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The Secret of Shadow Ranch: A Review

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  • The Secret of Shadow Ranch: A Review

    I'd like to kick off this review saying how wonderful and intriguing this game is! It's really one of the best in the series, and I'd recommend buying it or borrowing a copy if you've never played it.

    Plot: In this game, Nancy's kickin' it ranch-style at Ed and Bet Rawley's ranch; Shadow Ranch. Nancy's supposed to be there with Bess and George on vacation, but Bess and George have flight issues and Nancy soon stumbles upon a new case! Sabotages and phantom horse sightings have been occuring at the ranch and no one really knows why. As Nancy dives into the rich history of Shadow Ranch, she discovers that a certain Dirk Valentine fell in love with Frances Humber, a girl who used to live on the ranch back in the 1800's. Dirk loved Frances so much, that he hid a treasure for her to find. It's up to you as Nancy Drew to figure out who's responsible for the sabotages and in search of that treasure! 10/10

    This game takes place on a ranch with quite the history in Arizona. The ranch has a Native American look to it and lovely western feel (of course). As you progress in the game, you get to venture out to more places like Mary Yazzie's Gift store which sells lots of Native American beadwork, pictures, and tools, as well as things like petrified wood and cool-looking rocks. There's even a place where NAncy gets to explore rocks to find petroglyphs. And there;s also a run-down old town you'll get to see. Overall, you get to go a lot of places in this game, I'd say. You're by no means confined anywhere. 9/10

    Characters: Each character definitely had their own defining traits, but I would've liked to have seen a little more humor from the characters you interacted with. 8/10

    Tex Britten: Tex is the head wrangler on the ranch, meaning he's the main man who works with the horses. Tex has the loner look and personality, he can seem a bit cold and even distant at times because he never has much to say, but he'll grow on you.

    Dave Gregory: He's the ranch foreman and a very cute one at that. Like Tex, he's a man of few words. His main objective is to do his job and do it well. Dave is very much the nice guy type.

    Shorty Thurmond: He's the ranch's cook and more talkative than the other two ranch-hands combined. Shorty is a conversation-loving, gossiping fanatic. Shorty has a list of chores forNAncy to do each day.

    Mary Yazzie:
    Mary is a lovely Native American woman who owns a Native American gift shop not too far from Shadow Ranch. She'd been trying to acquire a small piece of land on the Shadow Ranch property, but keeps getting turned down.

    Ed and Bet Rawley: These are the ranch owners, but you never get to interact with them in the game because they're away at the hospital due to poor Uncle Ed getting bit by a rattle snake. You can contact the via cell phone and keep them updated with what's going on at the ranch. They've always got some funny remarks so it's never a pain talking to them.

    Frances Humber: Frances lived on the ranch with her father, the sheriff, in the late 1800's. She fell in love with a man named Dirk Valentine at the age of 17. But Dirk was killed by commands of her father, so the day came when Frances left the ranch never to return again.

    Dirk Valentine: Oh the infamous Dirk Valentine.. Dirk was known in his time for being a robber and stealer, although who only stole from the rich, or so he says in a letter. Dirk was Frances' sweetheart and it was obvious they were in love. Too bad Frances' father was the sheriff though, because he found out about Dirk's illegal hobbies and ordered him to be hung. But before Dirk bit the dust, he hid a magnificent treasure for Frances to find.

    Character Interaction:
    There was a fair amount of interaction with the characters in this game, not too much and not too little, a job well done I think. 9/10

    Music: The music was wonderful like so many other games. I found that it fit the scenarios extremely well. The music is very catchy and western-style, memorable and melodic. A very good job. 10/10

    Puzzles: Watch out for the puzzles in this game, quite a few can be pretty tricky. The key to the puzzles is to make sure you explore everything there is to explore, and know all of what there is to know about what the puzzle is and means. I broke down in the game and looked up a spoiler for two of the puzzles because they were so difficult, but if you like some of the harder puzzles, you should give this game a go. 8/10

    Snooping: The snooping in the game was actually a little disappointing. You could only go through one of the main character's things and only for a brief moment before he catches Nancy fumbling through his things. But while you may not be able to disrespect the right of everyone's privacy, You still have the ranch and other locations to investigate. 5/10

    Length: I enjoyed the length of this game, I think it might be one of HeR's longer games, and I always appreciate that in a Nancy Drew mystery. 9/10

    Phone Friends:
    As always Bess and George are on the clock ready to help you solve your latest Nancy Drew mystery. They talk to you about their unfortunate flight delay and provide you with hints in case you need them. Frank and Joe Hardy are also in this game too! I find Frank and Joe to be a little more helpful at times, but maybe that's just because I like talking to them better :) I really enjoyed and appreciated having not only Bess and George to call for hints, but the Hardy's as well. 10/10

    Spook Factor: While some may find the thought of a phantom horse a little creepy, it's not nearly that spooky in the game. Actually, I'd say the horse wasn't scary at all. In my opinion, the spookiest part of the game was visiting the ghost town at Dry Creek. Nancy would always get the feeling that she "wasn't alone". 6/10

    I really enjoyed the ending in this game because there was thinking involved, and at the same time, Nancy was in a suspenseful situation. Another great job HeR. 10/10

    Overall I'd give this game a solid 9/10. I thoroughly enjoyed playing it, always have and always will. This is definitely one of the best! Thanks to those who read.
    You'll always be in my heart, Millie.