The game begins as Nancy receives a desperate call for help from her friend Sally. No details of what the problem is, just to come as quickly as possible. So, off Nancy goes to visit her friend Sally McDonald’s house out at Moon Lake. Sally just recently bought the house which belonged to an old Gangster Mickey Malone. He built the house back in the 20s as his country getaway and lived there most of his life with his dogs. The house is in need of major “fixing up” as Sally calls it.
When Nancy arrives things seem to start happening. The old Maple tree next to the road falls and blocks her in so that Nancy can’t leave. Sally leaves Nancy a note on the door announcing that she had left the area. Of course her friends always keep leaving before Nancy arrives. As Nancy settles in, Sally calls Nancy and begs her to leave the house and go home. It turns out that Sally is very afraid of the ghost dogs. She’s afraid that the ghost dogs will hurt Nancy. What dogs? As expected, Nancy isn’t afraid of the Ghost Dogs and plans to stay. She can’t leave anyway. Remember, the fallen tree blocks her car. Are the ghostly dogs true or are they flesh and blood? Why are they after Sally and you?
You will meet some very interesting and strange people along the way. There is Jeff Akers, the Park Ranger, who is very suspicious. Then there is Red Knott. He is a bird watcher who has some strange ideas. He belongs to a bird club and wants you to get him some pictures. Red would rather Nancy leave, as he doesn’t seem to care for people very much. Then there is the lady at the store “Em’s Emporium”. Her name is Emily Griffen and she’s more than happy to help Nancy out, but can’t figure out why Sally would ask Nancy to come stay at that old house or why Sally would stay there herself.
Nancy’s main mode of transportation is Sally’s boat. You’ll use it to get to around the lake, to Em’s Emporium and the Ranger Station. Nancy also gets to explore the area around the house using her own two feet. Navigation is classic Nancy Drew. Clearly marked arrows provide direction. A magnifying glass will show you which items/areas can be further examined.
As with all Nancy Drew games, there are tasks to be completed. The old house is indeed in need of repairs. Fixing the house will involve rummaging through the junk outside and searching through cupboards inside in order to perform makeshift repairs. Notes found in various locations provide important clues so it is important to not to miss any of them.
Nothing is ever free. Nancy will do a lot of running back and forth. It seems that everyone wants something from Nancy. Red wants you take some pictures of the birds for him in payment for a spark plug and he needs items picked up from Em’s Emporium. Nancy can’t seem to get the pictures until she has a camouflage suit. When you get to Em’s Emporium, Emily is in need of some bugs to sell for bait, so now you need to get some bugs before she will give you the camouflage suit.. Jeff, the park ranger, won’t give you a water testing kit until you put some files in order for him. But, there is some pay-off to completing all the trades. People tend to share more information. For example, you’ll get to read all the Ranger’s files after you put them in order. They are very interesting and can give you a lot of information about the story and the game.
There is a forest maze that is a little hard to get around in. The maze is corner, corner, corner, and no steps in between. You do have access to a map (once you find it) which will help you. Birds’ sing and bugs makes noises also. Noises play importance in completing some of your tasks. At the top of the forest maze is a cemetery that you will visit several times. The gangster Mickey Malone is buried in there along with his dogs. Puzzles are everywhere including on one of the head stones.
The game can be played in either Junior or Senior Detective modes. Junior mode is a bit easier and allows more phone hints from Nancy’s friends, Bess and George. There are 2 points in the game that will require quick reactions to avoid death. However, a 2nd chance option allows you to keep trying until you get it right.
This point and click adventure is game number 7 for Her Interactive. Released in 2002, it is much better than the other 6 were as far as graphics go for the time period. Voice acting was better than average, again for this time period. The game has a good story and is very interesting and exciting. The inventory puzzles work well with no illogical usage. I feel the older Her Interactive games are more aimed at all age groups rather than just the younger age group. I think if you like Adventure games then this one is very worthwhile to play. I for one have enjoyed it very much. I gave this game a B. It has a few problems, but it is a decent game.