Better Known as That Game Where Nancy Goes to Jail: Nancy Drew- Alibi in Ashes


So, I’m reviewing my first Nancy Drew game (yay!)

This is actually like the twenty something game I’ve played.  I played these games pretty religiously until I started law school and then I just recently started playing again on nights and weekends.  One nice thing about playing after such a long break is that there are multiple new titles to play-than dealing with the two title release a year that one usually gets.

Honestly, though I wasn’t that impressed with this game as I am about some of the others, but it wasn’t the absolute worst game (that title still belongs to Secret of the Old Clock (though I’ve been hearing rumblings in the ND community that Shattered Medallion might top it in foulness)-I have never bothered replaying that one.  Not that I have a compute it would work on now anyway).

The thing I like the best about Nancy Drew games are the characters.  Her Interactive usually does a fairly good job developing their characters and the voice talent is fairly decent (though at times a little corny-Her, BTW I think you made a major mistake dumping Lani Minella she IS Nancy).  The characters in this game for the most part were fairly one dimensional.  You had your mean girl with a grudge (Deirdre).  Your noisy evil reporter (Brenda).  An innocent man who may or may not have been wrongfully convicted (Alexi).  And finally a Sarah Palin lookalike who can’t see Russia from her ice cream shop (Toni).  Plus, Nancy’s friends-Bess, George, and her loser boyfriend Ned (seriously, dump him for Frank Hardy already).  Apart from one of these characters I felt like the cast was poorly developed.  The backstory of the villain was very weak.  While there was a motive there I was raising my eyebrows a lot.

I also hated the switching.  There was really no need to switch between so many characters, except for maybe one or two different times-you had to be certain people to talk with certain characters.  Switching was a pain in the ass too.  You couldn’t just have Bess call Ned and switch to Ned.  You had to have Bess call Nancy.  Switch to Nancy than switch to Ned.  That got annoying fast.

And honestly, I don’t know why we didn’t see Ned if we get to see  Bess and George.  It personally annoys me how you never get to see Nancy too, but I at least sort of understand that (that her hair in silhouette of hers that you see in the game was hideous, BTW)

I also hated the driving animation.  Then again, that’s something that has always annoyed me.  I just like clicking on the location I want to go to and just getting there.

The plot of the game was okay, if a little weak. As a lawyer, I kept wanting to tell Nancy to shut up.  And have Carson get the case dismissed based on the basically non-existent evidence on her. Or at least get her bail.

But hey, he had better things to do in Australia.

To be fair though, it is a Nancy Drew game.

As far as puzzles go, I didn’t have to use that many cheats for this one.  Just one stupid maze at the end of the game I needed help on and a couple of times I had to look up how to initiate certain events.  Getting some things to happen in this game was a bit of a bitch.  I ended up beating it maybe a total of ten hours of game play.  Not bad, since it usually takes me a lot longer to finish one of these games.  But in a way, it felt ridiculously short.

And babyish for a Nancy Drew game.  Because honestly, it seemed for awhile there that Nancy Drew games were getting ridiculously hard (see Shadow at the Water’s Edge).  Personally, I like my games about in the middle of the ground-a few tough puzzles that actually make sense in the game, but at the same time I don’t want the game to basically lay out for me what to do.

I didn’t absolutely hate this game though.  I commend the company for trying to do something different, focusing on more personal aspects of Nancy’s life.  But something about this game was just off.  If you start playing these games this might be a good introduction, it is Nancy Drew lite, but it is not the pinnacle of Nancy Drew games.

Overall Rating: C



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