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Secret of the Old Clock Rocks

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  • Secret of the Old Clock Rocks

    After playing this game one or two times, I used to strongly dislike this game. First, the timeline confused me—I didn’t like how it was out of sync with the rest of the series. I was also annoyed by how Nancy happens upon the culprit at the end of the game—which is triggered by solving a multi-step puzzle left behind by the late Josiah Crowley. Secret of the Old Clock is the first game where I realized HerInteractive’s tendency’s for using this tactic which may be why I especially disliked this game. However, upon playing it again and evaluating all of its components, I’ve realized that The Secret of the Old Clock is a solid game.

    The game takes place in a throwback to 1930 when the Nancy Drew books were first published and combines a few story elements from those older books—mainly The Secret of the Old Clock (hence the name) and The Mystery at Lilac Inn. Nancy visits Emily Crandell, who she knows through a mutual friend, at the Lilac Inn shortly after Emily’s mother passes. She’s all out of sorts and claims that she can hear voices and sense people watching her. She calls upon Nancy primarily to put her mother’s jewels in Mr. Drew’s safe but, alas, during a kitchen fire, someone steals the jewels. Thrown into the mix is the mystery of Josiah Crowley’s will. He was a neighbor of the Crandells and promised them a large sum of his money but instead he left it all to his recent live-in psychic tutor, Richard Topham.

    I love how well everything in this storyline fits together. When the game ends, there’s no confusion about anything that happened or how the culprit carried out their plan. I leave the game feeling satisfied that justice has been served. I am still disappointed that most of the game consists of Nancy searching for Josiah’s will. Yes, it is a crucial part of the story, but it’s not directly related to figuring out why Emily’s losing her marbles.

    The game has four main characters—Emily, of course, Emily’s guardian, Jane Willoughby, their neighbor, Richard Topham, and their banker, Jim Archer. They’re all decent characters, but there’s nothing that makes them really sparkle. Emily’s still rather interesting because she’s three months away from turning 18 and worried about how to run her mother’s inn. Jane is a friend of Emily’s mom, and she feels clueless about how to best take care of Emily. Topham is rather snobbish and talks ill of Josiah and his mental capacities. He also has one of the ugliest cats ever. My favorite character is Jim Archer because he does not demonstrate direct involvement with the business of Josiah’s will and Emily’s predicament, and offers a more distant perspective of the situation.

    My favorite part of this game is the setting. While the game primarily takes place at the Lilac Inn and Richard Topham’s estate, Nancy can also drive into the rather elaborate town of Titusville. The only businesses that you can see inside of are the bank and the general store, but the game makes good use of the rest of the town by providing opportunities for Nancy to visit all of the other places and talk with their inhabitants. At one point, she runs a string of errands the require visiting several places and performing favors. She’s also able to deliver telegrams for money, which is how she wounds up visiting the other places that are unaffected by her errands. I also love the movie references included in the town names. I will admit that I was unaware of these references until reading up on them on the UHS, but their presence still has merit, nonetheless.

    The game play itself is rather fun. Yes, Nancy is solving a long puzzle that leads to Josiah’s will, but there are a lot of interesting activities that are involved in solving the puzzle. As mentioned before, Nancy runs a lot of errands. She also explores secret passageways, plays miniature golf, and talks to strangers on a HAM radio. The other mini puzzles involved are fun and range from easy to moderate level of difficulty.

    Lastly, this game has a lot of other fun activities that give this game it’s real charm. Running telegrams is probably my favorite part of the game. Mini golf is fun too, however if the ball ends up kicked to a corner of your screen, it’s impossible to get good leverage on it with how the game was designed. I’m disappointed that HerInteractive has yet to reincorporate mini golf in its future Nancy Drew games. My favorite is the mastermind game next to the mini golf where you must figure out the correct sequence of colored golf balls. Those games will always have a special place in my heart.

    If you haven’t played Secret of the Old Clock because you thought it looked boring, or you haven’t gotten around to buying it, or you’re new to Nancy Drew, or whatever the reason, I definitely recommend playing it. The gameplay’s fun, the setting is awesome, and the story is very well-conceptualized.

    I discovered that Secrets can Kill. I Stayed Tuned for Danger. I read the Message in a Haunted Mansion. I uncovered the Treasure in a Royal Tower. I watched the Final Scene. I washed away the Secret of the Scarlet Hand. I pet the Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake. I rode the Haunted Carousel. I dodged the Danger on Deception Island. I lassoed the Secret of Shadow Ranch. I overcame the Curse of Blackmoor Manor. I unwound the Secret of the Old Clock. I traveled on the Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon. I unveiled the Danger by Design. I captured the Creature of Kapu Cave. I discussed politics with the White Wolf of Icicle Creek. I unearthed the Legend of the Crystal Skull. I unmasked the Phantom of Venice. I exposed the Haunting of Castle Malloy. I paid the Ransom of the Seven Ships. I heeded the Warnings of Waverly Academy. I chased the Trail of the Twister. I stood in the Shadow at the Water’s Edge. I shattered the Captive Curse. I upheld the Alibi in Ashes. I opened the Tomb of the Lost Queen. I condemned the Deadly Device. I sang to the Ghost of Thornton Hall. I did justice for the Silent Spy. I repaired the Shattered Medallion. I navigated the Labyrinth of Lies. I illuminated the Sea of Darkness. I was awake at Midnight in Salem.
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