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Longtime Fan's Review

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  • iheartndgames
    Like you I have also been replaying all of my games. I actually have been playing them in order from 1 on up (I am currently on 15 but that is besides the point lol). When I was younger I really enjoyed this game but I found that when I replayed it this time I did not enjoy it as much. There were some parts of the game that I literally could not figure out if it wasn't for the strategy guide that came with the game. I remember when I was a kid using the guide all the time but now that I am an adult I like to try to figure the games out myself....on junior level at that!
    I do enjoy the characters and setting but I do agree that the plot is a bit unbelievable. Great review! Glad to see that we had similar opinions on this game.

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  • lady_knight13
    started a topic Longtime Fan's Review

    Longtime Fan's Review

    Like another reviewer on this forum, I’m a veteran of these games (been playing since TRT, that was my first game and it will always be the best in my mind). I decided to replay the games recently because quarantine boredom and unemployment stress is getting to me. I didn’t start with this one, I actually installed it, set it aside to play ASH (which I’ve never played before), and then came back to this one. Fun story: this game scared me so badly as a kid that I almost threw it out because of that (glad little me didn’t do that, however, as I love it now).

    Plot: The plot is a decent, eerie one: your friend Linda Petrov married a British diplomat, Hugh Penvellyn, and is now living with him and his family in the UK. However, it’s clear something is wrong as she hides behind a curtain now that her husband is away on an assignment and doesn’t allow anyone to see her, nor does she really leave her room. That’s why you’ve been sent over to the UK: to find out what’s ailing Linda! On the way, Nancy discovers there’s more to Blackmoor Manor than a little countryside eccentricity, starting with the age of the place and the secrets its former owners have guarded for centuries.

    I’ll be honest. I liked the subplot with the passages and Penvellyn family history more than I did the Linda story, which I now consider wholly unbelievable. It just seems weird to me, the way Linda’s woes were described and I now doubt that a grown woman would seriously believe what Linda does in the game about herself. But, that’s for another board, I think.

    Characters: Like all ND games, you have a limited cast: Linda lives at the manor, but is a shadow behind a curtain and a very temperamental one at that, which means your conversation options with her are limited; Mrs. Leticia Drake is the aunt of Linda’s husband, the absentee Hugh Penvellyn, and is rather interesting except for her terrible British accent (I did like how she talked to her plants because that’s me talking to myself while studying or working on something xD); Jane Penvellyn is Hugh’s daughter and is about twelve, homeschooled, and quite lonely so she makes you play games whenever you want or need something (that wore on me, even though I usually won after the second or third try); and Nigel Mookerjee is a young academic working away in the library at a book on the Penvellyn family history. Beyond this, there is one other character, that being Jane’s eccentric tutor Ethel Bossiny who makes occasional appearances throughout the game. I wish we could’ve gotten to know Ethel more, as I wasn’t too sure on her role, how it worked, why her family was so close to the Penvellyns, etc. Same thing for Nigel, as I liked him, and he was really only used to answer a few academic questions Nancy had about puzzles in the manor or symbols she found in the passages.

    Setting: The manor is amazing. It’s so big, and everything is opulent, detailed, pretty, but very old, English, and eerie. Makes me want to go back to England!

    Puzzles: There are quite a lot, but I found the hard-medium-easy ratio a pretty good one. The puzzles aren’t hard to figure out as someone who played through this game a ton as a kid (I was fourteen, to be fair, though; I don’t know how a younger kid would cope with this). That being said, there’s a pretty brutal slider that can take a while your first time around and a maze with an extra mechanic that some people could easily get lost in (even I did, as a veteran!). Still, I feel like there was nothing I never couldn’t find my way out of or solve without some fiddling. I even solved one puzzle accidentally, before I had the solution! It could just be because I knew what my goals were, though. But, it could also be that the game helps you out quite a bit on the puzzle front.

    Mini-games: I hate mini-games. I seriously don’t understand why HER thought the solution to making things interesting in their games (and in the later games, that means making them longer, I think) was to pad them out with pointless mini-games. These aren’t as bad as the chores you have in later games, but they grated on me. You can’t get anything you need from Jane without playing one of her games, and there’s a score you have to beat. It’s all random, so sometimes the randomness is on your side and other times Jane wins. I strongly recommend playing through all her games first time around visiting with her because otherwise you’re in for frustration. I wish there had been another way to get the things you need beyond playing games with Jane.

    Scares: Sometimes, the jumpiness in ND games can be distracting from the plot. The scares here aren’t that bad. They all have rational explanations, but they can be quite startling to younger players or those that don’t like scarier things. I think horror games have really numbed me to the scares in the ND franchise, which is good as ND is about mystery and intrigue, not just frightening players. That said, I did like the suspense of this game as the quiet was so well-built up that I often jumped whenever a character met me outside a passageway or I saw something outside Nancy’s room.

    Ending: The culprit is obvious. That doesn’t mean everything about this scenario makes sense, however. You’ll see what I mean when you beat the game. The ending itself was refreshing after constant puzzling and sniffing around through a big, empty house.

    Should I play it? This is a classic. Everyone should play it. However, I do recommend junior detective for beginners on this one, even if you’ve played every ND game but this one. The sheer volume of puzzles can be overwhelming if you don’t have that checklist. Up to you, just my thoughts.

    Total score: 7/10, just because Jane got on my bad side with this playthrough and her constant need to play games. I hated all those games. I also wished there was a way to interact more with Linda and challenge some of her preconceptions a bit, especially as this game takes place over several days.