Danger on Deception Island

Welcome to my twelfth review… Danger on Deception Island! The game came out in 2003 it was the ninth game in the series. I have a laptop with windows 8 on it, and this game uploaded perfectly. In case anyone was wondering if the older games will upload to laptops/computers with Windows 7 or 8 as their operating systems. There are clear cut directions on how to do so on this website.
I hope you enjoy my review, and as always, please feel free to comment! :)

Nancy is invited by Katie Firestone, a friend of George, to the great state of Washington; specifically Deception Island which is surrounded by Snake Horse Harbor. Katie’s boat was vandalized around the same time an orphaned orca showed up in the harbor. Everyone has a different opinion on what should be done with the whale, and not everyone agrees with Katie. Who would intentionally damage Katie’s boat, and why? You as Nancy Drew must hunt down the vandal while unraveling the islands hidden secrets!

The plot was very captivating and as an added bonus, there is a subplot. It reminds me of SHA in that you’re there to investigate something but stumble upon another mystery all together! I personally really appreciate those kinds of stories as it definitely adds to the game. It wasn’t complicated at all, and meshed well with the first task at hand.


Katie Firestone: A marine biologist and friend of George, Katie owns a whale-watching tour that takes tourist up close to the orca as permitted. Through her research, she believes the whale is sick & should go to an aquarium for further investigation.
The entire game Katie is trying to fix her boat that was vandalized, and other than speaking with her in the beginning and at a small point at the end, we really don’t ever talk to her. I thought this was a little strange seeing as though you’re there to help her, and yet everyone else helps you move through the mystery other than her. As a result, I don’t have a whole lot to say about her.

Holt Scotto: A local fisherman that has lived in Snake Horse Harbor for 11 years and is now running for Harbormaster. He believes they should get rid of the orca since it's eating all the fish and making his job impossible.
Extremely headstrong, Holt is a force to be reckoned with! He turns out to be very helpful throughout the mystery but abides his serious manner to a fault. I’d guess Holt to be around 65 years old, definitely has that gruff way about him but at times can be friendly. Always found at the Hot Kettle Café, he’s definitely more helpful than Katie but sometimes has nothing to say. Interaction with him is medium.

Andy Jason: Owner of Whale World which is in direct competition with Katie’s whale-watching tours. He has inquired to Katie many times to hire her & buy her boat so he can own a larger tour group but every time, she has refused him. He doesn’t think anyone should decide what to do with the orca since according to him, us human beings don’t even know how to help ourselves let alone another species. Although you don’t meet Andy until roughly the middle of the game he becomes very intricate to the plot. To advance, you must learn quite a bit about whales by studying his interactive whale displays & help put together a puzzle of the rumored harbor sea-monster Caddy! Andy is extremely helpful in getting you through the mystery & is very friendly when it comes to answering questions. Interaction with him is a little more excessive than Holt.

Jenna Deblin: Owns & runs the Hot Kettle Café, a local coffee shop in town. Jenna & her family have lived in Snake Horse Harbor all their lives and she believes the orca should be returned to its pod immediately and very strongly disagrees with Katie.
Jenna, like Holt and Jason, is very helpful in moving the game along. Of course, like with every character if you needed a favor, first you have to do something for them. I think we’ve all gotten used to this, as it’s a staple in every Nancy Drew game. Other than being helpful, her personality wasn’t what I expected. Everyone was pretty low-key & mundane.

Characters Overall:
I expected at least ONE character to be spunky, exciting or even energetic. Maybe it was the weather, but everyone was pretty subdued. It would’ve been nice, if one of them would’ve had a memorable trait that stood out to me but their personalities fell short. I recognized a voice from CUR- I love when that happens! Other characters include phone friends that are quite helpful when you’re really stuck. They are, Bess, George, Frank & Joe Hardy. There are two people you have to call concerning the subplot & Hilda, who used to live in Snake Horse Harbor. Hilda could’ve been the 4th character as she sends you all over the island trying to figure out its hidden secrets! Unfortunately you never get to see her, and she just ends up being a phone friend. I really enjoyed speaking with Hilda and had hoped at the end we could meet, but oh well-it adds to the mystery I suppose…

The Setting was Snake Horse Harbor on Deception Island in Washington, USA. I believe it was described as being one of the San Juan Islands. Of course the weathers atmosphere the entire game is foggy especially when you’re out in the kayak, and when you’re exploring the lighthouse. Katie's boat is big, and you could look around a lot of it which was nice. You can bike to the Hot Kettle Café, where inside you will find a quaint little spot to kick up your feet & have a bowl of Jenna’s famous clam chowder. Or, for you educational types, stop by Whale World where you can discover & learn about many kinds of whales, and what they sound like. There’s also a gift shop to peruse, and games to play.
I played DOG, CAR, and then DDI, right in a row & you can definitely tell an improvement in the graphics! Although a con would be that the water was very stagnant. The characters were much more flexible and details to certain aspects were greatly developed.

Game Play/Puzzles:
If you sit down & try to play this game outright it’ll probably take you a good chunk of time. Just because there’s so much ‘running around’ you have to do, it’s definitely time consuming. Especially when you have to go digging for clams, there’s a lot of ground to cover, and you have to visit these places over and over. It’s not too terrible but don’t get frustrated if it takes you more than a few hours.
The puzzles weren’t bad in my opinion, and I’m not a fan of really hard puzzles like in HAU & SAW. There were a lot of times where I went to the message boards & asked a question, then figured it out. Also, at the end I was a little confused but if you step back & think about it, you’ll get it. At the end there was a lot (on my part anyway) trial & error for the last good chunk of the mystery. I had to try several different ways to try & not get caught but I eventually got it, without help of a spoiler! One of my favorite puzzles was at Whale World. It felt as though I was really at a museum learning about different types of whales, it was very informative and fun!

Scare Factor:
If you’re looking for a scare, this isn’t the game for you! There isn’t anything remotely scary during the entire game play. I thought for sure once I was exploring a certain place something would happen, but unfortunately I was wrong. The only thing possibly ‘scary’ is the note that was left on Katie’s boat, and even then it’s not as if you think the person is still on the boat. There wasn’t even a single time it felt creepy!

So when I was playing this game I noticed something I’ve never notice before… I’m not sure if it’s just me or if this happens in every game? Every time I figured out a puzzle or advanced the game the music would be like, congratulatory. With horns & a tune that practically sang “you did it!!” Again, not sure if this happens during every game, but I just noticed it now, haha. Other than that I felt like the music was almost Irish-y. Not sure why, because we’re in Washington, but I could’ve sworn I heard something like bag pipes and a lot of drumming. Not to say it was bad, just not what I would’ve thought I’d hear.

I actually REALLY liked the ending. It didn’t just take a second to be over. You have to continue to figure stuff out, and I like that.
I love that the Orca was part of it; that was the cherry on top.
I also really liked that you knew when it was the ending, like you figured everything else out, and you’re so close to the end. It wasn’t that fast paced until the very, very end but leading up to that was still fun because you knew it was the ending but didn’t know what came next.

I’m trying to think if I’d play this game again, and I’d say probably maybe. I mean, it’s definitely a game to play at the very least once. If I had nothing to do & a lot of time off I’d give it another crack & see if I could beat it faster. I loved that the game had a lot of different, interesting things you had to figure out. It’s one of the early games, so I love the old interface & the old-time feel of it. I visited Deception Island, and I loved it!