Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Nancy Drew: The Final Scene

Nancy Drew: The Final Scene

Fall 2002 Software
Ages: 10 - 18 yrs.
Price: $19.99
Platform: Windows 98, 2000, ME, XP
An old historic theater in St. Louis scheduled for the wrecking ball. A radical group of preservationists who want to save it at any cost. Girl detective Nancy Drew's high school friend Maya is kidnapped backstage. The phone rings and the kidnapper tells Nancy that Maya's doomed if the building goes down. All the elements are in place within the first minute of Nancy Drew's latest and most suspense-filled title so far in this top-notch mystery series of games for girls. Fitting the pieces together and solving the puzzle in "three days" to save Maya is the player's challenge.

From the initial movie-like scene, it's clear Her Interactive isn't resting on its laurels from past critically acclaimed Nancy Drew titles. Like in those, players explore several richly rendered and realistically animated environments--this time the old Royal Palladium's hallways, dressing rooms, the projection room, the lobby, the balcony--all in first-person "Nancy Drew" mode. And there's much to examine for clues: dresser drawers, day planners, secret passageways and trap doors, theater blueprints, a book called "Magic Secrets: Volume IV." Questioning suspects is key to unlocking the mystery: Is the kidnapper actor Brady Armstrong? Joseph the caretaker? Actress Simone? Nick at the snack bar?

Graphics are better than ever in this mystery. The background music and sound effects, from doors closing to creaking floors, heighten the drama and suspense. Players can choose to play in junior or senior detective levels--either way, the game play is smart and challenging, but short of throw-in-the-towel frustrating. In short, the only real mystery here is how this Nancy Drew series keeps on getting better and better.

Don Oldenburg   ©2002 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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