Thursday, May 22, 2014

Nancy Drew Game: The Shattered Medallion

In the latest Her Interactive Nancy Drew game, The Shattered Medallion, Nancy and George compete in a reality show in New Zealand.  The reality show is being run by Sonny Joon, a mysterious character whose comics and notes have made appearances in quite a few Nancy Drew games.  Sonny Joon is the cover picture of the game, and this is the first time players have met him.

As with most other recent Nancy Drew games, The Shattered Medallion is not based on any Nancy Drew book.  This game is different from the other games because it is an adventure rather than a mystery.  The game has a very scripted feel to it, although this is logical since the game follows the stages of a reality show.

I enjoyed playing this game just like I have all the others, although the game is not particularly special or outstanding.  Meeting Sonny Joon is pretty neat, however.  In fact, the main point of the game is getting to know Sonny Joon and discovering why he always draws pictures of aliens.  While the game lacks suspense, it flows nicely.  All of the puzzles are meaningful to the story.  Since Nancy is competing as a reality show contestant, she has to complete tasks as part of the competition.

Since the game lacks the mystery and suspense of most of the other games, it falls into the lower half of the games as to how much I enjoyed it.  Three other games that I finished with similar feelings are #8 The Haunted Carousel, #22 Trail of the Twister, and  #26 Tomb of the Lost Queen.

It's hard to gauge how the average person feels about the game.  I have seen both positive and negative reviews.  The people who post on Interactive's message boards are very devoted Her Interactive fans.  Many of them absolutely hate or strongly dislike this game.  They don't like the direction that the games have taken and don't like how Nancy is portrayed.  This is very interesting to me.

Nancy Drew book collectors and fans fall into two groups: those who like only the original 56 books and those who like the later books as well as the original 56.  The fans who like only the original 56 books usually greatly dislike all of the later books.

Now the same is happening with fans of the Nancy Drew games.  Some people who played the early Nancy Drew games are unhappy that the new games are not exactly like those games.  They played the "original" Nancy Drew games and don't like the newer Nancy Drew games nearly as much. 

I see this as evidence of Her Interactive's success.  The company has now been around long enough and released enough games that they have longtime fans who recall the early games with fondness, just like longtime Nancy Drew readers do with the books.

Look at this impressive list of games going back to 1998.

 1.  Secrets Can Kill, 1998
 2.  Stay Tuned for Danger, 1999
 3.  Message in a Haunted Mansion, 2000
 4.  Treasure in the Royal Tower, 2001
 5.  The Final Scene, 2001
 6.  Secret of the Scarlet Hand, 2002
 7.  Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, 2002
 8.  The Haunted Carousel, 2003
 9.  Danger on Deception Island, 2003
10.  The Secret of Shadow Ranch, 2004
11.  Curse of Blackmoor Manor, 2004
12.  Secret of the Old Clock, 2005
13.  Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon, 2005
14.  Danger By Design, 2006
15.  The Creature of Kapu Cave, 2006
16.  The White Wolf of Icicle Creek, 2007
17.  Legend of the Crystal Skull, 2007
18.  The Phantom of Venice, 2008
19.  The Haunting of Castle Malloy, 2008
20.  Ransom of the Seven Ships, 2009
21.  Warnings at Waverly Academy, 2009
22.  Trail of the Twister, 2010
23.  Shadow at the Water's Edge,  2010
24.  The Captive Curse, 2011
25.  Alibi in Ashes, 2011
26.  Tomb of the Lost Queen,  2012
27.  The Deadly Device, 2012
28.  Ghost of Thornton Hall, 2013
29.  The Silent Spy, 2013
30.  The Shattered Medallion, 2014

I have been purchasing the games since December 2000, when I purchased the first three games in an order from Amazon.  I was hooked as soon as I began playing the very first game.  I have bought every game from #4 through #30 as soon as it was released.

I am a Nancy Drew game fan who sees The Shattered Medallion as not that much different than any of the others, with the exception of it being an adventure instead of a mystery.  I continue to greatly anticipate playing the Nancy Drew games twice a year, and I continue to enjoy them.  I do enjoy some games more than others, but I still like all of them.  I look forward to the next game as soon as I finish one.

I have mentioned before that I consider Her Interactive to be the strongest licensee of Nancy Drew.  In recent years, Her Interactive has done more than anyone else in keeping Nancy Drew relevant and interesting to today's young people.  I hope that Her Interactive continues creating new Nancy Drew games for many years to come.

1 comment:

Jenn Fisher said...

Haven't played it, not a particular fan of early vs. later--I think they've all been interesting so I don't consider myself biased when making this comment--just a student of ND history/licensing/merchandising/branding. However, this is where you get in to an area of -- who is Nancy Drew? Is she an adventurer or a detective? I say she's both-because her mysteries were always adventures, however, we read or play the games because we love Nancy Drew mysteries and that's the #1 thing that Nancy Drew has always been about - mystery. For example, romance was always a back seat to that for the most part--mystery was Nancy's #1 love. So to hear that they didn't even do a mystery for this game is a little nuts to me--has me scratching my head in puzzlement. Reminds me of On Campus--not much of a mystery there in each book or a very bland one indeed. That series/new direction didn't fare to well. I hope that they go back to the mystery format--you can have adventure but mystery is the thing that you kind of expect with Nancy Drew. They will be at our upcoming Nancy Drew convention, so I'll have to chat with them on why the change in format and if this is a continuing trend or if they'll go back to having mysteries to solve in the games. I know they've moved on from focusing solely on the books and stories from the books in coming up with game ideas and are creating new content for them. I don't follow the message boards at HI, I just don't have time to keep up with the gaming world with so many other things I do for the NDS group, so I was unaware of the criticism. Interesting to know.