Nancy Drew 1 - Secrets Can Kill
Release date: 1999/2001
Dweveloper: Her Interactive
Publisher: Dreamcatcher Interactive
A review by slydos 06th November 2001
"Nancy Drew - Secrets Can Kill" is the first adventure game by Her Interactive after the successful book series. It is particularly meant for female teenagers starting from 11 years. Nancy, the young detective in this 2D-adventure is actually confronted with a murder at the Highschool of Paseo del Mar in Florida, a fictitious place, where Nancy visits her aunt Eloise from time to time, the librarian of the highschool. The student Jake Rodgers was murdered, more exactly said, down-pushed the stairs. Nancy is asked by the principal to examine the case. By passing off as a student herself, she asks other students, who knew Jake, examines the scene and the environment and collects clues.
Fast she realizes, that each of the 4 questioned people is suspicious.
The main menu
In the first edition of 1999 the 2 CDs are packed in a kind of cardboard video-box. (with the later Dreamcatcher release, 2001, it's in a sturdy box with folding cover). In the box one finds a manual, a sketch pad and the novel Wicked Ways, No. 113 of the Nancy Drew cases. The installation functions perfectly and without a problem under Windows. You can select whether you would like to do the small installation with 42 MB or the complete with 220 MB. Once at the beginning the gamers must select one of the three difficulty levels. This review refers to the highest difficulty level.
During the game the screen is divided into 3 main parts. The upper half shows the environment in 1st-person-view. Down right is the scrollable inventory and next to it on the left the space for dialogue texts. The button top left leads to the main menu, top right is the help button.
In the main menu you look at a pile of books from the back. Every book is a menu option. Additional to well-known options, like Save, Load and Settings, there is another very useful feature: the Second Chance! If you've made a fatal or lethal error - that's possible - you so can be brought to a point in the game just before it happens.
"Secrets Can Kill" is played in 1st-person-perspective (ego-perspective) and controlled by mouse. The cursor in shape of a magnifying glass changes its color to blue if you get near the screen edge. If you then click with the left mouse button, the screen scrolls to the desired direction in steps. So one can make a 360-degree-turn everywhere. If the cursor changes to red, a mouse-click can cause a movement in this direction or an enlargement of the shown objects.
Also actions, like opening something or taking an object may follow, or you could start a conversation with a character. Here is a small difficulty: In the dialogue area several different possible questions wait for Nancy, with the first letter emphasized in each case. This letter must be clicked and you might fail to do so, since the sensitive area was kept very small.
One selects objects from the inventory by clicking. In the upper screen area the cursor then takes the shape of this object and one can use it by a simple left-click.
The graphics are simple. Usually there are fixed backgrounds and images without animations, but sometimes there are also animated sequences, e.g. an opening or a closing of an elevator door or the movements of an interlocutor. The text, which appears simultaneously in the lower dialogue window, is very lip-synchronously spoken. The few movements of the characters are adapted to the texts. The voices of Nancy and their interlocutors sound professional in my German ears. Up to the introduction sequence or Nancy's comments or telephone calls, all spoken texts are also shown within the lower dialogue area. This gives those, who are not really English connoisseurs, the possibility of judging the statements again.
Apart from the large number of coding puzzles, you mainly have to follow the conversations, find and use objects. By the way, the enclosed note book is indeed necessary. Since you can hardly remember all hints, you'll have to write down a lot.
There are also time-dependent puzzles, that let you die if you're not quick enough. Nancy gets assistance by some friends on the telephone or by the many notice boards or the otherwise hidden and coded clues. The solution of the puzzles are hidden somewhere in the many clues and hints, sometimes you find a hint but don't know yet, to which puzzle it points. Sometimes the puzzles look more difficult, than they actually are. It is not necessary however to decode every hint in order to finally solve the case.
The solution of this exciting murder case is surely not only for girls of a certain group of ages. It was also fun and excitement for me - approx. 20 hours long.
The main music theme contributes very much to the exciting atmosphere, and from time to time even some smile gets on your face, for example if you look at the special music titles in the jukebox.
Nerving however, that you not only have to insert CD1 each time when starting, but also the very frequent changes of the two CDs during the game.Total rating: 80%
80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable 70% - 79% good game, recommendable 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable) 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only) 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
- Windows 95/98
- Pentium 166 Mhz
- 16 MB RAM
- 16bit colour graphic card
- 16bit Windows compatible stereo-sound card
- 8fx CDROM-drive
- 42 MB on hard disk
- Mouse, Speakers
- Windows 95
- PII 233 MHz
- 64 MB RAM
- 4 MB graphic card
- 16bit sound card
- 24x CDROM-drive
First you have to open the victim's locker
A murder has been committed
Nancy looking for clues
What does Daryl Gray know?
A piece of evidence?
The notice boards show many hints
The library - a treasure trove
Is the football-star envolved?
Tips per telephone