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
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
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
Land of Sunny
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.
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
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
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
6GB DDR3 SDRAM
1024MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220
GameBoomers Review Guidelines