Nancy Drew: Legend of the Crystal Skull – PC – Review

Wow, it doesn’t seem that long ago when Her Interactive released the first
Nancy Drew game. My children were young teens then, and I was excited about a
children’s game featuring a strong female character. Since then, there have
been many more Nancy Drew games, and now we’re on number 17! With a series
this large, it’s a given the games have run the gamut from wonderful to
mediocre. The last couple of years seem to have had more of their share of
below average editions, but I’m happy to say that the latest, Legend of the
Crystal Skull, is a very good game and compares well to the better games in
the series.

Nancy and her friend, Bess, are on vacation in New Orleans. Another friend of
Nancy’s, Ned, has requested Nancy to drop in on a former classmate of his,
Henry Bolet. Henry’s guardian has died recently,
and Henry is the executor of the estate. As a favor to Ned, Nancy visits
Henry, but when she enters the house she is attacked by a mysterious person
dressed as a skeleton. The attacker throws some sort of drug on Nancy and she
loses consciousness. When she regains consciousness, she decides to stay and
try to discover who attacked her and why.


As in all Nancy Drew games, this is a third-person point-‘n-click adventure.
Players will engage in conversations with the characters, collect inventory
items and solve puzzles. Unlike many recent Nancy Drew games, there aren’t any
chores. There also aren’t as many mini-games. There is more straightforward
sleuthing and lots of tricky puzzles. One new feature is the ability to play
as Bess, who explores the city of New Orleans, while Nancy stays at the
Bolet’s. This adds more dimension to the game.

Most of the puzzles involve manipulating things in some sort of logical
pattern. Some are pure logic puzzles that just require thinking, and some are
ones that will require further clues in order to solve. There are also a few
puzzles that involve using inventory items to solve.


The story and the well-integrated puzzles are the best part of this game, and
the exploration is a lot of fun. Walking around the cemetery is especially
interesting. The puzzles are intriguing and challenging, and will keep players
engaged.  While most of the puzzles are well-integrated and enjoyable, one
toward the end of the game becomes fatiguing, as the player has to keep
running back and forth between scenes to accomplish the task at hand. Other
than that, though, the puzzles are great.

The atmosphere is scary and intense, and is best played in the dark for the
full effect. Teens will really enjoy this! However, the music doesn’t really
add much to the spooky effect. The jazzy sound must be inspired by New
Orleans, but the music would have been better with a more dramatic theme.

While this is
a good adventure, it could have been even better if there had been more
replayable mini-games and even a few chores
included. I know that many adults have decried these features, but these games
aren’t for adults. The kids like the replayable
mini-games and also the chores, as long as they aren’t too difficult or too
many. Blackmoor Manor had all these features, and
was one of the best Nancy Drew games in the series. One possible drawback is
the hoodoo (voodoo) aspect to some of the puzzles. One of the characters
practices hoodoo. This may offend some people.

Still, this game is heads above the last two entries,
Cave and White Wolf, and is a solid choice for families with kids
ages 10-16.

Review Scoring Details

for Nancy Drew:

Legend of the Crystal Skull

Gameplay: 8.0


game is quite fun to play. The story is interesting and fairly long, and the
puzzles are engaging. Young sleuths will keep playing to the end to find out
the culprit.

Graphics: 8.0


always, the graphics are very good.

Sound: 7.0


music is alright, but a different type of more dramatic music would have fit
the game better.

Difficulty: Medium


game overall isn’t too difficult.  Most of the difficulty is due to a lack of
direction on what to do next. The puzzles are fairly challenging, but readily
solvable with effort.

Concept: 7.0


a series this long, there isn’t anything new to add, but the presentation is
very good.

Overall: 8.0
of the Crystal Skull is quite fun and is definitely one of the better games in
this series. As always, these games lend themselves readily to cooperative
play, and groups of friends and siblings will get
much benefit from playing together. Thanks, Her Interactive, for another great