

You learned a lot about Mayan history and culture.  This was the most history-intensive game so far.  You had to do tasks involving Mayan history and culture, and you had to use your new knowledge to solve the case.

It was fun unlocking new parts in the museum.  I didn’t know that museums had so many hidden parts to them.

When you were exploring the museum, it seemed a little frustrating because you didn’t know why you were doing it.  However, it led to a very large moment in the game.  The time seemed worthwhile.

This game seemed like it had multiple parts to it.  You were first finishing curatorial tasks, then finding out what happened to the jade carving, then…something else.  You weren’t exactly sure when the game was going to end.

You met Prudence Rutherford!  She makes me laugh.

More Screenshots

More Screenshots

Some Interesting Points:

“Want a cookie?  They’re from Oaxaca!”  Those cookies looked weird…. They were useful though.

The characters moved a lot in this game!  They moved to new locations in Washington!  I haven’t seen that much moving in a long time.

Gameplay Moments:

Ending.  Ewww.  Majorly.

Exploring the museum felt creepy after a while, especially alone.  I kept feeling some Mayan mummy was going to pop out at me…

Overall Impression:

I’ve been overlooking this game for a while.  I didn’t remember playing it.  However, this is one of my new favorite games.  There’s lots of exploring, snooping, history, and the characters move!  You never really know when you’re going to be done with it.  This really feels like a “classic” Nancy Drew game.  I will definitely play this game again soon.

Her Interactive

Secret of the Scarlet Hand