Saturday, October 26, 2013

Nancy Drew Game: The Silent Spy

Note:  This review does not spoil the culprit or ending of The Silent Spy.  Nancy's phone conversations from the early part of the game are mentioned because some Nancy Drew collectors have been critical of the game.

Months ago when Her Interactive released the preview of The Silent Spy, many Nancy Drew collectors became upset, since the preview appeared to put the death of Nancy's mother in doubt.  Furthermore, Nancy's mother was given a name:  Kate.

Some collectors felt that Her Interactive went too far, especially because they were concerned that Nancy's mother would turn up alive.  I did not believe that Nancy's mother was coming back to life, so I considered it of little importance.  It turns out that the player is quite aware from the very beginning of the game that Nancy's mother is not alive.  The early promo was misinterpreted.

Collectors were upset that Her Interactive gave Nancy's mother a name, since her name has never been mentioned in the books.  In order to build a game around the death of Nancy's mother, she needed a name.  Kate is a nice name, short and to the point.

Other fans became upset after learning that the game shows flashback scenes of Carson and Kate arguing, since Nancy's parents would never argue.  Let's be realistic:  Married couples argue. 

It helps to put the scene into context.  In the flashback, Kate is a spy, and she plans to go back to Scotland to help bring down a terrorist group.  Carson doesn't want her to go because he believes that she will run a high risk of being killed.  Why wouldn't he raise his voice?  He was correct to be concerned.

During the game play, Carson argues with Nancy, because he doesn't want her in Scotland.  The argument is more than anything we see in the Nancy Drew books, but Carson fears for Nancy's life.  Why wouldn't he be upset?

Nancy has Ned break into her house and steal something that belonged to her mother.  Carson catches Ned and is furious with both Ned and Nancy.  This is understandable.  I also found the resulting confrontation quite funny, to be honest.

The Nancy Drew games are not classic Nancy Drew.  They are modern computer games, designed for current young people.  They are quite true to classic Nancy Drew in overall feel and spirit.  The games have always taken liberty with some details.

In fact, the games became more interesting once they strayed from the books.  All of the early games are strictly based on Nancy Drew books, so anyone who has read the corresponding book knows who the culprit is from the beginning.  Since the newer games use original stories, the player never knows for sure who the culprit will be until the final reveal.

We should also not forget that the first two Nancy Drew games were based on Nancy Drew Files books, Secrets Can Kill and Stay Tuned for Danger.  The games were never purely classic Nancy Drew.

When one is a fan of a fictional character, one has to remember that the character will modernize and change as new releases occur.  If any change is unacceptable, then avoid the new product.

While nothing I heard about the game upset or offended me, I admit that I was wary.  I wasn't sure how well the story with Kate Drew would come across and whether I wanted that type of story in a Nancy Drew game.

After my initial discomfort, which only lasted for the first few minutes of the game, I was fully engrossed in the game and found the storyline to be quite interesting.  The flashback scenes with Kate are touching.  Nancy has a personal interest in taking out the terrorist group, which makes this game the most compelling of all the Nancy Drew games.

This game is scarier than the average Nancy Drew game.  The villain is sinister.  The threats against Nancy are scary.

The Nancy Drew games are many times more interesting than anything that has come out of Simon and Schuster in the Nancy Drew line during the past 10 years.  Sadly, the current and recent Nancy Drew books are, for the most part, not very well-written and not very interesting.  I haven't even purchased the most recent Nancy Drew Diaries book.  I most likely will purchase the book within the next week, but I am not eagerly anticipating reading it.  I am not sure that I care.

On the other hand, I look forward to each new Nancy Drew game.  I devour each game as soon as I receive it and then must wait months for the next game.  The two best Nancy Drew releases during each calendar year are the two Her Interactive Nancy Drew games.  The books... meh.

Of the first 28 Nancy Drew games, Shadow at the Water's Edge is my favorite, mainly because of the great storyline and extended dialogue with the different characters.  The Silent Spy is the 29th Nancy Drew game and is easily as good as Shadow at the Water's Edge, if not better.  The Silent Spy is one of the very best Nancy Drew games.  I highly recommend it.

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