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Am I the only person who doesn't like this game?

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  • Am I the only person who doesn't like this game?

    Hello, all! I will preface this review by stating that I am a suburban girl. I'm not very outdoorsy and I have absolutely no interest in country life. I never liked this game when I was younger, and back then I could never make it past day 1, but I've seen many reviews about SHA being an all-time favorite for many players so I thought that I should give it another whirl.

    I have finally finished SHA in its entirety and I cannot see myself ever revisiting it again. I see so many problems with the game and I honestly do not understand what people love so much about it.


    - Dave Gregory is admittedly cute.

    - The setting is unique in comparison to all of the other Nancy Drew games.

    - Game play is long, so you get your money's worth.

    - Characters are all worthy of suspicion.

    - There is a mystery within a mystery.

    - Senior Detectives can still receive hints!


    - Nancy is made to do repetitive chores. In some games, tasks like these make sense because characters aren't supposed to know that Nancy is sleuthing around - she's supposed to just blend in. However, in SHA everybody knows what she's up to, AND she's a guest of the Rawleys! Who makes their guest do chores like these when she is on vacation? She isn't related to the Rawleys, so it makes even less sense... if it were Bess or George, maybe I could see them having to help out around the place because it belongs to their family members. My biggest issue with having to do chores for Shorty is that he has nothing better to do than to do them himself. There are a total of four people on the ranch (including Nancy and Shorty himself), so I don't know who he could possibly be cooking for all the time because Nancy never eats more than a bite of cake in this entire game. If he couldn't go on with his recipe without vegetables and eggs, why didn't he just take maybe fifteen steps outside and grab them himself?

    - This game comes with a larger interface than other old games, but this new interface does not come without issues. Having to open up Nancy's inventory, grab the desired item, and close the inventory before using it (and then sometimes having to open up the inventory again and put the item back) becomes awfully tedious. I much prefer being able to access my items right from the screen. Nancy's cell phone is pretty -high tech- here but when I would go to search the web for something or try to click on someone's name to call them, I always ended up clicking the wrong thing for some reason - the design here could have been streamlined.

    - I understand the importance of books (or even web searches) in ND games, but I really think that SHA is just a bit too literature-heavy. For some people, this might make the game more realistic - in real life one isn't likely to turn right to the page (or scroll right to the section of the webpage) that he/she needs - but I always feel the need to read every last word and it took up a lot of time.

    - Dave's feelings for Nancy honestly make no sense, and then Nancy tells him that she only "sort of" has a boyfriend. Poor Ned!

    - Having to remove the horse's bridle and put it back in its place before reentering the ranch seemed a bit unnecessary to me. It was annoying when I was just coming back to the ranch to quickly ask Dave or Shorty a question before returning to the outside and I would have to take off the bridle, put it back, then grab the bridle again, ask Tex's permission to leave, then put the bridle back onto the horse before going back out. Time waster.

    - Tex trusts Nancy with tasks that, if done wrong, may actually kill the horses. Come on, now. You just met this girl yesterday.

    - Tex is annoyingly creepy. I still don't know why the Rawleys hired him.

    - Some of the puzzles in SHA are RIDICULOUSLY difficult for an older game. I'm 21 years old and I couldn't solve a good handful of them. I'm sorry, but I honest to goodness do not think that Dirk Valentine seemed smart enough to create such challenging puzzles. For some, if you didn't get the puzzle right on the first try, you'd have to go back and complete a different puzzle another time, then retry... it could be an endless cycle. Very frustrating.

    - Bess, George, Frank & Joe somehow know how to give clues about things that they have no idea about. Nancy could say, "I need help figuring out how to make a fire!" and they would all tell her, "Look to the left of Dave and you'll find kindling!" I mean, I'm making this up, but some of the hints that they gave (however helpful) just didn't line up because there's no way that they could know some things without being there/Nancy telling them.

    - Charleena Purcell's voice/attitude

    - Why does Nancy have the option to call home and then say, "I don't need to talk to anyone at home!" ???

    - Some of the settings are so colorless and drab.

    - Nancy could hang onto multiple random papers, but she wasn't allowed to hold onto Dirk Valentine's clues. Wouldn't she want to bring those with her so nobody else could find them, seeing as she was suspicious that someone else was sabotaging the ranch in search of the treasure that these clues would eventually lead to?

    - Mary Yazzie is too short tempered. And how come she is always referred to by her full name when everyone else is just Dave, Tex & Shorty most of the time?

    - I think that some dialogue was carried over from previous games and it didn't seem to fit in well here (example: phone message to home).

    - There could be a phone number written somewhere on the screen and you might not even notice it but Nancy would have it added to her contacts already. There goes the need for strong detective skills!

    - I believe that some questions were left unanswered.

    Final thoughts:

    I understand that everyone has different preferences, and can see how some people might love this game's setting. However, I think that SHA's problems extend far beyond the location in which it takes place. Generally when I pick up a mystery, I have to force myself to stop playing for a while so I can be a real person (or just get some sleep), but I was so uninterested in this game that toward the end, I ended up basically following a walk through so I could just finish it and move on.

    Overall, this is probably one of my five least favorite mysteries from the entire series.
    Last edited by speakers-blown; August 17, 2015, 10:50 AM.

  • #2
    I'll first preface by saying that I love SHA, it's my favorite game and I've played it countless times, probably more than any other ND game.

    That being said.......I LOVED your review! Honestly! I'm not even here to defend the game or anything, I really enjoyed reading your review and you made some seriously good points.

    To me, SHA is a game of pure nostalgia. I have such fond memories of playing the game with my friends, crushing on Dave, and solving all the puzzles -- without spoilers!! (Which I never do anymore because I'm incurably lazy these days.) So no spoilers meant that it took me ages to beat the game. I explored every inch of it and feel like this is the game I know best.

    But is this game without its problems? Of course not! Totally agree about the phone and inventory. I think that since this was the first game to feature that new interface, it had a lot of bugs that weren't yet worked out.

    Also over the years I've come to realize that Dave is not a great guy! He's a little shifty, I posted more about it on the SHA GD board.

    And OMG I just about died laughing:
    - Mary Yazzie is too short tempered. And how come she is always referred to by her full name when everyone else is just Dave, Tex & Shorty most of the time?
    Last edited by bumblebeex3; August 17, 2015, 10:25 AM.


    • #3
      Thanks for the feedback, bumblebeex3! I do think that a lot of my problems with SHA have to do with mechanics and a personal lack of interest in the storyline, but I still recommend that everyone play all of the originals! I have the same sense of nostalgia about MHM, the first ND game that I ever owned, which I recall playing with an old friend - we still talk ND when we see each other today!

      I give serious props to my younger self for ever completing a game without spoilers. I try to every time that I play/reply a game, but always find myself stuck! One day I will succeed again...

      Maybe we were just smarter back then!


      • #4
        I love SHA, but I can think of at least one player who walks these message boards who shares your opinion, so you're not alone. I agree that personal interest in the story-line makes a huge difference. I would have enjoyed GTH much more if the story-line were different...
        "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." -Matthew 7:7

        Jeopardy! ND Style! R1 R3 Play my game! Name That ND Animal! A PBM Game


        • #5
          I actually do like this game; I grew up on a farm, so I liked that aspect and I feel like the book it's based off of is a classic.

          That said, you do bring up some good points. I can see why Tex would ask Nancy do do work before riding as he is gruff and the ranch is short handed (it seems like something my father would ask, though he would do so in a kinder manner ) but the way Bet and Ed told Nancy to just enjoy herself and then get on her if she does something wrong has always bothered me. That, and collecting eggs, picking veggies, and even setting up a basic campfire are all easy tasks just about anyone could do. Splitting wood and feeding horses can be a different manner, especially when the horses are on such specific diets.

          Bess and George were really helpful in all the older games, I think, even though it's not realistic for them to know the answers. Still, I will say that I liked their help more than a "hint hotline".

          The puzzles to me were challenging, but I did like them more than current puzzles as they were more unique and less math based. I'm able to solve SHA puzzles on my own, but even in my 20s there are current games that have puzzles I have to seek help to solve because they are so technical and lately haven't had a lot of instruction.

          And Charleena.....I wanted to like her, I really did. But she makes it so hard, even in TRN!

          I took you by the hand and we stood tall
          And remembered our own land, what we lived for...

          ..........¸×´¨¯¨`+¸There will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears
          ..........`·-·*......) And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears
          ................¸.×´Get over your hill and see what you find there
          ...............`×.,¸_¸,.×´.©......*·-·' With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair


          • #6
            Poppy Drew - I do like how Bess/George/Frank/Joe give such clever hints & it's definitely an aspect that I miss when I'm playing newer games! These clues would just fit better if Nancy had given them a bit more background information, I'd say. I forgot that Charleena reappears later in the series but I really didn't like how she pushed her book on Nancy in SHA because it gave off the impression that she had an ulterior motive for helping out with the mystery. Interestingly, I always thought (until recently) that the only game based on one of the classic books was Secret of the Old Clock. I don't know how I missed that!

            Scheherazade - I'm glad to hear that I'm not a total lone wolf when it comes to my thoughts on SHA! GTH is another game that I had a couple of issues with, but that's a story for another board! Don't get me wrong, though - there are plenty of mysteries that I absolutely love. :)

            Thanks for your thoughts!


            • #7
              I loved your review and rated it five stars. I am one of those that holds SHA in the top games. While some of it wasn't reasonable one of the selling features for that game is that it is well organized. You cannot get to day 2 until you finish everything for day one. I haven't seen a well organized game in a long time so I can appreciate this one so much.

              I am not a country person either so I kinda of liked the chores.

              Thank you so much for such a solid great review.


              • #8
                Thank you, Clueless in SA! I did like that I could tell I was making serious progress in the game when the days changed, and I enjoyed the scenes that played each night. In some games you can set your alarm so many times that you begin to wonder if Nancy's been on the case for a month!


                • #9
                  I agree with your statement about the color schemes. It was colorless and drab. The western/cowboy style isn't for everyone. But it was so funny when Nancy said that she only 'sort of' has a boyfriend. Nancy doesnt have time for boys!


                  • #10
                    This was one of my top 5 ND games but I loved your review as well and you came up with some very good points like when Nancy calls home and can't get through. Why did they add home number for her to call then if she wasn't going to talk? That to me just did not make much sense.

                    I loved the story line behind the phantom horse though. Some characters were boring like Mary, couldn't stand her but that is my opinion. Loved Dave and Shorty seemed a bit on funny side. The chores, however, were a bit much. And always bridle your horse for Tex before leaving ranch was also unnecessary. But loved your review.
                    MY TOP FIVE ND GAMES:
                    Shadow at the Water's Edge
                    Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake
                    Curse of Blackmoor Manor
                    The Secret of Shadow Ranch
                    White Wolf of Icicle Creek



                    • #11
                      What an interesting spin on a review! I have to say I loved your review & opinion's about this game. I bought this in a 2 pack; the other game was CUR which is the one I really wanted to play. I popped this game in, and like you said, I lacked interest in the story line. I'm not one for western's so I wasn't as excited to play this game, and I also needed many hints, and a walk through to complete the last puzzle before the culprit catches you because I had no idea what to do & got lost very easily.
                      SCK, STFD, MHM, TRT, FIN, DOG, CAR, DDI, SHA, CUR,CRE, HAU, SAW, TOT
                      Also played & finished, ICE, CRY. CLK & TRN