“ Genre: Action / Publisher: Her Interactive / Platform(s): Windows / ESRB Rating: E - (Everyone) / Media: CD-ROM „
Nancy Drew - Curse of Blackmoor Manor
(PC CD-ROM Game)
We were recently given a few mystery games for the PC and usually I don't give them a second glace, though one caught my eye as I remember reading some of the stories when I was younger about Nancy Drew, a fictional teenage detective who goes around solving mysteries for people. Knowing I loved reading the stories when I was younger I thought I would give it a go and was pleasantly surprised.
Before I take you into the game I thought I would give you some information which may help you decide if this game is apt for your computer as there is nothing worse than buying a game only to find out that it is not compatible with your system.
* Runs on XP and Vista (Have used this game on both operating systems and had no problem on either)* CPU type and speed: Pentium II 400MHz or equivalent
* Hard drive space: 550MB
* Memory: 64MB (512 for Vista)
* Graphics: Any 16MB DirectX compatible video card
Installing the game is very simple and like most games. Usually the installation programme will commence when you put the disc into the drive, though if it does not just go to explorer and find your CD-ROM drive and click on SETUP.EXE. Once you've installed the game, which doesn't take too long at all, you are ready to begin.
WELCOME TO BLACKMOOR
"Delve into dark legends lurking in the shadows of an old English mansion"
All is not well in Blackmoor Manor, a 14th century English mansion, haunted by a tragic past. You, as Nancy Drew, embark on an adventure to visit Linda Penvellyn, the newlywed wife of a British diplomat, where you find a mysterious illness keeping her hidden behind thick curtains of her bed. Is she hiding from something or someone or is it more of a menacing threat which is stalking her?
A lot of games like this are quite static and more of a 'find the hidden object' game which solves a mystery. These types of games bore me, though I am happy to say that this game is not only fully interactive, with characters moving and interacting with one another, but it is also has 360° movability in which you are able to walk wherever you want. This, in my opinion, is much better when completing a mystery game like this.
The game begins on the outside of the mansion where you are being taken to your home for the next however long in order to solve the mystery. Straight away, you get the feeling of a dark and scary place which later I found out actually does become a little scary when playing this in the dark on your own at night! The beginning is the only time you see the outside of the mansion, though, as the whole game takes place inside. The mansion is not very big and so there is slim chance of getting lost. With only two main floors, there doesn't seem at first glance, a lot to do, though if you are thinking this when you begin then please do continue as you will soon find that there is an awful lot to do and more and more opens to you as you unlock more clues and secrets.
As already mentioned, all the characters in the game are fully interactive - including the parrot who I came to love! There are only eight other characters in the game and not all are seen (some can only be contacted via Nancy's phone). The characters include;
Lou Lou: a very intelligent parrot who sits in the corner and often helps you solve clues with his clever hints. This character I found the most helpful as the secrets in this game are sometimes very hard to crack and with the parrots help I was able to figure out what to do in some.
Linda: You never actually see Linda as she thinks she is cursed and so stays hidden behind thick curtains in her bedroom, though she is at the heart of the mystery and so you do ralk to her quite a bit.
Jane: The most annoying character in the game as you only ever get something from her if you play one of her games in her toy box! There were a couple of fun mini games in there but most, I found, were boring.
Mrs Drake: Janes Great aunt who can always be found in the conservatory. I did not find her a huge help in the game though there were times I needed to visit her for help.
Ned: Another character who is never seen and can only be contacted via Nancy's phone though does offer some small tid-bits of help during the game.
Ethel: Janes tutor who does not appear too much in the game though watch when she does - it could be important!
Hugh: Yet another character who can only be contacted by phone and no help at all.
Nigel: A researcher in the library who offers some historic help throughout the game.
All characters in the game have their own personalities rather like in a book and so do make the game even more fun filled.
Within the main game, there are also many mini-games. A lot of these take place with Jane though you will also find many others associated with these games around the mansion and all play a key part in the mystery. That is the thing about this game - there is nothing in the game play which is useless. Everything has a meaning and leads to one thing or another, whether it is another clue to something or how to do something else. At first it doesn't seem like it, though by the end of the game you realise that everything is there for a reason.
You are equipped from the beginning with a mobile phone in which you can use to both call people and look on the internet. These are both limited to people Nancy knows relevant to the game and also internet pages relevant to the storyline, in which case only come up once Nancy has asked a certain question or worked out a certain clue. This comes in very handy in solving problems though for this to work in some problems, certain steps need to be made in a certain order. You also have the inventory option and a notebook, all of which you can find at the bottom of the game screen. The notebook has two parts, the first which are Nancy's notes of what she has done and the second are the things she needs to do which can be checked off by you when you have done them.
You can not die as such in this game, though certain actions may cause you to be fired. This is not a problem, though, as you can choose the second chance option which returns to into the game just before you made the blunder! You can also save the game as many times as you want and whenever you want.
There are two difficulty settings to this game; junior detective and senior detective, with the latter obviously being the harder version. I have only played this game on the easier option and that was enough for me. It took me ages to complete the game and I found myself very frustrated when I couldn't work out the clues, though this was more about how I am as I don't think it has anything to do with the game. Looking back over clues, I can easily see where everything points, though when in game play it is certainly not easy. The name of 'Nancy Drew' may imply to many that this is an easy game and perhaps aimed at young children though this is certainly not the case. I do admit that I had to use online cheats a couple of times! I am not used to this type of game, though, so am very much a beginner. Those who have played games like this in the past may find it a lot easier than I did.
As a whole, the storyline to the game is really great. It is very in depth with some great inner-storylines working underneath the main story. There is a lot of information to find and take in with so many interactive moments throughout the whole game. There was never a dull moment in the game in my opinion and the storyline flowed forward nicely. It is not a complicated story, though what makes the story great is all the little twists and turns coupled with everything you have to do to solve the mystery. The only negative I have about the storyline is the ending of the game. Yes, everything was rounded up nicely and everything within the game finally made sense though it was not the big ending I was expecting which was a little disappointing.
The graphics in the game are really good. They are not the best I have seen, though certainly do rate highly. The detail in the rooms and on objects are amazing and you can really imagine that you are in that mansion. There is also no freezing during game play though if you are playing on a system with the minimal requirements you may find this happens.
You can pick this game up for as little as £2.50 online and I would say that it is well worth it. If like me, you play these sorts of games once only then you don't want to fork out a lot of money and in this case you don't need to, though you will have many hours of fun play.
The story is full and deep and the graphics are great. This with the few additional characters and the mini-games as well as many secrets to unlock, in my opinion you certainly would not be wasting your money.
All is not well in Blackmoor Manor, a Fourteenth Century English mansion haunted by a tragic past. You, as Nancy Drew, embark on your first international adventure to visit Linda Penvellyn, your neighbor's daughter and newlywed wife of a British diplomat. A mysterious malady keeps Linda hidden behind thick bed curtains. Is she hiding from something or someone, or is a more menacing threat stalking her? Face your fears to find the truth!