Legend of The Crystal Skull

Posted by: oldmariner

Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 03:08 AM



Nancy Drew #17 Legend of The Crystal Skull

Interface

It is point and click, no keyboard use. Boxes on the bottom of the screen allow access to inventory, cell phone, diary, save, load game, quit. Click on an object box and it appears in a popup box and stays up until you close it. There are unlimited saves and you can name your save whatever you wish, however, the game orders them by date time saved. It will ask before overwriting a previous save. The game is alt-tab friendly. As with all previous Nancy Drew games this one is played in the first person. My one gripe here is the inventory appears in a small popup box and mousing over the items did not reveal what they were. You have several items in there and no idea what they are.

Graphics

Excellent graphics with very good detail in the scenes. Also a plus, there are no overly dark areas limiting your vision when you need to do something. The lighting and shading of the scenes in this game appeared more detailed than they have been in the past. It is all done in static painted scenes though you had full 360 turning ability.

Sound

The first thing you will notice is the familiar Nancy Drew opening theme music is not here. Sort of took me by surprise as that theme has become a staple. Background music is used sparingly and is very subtle, while special sound effects are there they are used sparingly. Also subtitles spell out the conversations in the same box that has appeared at the bottom of the screen in previous episodes. Voice acting is standard for the series for those of you not familiar that is good. This has been a strength of Nancy Drew games.

Gameplay

You play Nancy for most of the game, however, you do switch to play Nancy's friend Bess several times. You do this by calling Bess on the phone to request her help. Though a departure from previous Nancy Drew games it barely matters. Because of the first person game play you can't tell if your character is Nancy, Bess or Barney Fife. You can't see the character and have no real feeling of identity in this format. This is game number 17 and still no one has seen Nancy. But you do get to see a brief glimpse of Nancy's shadow in one area of the game. Of course this is my bias as character takes a back seat in first person games. A big plus is most of the silly chores have been jettisoned you have very few chores to deal with. The puzzles are typical for the series and there are a few that make you question just what was the point.

As mentioned above this is point and click without keyboard use. The puzzles are inventory based with some logic puzzles such as figuring out combinations, and the usual assortment of arcade type distractions found in N.D. So not to disappoint Her Interactive did not forget to include a really evil bowling game that will tax your patience. You have one timed puzzle where if you don't manage to spray the wasps fast enough you will die. A quick no fault reset will bail you out, however, it is not that difficult. I managed it the first time and with my reflex challenged ability it must have been rather easy. The game is non linear which in this case is not necessarily a good thing. Example, that bowling puzzle, the use of somebody's save to bail you out is most likely to lack a lot of things you accomplished. So be prepaired to wrestle with it. It rivals that dress sewing in the Old Clock and the Blackmore Manor typing test.

Story

Not going to ruin it here with spoilers. It is rather typical Nancy Drew this time set in New Orleans. A few reviewers focused on the scarry aspects of the game. I missed the point I saw nothing remotely scarry in this game. In fact I found Blackmore Manor far more spooky. The story is rather thin you are looking for the title object, the Crystal Skull which went missing after the owner died of natural causes. Nancy is tasked with finding where the skull is and who took it. I say the story is thin because as you search about looking for clues you are frequently halted to solve another puzzle. I found a lot of these puzzles appeared more of a distraction than an agent to advance the story. Very often one is so focused on solving this puzzle one forgets where the story went or just what are we trying to do here? The brief conversations that occur in the game offer little to advance the story, provide detail or develope characters.

Conclusion
This is the nature of Nancy Drew games. I have played enough of them to have an idea of what to expect. Nancy Drew games are well done, they are fun as long as you let them be fun. This is one of the better games of the series. So that you can set that statement in context, I thought Blackmore Manor, Secrets of the Old Clock and Ghosts Dogs were the best of the lot. While on the other hand Kapu Cave was a dud. Deception Island and Last Train were simply C+ games . All in All this was a good game and well worth the play. So where do I rate Crystal Skull? What score do I give it? We have to remember the target audience for this series and consider Nancy Drew was not designed to satisfy adults. As a kids game it gets an A+.Think of all those Dora Explorer and Carmen games, yes Nancy is far better. When competing with mainstream games a solid B+ is in order I can't give it an A as that grade is reserved for the likes of Syberia, TLJ and so forth. What does B+ mean? It means Legend of the Crystal Skull is better than most of the games turned out these days.
Posted by: Volkana

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 06:35 AM

Thanks for the review oldmariner thumbsup
I have already play this game and i enjoyed it very much... Not to difficult puzzles no timed mode and very nice story... Let's hope the next one will be as good as this one grin
Posted by: Becky

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 08:44 AM

A very helpful review, oldmariner! thanks
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 08:58 AM

Thanks Oldmariner.

I thought the bowling puzzle was easy after I figured out the trick, but hated hated hated hated hated the wasps.

I had to kill the wasps on 4 separate occasions and of course, it took me many attempts on each occasion and it seemed like it got harder each time. Did you not have to do that?

The first time it was not too hard and even kind of fun. But each time after that it got harder and it was the first puzzle I've found where I almost quit the game because of a puzzle. My hand and arm ached when I finished killing those wasps for the last time. hardwall
Posted by: Volkana

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 10:32 AM

Me too L4L... the last time were too many of them... but it was fun! lol
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 11:36 AM

Yes L4L I had to battle wasps a few times. The first I just wandered in there not knowing why did battle and got a fruit. Later had to go back for more fruit. The last time they seemed more plentiful.

You are right about the bowling once you figured out the angles, it just took patience. Sometimes I am short on that patience stuff.
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 11:52 AM

Me too sometimes Oldmariner. I had decided that one was one for my hubby, but then stumbled on the angles and the light bulb popped on. It was also nice that you could save during the puzzle--so I saved after every success and that way if I later landed a ball where I didn't want one, I just dropped back to a save.
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 02:41 PM

You could save during the bowling? I missed that entirely and simply struggled through redoing each time I messed on up.
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 02:53 PM

Yep, you couldn't save during the stoooopid wasps, but you could save as often as you wanted during the bowling. I was surprised, but very happy puppy
Posted by: Volkana

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 03:18 PM

I didn't knew that either... I simply redid the puzzle... I actually solve it twice because after the first solution it was still active and i thought that if i solve it one more time i would get another eye or something... hardwall lol
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 04:27 PM

I think I read if you did it several times with the eye matching you got an Easter Egg, but I got tired of doing it before that. wave
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/19/08 04:32 PM

Those arcade type games usually side track me into forgetting just what is going on with the story. Suddenly I remember I am trying to figure out something. I realize the target audience are kids so I tend to give Nancy games a pass that others don't get. I'd still prefer puzzles that are more in tune to the mystery you are trying to solve.
Posted by: Rushes

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/20/08 06:32 AM

Get a full set of chickens, the game clucks at you and you get an Easter Egg. Sad to report that I couldn't find any use for the Easter Egg, it just sat there in my inventory looking pretty and taking up space. grin

Thanks for the review, oldmariner! I very much enjoyed this game. The new score system at the end is fun too.
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/20/08 08:49 PM

thanks Rushes! Good to know there are some who have more patience than I do wave
Posted by: Volkana

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/21/08 05:52 AM

I almost through the mouse out of the window lol
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/21/08 08:28 AM

Volkana, I felt that way with the bowling initially, and then figured our the trick.

But I truly thought I was going to have to ask for a save or get my son or husband to do the last time with the wasps wave

However aggravating they were, we sure won't forget that game in a hurry. wave
Posted by: Volkana

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/21/08 08:43 AM

I think this was the game that put me in ND series... I didn't liked Blackmoore Manor and i haven't try anyone else since that disappointment... Now it's different... I'm looking forward for the next one grin
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/21/08 08:55 AM

Good I'm glad the bowling and the wasps did not discourage you unduly wave
Posted by: Volkana

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/21/08 12:08 PM

It's a good think that i played this game before the white wolf of icicle creek... If i had played that first i wouldnt even think to try the next one lol
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/21/08 12:13 PM

Uh oh Volkana, I haven't played that one yet puppy I take it there are hard mini games???
Posted by: Rushes

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/21/08 12:27 PM

I just love all those mini-games in ND. I'm happy to swat wasps, cook salmon steaks & throw snowballs. grin It's all silly and fun, and I have an absolute ball each time a new Nancy Drew is released. My inner child thang needs an outing every once in a while!
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/21/08 01:18 PM

Aha, so now I know who to call to help me when I'm slowly (or quickly) going crazy. rotfl

I enjoy some of them, but I can't say that I love them all wave
Posted by: Volkana

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/21/08 02:39 PM

L4L i'll give just one hint and you will understand... It's all timed (the game i mean)... and yes it has some really annoying mini puzzles... I'm not done with it yet but so far...
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/22/08 10:43 AM

ahhhhhhh duh
Posted by: Volkana

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/22/08 12:38 PM

Exactly lol
Posted by: Phoebe

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 04/27/08 09:39 AM

Thanks for review oldmariner! bravo

Love Maria hearts
Posted by: penruthen

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 06/19/08 05:44 PM

I didn't realise you could save during the bowling game either... had done everything else up to then and it was the last challenge before the endgame.. have since uninstalled it having lost patience! D'oh!!!
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Legend of The Crystal Skull - 06/19/08 05:46 PM

Being able to save during the bowling game is the only way I could get through it. wave