Here we join Nancy Drew in her 24th
adventure, The Captive Curse, from developers Her Interactive. In
this latest instalment we visit the large and sprawling Castle Finster in
Germany, where a mythical wood-dwelling monster has sporadically
terrorised the area for a great many years, snatching his female victims
away where they are never heard of again. Now there is rumour of the beast
appearing once more. Nancy is invited by the castle's German investor
Markus Boehm to solve the mystery before more lives are lost.
Her Interactive are on the ball
again. Recent Nancy Drew adventures have been more than a touch hit and
miss, but I'm pleased to report that The Captive Curse carries on
the tried and trusted tradition of sleuthing and puzzling in the same
thoroughly enjoyable manner that the recent Warnings at Waverly Academy
presented. In this new adventure we meet a host of well-written characters
who have interesting and amusing dialogue to share with us. Karl the
Bürgermeister is particularly appealing, as is Lukas, the young lad who
hovers around the castle lobby with his board games and mischievous wit.
The game graphics are crisp and detailed; the characters' facial movements
are expressive, the voice acting excellent as always.
There are no chores, glory be. In
place of forced drudgery we are instead presented with an intriguing
mystery which unfolds gradually from perhaps more lengthy dialogues than I
recall Nancy Drew adventures carrying of late. This is no bad thing, for
the back story and side detail serves to draw us deeper into the story.
Castle Finster is large and sprawling with a myriad of corridors and
secret passages -- quite similar to Treasure in the Royal Tower, in
fact. Other areas to explore include the spacious castle courtyard, and
the eerie, dark and twisting woods which sprawl beyond the main gates.
The Captive Curse
plays in first person point and click, with occasional and controllable
slow panning. It is possible to die within the game, but the Second Chance
feature will quickly return you to the second before your unfortunate
“oops”. There are unlimited save slots, and a useful Hint Hotline feature
on Nancy's cell phone.
“Monsters aren't real.”
Puzzles... give me excess of them;
that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so – wait, no, we wouldn't
want that to happen. Play on, puzzles! There are some rather splendid ones
here in The Captive Curse. Two board games aside, there are a
number of secret messages to collect and decode, one simple slider puzzle,
and several boxes to figure out how to open. One such box features a
variation of the old “Mastermind” guessing game. There are one or two
logic-type conundrums, and one colour puzzle.
My own personal nemesis is waving
its flag here. There are not one, but two mazes in this game. Both are
initially quite tricky to negotiate until the player begins to remember
the landmarks/objects, or alternatively consults the in-game, hand-drawn
maps. The castle, too, is large, meandering, and literally begs that you
become lost inside it. I spent a fair amount of playing time wandering and
retracing my steps. Those with sounder navigational skills than mine may
likely not experience such grief. For those of us that do have troubles,
well, it was a little frustrating.
Don't let the bugs bite.
installed and ran without any hitches or glitches.
Overall, an involving game that's
well worth playing, introducing some memorable characters and a diverse
range of enjoyable puzzles.
I played on:
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
AMD A6-3650 APU @ 2.60GHz
4.00 GB of RAM
Radeon HD 6530D Graphics