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  • My (Spoiler Free) RAN Review

    Ransom of the Seven Ships
    A Spoiler Free Review By
    Tigeress_10

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    Plot

    Yet another case of an amazing premise and a very bad execution. Bess is missing, but no one minds that much. George can't seem to fix a phone and Nancy doesn't attempt to fix an engine and borrow a boat (I sincerely doubt the boat owner would have let her do that, but she doesn't even ask!). Bess is missing and the kidnappers are sending threatening letters, but the reaction is more along the lines of 'yeah, no problem' than 'My best friend since I was young has been kidnapped by a lunatic I'm not gonna find your stupid treasure, GIVE HER BACK' or something more...y'know. Reasonable.

    Also, Nancy hardly looks for Bess. A huge forest behind the beach she disappeared, and you can't explore it--or even walk along the length of the beach. 'Search for Bess' is crossed off in your task list merely after going to each location.

    When Maya was missing in FIN, that was great. Nancy calls the police, panics, comes close to verbally assaulting everyone she meets about her whereabouts, and combs the entire theater. Bess is a much, much, better friend, the island may not about to be demolished like the theater in FIN was but it's so remote that no one from the outside will ever find her, but still, no one cares.

    The treasure seeking itself too isn't fun. You want a great treasure seeking game? Try SHA. SHA has clues that you follow and puzzles you solve, and this creates an amazing tension of mystery and suspense, working out each new clue, finding the next one, etc. TRT gives you more information as you go along. RAN gives you a book with vague instructions to most of the puzzles you will encounter. It's fully decoded about halfway through the game, but there's no point in reading it, as you will keep going back to it in later points and won't understand it if you just read it then. Constantly checking the vague book is very annoying and doesn't help the plot at all.

    So, while the premise was, again, amazing, the fact that Bess was missing on a tiny, deserted island with no outside contact didn't seem to bother anyone and no one really did anything about it. And I hardly cared about El Toro's treasure, or him and his crew. So it gets a 6/10


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    Characters

    George never talks. Every so often you have about a sentence to say to her, there will be a short conversation and that's it. Mainly it'll consist of her asking you things and you choosing whether you'll respond yes or no (e.g, 'You think that book'll help you find the treasure?' 'You trust that guy?') and that's not very interesting conversation.
    CouCou is adorable but again, never just chats. Nowhere near as entertaining as her grandmother. But so cute. But I wish she'd have talked a little more.
    The hobo, Johnny Rolle? You mainly ask for things from him, and he'll give you stuff. In return for a mindless, stupidly annoying favor. His Jamaican accent's really bad. The development in back story that comes about halfway through is interesting, and it gets much better. But you could easily forget he's there. And considering he's the only suspect, Nancy trusts him far too much.

    Every character in this game, save Bess (only due to the plot involvement; she doesn't offer much either) could be removed, and all the things they give you found just lying around or whatever, and it wouldn't make a difference in enjoyment value (it might make it better not to have to do so many annoying tasks though). That, to me, is the mark of bad character interaction. Not bad characters, great characters—but bad interaction with them. A 6/10.

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    Setting

    It's nice to be in the Bahamas. The hotel is so pretty. I wish we could see the bedrooms and go to sleep. I never thought I wasn't in the Bahamas. Great graphics (except some of the water). Beautiful beaches. The monkeys looked amazing. Just what I imagine a deserted Bahamian island to be like. 8/10.


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    Methods of Transportation

    Please, please stop with the third person! I didn't mind it so much in HAU but in RAN, over half the game is sailing and trying to cope with the wind, or driving and getting hopelessly lost (you do that in sailing too, actually), or diving but never getting to see what must have been an amazing shipwreck, you know why? Cause it's all in third person! What happened to just clicking on destinations in a map? Heck, what happened to walking?! You literally never walk more than 3 clicks in this game. It's so so so annoying. If the game had virtually no third person, it would be so much better and so much less annoying. 3/10


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    Puzzles

    Probably the game's best point. Great puzzles. I love all of them. Annoying part: You have to use Coucou to get hints, and this requires winning fruit off of the monkeys first to give her. Sometimes this can be really difficult. The book that gives you intructions on the puzzles is annoyingly cryptic at times, and a couple will take like 40 tries, but I still love them. 9/10

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    Gameplay

    Ugh. Between driving around semi-hopelessly, and fulfilling boring tasks, the lack of mystery or suspense surrounding this game means that gameplay is just...boring. So many times I though 'woo, diving!' 'woo, rock climbing!' 'woo, treasure hunting!' only to realize that either a) it was in third person or b) it was messily planned and executed and I didn't care all that much.

    But, like CRE, there is a certain fun in just chilling on the island, and in this case, playing with the monkeys. Add a snow cone/shave ice stand and I would've had so much fun just ignoring the plot, like I did with CRE.

    But HER tries hard with threats and life attempts. Well, just one, and actually it was probably Nancy's fault. The game didn't make that too clear. Switching to George when you're supposed to can be fun, but then you just go do things Nancy's already done (win something from the monkeys, climb rock) and that gets tedious. Tedious really sums up the play. And yet, it does have its moments. Once you memorize the map, driving and sailing isn't that hard, and the game is still fun. Much funner after replaying and knowing what to do. 7/10.


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    Music
    Great, as per usual. There is one beautiful theme—the underwater one. The normal island ones,while good music, are far too happy! Bess is kidnapped! In FIN the music was really creepy and intense and suspenseful, not cheery. This, and the fact that it was always beautiful and sunny, made the game feel less like trouble in Paradise and more just...Paradise. 7/10


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    Length


    Pretty good. Lots of puzzles to keep you entertained. Not a lot of plot development to keep you entertained. That makes the game seem much shorter, but still...good. Around 2 days on Senior with no spoilers. 7/10

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    Ending

    The ending begins with a twist that made me squeal with glee. Wonderful move, HER! The ending puzzle is fairly annoying but fine. The culprit has a fantastic explanation scene, like one of the best of all the games, but a little too cheesy. And the scene at the very end is very interesting and has a great cliffhanger. One of my favorites, but I wish parts of it was more interesting and not such a repeat of previous games...and I wish parts were more like a repeat of previous games. It's hard to talk about it without spoiling anything, so go see for yourself! It'll get a 8/10


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    So, I really sound like I hate this game and I gave it a lot of low ratings. That's not so true, I enjoyed RAN a lot. I'd give it a 8/10. Is it a step down after HAU? In almost everything, yes, but for some reason it's still a little more enjoyable. I don't know why. Maybe it's the setting and the way its conveyed, or the different activities. Maybe I just like the premise and the ending so much I'm happy. Or maybe it's just blatantly obvious that with a few major adjustments like everyone caring about Bess, another character or two, the treasure hunt being more like SHA's, no third person, more character interaction, and a few little ones like El Toro's voice reading his diary, CouCou saying some things her grandmother said, and a little more 'clicks' on the island, this could've been my favourite game of all. It's sort of weird knowing that. I feel bad that it isn't.

    I can't recommend it as a lot of people hated it, like the overwhelming majority, and it's likely you will too. Think of it as CRE with a better plot and not as good characters. But I'm very glad I bought it, I do really like it, and if you've played all the games, you should get this one. But if you hated VEN or HAU, I'd approach with caution.

    Thanks for reading!
    swirle credit to
    californiagirl

    Last edited by Tigeress_10; September 13, 2009, 02:22 AM.
    Tigeress_10
    My 5* Reviews

    SCK STFD MHM TRT FIN SSH DOG
    CAR DDI SHA CUR CLK TRN
    DAN CRE ICE CRY VEN
    HAU RAN
    WAC


    All cased closed


  • #2
    Awesome, perfect review. You had so many good points that seemed to escape a lot of us. Number 1: there was no panic that Bess was kidnapped....none from Nancy and none from George, her 2best friends in the world. Didn't make sense at all. Aside from that and a few other silly things for example... Number 2:did George ever fix that phone and did she ever have anything useful and concrete to say???! I feel the same way about this game. Puzzles galore, overboard on the 3rd person transportation, not enough mystery, snooping and Nancy personally detecting and no (and this is my opinion) gratifying climax. No excitement...it just ended. I am probably in the minority who did not like the ending but I found it flat. But with its flaws, I enjoyed just having a ND game to play. Thanks so much for your review. It was great! Reps!

    Some of my favorites:

    Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake
    Danger on Deception Island
    Secret of Shadow Ranch
    Curse of Blackmoor Manor
    Treasure in the Royal Tower
    Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon
    The White Wolf of Icicle Creek
    Legend of the Crystal Skull
    The Phantom of Venice
    The Haunting of Castle Malloy
    Warnings at Waverly Acadamy
    Shadow at the Water's Edge
    The Captive Curse
    Ghost of Thornton Hall
    The Silent Spy

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    • #3
      Terrific Review! You really spent alot of time on that! I totally agree with you except on a few points. I loved CRE anyways, and RAN simply pushed CRE even farther up in my opinion. I mean, in CRE, we were undercover, we snooped, we actually really snorkeled in first person, we did Nancy Drew things. In RAN, its like, watch Nancy climb, watch her sail, drive, and basically everything else. I am not a puzzle person. I am a snoop person. I could not stand the long string of puzzles in this game. I hated sailing and driving. You are so right! What happened to click on the map? As soon as I finished playing RAN, I began FIN, and I was once again astonished by just how great FIN is! IT is a Fantastic game! No flaws whatsoever! Nancy was concerned for her kidnapped friend, she was suspicious of all the suspects, and the ending was outwitting the culprit. I did not like RAN for the reasons that Nancy was not concerned, George sat around doing nothing and acting like nothing was wrong, Nancy did trust her suspect too much, spent her time playing games and solving (sometimes dumb) puzzles, and there was a low excitement ending. And don't even get me started on how much I dislike third person! If anybody who disliked CRE or FIN plays this game, you will instantly love both of them when you finish RAN.
      Read my game reviews!
      MHM, TRT, DDI,
      LABYRINTH OF LIES: http://community.herinteractive.com/showthread.php?1310128-Navigating-the-Labyrinth-of-Lies!-FancyNancy16-Review&p=8309421#post8309421]LIE




      LORD OF THE RINGS
      Become who you were born to be.

      I have completed every Nancy Drew Game!
      Click here for my petition for another ND original yellow hardback mystery!
      Check out my sig shop here!

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      • #4
        What a great review! I completely agree with you when it comes to no one caring about Bess's kidnapping. Seriously, when Nancy picks up one of the ransom notes, she says something along the lines of "Yeah, yeah, I hear ya." Come on; I know Nancy has captured quite a few bad guys, but she shouldn't be THAT confident, especially when her best friend is missing. Third person overusage I think is the factor that almost everyone agrees about. I like how you pointed out that George does the same things as Nancy when you switched to her. In CRY and CRE you got to do totally different things when you switched. Overall, I think I agreed with everything you said!
        ~*My reviews and my petition!*~
        *Ransom of the Seven Ships
        *Warnings at Waverly Academy
        *Trail of the Twister
        *Secrets Can Kill - Remastered
        *The Captive Curse
        *Tomb of the Lost Queen

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        • #5
          Thanks a lot, guys!

          @elpana: I have mixed feelings about the ending. I see the recent endings as having three parts, the discovery of the culprit, escaping the culprit/room you're locked in/hiding/etc (and that's not a spoiler, things like that just happen from time to time), and the final little movie. I thought the first bit of RAN's ending was great, but the culprit was not as scary as you'd expect them to be, considering their personality, and the 2nd bit is really dull, and the little movie is good. I liked the cliffhanger and Bess actually looked normal. I think if the 2nd bit had been changed entirely, and the culprit was more like themselves, it would've been a really good ending.

          @FancyNancy: I'm not a fan of CRE plot-wise, and I hate the sudden ending. But the bits you described are really fun and I really love all the characters. And snorkeling, collecting shells, making shave ice...I love all that. I think RAN has more of a plot, and a much better ending, so I liked it more. But I agree that the lack of third person in CRE is something that needs to be brought back, and quickly. And I'm scared to play FIN now, I think I'll spent most of the time glaring at my RAN box.

          @StarMaiden: Yeah, it's the game's biggest fault by far. I can't believe they didn't sit down and replay FIN and STFD beforehand and just go 'okay, what made this a great kidnapping game and this a great threats game'? They really should've. Oh well. Nancy once said 'we haven't forgotten' and it was just like, really? Could've fooled me...
          Tigeress_10
          My 5* Reviews

          SCK STFD MHM TRT FIN SSH DOG
          CAR DDI SHA CUR CLK TRN
          DAN CRE ICE CRY VEN
          HAU RAN
          WAC


          All cased closed

          Comment


          • #6
            Great review, Tigeress10! I really appreciate the time you took to put down your thoughts. A well thought-out review. I actually liked RAN less the second time I played it. The first time I played it, I was so anxious, waiting all that time for the game, anticipating it, waiting for its arrival, that I was determined it would be great! I don't think I was objective about it at all. The second time through, I was like, what was I thinking? I put it in the bottom three. At least CRE had interesting characters & lots of snooping & exploring. RAN was so disappointing in that regard. Good job on a great review! 5-stars & reps to you! ~Jas~
            GHOST OF THORNTON HALL . . . . . . Dare to Play!

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            • #7
              Cool review! I can see you put your time and effort into making it very cool! Awesome job! I gave it an 8/10 too, I thought the puzzles were new and challenging (although there were far too many) but yes, I actually got bored playing and would've gone to see a movie over playing the game probably, but the ending was good too!
              Here We Go Again

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              • #8
                Gosh, I was going to write a review for this game . . . but now, why bother? You said it all for me!

                Seriously, I agree with you on everything. What you said at the end about how the game was strangely enjoyable in spite of its many faults was especially apt. I felt the exact same way.

                Thank you for such a great review!
                SCK2 STFD MHM TRT FIN SSH DOG CAR DDI SHA
                CUR CLK TRN CRE ICE CRY VEN HAU RAN
                WAC TOT SAW CAP ASH TMB DED GTH SPY MED LIE
                LCC RED

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                • #9
                  Your review is - hm - fabulously fantastic! The way you explained every opinion was incredible - LOVE your Plot, Characters, and Methods of Transportation sections, especially your point that "every character could be removed" from the game. So true.

                  I didn't enjoy the puzzles as much as you did (I thought there were too many) but I do have to compliment HeR on the pretty inventive puzzles.

                  Thanks for posting this!

                  - Em/CTD

                  [By the way, I swear I didn't put the wink in my title (and I can't remove it) so don't take this comment as being sarcastic please.]
                  Last edited by ConnectTheDots; August 16, 2009, 08:19 AM.
                  My reviews - STFD, MHM, TRT, FIN, SSH, DOG, CAR, DDI, SHA, CUR, CLK,
                  TRN, DAN, CRE, ICE, VEN, HAU, RAN, WAC, SAW, CAP, ASH, TMB, DED, GTH and SPY

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                  • #10
                    Thanks again!

                    @MysteryEye: Aww, I'm sorry you didn't like it the second time. I did, because I knew what it was gonna be like I suppose, so my expectations were correct, and I just...had much more fun. I think I might play it a third time and try and get all the stars or something. I'm determined to like it more. Yeah, CRE has better parts, but the plot of CRE is like, nonexistent, and that game is really fun but really bad at the same time. I think I prefer RAN. Still fun.

                    @Adventurous: I didn't really get bored, except the ending puzzle. I completed it in like, 2 sittings, only stopping cause I had to sleep.The boring bits are the dialog. So uninteresting. Worse than SCK. I had real trouble sitting through it.

                    @Ystaob: Yeah, I don't know why it's that enjoyable. It's like CRE in that sense. You're welcome, but you should write one too, I'd love to see it!

                    @ConnectTheDots: Yeah, its a pity cause they were really good characters that never had anything interesting to say. That's part of why I was so shocked at the ending. I like puzzles a lot so I'm always happy, but I think we need a game composed entirely of snooping soon. And no problem.
                    Tigeress_10
                    My 5* Reviews

                    SCK STFD MHM TRT FIN SSH DOG
                    CAR DDI SHA CUR CLK TRN
                    DAN CRE ICE CRY VEN
                    HAU RAN
                    WAC


                    All cased closed

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Tigeress10, I'm becoming more and more impressed with you on the boards. This review is probably the only one I agree with completely. Ransom was my least favorite game and I would play Stay Tuned for Danger over it any day. For another great review, check out Piratey0h0's RAN one. S/he has written fantastic reviews for every game.
                      Nancy Drew
                      For Girls Who Aren't Afraid of a Mouse.

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