For all of you who have read the Nancy Drew novels, this is the first of the games using her character. She has been told by her dear aunt that there has been a murder at the local high school and it needs solving. Oh Goody, just what she loves to do! You are given three options as to difficulty level; I was brave and chose Master Detective. The main difference in the levels is in the difficulty of the puzzles, it doesn’t affect progress in the actual game or the outcome.
You wake up in a beautiful house and your first task is to look at everything, open everything and read everything! Once you have done this, your first real challenge is a slider puzzle; mine was a 4 x 4, the Junior and Senior Detective levels give a 3 x 3 puzzle. Hmm, so we have got the tools we need, let’s go explore….
When you leave via the main door, you have four separate locations to choose from: the school, the house, the drug company and the diner. Try out which you will, then continue from there. There are a few folks to talk to (all students) and you have a phone card, so if you get Really Stuck you can phone your buddies for hints. As I haven’t read the books, I don’t know the relationship Nancy has with Bess, George and Ned, but those of you who are better read will already recognise them.
The puzzles in the main are playing with words in one way or another, either working out a coded message or substituting numbers or signs for letters. The main exception is in the boiler room where you need to have your ‘logical’ head on to sort out what you must do…. This and the ending are the only two timed bits. The boiler is quite easy, the end just a matter of timing and of course you have the Second Chance option in the main menu which takes you back just where you were (I didn’t need it in the boiler room but did at the end!!!!) There are quite a few funny references on the bookshelves; look at all the titles to have a giggle!
I found the game relatively easy, only having to resort to a walkthrough at one point; I missed the hotspot next to the college building. It is very small -- so easy to overlook. There are loads of hints littered all over the college; as I said before, read everything you can.
The only downside is the disc swapping. It drives you nuts!!!!
All in all, I would give the game an 8 rating for overall enjoyability: sound is ambient and OK, puzzles are not too challenging if you love playing with words. It’s a great introduction into adventure gaming, a game I would happily give as a present to a young or new adventurer.
166 MHz processor
I played the game on a Pentium III 1GHz computer with Sound Blaster Live, a 52x CD drive, 768MB RAM, and Win XP.
The interface is standard point-and-click; no worries about the keyboard here.
A bounce a day keeps the doctor away!!
Playing Sims2, Sherlock, Phantom of Venice
Reading Storm Breaking