Nancy Drew 2 - Stay Tuned for Danger
Release date: 1999/2001
Developer: Her Interactive
Publisher: Dreamcatcher Interactive
A review by slydos 25th November 2001
"Nancy Drew - Stay Tuned for Danger" is the second adventure game by Her Interactive after the successful book series. It is particularly meant for female teenagers starting from 11 years. In this 2D-adventure our young detective Nancy is directly called from the murder case in Florida to New York, to the production of a successful television soap opera.
Already for some time Rick, the male leading actor of the series, is molested with threatening letters, receives poisoned chocolates and other neat things. Rick however takes it easy and even doesn't talk with the police about it. But Mattie Jensen, the female leading actress and friend of aunt Eloise, and, as turns out later, also girl friend of Rick, takes it very seriously on the other side and calls Nancy for help. And Nancy is just coming right into the studio, when a heavy spotlight misses Rick only by an inch during the latest shooting. Only an accident?
Selecting the difficulty level
During her investigations Nancy finds out fast, that the perpetrator must belong to the closer circle of the studio workers. She discovers the more or less hidden motives and collects clues. The nearer she comes to the solution, the more she herself runs into danger.
In the first edition of 1999 the CD is packed in a DVD box. (with the later Dreamcatcher release, 2001, it's in a sturdy box with folding cover). In the box one finds a manual and a sketch pad. The installation in Windows functions perfectly and without a problem and needs approx. 130 MB on the hard disk. Once at the beginning the gamers must select one of the three difficulty levels.
During the game the screen is divided into 3 main parts - the same as in the first game. 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. Additionally to the 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.
"Stay Tuned for Danger" is played in 1st-person-perspective (ego-perspective) and controlled with the 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 nearly everywhere. If the cursor changes to a red color, 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.
The difficulty in the first game when clicking the dialogue lines is eliminated here. 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. There are no technical or handling problems.
The graphics are substantially improved in relation to the first title, "Secrets Can Kill". Both, the motionless fixed images and the animations - usually with the interlocutors - here clearly move away from the comic style of the first part and look already very realistic. In many real photos the digital characters are fit in and sometimes cannot directly be recognized as such. Our interlocutors, I think there are altogether seven visible ones, show suitable gestures and mimic. The text, which appears simultaneous in the lower dialogue window, is very lip-synchronously spoken. The voices of Nancy and the other characters sound professional and clear, well understandable for German listeners. Nevertheless one is always informed about the contents of the dialogues in the text area.
There are three main locations - the studio, aunt Eloise's apartment in Manhattan and the house of an actor's agent, that can be accessed through a city map. One can move here through corridors and other areas - if one has the suitable keys - and can open a lot of detailed views, in order to examine things. One should always take very close looks, because it really depends on little things, which can be sometimes very important.
Apart from the large number of coding/decoding puzzles, you have to listen to the dialogues, find and use objects at the correct place and the right time. Books, notes, video and audio cartridges must be examined. By the way, the enclosed note book is indeed necessary in "Stay Tuned for Danger" too. Since you can hardly remember all hints, you'll have to write down a lot.
This time there are timed puzzles too (e.g. a bomb must be defused) and besides still more brain twisters to solve. The degree of difficulty is higher than in "Secrets Can Kill". Again one gets help by some friends through the telephone - one can contact them at aunt Eloise. Some hints and tips are not absolutely necessary to finish the game and it is possible to solve the puzzles in different order. Sometimes there are dead ends, if you for example didn't take an urgently needed object from an area, which is locked later. Who played the first part, will surely have an advantage with "Stay Tuned for Danger", since the procedures are very similar to "Secrets Can Kill".
Again an exciting crime case, this time with clearly better graphics and harder puzzles. Surely not only for teenagers, but for all, who enjoy painstaking detective work. Certainly we have a new case in a new environment, but the game pattern altogether doesn't particularly stand out against the first part of the series and remains limited to only a few locations. Because of the missing originality no higher rating than for the first part.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
- 8x CDROM-drive
- 42 MB on hard disk
- Mouse, speaker
- Windows 95
- PII 233 MHz
- 64 MB RAM
- 4 MB graphic card
- 16bit sound card
- 24x CDROM-drive
Map of New York
Rick fancies himself
Aunt Eloise's house
Mattie asks Nancy for help
Rooms must be carefully examined
Is this brooch important?
The set is dangerous
These chocolate candies are inedible