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My must read in-depth review of CLK

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  • My must read in-depth review of CLK

    The Secret of the Old Clock

    Hello there! Welcome to my seventeenth review, phew! It's been far too long since I've played & reviewed a beloved ND game. I have been in quarantine for the past week and decided with all this time on my hands, it's about time I go over the list of games I haven't played and pick one.
    After careful consideration and watching a few trailers, I chose- The Secret of the Old Clock. I definitely regret that I sat on this one for so long without playing it. The twelfth game in the series, CLK originally came out in 2005 and for some reason it took me 16 years to play, but let's not dwell on that ha-ha. I don't think I can say this enough, I'm SO glad I finally played it! But enough gabbing, let's get on to the review!


    The year- 1930. The town- Titusville, Illinois. Nancy has been asked by a mutual friend to visit the Lilac Inn to see Emily Crandall. Emily's mother, Gloria died a month ago, leaving her daughter to run the inn with the help of her guardian, Jane Willoughby. Emily and her mother were counting on the generosity of a kind neighbor, Josiah Crowley to leave them part of his estate to help run the inn. Unfortunately in his will he left everything to his ESP teacher, Richard Topham. When Nancy arrives the kitchen explodes and Gloria's jewels go missing! A mystery starts to unfold and you as Nancy must help Emily before she has to do the unthinkable, and sell the inn.
    This is based on the very first book published in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories of the same name. I don't think I ever read this book, or if I did it was years ago. So I'm not sure if the plot of the game is exact to the book. I will be basing my opinions solely on the game for this review. As I said above, I think it's such a fun touch that the game is based in 1930, you really feel immersed in the time period as you drive around the town and visit the different people of Titusville.


    Emily Crandall- The new owner of the Lilac Inn and at 17 no less! Her mother sadly passed away a month ago and she is struggling with losing her and having to run the inn, although she has help from her guardian, she is feeling overwhelmed. As you talk to Emily she starts experiencing mysterious happenings; hearing whispers, pictures on the wall move and things strangely disappear and then reappear.
    I felt nothing but bad for Emily. At such a young age she lost the only parent she had and now she has the difficult task of running an inn. She isn't totally alone but in my opinion Jane wasn't much help. She mostly stays in her room, sitting on the window seat and is usually helpful when Nancy asks questions. She gets upset from time to time but I couldn't blame her for that.

    Jane Willoughby- Before passing away, Gloria sent Jane a letter asking her to watch after Emily should anything happen to her. Jane was appointed guardian to Emily and is helping her run the inn but she too is feeling overwhelmed by all the work that needs to be done. She thinks it would be best for Emily to sell the in and split the profits with her.
    At first I thought Jane would be the one to take the reins and be in charge, since Emily was still having such a difficult time with the passing of her mother. Unfortunately, I feel as though Jane was just a fill in character so to speak. Nancy asked her to do one thing and of course she could barely help. Most of the time when something happened all she said was "Go ask Emily!" After a while I couldn't help but wonder why she was there at all.

    Jim Archer- Friendly neighborhood banker, and executor of Josiah's Will. Jim is trying to make ends meet since the stock market crash. He too thought Josiah was going to leave him some of his estate and he could definitely use it, as his bank is in financial ruins. He doesn't believe there is another will secretly left by Josiah, but that doesn't stop him from helping Nancy when he can.
    Early on in the game, I had my suspicions about him and then as I found out more about his situation, I just felt bad. He went to law school with Nancy's father and he tries to put on a brave face but you can tell he's worried about his business. You interact with him quite a bit and surprisingly he turns out to be very helpful in moving the mystery along.

    Richard Topham- A self-proclaimed expert on ESP, he lives in the house that once belonged to Josiah Crowley. It now serves as the "School for the Study and Development of Paranormal Powers". Per the will that was found everything Josiah had was left to Richard, even though Josiah told Emily, Gloria & Jim they were included in his will.
    Extremely standoffish at first, until he can tell Nancy is smart enough to converse with *eye roll*. Richard gave me bad vibes from the start, he's pompous, unfriendly & entitled. He wants little to nothing to do with Nancy and he sure as heck isn't as smart as he makes himself out to be. I do like his cat Uri though- haha.

    Characters Overall-
    We have a good bunch here, there is a big range of personalities and quirks. Unfortunately Josiah isn't a character for obvious reasons, but I feel as though I would've liked to meet him. I'm glad at least one person was helpful and everyone, excluding Emily, had strong motives so the culprit wasn't exactly that easy to guess (to me anyway). Your phone friends are Nancy's father Carson, Bess & George. If you need a hint, like I did several times, you have to call Carson. Bess & George don't necessarily help or give hints, they're just there to call. I figured Ned would be a phone character but Nancy just writes him the letter at the end and you don't hear from him at all.

    The beautiful Lilac Inn and surrounding town of Titusville is the setting for our mystery. There are SO many places to explore, it was probably one of the most exciting parts. It's kind of a bummer when you're stuck in one place during the duration of the game (like CUR & TRT). We have the Lilac Inn, Josiah's house and carriage house, the mini golf course, and basically the whole town! In this mystery we get to drive a lot, and I really didn't mind it this time. In TOT you can drive too, but lordy it is a mess! To earn some money you can deliver telegrams to the many businesses around town, there's a map to help but I found it relatively easy to find where I needed to go.
    Per usual, there isn't too much to say about the graphics. A lot more definitely went into each part of the town and surrounding areas, and there is an abundance of detail especially for the golf course. I appreciated the still pictures that were used if you went into a business to deliver a telegram or run one of a hundred errands. For example, if you went into the Telco building there was a picture of ladies working at a switchboard, at the home for children there was a picture of children playing outside, etc. It really added to the story and made me feel like I was there.

    Game Play/Puzzles-
    This was definitely a quick mystery. As I said I have a lot of time on my hands so it only took me two days to play. It would've taken me longer I suppose if I didn't look up some hints along the way. Nancy's father is pretty vague if and when you call him for help so I'm glad the trusty message boards were there for me. The only part I got sort of hung up on was making par at the golf course. You HAVE to get 30 points or under when playing 6 holes so you win a prize. I was having a lot of difficulty on the last two holes. But finally, I got 27 and advanced! There's a mini golf course where I live that I've gone to my whole life, so this made me feel very nostalgic.
    As for the puzzles I was extremely excited that they weren't too hard! As I've said on probably every review I've ever written, hard puzzles and I are not friends. For reference, SAW is the most difficult ND game I've ever played and without spoilers I would never have finished it. In my opinion a good ND game is when you can figure out puzzles without a thousand tries, ripping out your hair, tears of frustration, and straight up spoilers LOL. In this game, all the puzzles were relatively easy and there were a lot that I just did myself. Sure some took a few tries but I knew what to do, I took notes too so I could move easily through the mystery. I will say I did have to look up what to do on the domino's puzzle in the carriage house. Never playing domino's in my life, I had no idea how to figure it out, but once I looked up a spoiler I was like oh, duh that makes sense haha.

    Scare Factor-
    There was one part of the mystery were the atmosphere was definitely creepy, but that's it. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't go into any more detail. I'm sure if you have played this game you know the part I'm talking about. No jump scare moments and since the length of the game is during one day there's no dark and stormy nights.

    Ok, I made sure to write down more notes about the music, how it changes and what I think of it overall because sometimes I completely forget about the music and get wrapped up in the mystery! So in the beginning it's super jazzy and reminds me of the 20's & 30's (like in DOG). That music is really awesome in my opinion and if I could go back to that time period I would immediately. If I was working on a puzzle for a long time, the music would just stop and as soon as I was done it would start up again, like the loop for the music was super short. Also, there was one part where the music sounded EXACTLY like the notes in SHA, which I found strange because that's more western/Native American drum sounding than jazzy trumpet/saxophone. It was so odd and I made sure to make a note of it because I wasn't sure if they were recycling the music.

    I had a feeling I was close to the end and then I was! The way the ending played out was cool too, as I wasn't sure how they were going to tie it up. When the culprit emerged it wasn't a total shock, I had my sights set on two people and the guilty party was one of them. Good thing there was a second chance button because I had to use it a few times, luckily Nancy gives a hint on how to head them off. But, I was a little sad that the mystery wasn't going to be longer because I really loved this game!

    Overall thoughts-
    Won't and can't say it enough- I LOVED playing this game. It really reminded me of the original games, the feeling was overwhelming and I couldn't recommend it more. I'm sure die hard fans have already played this game but if there's a chance you haven't and you're looking for a new/old mystery- you can't go wrong trying to figure out the Secret of the Old Clock.

    On to the next-
    TRN. I figured, why stop here? So the next mystery I will be playing & reviewing is another classic, Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon. Thank you for reading my review and stay tuned for my next one- be safe out there!
    Last edited by here2seetheshow; March 15, 2021, 06:04 AM.
    Also played & finished, ICE, CRY. CLK & TRN

  • #2
    Nice job with the review! We got to keep the message boards going and I really like reading the posts you do! Keep up the good work!


    • #3
      Originally posted by Skyrosleuth136 View Post
      Nice job with the review! We got to keep the message boards going and I really like reading the posts you do! Keep up the good work!
      Aww thanks so much!! I appreciate that a lot! I definitely love writing reviews, almost as much as I love playing the games, hehe. My next review of TRN will be up shortly- please check it out :D
      Also played & finished, ICE, CRY. CLK & TRN