Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Haunting of Castle Malloy

The latest Nancy Drew PC game, The Haunting of Castle Malloy, was released by Her Interactive this month. It is the nineteenth game in the series. Each game, at least up through #18, has been based in part on a Nancy Drew book. So far, nobody has figured out which book Castle Malloy is based on, if in fact it is based on a Nancy Drew book. I have played the game, and I cannot connect the game to any Nancy Drew book. I have not read some of the books in the various spin-off series, so it could be based on a book I have not read. At this point, I tend to think that the game is not based on a Nancy Drew book at all. If it is based on a Nancy Drew book, then the plot has been significantly changed.

The games contain spooky settings as seen in the below screen captures.

Each game has a mystery which the player, who plays as Nancy, must solve. During the game, Nancy can phone her friends either for help or just to tell them what has happened. The phone calls are usually humorous. Below, view a few screen captures of a portion of a phone call that Nancy makes to Bess and George:

The games characterize Bess and George perfectly. George scoffs at any display of sentimentality while Bess gushes about love, food, and whatever else takes her fancy. Nancy also can call Ned Nickerson during most of the games, and sometimes Nancy can call Frank and Joe Hardy.

During one game, The Phantom of Venice, Nancy calls Ned Nickerson, and the phone is picked up sometimes by Ned and sometimes by Joe Hardy, who is staying with Ned. Joe is trying to fix Ned's car. When Ned answers, Joe is working on the car, and when Joe answers, Ned is test-driving the car. Joe's mechanical skills are lacking, so the phone calls are quite humorous.

The games can be played on two levels: junior detective and senior detective. I always play on senior detective, even though it makes some of the tasks quite difficult. I excel at the tasks that involve rotating puzzle pieces in order to create a certain picture, and these puzzles are too easy for me in junior detective. Since the other tasks are more difficult than I would like, I always use a walkthrough to cheat my way through the harder tasks.

If you ever decide to play one of the Nancy Drew games, I do recommend using a walkthrough in order to help get you past any parts in which you get stuck. The walkthoughs can be found by googling the name of the game followed by "walkthrough."

Hints can be found in Her Interactive's message boards, but I dislike using the message boards since the titles of the messages reveal plot elements that are anywhere from near the beginning of the game to near the end. I would rather use a walkthrough and only scroll down as far as necessary in order to get the solution to my problem.

I found that Castle Malloy had several glitches. At the very end, the game had Nancy saying that she messed up even when what she did worked. It is the first time I have ever played one of the games and had that type of glitch. Also, some of the phone calls seemed out of order. The one that should have occurred first did not occur until at least halfway through the game. Each event in the game is triggered by a previous event, so the phone calls should not have been out of order.

While I overall enjoyed The Haunting of Castle Malloy, I would not recommend it to anyone who has never played a Her Interactive game. One reason is because of the glitches, and the other reason is because many of the game's puzzles seemed more random than usual. Some of the puzzles were optional, and normally, the player must complete all of the puzzles in order to advance. There were four dollhouse puzzles, and I'm not sure how many of them were required. I never did the final one, and I was able to finish the game.

My favorite past games are Message in a Haunted Mansion, Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, Danger on Deception Island, Curse of Blackmoor Manor, The Secret of the Old Clock, and Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon. I probably enjoyed The Secret of the Old Clock the most, since Nancy gets to screech around curves in her blue roadster. Vroom!


L. Ruth said...

What about the basic board game from around 1960?

L. Ruth said...

a few questions --

I have materials from the late 50's - very early 60's. These are my books. I have Nancy Drew 1-34 with all have a fair cover except for three. I have Dana Girls 4, 10, 13. 14. 17, 20, and 21. I have the basic board game for Nancy Drew.

How would I even begin to know their value and how to sell them?

Jennifer White said...

Go to the advanced search page on eBay.com. Do a completed items search for the Nancy Drew board game. The recent selling prices have ranged from $20 up to around $90. Find ones that are in about the same condition as yours and that are the same version, then you will have an approximate value.

For the books, you can do the same thing.