My first part of my journey through playing the Nancy Drew games went very quickly; I actually had the time and I got hooked easily. I couldn’t play the first two because of computer compatibility issues, so I started with the third and played straight through to the twelfth in what felt like a matter of days. Since then, I’ve been busy and life has taken over my gaming time (don’t you just hate that?)
The mysteries are point and click mysteries, which mean that they can be a little cumbersome, especially at the beginning of the series. I had forgotten how tedious movement could be in the older ones because I had played some of the newer ones recently, and so jumping back felt like a time warp. The graphics have certainly improved since the games first started, but they are not as awful as other early 2000’s games that I’ve played before.
The games also include a feature called “Second Chance,” which I almost wish every game would have. I know you can save and load games easily, but the Second Chance feature streamlines the process and makes it easier if you goof (and didn’t know that you were about to make a goof that would end the mystery, and therefore didn’t save before doing it). My favorite use of this feature when replaying is seeing all the silly things you can make Nancy do, like falling over balconies or waking people up in the middle of the night and having them kick you out of the house.
When I first wrote this post, it was way too long. So instead, we’re going to do ND Mysteries summed up by two sentences. Let’s see how this goes.
Message in a Haunted Mansion, ND #3
A San Francisco B&B is either haunted or someone is putting on a really good show of making it haunted; what’s with all these hidden passageways? As the first ND mystery I ever played, this one brought back hella memories and nostalgia.
Treasure in the Royal Tower, ND #4
Nancy tries to go on vacation to Wisconsin, because doesn’t everyone go to Wisconsin for vacation dontcha know, and gets snowed in and finds a mystery. Since this one deals with Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution (in Wisconsin, yeah don’t question it), it has always been one of my absolute favorites.
The Final Scene, ND #5
Nancy and a friend try to interview a movie star in his dressing room before a movie premiere in St. Louis, and Nancy’s friend goes missing; she also only has three days to find her before the theatre they’re in gets demolished! I always liked the ambiance of this one, especially since it deals with Harry Houdini and magician’s tricks.
Secret of the Scarlet Hand, ND #6
Nancy decides to take a break from detecting by taking an internship in D.C. at a Mayan cultural museum, but of course right after starting things get stolen and people get pushed down stairs and so Nancy takes up the case. I actually hadn’t played this one in ages, and the start of it was kind of fun, since you start as just an intern going about doing intern-y things dealing with Mayan culture.
Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, ND #7
This mystery starts off truly terrifying, with Nancy’s friend who called her for help having fled the house Nancy just arrived at (rude) because of the dogs that attack the house every night; and then they attack the house right after Nancy gets there. This one deals with a fake gangster version of Al Capone (Mickey Malone) and you can find an old speakeasy under the house!
The Haunted Carousel, ND #8
First a carousel horse is stolen, and then the carousel begins to light up and run in the middle of the night without cause, and then one of the roller coasters has an accident that causes a man some injuries; the owner calls Nancy and she takes on the case. I’ll admit, my favorite part of this one is the introduction of food, which you can order via room service.
Danger on Deception Island, ND #9
Nancy is once again trying to take a holiday visiting one of George Fayne’s friends when she gets thrown into a mystery the very moment she arrives, and it involves an orca whale, shipwrecks, and smuggling as well as small coastal town politics. This game introduces more physical Easter Eggs, including a little guppy on a secluded beach where you can also spend time building sandcastles for fun.
The Secret of Shadow Ranch, ND #10
For the 10th game, Her Interactive made one of the classic Nancy Drew books into a game; Nancy is again trying to take a holiday because apparently she hasn’t figured out how this works yet and stumbles upon the weird accidents happening on the ranch she’s staying at. After all these years I still know how much the cake decorating puzzle drives me up the wall, and also you have to do daily chores before you can go exploring and mystery solving.
The Curse of Blackmoor Manor, ND #11
For the 11th mystery Nancy finally gets to go abroad, investigating the odd behavior of a newlywed who just moved into the Blackmoor Manor with her ambassador husband and his eleven year old daughter and also alchemy and witchcraft and stuff. I love this one, it’s one of the scariest and most complex; there are so many puzzles!
Secret of the Old Clock, ND #12
This one is based on the first ever Nancy Drew novel, and Nancy is transported back to the 1930’s to help solve the weird stuff happening at the Lilac Inn. I had such hopes for this one but I swear you spend the whole time just driving around in Nancy’s car…
That’s the first few, and sorry for the run on sentences, two sentence summaries for some of those was hard…
And now I’ll be making my way through the next 10 games!