Nancy Drew - Stay Tuned for Danger - Box

Nancy Drew - Stay Tuned for Danger
Ages 10 and Up

I was really looking forward to playing this game. For seventy years the Nancy Drew books entranced girls with spine tingling detective mysteries solved by a brave and clever heroine. Now, with an interactive game story, where girls can be Nancy Drew and do the sleuthing, the adventure should be even more intense. Unfortunately this is not so.

Navigation is the main problem. Detective stories are about investigation and exploring. Because the game is not real 3D, players are constantly bumping up against the end of screen and must use the U turn cursor to back out. Some areas cannot be reached unless you maneuver just right. Time plays a part in solving the mystery. It took me a while to understand why the open entrance changed into a steel door - it was after 6:00. You should be checking Nancy's pocket watch for the time. Some things happen only in the daytime, others at night and you have to kill time until the time is right. After awhile it just becomes tiresome.

The single sheet user manual is mostly concerned with installing and uninstalling the game. The description of the cursor function states simply that it “will change colors when you move it around the Game Screen”. It is only in the reviewers guide that you find out that blue means that you have reached the end of the screen and must change direction, and red indicates:
a. a person you can talk to.
b. a useful inventory item,
c. an object that you can interact with, or
d. an area that can be viewed close up.
It's the last function that causes confusion - OK- so I‘m looking at bird house - is that all there is to it?

The mouse action is sluggish and you can end up clicking and waiting and then clicking again. On the Main Menu screen it helps to roll your cursor over the choices, wait until the text becomes highlighted and then click. The on-screen Help consists of suggesting that you call one of three friends for advice. Two were out, and one chatted and said he missed me (Nancy) but offered nothing useful towards solving the case.

Cases are solved by finding and putting together clues to finally come up with a solution. In this case, many of the clues seem to be either irrelevant or trivial. I mean after all, when you decode a sheet of music and it says “cage a bad egg”, it isn't exactly telling you much. Of the three reviewers, no one has finished the game. One got blown up, one got locked out, the other is still working on solving the mystery. Since you will most likely make numerous attempts to solve the case, a clever option in the game is “Second Chance” which steps you back to a previous node in the game so you don't have to die or start over from the beginning. However, there is no way of aborting the opening sequence or previously heard dialogue and so it becomes increasingly annoying.

Her Interactive has a history of making games which are too complicated. First there was McKenzie and Co. and then Vampire Diaries. Both of these were commendable forays into the girl market but their games preceded the availailable tech. Their heart is in the right place - they always seem to be trying. Everyone liked the smaller, book-like packaging. It is clever and indicates some awareness of ecological concerns.

There are some hints for playing this game through to the end, and for figuring out how to de-fuse the bomb in the Answers section of this site.

Genevieve 5/00

  • Nancy Drew - Stay Tuned for Danger
  • © HerInteractive 1999 $29.95
  • Windows 95/98