Friday, June 21, 2013

The Final Scene

Hey everyone,

Yes once again I am back and I am thrilled to report not only did I start, but I have finished The Secret of the Scarlet Hand. Next up is one of Nancy Drew's first creepy mysteries, at least in my opinion, Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake. Stay tuned for that.

I am once again trying to catch up to my marathon in reviews. Today I am reviewing Nancy Drew: The Final Scene.

The Basics:

In this game Nancy heads of to St. Louis, Missouri with friend Maya Nuygen to attend the premiere of heart throb Brady Armstrong's newest film Vanishing Destiny, which is to be the final movie played at St.Louis' Royal Palladium Theatre. Upon entering Brady's dressing room for an interview, Maya disappears and a kidnapper's threat warns Nancy that unless she can stop the demolition in just three days time... she will never see Maya again. 

From there the so-called "puzzles" of this game are all practical tasks to finding Maya. The one issue I have with this game is, although the characters you talk to are highly entertaining, this game has way to much time spent talking on the telephone.  As usual the police are no help to Nancy and really if you want something done right you do it yourself.

The Characters:

Joseph Hughes

Joseph is the theatre's caretaker more or less for lack of a better word. He can be found at the top of the double staircase in the lobby. He is a kindly old man who seems genuinely sympathetic to Nancy. He is a lot of help and always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
Brady Armstrong

Ah there he is, Mr. egotist himself. Have you noticed so far every game has had one of these guys. Daryl Gray, Rick Arlen, Jacques Brunais and now Brady. Okay well Message in a Haunted Mansion didn't. Brady gets on my nerves honestly.
Nicholas Falcone

Nicholas is definitely my favorite character in this game. Unless you count Eustasia who will become someone you talk to on the phone. I am not sure why Nicholas is so entertaining, it is probably the character's over all demeanor and attitude. He uses phrases like 411 and "Catch ya on the flip side". Don't underestimate Nicholas from his reputation, his friendship will come in handy.
Simone Mueller

Lastly we have Simone, she is Brady Armstrong's agent, or "CEO of my life" as Brady calls her. She orchestrates his entire schedule, including answering all his love letters. She talks to you when she feels like it. I feel that she is an added portion to this game and really without her the game wouldn't be that drastically different but hey it would mean one less person's belongings to snoop through.

Overall this game was not one of my favorites of the series, not my least favorite, but definitely lower on the list. However I still believe it is a fun play through. The plot just wasn't really up my alley, but that didn't stop me from having played it at least 3-4 times. There are a few puzzles that are kind of fun, but the timing of events is slightly meticulous, especially after a few times playing, I ran around quite a bit trying to find the "trigger" to make something happen. Stay Tuned for Danger is still more meticulous in the aspect. The Final Scene over all was entertaining but without the lovable and detailed character development I don't think this game would have done it for me.

For that reason I am giving this game a 2.5/5

Catch me on the flip side,

Monday, June 17, 2013

Treasure in the Royal Tower

Greetings Ladies and Ghouls,

I would love to start off and say there has been some activity in my Nancy Drew Computer Game Marathon, unfortunately there has not been so I can't. As I said I would love to, but I can't. Work got very busy there about a week or so ago. If you looked at my Windmills of Turtlesmind Blog, you will see for a few days there I was pretty much working around the clock. Next to that I have had craziness going on in my personal life as well so here I am having not even written a blog review in about ten days. As mentioned in my last blog, the plan is to begin playing, the Secret of the Scarlet Hand. I am craving some cookies from Oaxaca (hehe). Anyway on to the next blog review. Today I am looking at one of my top five favorite games in the series, I probably mentioned it in my first post, Treasure in the Royal Tower. This is one of the first ones I played and one of the only games that I can honestly say I know every minute of the game start to finish off the top of my head. Any questions on this game leave in the comments below.

The Basics: So Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower is one of the first games that really made me laugh. The characters are memorable and the plot is solid. It is detailed enough without being too complex. Nancy Drew heads out to beautiful Wisconsin for some skiing from famous, or infamous, Olympic skiier Jacques Brunais. She stays at Wickford Castle, which the owner runs as a ski resort. The owner also happens to be a friend of her lawyer father Carson Drew. As usual the actual owner of the castle, Christi Lane, is away. This fact will be repeated in almost every game of its kind. Secret of Shadow Ranch, White Wolf of Icicle Creek, etc. As soon as the game begins the caretaker inform you that the library has been vandalised so in addition to a storm too dangerous to ski in, you cannot even sit and enjoy a nice book.

Speaking of books, this game is based on the Nancy Drew book of the same name. This book is a little more detailed and you do get to follow the mystery with Bess and George along as well but a word of warning, the book and the game have the same culprit so if you would like to play the game without this spoiler, I would reccommend waiting until you have finished the game in order to read the book, but even though you may know the ending, it is a entertaining read nonetheless.

The Characters:

Dexter Egan:

Dexter is the castle's caretaker and employee of Christi Lane. Next to Jacques, who is not much help anyway, Dexter is the only person working in the castle during he owner's absense. He may seem hard at first but earn his trust and he may turn out to be your biggest ally. However he will put you to work. I hope you brought your walking shoes, it is a big castle.

Jacques Brunais:

Jacques is very french and actually not the most dramatic of the characters you will meet at Wickford Castle. He is working as a ski instructor while his 'petit chou' (which oddly means "my little cauliflower") attends the University in Madison. He may be an employee but he is not too much help around the castle. However he does play a major role in connection to the plot.

Lisa Ostrum:

Probably one of the most annoying characters in my opinion. She can be found in the lounge on the main floor reading a magazine. If you look closely she is actually reading an article on Mattie Jensen from the second game "Stay Tuned for Danger". You will find HER does that quite a bit in their games linking the series together. Lisa always has a juicy tidbit to share with you.

Professor Beatrice Hotchkiss:

Prof. Hotchkiss is definitely my favorite character in this game. She is quirky and fun just like most of my professors in University. She is a scholar of french history and particularly fond of Marie Antoinette. Sometimes she even lets you run history based errands. However be prepared to prove yourself before she will talk to you. She reminds me a lot in this sense of Millie Strathorn (Stay Tuned for Danger) and Richard Topham (Secret of the Old Clock).

The "puzzles" in this game are fairly simple and make sense with the plot of the game. For example, resetting the elevator and turning the checking the breaker to turn stair lights on are both logical tasks for a ski resort inside the castle. However you will find the odd fun puzzle or game thrown in to mix it up. The most obvious that comes to mind is a little tile game encountered later on. Like many other games, this is definitely an "errand girl Nancy" game, well at least for the beginning. Eventually Dexter will ease up and let you get your sleuth on. Stay on your toes and examine everything.

The setting in the game is detailed and fabulous. Even though it is from like 2002, the setting still remains one of my favorites and out of the castle games (Treasure in the Royal Tower, The Captive Curse, and Haunting of Castle Malloy) is definitely the most richly and beautifully designed. It does annoy me that there are so many nooks and crannies, doors, and hallways that cannot be explored. Oh well there is always crawling around the elevator shaft to keep you entertained.

This game earns a 3.8/5

Upstairs Landing: Treasure in the Royal Tower
Rock and Roll,

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Message In a Haunted Mansion

Hey Fellow Detectives,

It's Turtlesmind, back with another review. Today we have Message in a Haunted Mansion, which is the third in the game series. This game is probably in the first five of games I played and I have to admit had a pretty solid plot.

The Basics: So Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion takes place in San Francisco, California where a friend of Nancy's Housekeeper Hannah Gruen is renovating an old victorian mansion. Homeowners Rose and Abby are renovating the house to turn it into an old fashioned bed and breakfast. After some mysterious accidents with the project, Hannah sends Nancy out to help. Some accidents consist of collapsing scaffolding and other common construction mishaps. It's up to you as Nancy Drew to salvage the project and get behind the source of these incidents.

Although the puzzles made sense with the plot,the inlay puzzle for example or fixing the dumbwaiter, for the first part of the game you do spend a lot of time playing Errand Girl Nancy, this is a common aspect of many Nancy Drew Games.

The graphics of this game have improved slightly from Stay Tuned for Danger, especially in the Character design. The characters no longer look like they are made out of clay. Quality of character design, I would have to say my favorite is Abby. The design of her head, hair, and body are good and her outfit and overall design match her voice and personality perfectly.

The Suspects:

Rose Green:

Rose is the owner of the house and can be found in the Dinning Room during the day. She give some information about the other characters, but not too much about the house overall. This information can be obtained by talking to Louis or phoning Emily.


Abby is Rose's resident Psychic as well as her business partner. Abby is immediately determined that a ghost named Valdez is haunting the house and wants Nancy to leave. Abby seems to be in the game mainly to link Valdez to the game, apart from that she is mainly a flashing filler character. Entertaining nonetheless.


Charlie proves to be an interesting character. He can be found in the basement working on various renovation projects. My only complaint with this character is that he is voiced by the same person who voices Ned in previous game. This took away from the character for me.

Louis Chandler:

Last of course we have Louis, owner of Chandler Interiors, he specializes in Victorian antiques. He is therefore a lot of help when it comes to information about the era. Also I love any game that includes a laptop to break into.

I lliked the game, the puzzles were relatable, they could have been a little more difficult, but not bad. However I dislike when games have ends that aren't tied up by the conclusion. As mentioned with the key in Stay Tuned for Danger. In this game there is a box of old papers that catch fire in the parlor. My issue with this is not only do you never find out who did it, but you never find out why.... The papers didn't really fit into the game as per their significance.

Overall I enjoyed this game, the puzzles were okay, the characters had believable voice acting, and the plot was strong. That's why I am rating this game a 3/5.

Marathon Update: I have finished The Final Scene and plan to start Secret of the Scarlet Hand as soon as I have time.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Stay Tuned For Danger

Welcome back fellow Detectives,

Hey this is Turtlesmind coming to you with another review. Today I am writing about the 1999 game Stay Tuned for Danger which is Herinteractive's second installment of the Nancy Drew Adventure Game series.

The Basics:

Once Again Nancy's case is associated with her Aunt Eloise who you all might remember from her first case Secrets Can Kill. As in SCK, you never meet Aunt Eloise. You, as Nancy Drew, are visiting with Soap Opera Star Mattie Jensen who rents Eloise Drew's house in New York City, 7226 Lexington Avenue to be more specific. I remember this because I heard Nancy tell the cab driver more times than I can count. Throughout the game several other locations are added to your city map such as 1999 Broadway, or better known as World Wide Broadcasting Network where Mattie works.

According to Mattie, her co-star, and obvious love of her life, Rick is getting death threats but no one will do anything about it. She manages to get you a job as an extra on her show "Light of our Love" which gives you full run of the studio.

Graphics and Gameplay:

The graphics in this game is a large leap from Secrets Can Kill (The original of course). Although that is true of the scene graphics, it is far more noticeable with the character design. The Characters in Secrets Can Kill stood out sharply in their 3D environments with their 2D design. Immediately the next year with Stay Tuned fo Danger, the two dimensional characters became 3D.

The interface is the same throughout the first nine games. Going back to this game ater completing Ghost of Thornton Hall really threw my head for a loop. For example in this game, navigation is a lot more limited. You will remember that the first few Nancy Drew games used a Magnifying glass as both directional curser and hot item curser. The only difference was the color occassionally changed based on the operation you wished to execute.

The phone in Mattie's front hall was neat little added feature in this game. Occassionally throughout the game, Mattie will leave you little phone messages from your friends. Your phone contacts are friends Bess and George and also Nancy's boyfriend Ned Nickerson. My favorite message has got to be "Ned called for you. He sounds cute".

The Suspects

Mattie Jensen:

Soap Opera star Mattie Jensen plays female lead Serena on the daytime soap "Light of Our Love". Information on Mattie, and daytime soaps call Bess. For gossip on Mattie call your friends, read the magazines scattered around Mattie's house and the studio and also talk to the other suspects. Nancy refers to her as flighty but in this game, the characters do begin to take on more personality.

Rick Arlen:

Rick is getting death threats from who knows where. Threats come via letters, dead flowers, poisoned chocolate and even wrong scripts via the teleprompter. Rick does not take this seriously and talking to this guy can be tedious and annoying. Makes you wish Herinteractive had made Nancy more sarcastic.

Dwayne Powers:

Mattie's agent and owner of Powers Talent agency. It is Dwayne that helps you get back onto the set. If you find yourself wishing the klieg light had hit Rick then you and Dwayne will get along fine. He happens to be Rick Arlen's ex agent.

Lillian Weiss:

Lillian is the Director for the show and at times quite short with Nancy. Although surly at times, the character was amusing to me. However it is important that you watch when you talk to her as she triggers certain events that detach from what you might be wanting to do.

Millie Strathorn:

Millie is by far one of my favorite characters in this game. According to Bess she actually owns WWB Studios. Although there are many important things found in her prop room, in my books she is placed her as a time filler and what some might call "comic relief". Before you can enter her prop room you must first correctly answer her riddles. The riddles vary in difficulty based on which of the three game difficulties you choose.

Stay Tuned for Danger's plot was a little more intricate than Secrets Can Kill. The graphics for the game overall were pretty decent for 1999 and the puzzles made sense. Some games you have to complete things that seem utterly ridiculous. This game you didn't find that. A couple of the prop room things are random and quirky but that is a prop room for you. However the puzzles in this game are quite simple and could stand to be a little more difficult on the Junior Mode.

My one complaint, especially playing for the 8th or 9th time, was how meticulous the game is. It is non linear to a point but I was trying to trigger the end event, but  since I had not read every magazine, receipt and little scrap of paper what I was waiting for wouldn't happen. You definitely need to go over every location with a fine tooth comb.

All in all a must play for die hard Nancy Drew fans. My rating is 3/5.

Allez-Bye Bye

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Secrets Can Kill Remastered

Hey Fellow Snoopers,

I promised a review and here it is. I will attempt to catch up to where I am in the Marathon. Normally I will post Marathon updates at the end of my posts but on this one I will start by catching you all up. I am currently about to begin Nancy Drew case #5: The Final Scene. This review is of Nancy Drew's first interactive mystery Secrets Can Kill. Now I am writing this review solely on the Remastered 2010 version simply because its the one i recently played. I have not played Secrets Can Kill original in several years as it is only game i can't get to play on my Windows 7 computer. However I will make comparisons between the versions in this review.

The Basics:

Okay so for those of you who played the original 1998, the storyline you will remember. Nancy Drew is visiting her father's sister, her dear Aunt Eloise, in California. Paseo Del Mar to be specific. I am from Canada so do not know for sure, but I would assume this is a fictional town. As in the original, there are three locations to visit: Paseo Del Mar High, Maxine's Diner, and Aunt Eloise's House. 

In this aspect, although definitely brought into the twenty-first century with graphics, the two games are identical. Which brings me to the mystery. A student of Paseo Del Mar High, Jake Rogers, has been murdered and it is up to you as Nancy Drew to solve the case. Most of the characters and their locations in the game are identical to the original except for two very important aspects. First being that the remastered edition includes an extra character and also the newer graphics were able to turn the original characters into high quality 3D characters that we have come to expect from later games. Which is understandable as graphic design has changes drastically in the twelve years between games. Below is a comparison of the two versions.

The Characters:

Connie Watson:

Connie is one of the suspects and Hall Monitor so a little more annoying then the others in the game, though that being said setting off her vending machines does prove to be an entertaining pastime if you get stuck.
Hector "Hulk" Sanchez:

Hulk is a important football player at the school and can be helpful at times by revealing important information. However he gets a little annoyed if you keep pestering him, but do it anyway.
Daryl Gray

Daryl works at Maxine's Diner and incessantly flirts with you. If you positively rebuff these attempts, you may get the "Ned Defender" Award at the end of the game. Still not as annoying as his 1998 Doppleganger.

Hal Tanaka

Hal is a Japanese exchange student and even he has his secrets. The characters, although they enjoy talking and exaggerating about one another, are not too much help.

In addition to the original suspects as above, the remastered edition brings us a brand new character and spin on the case. In the original I believe it is the police who get Nancy to look into it for them but in this game she is chosen specifically by this new character Detective Beech to go undercover. 

The game is well developed and graphics are good. The voice acting is believable and goes along with HerInteractive's newest games. The only point I would make can be taken one of two ways. The developers wanted to keep a lot of what fans loved about Secrets Can Kill, down to some identical dialogue. However being a game from 1998, the dialogue had not been to the standard of recent games such as Trail of the Twister, so the characters to me remained kind of flat in personality. Overall a good game and well worth the play whether you played the original or not.

I give this game 3/5.

Still not sure?
Watch the trailer below.
As Always, Rock and Roll,

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Why Her Interactive?

Welcome Back Fellow Sleuths,

Once again this is Turtlesmind back with another blog. If you have read my introduction to this blog then you already know what this blog is all about and more importantly, what I promised to deliver in my first post. A lot of what I have to say about the games will be known by a lot of my readers. The series veterans I call them, those who have been with us for awhile, but I did not want to cut out a whole portion of my possible audience by assuming that you all are experts on the series and Her Interactive. Now I will not pretend to be an expert on the company as the only knowledge I have of its inner workings is through what i've either read or seen on youtube. On the note of Youtube, for you die hard fans, i urge you to check out Little Jackalope's Vlogs which complement her HerInteractive "Amateur Sleuth" Blog. She is an intern at HerInteractive and fantastic. Links to her Blog and HerInteractive's Channel are as follows

Amateur Sleuth Blog:

Youtube Channel:

So Why HerInteractive, Why Nancy Drew you ask?

HerInteractive debuted the Nancy Drew Adventure Series in 1998 with their first Game Secrets Can Kill. Now some of you readers may not even have been born in 1998 and maybe did not join he series until later on. For example, I did not encounter the series until 2004 when I was 14. I received a four pack of Nancy Drew games for my birthday and have been in love with the series ever since. At such time, the series had just released its twefth title "Secret of the Old Clock" and now we are looking onward to the 29th installment... How time goes by. As a kid I loved video games, but when I encountered Nancy Drew I had currently been playing video games for 64 such as James Bond 007 or Legend of Zelda. Don't get me wrong those games are great, especially Zelda, but most games played at the time was by males. There just werent a lot of games geared towards the female audience. For example even now the Xbox 360, although there are many girls that love Call of Duty ad Grand Theft Auto, there are very few games released for Xbox that are aimed solely at women. This was the case in 1998 as well so thus HerInteractive was created. The mission was to change the target audience to include girls and women as well. Now because of the Nancy Drew Adventure Series, there are a lot of girls out there playing computer game.

In addition to the missions of the company, many will play the games based solely on the Reputation Nancy has already made for herself in the last 90 to 100 years. I was currently reading the classic Yellow Hardcover Nancy Drew Mystery Stories when I learned of HerInteractive. I was immediately mesmerized by the idea of a video game and wanted desperately to try one.

My Experience with Nancy Drew Adventure Games:

As I mentioned before, I began playing Nancy Drew in 2004 on my fourteenth birthday when i received a four pack which incuded: Secrets Can Kill (Original of course), Stay Tuned For Danger, Treasure in the Royal Tower, and The Final Scene. The First game I completed I believe was Treasure in the Royal Tower and to this day remains one of my favorites in the series. This is partially because as I said it was my first, but also due to my passion for History and more than that my passion for the French Revolution. I was learning about Marie Antoinette in school and fell in love with this game. I have now completed all 28 (29 including both Secrets Can Kill) games to date and own physical copies of them all. I think I am going to stop here and continue in my next post when I review Secrets Can Kill Remastered.

Until Then, Don't Take any Wooden Nickels,


Welcome Nancy Drew veterans and new addicts alike,

I've been playing the Nancy Drew Adventure Games by Her Interactive for about 9 years. I have always wanted to do reviews of a sort, but was never sure what I medium to use. I have seen this done in a variety of ways from Youtube Videos to Blogs etc. I decided to use a blog because writing is definitely my stronger suit. I can ramble at times and I am sure you will see that in these posts, but come on it's Nancy Drew, How could I not? This first blog post will be more of an Introduction to the series and what about it appeals to women and men as well. It will also include my experiences with the series. On that note, now seemed to be a good time to finally review the series as in anticipation for Nancy Drew #29: The Secret Spy coming out this Fall, I am playing a Marathon to see how long it would take to play through all 28 games consecutively, something I have never done before. The first few games I went through quickly as the games are shorter and not quite as difficult as later games, especially for the 5th to 6th time playing. Therefore, each post, unless I post more than one in a day, will also include an update on the Marathon. This post was an introduction to the blog as a whole and what I wish to accomplish. Stay Tuned for my first real post.

As Rick Arlen would say, Stay Beautiful,