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In-depth review of Secrets Can Kill

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  • In-depth review of Secrets Can Kill

    Secrets Can Kill

    Hello and welcome to my thirteenth review! The first time I played this game was right around when it originally came out but once I got into writing reviews (which was years later), I couldn’t remember enough detail to write about it.
    Around Christmastime (or when it snows) I always feel like playing a Nancy Drew game, so I went to play my favorite (again) TRT, and in the same box I found the disks for SCK. I thought the last time I tried to re-play it, the disks didn’t work but then remembered I had to install it a certain way since the game came out so long ago. Once I figured it out, much to my surprise & excitement it worked! I was so excited because this is the first game in the series & it’s no longer made… so the fact that I have a useable copy really means a lot to me, as these games give me such nostalgia.
    Long story short, please continue to read for my in-depth review of Secrets Can Kill...

    Nancy goes to stay with her Aunt Eloise who lives in Florida. Her aunt is the librarian at the local High School; Paseo del Mar, where a student Jake Rogers has been murdered. Nancy goes undercover as a new student to investigate who killed Jake.
    Straight forward & logical plot, the only Nancy Drew game to date that has been centered on a murder. Definitely intriguing for the first mystery, I know I wanted to play it because it sounded so interesting. Also for the age group/audience HeR was targeting, putting the mystery in a school made sense since all those kids playing probably were in school- very smart!


    Daryl Gray-
    One of the most popular kids in school, Daryl drives a Porsche & is quite the smooth talker. Daryl works at Maxine’s Diner & found Jakes body. He is your contact meaning he knows Nancy is undercover and will help throughout the game. Daryl’s father was a former US senator & very well to do until he went bankrupt after some bad business deals. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to this vivacious flirt, it goes to show that anyone can have secrets.

    Hal Tanaka-
    An exchange student studying to become a doctor. His parents are paying for him to go to school in the US. Getting the perfect grades means everything to him, as he doesn’t want to disappoint his family. Hal desperately needs to be approved for a scholarship, or his family will send him back to Japan. Hal can always be found in the student study center doing homework. As all the other characters, Hal is there for a good reason & has a solid motive for wanting Jake gone.

    Hector “Hulk” Sanchez-
    A football jock & the best athlete at school, Hulk was injured recently during a game but college scouts are coming to see him play. In order to impress them Hulk decides to take drastic measures to insure he plays just as good as he did before his accident. Always found outside the gym Hulk will give insight about Jake, making him another concrete character that is there for a purpose.

    Connie Watson-
    A fellow student in need of tuition money with some special judo skills! Knowing she’d receive more money competing in the men’s division, Connie secretly enters & wins the tournament. Connie is always in the area where the phones, magazines & vending machines are. Very informative, she will also tell you more about Jake once you find out her secret.

    Characters Overall:
    This being the first game, I love that all the characters have solid motives for wanting Jake out of the picture. That’s what makes guessing the culprit fun! I also like that you can go to them if you’re stuck in the game and most of the time they have something to say. There was a nice balance of finding out information, snooping, then asking/confronting the characters about what you found out. Another thing that was great was the diversity of the characters, they’re exactly the types of people you would have gone to high school with.

    The Setting for our first mystery is in the sunny state of Florida. We have Aunt Eloise’s house, The Paseo del Mar High School (and various rooms within), Maxine’s Diner & Vandelay Pharmaceuticals (which you never really go in to). We start out the mystery in Aunt Eloise’s living room & foyer. For the first game, I thought the graphics were good for their time, although if you clicked on something & it got closer, it still looked a little fuzzy. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m playing a 17 year old game on a Window’s 8 laptop ha-ha but it’s not such a big deal because of the time it came out. The characters however, were a little funny. I’m not sure if they didn’t have the technology, but the 3rd dimensional, cartoon looking characters threw me off since the backdrop looked so believable. I’m glad this is the only game in which we have to deal with that.

    Game Play/Puzzles:

    Classic snoop and minimal puzzle game. I mean, there were two puzzles, maybe one more if I can remember correctly. This game was basically snooping to get clues to figure out what to do next. Plus you relied on the characters a lot more. Instead of doing a puzzle to get a clue, you could easily ask the characters or phone Bess, George or Ned. Although I noticed that the only one that ever gave me a hint over the phone was George, haha! This game is extremely short, I’d say if you knew exactly what you were doing and where to go, it would take you 1-2 hours tops. There are a few things that you think you need to figure out to continue the game, but they’re just fun filler activities. I can’t say enough things about how much I loved the classic snooping! That’s what these games are really about to me, not just trying to figure out time consuming, confusing, rip your hair out puzzles!
    Now, the two-disk game play. Again, I don’t know if the technology wasn’t there, or it was hard to fit all the different locations onto one disk but ughhhh. I could’ve done without having to switch disks each time I tried to get to the school & the boiler room/basement. Since the game is so short, I guess it doesn’t really matter that much, but if the game took longer than a few hours I’d be pretty frustrated.

    Scare Factor/Music:
    Nothing scary about this game! I would’ve thought when you’re alone in the library, or especially in the boiler room/basement that something at least creepy would happen, but nada. Since this was a game about a murder it would make sense to be a little scary but this is a kid-friendly game.
    I thought it was really funny how drastically the music changed once you went somewhere else. Like, if you were walking in the halls of the school then decided to go into the library the music got wicked serious & dark (another reason I figured something would happen in there). The music in Maxine’s Diner was spot on with the 50’s theme, and it was so cool you could pick a song on the jukebox!

    This was kind of funny because I wasn’t sure if the ending was happening, I was like “ok we have a plan!” then I didn’t know what to do, haha! Once I quickly figured it out, it was a short, easy, and fast paced. Almost immediately after you stop the culprit Nancy starts reading a letter to her Dad explaining what happened. There also wasn’t a trailer or anything for STFD which I was looking forward to since I just bought it (Yay!). But overall the ending was just like the game: short.

    I am so grateful that I got to play the first Nancy Drew game ever made (being the age I am now)! As I said above, I was so excited I had the disks & knew how to upload it so I could play. Boy did it bring me back! These games were a big part of my childhood & playing the game that started it all, really meant a lot to me. I would maybe consider playing the remastered version since HeR has updated it quite a bit. I was looking at screen shots of the new characters & how they looked, it definitely piqued my interest.
    There are so many other Nancy Drew games that I want to play, I wouldn’t consider re-playing this one just yet. The only con about this game that I have is the two-disk set up. It can get tedious at certain points but at least this is the only game that has it. Of course, the graphics aren’t anywhere close to what we have now, but it was 1998 so that can be overlooked. Should you play this game? Absolutely. Sure, it’s not the best quality but it’s the original & it’s the game that started this wonderful series!

    Thank you for reading my review! I hope I helped give a new perspective on the game and encourage people to play that haven’t wanted to, or that have overlooked this classic game. Keep a look out for my next review of… Stay Tuned for Danger.
    Also played & finished, ICE, CRY. CLK & TRN

  • #2
    Great review! It's been a while since I've played this game, but I completely agree with you about the snooping! That's one of the great things about the old, classic Nancy Drew games. And I completely forgot about how you had to keep switching disks, that really was annoying now that I think about it. Overall, I really enjoyed reading your review!



    • #3
      Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed reading my review! :) Yeah, I wonder why it had two disks haha.
      Also played & finished, ICE, CRY. CLK & TRN


      • #4
        Overall, excellent review! I agree with many of your points. Really though- you weren't scared in the library!? That place still gives me the creeps. I was always waiting for some crazed person to jump out at me from behind the book shelves. The two discs just give the game character. I still have written on my notes from ten years ago to wait 10 seconds or so after loading the second disc in order to make sure the game wouldn't freeze. I'm glad you were able to experience the nostalgia of the original game and hope that you enjoy Stay Tuned for Danger. Both are great timeless classics.

        Happy sleuthing!
        All 32 Cases Closed:
        ▫ᵒᴼᵒ▫ₒₒ▫ᵒᴼᵒʍy ʍeticulous ℛeviews▫ᵒᴼᵒ▫ₒₒ▫ᵒᴼᵒ
        LCC RED ₒₒ▫ᵒ TCC

        Case In Progress:

        Check out a book from:
        -▫ᵒᴼᵒ▫ₒₒ▫ᵒᴼᵒ▫ₒₒ▫´¯`·×-»[иaиcy ∂яεω's lيbяaяy (ℛeʍastered)]--->

        "It's Locked" ~ the most frustrating phrase Nancy Drew could ever say!


        • #5
          Hi White Wolf!

          Thank you! I'm glad you liked my review Honestly, the first time I played I was definitely creeped out in the library. Especially with the music being so serious, it definitely made the hairs on my arm stand up! This time around when I was decoding that warning in the library that said
          DON'T RUN NANCY
          or something like that, I felt as though I was being watched for sure lol!

          Thanks! I played STFD so long ago, and I'm not even sure I finished it... so I'm really looking forward to it!
          Last edited by here2seetheshow; December 29, 2015, 09:20 AM.
          Also played & finished, ICE, CRY. CLK & TRN


          • #6
            Hey! This was an awesome review of the original SCK. I actually have yet to play it since I only started getting into Nancy Drew games around 2009 and all of the copies on eBay were super expensive, so I'm hoping I can find one soon. This review encouraged me extremely to go out and buy that $45 copy I saw, because the way you describe everything was phenomenal. I'm also surprised the music didn't creep you out that much. I've seen clips of the original SCK and I do have to say that the remastered version with the newer graphics is a bit more creepy with the atmosphere. The character and puzzles sections were spot-on. All in all, it was a great experience to read this review and live through the original SCK in this review. Thanks for making this!

            please take my hand

            please take me dancing
            please leave me stranded
            ITS SO ROMANTIC.


            Thanks to LOSTforever23!


            • #7
              Hey krazyrabbit!

              I'm so glad you liked my review & it inspired you to get the game! It's definitely a classic, and a great game to play over & over since it's not so long. I really hope you enjoy playing & that even though it's a little expensive, it's worth it

              I think if I do end up playing the remastered version, it will give me more goosebumps. The music in the Library definitely put my guard up, I thought for sure something was going to jump out at me in there ha-ha!

              Thanks so much again! I really hope you enjoy it, and happy sleuthing!
              Also played & finished, ICE, CRY. CLK & TRN