Disclaimer: I played this once as a kid, when my sisters and I got a copy from our library. It was on sale through a site I use for gaming, so I got it there via download to play for the first time in years. I remembered more of this game than I thought I would (like the ending), but I also found it more enjoyable than I remembered it being as a kid. However, this game still ranks below TRT and some others for me in terms of how enjoyable it is for me to replay.

Plot: Off to see a screening of the new Brady Armstrong film at the Royal Palladium theater before its demolition, Maya Nguyen is a journalism student with the interview opportunity of a lifetime for her university’s paper. Unfortunately, she’s kidnapped before she ever gets the chance. Nancy has three days to save her friend before the theater is demolished, taking Maya with it!

Characters: Joseph is the old, kind caretaker still tinkering away with the theater’s projector and he’s by far the most helpful of the bunch. Nicholas Falcone has an axe to grind against people who tear down old theaters to make way for new, dazzling megaplexes. Are his methods as just as his cause? Simone is Brady’s selfish manager whom I avoided speaking with as much as possible as she’s all for using this kidnapping to drum up publicity for Brady. Brady Armstrong is a handsome, charismatic television and movie star. He seems interested in helping find Maya, maybe a little too interested?

Everyone here has a motive here. That’s what I like about this game: you never truly know who kidnapped Maya until the end. I can’t say too much without giving it away, as the suspense of the ending on this is one of the best. I don’t find this cast of characters too memorable, sadly, not when compared with those of TRT or even MHM (Abbey is one of my faves). I found too many of these characters (excepting Brady) to be one-dimensional in terms of identity and self. Nicholas has his whole “fight the power” group, but beyond politics, he has no identity. The same thing goes for Simone, who is just a greedy person at heart with absolutely no underlying goal beyond making as much money as possible off Brady. With Brady, it seems like they tried to do a character arc for him, but it fell a little flat for me. No one stands out here to me, and in that way, this game reminds me of a newer game like ASH, where everyone is generic and suspicious with a shred of personality. It’s kind of sad, but I understand the reason here for the lack of character development as the game takes place in three days and Nancy is focused on saving her friend.

Setting: The theater is beautiful. You get to explore so much of it that you never really feel that anything is lacking, either. I love the aesthetic of this theater, the lush red and ivory color scheme, and all the places you can get to, as it’s just amazing!

Graphics: I felt the time stamp more strongly on this one than I did in TRT. Maya is Asian American, Vietnamese to be precise, and her skin was eerily yellow at the game's start. However, everyone else looked fine.

Nancy: She gets her own label here. Some people found her too angry. I found her temper fine, since her friend was missing and no one was taking her seriously. I think most of the problems could be the direction her VA was given here, as some of the lines were spoken in what seemed to be a whine rather than an assertive statement. Other than occasional bouts of whininess, I didn’t mind Nancy’s character here. She had three days to find her friend before the theater was demolished. I’d be angry and frantic, too!

Puzzles: They’re not too difficult or grating this time around, which I like. I did have to use a solution for some because I got lazy (the stage puzzle being the only one, really). The others I found out fairly easily, and although I was playing on junior detective, I’m sure I could do them all on senior detective without pulling my hair out (and reading things in the game, of course!). The puzzles required you to pay attention but weren’t unbearably hard. There is one exception, which I will include here: the puzzle you use to get to the final room of the game to confront the culprit. That’s a pure game of chance that I detested, and it felt cheap because of how much chance was involved in getting the “right” thing for the job.

Culprit/Ending: I loved the culprit reveal and how you defeat the culprit to save the day. I hated the ending “puzzle” just before you enter the room. The suspense was high, but it wasn’t something unbeatable even with the clock creeping down.

Final Verdict: It’s a classic, and I do recommend playing it for the mysterious allure of the theater alone. This one just didn’t “wow” me the way TRT still does. I still give it a 9/10, with a ding only for that ending “puzzle” and the lackluster characters.