Nancy Drew: Tomb of the Lost Queen



Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    Her Interactive

Released:  May 2012

PC Requirements:  

  • Windows« XP/Vista/7
  • 1.5 GHZ or greater Pentium 4 or equivalent class CPU,
  • 512 MB of RAM,
  • 2 GB or more hard drive space,
  • 64 MB DirectX 9.0 compatible video card,
  • 16 bit DirectX compatible sound card,
  • 4x DVD drive,
  • mouse and speakers.






by Becky


Nancy Drew returns in a globetrotting adventure -- this time she's at an archaeological dig in Egypt. Archaeologist Jon Boyle, the expedition leader (and the one who arranged Nancy's visit), is seriously injured during a sand storm. Strange occurrences and a previous lost expedition -- possibly related to an ancient curse -- have driven most of the official workers away from the site.

Ms. Drew is left to figure out what is going on amongst the remaining archaeologists/hangers-on. These include a graduate student who yo-yos between bullying Nancy and confiding in her. Also, a handsome tour guide who shows up despite the site being barred to the public, and a young Egyptian woman who is dead certain that aliens built the pyramids.

With Jon Boyle out of commission, the archaeologist who is now in charge is Abdullah Bakhoum. He is competent but wildly ambitious, morphing into a sort of rock star Egyptologist as the game progresses.

Land of Sunny Deceit

Egypt is a frequent location in adventure games. Some would say it's overused, but it has a lot to offer. It's got a dramatically inhospitable climate, exotic tombs, and a fascinating history -- tyranny, luxury, swanky gods. It's a potent mixture of mummies, machinations, and mind-twisters, just waiting for a famous girl detective to sink her teeth into (so to speak).

Graphics are naturalistic and there are plenty of rooms and corridors full of wall paintings, hieroglyphs, secret doors, hard-to-reach platforms, and intriguing debris. This is a point-and-click game viewed from the first person perspective.

If you've played previous Nancy Drew games, you'll find that the character models have been upgraded for this one. Dialogs and voiceovers are effective, mixing occasionally outlandish characterization with a wealth of suspicious circumstances. (My favorite voiceover sequence occurred while Nancy was traversing a group of columns for the first time.)

The characters tend to be rooted to one spot. Shifting them so you can rifle through their stuff is one of the game's major challenges. In fact, the game allows you to discover many secrets of the ancients, hidden for thousands of years beneath the sands, before you finally manage the (seemingly easier) task of getting a look inside the dig workers' bags.

One immersion breaking oddity is Nancy's cheerful "good-by" each time she finishes a dialog sequence -- even if she's just accused someone of stealing artifacts, or the conversation ends with a death threat. Ms. Drew can speak on the phone long distance to her friends Bess Marvin and Ned Nickerson, as well as to the delightfully loopy Professor Hotchkiss, who provides helpful background information.

Hieroglyphs, Death Traps, Canopic Jars

Tomb of the Lost Queen contains an appetizing array of puzzles. Ms. Drew must figure out whose tomb she's snooping around in, which means translating hieroglyphs, interpreting texts and wall paintings, finding secret chambers, and using inventory items. She also has to discover the real motivations of the characters on the dig. For this she has to break codes, solve locking devices, ask penetrating questions, and cause distractions.

In addition to the above investigations, a Senet board game is mildly entertaining, and a handful of mini-game-like challenges (using scarabs and cobras, etc.) provide variety. A truly dastardly rock removal puzzle requires trial and error plus a bit of luck. Though none of the challenges in this game require quick reflexes, don't hang around too long while searching through a person's belongings, as the owner might return and catch Nancy in mid-snoop.

There are a few of Nancy's famous "oops!" moments, when a mistake can send her back home (or worse) without completing the case. For these, the game restarts the action right before the mistake so you can try again. The worst result of Ms. Drew's misadventures is that, if you've placed any phone calls immediately before the mistake, you may have to repeat them.

The game has two difficulty settings: Amateur Sleuth or Master Sleuth. Playing as an Amateur provides a more detailed task list and hints -- plus some of the puzzles have been simplified.

No need to have played any of the previous Nancy Drew games in order to enjoy this one. If you're new to the series, start with this one, and then work your way backwards.

Of the Nancy Drew games I've played in the past, this game reminds me most of The Phantom of Venice, where Venice and its culture play a key role in the game. The Egyptian location in Tomb of the Lost Queen, and the puzzles engendered by the location, are emphasized more than the personalities and relationships between the characters.

Quick List for Nancy Drew: Tomb of the Lost Queen

The 26th game in the Nancy Drew adventure series, set in a tomb and archaeological dig in Egypt. An engaging story, characters with hidden motives, good voiceovers. Colorful, naturalistic graphics. First person perspective, point-and-click interface.

A tasty variety of puzzles, including decoding and hieroglyph challenges, interpreting patterns, solving complicated locks, and a handful of inventory puzzles. No sliders, no sound-matching puzzles, no timed puzzles. A few of the conundrums require distinguishing colors. No mazes, though by the end of the game there are enough tunnels to make navigation a bit confusing.

You can make "fatal" mistakes, but are returned immediately to the moment before the mistake to try again. The most difficult puzzles involve tricky pattern interpretation. A rock fall challenge requires repetitive trial and error.

No glitches, no problems with installation. Plenty of save slots. About twelve hours of gameplay.

Nancy Drew: Tomb of the Lost Queen is aimed at Nancy Drew fans and adventurers who enjoy digging deep into the mysteries of Ancient Egypt.

Final Grade: B+

What I played it on: 

Dell Studio XPS 8000

Windows 7 Home Premium

Intel Core i5-750 processor


1024MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220

Soundblaster X-Fi


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