"Do act mysterious. It always keeps them coming back for more." - Carolyn Keene
I remember reading Nancy Drew books starting with age 10, alongside classical juvenile mystery series like The Hardy Boys which will later encourage me to read The Knickerbocker Gang by Thomas Brezina, and eventually actual mystery classics like Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Gaston Leroux, Maurice Leblanc and countless others. But Nancy Drew will always hold a special place for me as the one cheesy, meticulous, smart alec; the lady sleuth who introduced me to the world of detective fictions as a childhood memory that I'm very fond of.
For the unfamiliar, Nancy Drew is a girl sleuth of age 18 who likes to poke her nose in mysteries all around. Here in this particular adventure, she is called in to solve a murder that occurred in a high school. A local detective contacted her to offer an undercover position as a student to gather information within the high school and solve the murder if possible. Already experienced in mysteries of the world, Nancy accepts. She is to snoop around the local high school, interrogate other students and collect clues to shed some light into the brutal affair.
Secrets Can Kill is the first instalment of Nancy Drew game series developed by Her Interactive in 1998, which is remastered in 2010. Here, we have the remastered version of the original with its ups and downs. The graphics are definitely better - with a heavy uplift on character animation especially - and countless references to other games scattered around. Voice acting in these series has never been great, but considering this is actually the first in the series one should expect the cheesiest possible. My main complaint is that an already short yet enjoyable game has been cut shorter with some dialogues omitted and puzzles skipped as a tradition of "remastering" old games here too. Still, this wasn't enough to crumble the game down. In its essence, as any and all Nancy Drew games, this one is fun.
This is an old school adventuring game which sincerely doesn't hold hands with the player even with the easier mode. There are clues and references scattered all around, and if you plan to actually solve this thing yourself, - without a walkthrough - you'd better keep a pen and some paper around to do old school detective work yourself. You'll need your notes to solve puzzles and get a meaning out of scattered riddles. None of the puzzles or clues are actually hard, but it takes attention and some memory. On that manner, this game is an enjoyable brain scratcher.
Sadly, 2nd to 6th in the game series have never been remastered, and are quite old to be digitalized, thus they cannot be found in the Steam Store. If you are curious about these earlier games, your best chance of acquiring them seems like being lucky enough to stumble on a retail copy. I'll go fetch myself a decent youtube playthrough to watch them as a worst case scenario, 'cause this underappreciated, charming adventure series do deserve your time. Nothing magnificent or majestic - even a bit lame on the Scooby Doo caliber - but Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill is an enjoyable pass time for an evening for the mystery lovers who'd appreciate some basic old school challenge.
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This is an old school Myst style sort of game, the kind where you click to the right to turn right. This game is for veteran mystery gamers as some of the puzzles while not daunting can be a bit tricky up to the last puzzle which has 19 steps. This game is best played with a pen and paper just like a real detective. The game itself is short but solving the puzzles doing them yourself will take ALOT of time. There are many fun details in the world, from a jukebox that plays songs to a video game in the diner called Barnacle Blaster that is like Breakout only with barnacles. This game can be short if online walkthroughs are used, or long if you want to gumshoe it yourself which is alot of fun.
Tips: You get a cellphone that you can use to take pictures of anything in the game, see a clue but unsure if its useful, just take a picture so you can take the clue with you! If you get stuck open up your cell phone and call Ned Nickerson for help.
I'm a huge fan of the Nancy Drew games and I've been playing them since I was 6, so getting a remastered version of Secrets Can Kill was beyond wonderful. I remember needing to switch between to CDs because only half of the locations fit on one disc. It was such a pain, but it was the very first Nancy Drew, and it was fantastic. Without the lag time of needing to switch discs every two seconds, the game is easier and faster to complete. It certainly helps that the graphics got a much needed face-lift. The game is the same as it was, just better looking.
Yes, it's a pretty short game. Yes, it's pretty easy. Yes, it's the first of the series. Yes, they get more difficult further along the line. Yes, they're kind of cheesy and a little dorky. But, that's what makes these games so much fun. Here's a helpful tip I learned along the way: take notes and/or screen shots. They're immensely helpful with some of the puzzles.
I played these games a lot growing up - Her Interactive was making the only "girl" games that weren't about dress up or associated with rainbows or ponies in some way. I bought this game for the nostalgia really, and I wasn't disappointed. A lot has changed since the 2-D characters meet 3-D background style of the original Secrets Can Kill, but this game is riddled with tons of coded messages, easter eggs, and the like. I've grown out of the series, but it was nice for the little 'throwback."
PROS: -Great (and very well executed) story. -Beautiful graphics, at least for the bakcgrounds.
CONS: -VERY short, I finished it in a go of about 4 or 5 hours I believe. -Sometimes it felt too simple - Not a whole lot of replay value.
All in all, I'd probably recommend this game only to young girls and those who grew up with or enjoyed the franchise.
Her Interactive's Nancy Drew games have been great for me. With a mixture of puzzles, academic skills (ex. Morse Code, Shorthand) and adventure, these point and click mystery games are increadibly engaging to play with a small group of people, or perhaps just yourself.
I've been slowly purchasing all of HI's Nancy Drew games and playing each of them with my younger sisters, and with each game having it's own enviromental setting, puzzles, skills, easter eggs, game mechanics, jokes and characters, it has been a very enjoyable series that I will continue to endulge in.
It is worth noting that, in my opinion, the series has gotten stronger as Her Interactive have continued to get better. If you plan to only get a single game in the series for now, try starting with a later game. The puzzles in Secrets Can Kill are not as refined as those in the other games in the series I've played, but it isn't to say I didn't enjoy the game.
Probably only worth getting if you're nostalgic for the old Nancy Drew games, or you want to experience it again. It's really lacking compared to the more recent games, so if you were only going to get one game, I wouldn't choose this one.
That said, I love the Nancy Drew series, and it was pretty cool to see the origin of the series and how far it has come!
Compared to the original, this totally blew my socks off! Even though there are few things that are very similar to the original, the fact they made small tweeks to the game really made a difference. Not to mention the colors are a lot more vibrant compared with the first Secrets Can Kill. This is truly a game to replay especially if you're a Nancy Drew fan. Happy sleuthing!
Well... The game itself I kinda liked (meh, definately a weaker game). Hardly any puzzles, not much to snoop in.....However I can not empahsize how SHORT it is. Usually these games take me 7-10 hours WITHOUT hints or a walkthrough so I can play here and there through a week or so. This game took me barely over 3 hours!!! The entire game was centralized around one main idea that kept giving you "direction"... I could not believe how fast it went even on Senior level. When it got to the end I was thinking, "you are kidding me right?? It cannot be over this fast!? I haven't even done much of anything!?" Really glad I got it for a discounted price for the amount of game play I got from it. Overall I give the game idea/itself a 6/10. The length of it definately a 3/10.
Of course though if you are one of those people (like me) who just has to play ALL of them, then do what you have to. If you are more of a first timer or are just going to play a few, do not pick this one.
If you enjoy the Nancy Drew series, then don't hesitate to pick up Secrets Can Kill: Remastered. The size and scope of the game maintain an old-school Nancy Drew feel -- transporting me back to the days when I could beat one of the games in a weekend easily. However, unlike the older games (such as Ghost Dogs and Royal Tower) Secrets Can Kill has all the advancements in gameplay design that make the newer games so much more enjoyable to navigate. Namely, the side-screen scroll feature.
The game is small, but packed with fun references to other games and the books, and well worth spending a couple of hours on. The only thing I didn't like much was the fact that it focuses on one long, invovled puzzle througout the game, rather than the multitude of smaller puzzles common in newer Nancy Drews. Still, that did help with the old-school feel of things.