I love mysteries, and so I really enjoyed most of the Nancy Drew games. Haunted Mansion was my favorite out of the four I've played (I have played The Final Scene, Haunted Mansion, Secrets can Kill, and The Tower Treasure).
I didn't find the game spooky at all, although I might have if I had been lucky enough to play the game (or have personal computers for that matter--uh, oh, I'm showing my age) when I started reading mysteries like Nancy Drew. There are two levels of play, and I played on the more difficult level. I really found the puzzles to be somewhat challenging at times, and at other times they were easy and the reward was just moving on in the game. Sometimes you just want something fun and comforting in a game, and the Nancy Drew games are like that. It's like doing an easy crossword puzzle even though you know you could do difficult, but you just want the experience and the relaxation it brings.
The game was definitely a mystery, and Nancy does a lot of snooping around and searching of rooms that don't belong to her. I felt that the voice work was well done and the character's mouths move with the speech. It is necessary to complete some of the tasks during different times of the day or night, but this is easy to do because Nancy has an alarm clock by the bed that you can set and it will immediately take you to that time frame. The game worked great for me on Windows XP. I haven't played it on any other Windows format.
As for negative things about the game, I do agree that there are rooms that are never entered by Nancy, even though you can see the doors. I eventually had to tell myself they were never there in first place, or I would have been constantly checking them. This would be extremely irritating, because to move Nancy around you have to walk up and down hallways, etc. The only way I would check a door again in this game is if I obtained an inventory item that could be used on a door (like a key), or if I made one more round just because I was stuck and couldn't figure out what to do next. To me, it is nicer to know that you will probably never get into a closed door rather than thinking that you might and going back to it again and again. Right now, I am playing the Cameron Files (Loch Ness) and I have to check each door constantly because their status changes.
The game is fairly short, but if I had played it as a novice gamer or as an adolescent, it would have lasted a lot longer.
I really enjoy games that have books around to read and learn, but then I actually research things for fun (my friends feel that I am ill). There are books that have to be looked at in this mystery and in the Tower Treasure that tell about historical symbols, etc. However, you can just jot down the basics that are needed for the puzzle and not concentrate on the rest.
It is necessary to take notes in the Nancy Drew mysteries, and I know that is icky to some game players. I don't mind it, though, so it didn't bother me.
All in all, I really liked this game because the character was familiar and comfortable and the puzzles really were pretty good. The graphics are very nice, too.
What lies behind you and what lies before you are tiny matters compared to what lies within you.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson