Turn back the clock!!! It’s the year 1929. Months after the crash of the stock market, quiet towns like Titusville feel the financial chill of America’s looming Great Depression.
Seventeen year old Emily Crandall is hit harder than others. Her mother has recently passed away and a family acquaintance helps her bake pies to make a living during difficult times at the Crandall’s Lilac Inn. Emily already has it rough, with a recent streak of bad luck and unexplained events making the running of a profitable business almost impossible.
Emily, like others in Titusville, sets her hopes on the generosity of Josiah Crowley; an elderly man who hinted that the Crandall’s would be taken care of after his passing. Sadly, when Josiah died, he left his entire fortune to a stuffy stranger who teaches at a paranormal school. Now you, as Nancy Drew, roll into town in your flashy roadster unaware that your visit will define your destiny as a young and successful detective.
Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock is a point and click adventure game from HerInteractive. The game is easily loaded with the CD-ROM and you have the choice to install the entire game or a minimum install where you would have to insert the CD each time you play.
You will enjoy the clear graphics and the realistic quality of the characters. The music and sound effects fit right into each sequence of the story. I didn’t find any technical problems during game play.
What is unique about The Secret of the Old Clock is the roadster. You are able to drive the car around town and experience the same difficulties as any other driver in real life. You may get a flat tire and will need to find a garage to get it fixed! There are potholes in the streets that you must avoid or back to the garage you will have to go! If you run out of money for gas or other things, you have to work for it! In this game, making money takes a substantial amount of time! If you get tired of running around for pennies, there are other means to get the cash! I will leave that for you to find out how!
Another distinguishing aspect of The Secret of the Old Clock is that the game is based on the very first Nancy Drew Book ever published. This twelfth installment in the long-running adventure game series commemorates the 75th Anniversary of Nancy Drew!
You are about to venture into the past and outwit a cunning criminal before time runs out! It’s strange that Emily Crandall invited you to visit because you barely know her. The Lilac Inn is quiet charming, yet it is very odd that you don’t see any other cars parked outside. Curiously, there was an abandoned car down the road…
Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock features four key characters that you will meet as you go through the adventure:
The navigation in the game has the basic point and click functions which allows for movement and interaction with the characters. You will be using the famous magnifying glass cursor to search the environment for clues. Your notebook will keep you abreast of all your findings. This way, you will be able to refer back to it if you forget what you are doing or where you need to be going.
Jane Willoughby: Is Jane a well intentioned dumb Dora or a calculating con artist with a hidden agenda? Emily’s deceased mother asked her dressmaking partner to look after her daughter, but this Chicago girl looks out of place!
Richard Topham: If you decide to try this game, here is a prediction of the future: Mr. Topham will annoy you! Richards runs the “School for the Study and Development of Paranormal Powers.” But, is his act just a hoax”? He runs the school from the deceased Josiah Crowley’s house. You can bet that most people in Titusville would love to see him caught for pulling off a scam!
Jim Archer: Business is good for banker Jim Archer; at least that is what he says! One would think that if local businesses are closing the main street bank would be flooded with nothing but foreclosures… Archer may know a secret or two about the Lilac Inn and the rest of the town!
Emily Crandall: Emily is the current owner of the Lilac Inn. You will always find the young woman in her room, scared and frequently distracted. Thetheft of her mother’s jewels may push this Emily over the edge. She feels close to you because the two of you have a sorrowful bond. You are the only one she trusts considering all the strange occurrences; objects on the wall moving, whispers calling from the shadows, and things mysteriously disappearing and then reappearing.
An inventory section is available to keep objects and tools that you come across during your investigation for future use in the game. Remember, you have a choice before playing the game to set it for Junior or Senior Detective levels. This depends on your sleuthing skills.
Regardless of the skill level you select, some practical tips can help you during the adventure:
|Exclamation points (!) at the bottom of the screen tell you that there are new items in your inventory or additions to your journal. This is the first place you should click when you’re stumped.|
|Press the space bar to leave your car when you roll to a stop at a parking spot outside a house or building.|
|Be careful not to slip your winning scorecard in the old scorecard slot at Josiah’s miniature golf course!|
|Before you get behind the wheel, look at the road map in your inventory and locate your destination. That roadster you are driving is a gas guzzler! And driving around aimlessly is expensive.|
|You can make deliveries for Tubby’s Telegraphs if you run out of money. I found that this is an endless job that never tips any money due to the Depression. Try and work as much as you can at one time so you don’t have to go back!|
As you start exploring the town, you will come across an array of puzzles. Some are easy while others are rather difficult. You don’t have luxuries like a cell phone or computer in this game as they weren’t invented yet! You will be able to call on dear old dad in this adventure. But don’t expect him to give you any clues. Instead, he will send you on an errand that you will have to complete.
An investigation of the Topham School of Paranormal Thought will lead you to the first set of puzzles in the game. Richard will challenge you with mirror mind games and other logic-based games. You have to prove to Richard that your inferior brain waves won’t stunt his intellectual growth. I didn’t find these tests very inferior to my brain!
Travel the grounds and fore! Yes, a miniature golf course. This is a tricky course which may require a fist full of change. I found this part of the game to be a bit trying, but you can make and even break par if you aim and adjust your shot strength off certain angled bricks. If you win, you will be able to claim a prize.
Other challenges include the clock puzzle at Jim’s and the beam of light puzzle. There is a time of reflection with the beam of light puzzle. This puzzle seems easy at first, but figuring out how to make the light bounce off all the mirrors require a little bit of planning. Oh, and you will also find the mirrors in the first place.
A stitch in time saves nine. Have you ever heard of that saying? Well, to me this was the most difficult puzzle and annoying one. You better save the game here after the first mess up! You will be spending a lot of time learning how to sew on Emily’s mother’s machine!
The Secret of the Old Clock is full of interesting puzzles. The game features a great deal of content waiting for you to discover. The few puzzles mentioned in the review cover only a small portion of Nancy Drew’s adventure. Remember if you ever get stuck anywhere in the game you can go to the HerInteractive forum for all your answers.
When you drive through town running errands and earning money, you will come across many different fun characters in their own settings. There is plenty of work and you are the only one to carry out these tiring deeds. So gas up the roadster and get your driving skills together. As always, expect a great and surprising ending.
So what are you waiting for? Get going and find out the Secret of the Old Clock! You will truly enjoy Nancy Drew’s first mystery. The Secret of the Old Clock offers a great way to hone your detective skills. The game is targeted to mystery fans ages 10 to adult.
My final grade: 90/100