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Quick Fun Loaded with Goodies

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  • Quick Fun Loaded with Goodies

    Quick Fun Loaded with Goodies

    Welcome to my review of Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses!

    As the first installment of the great Dossier series, Lights, Camera, Curses! finds Nancy Drew on the set of a film shoot. Like all of the Nancy Drew games, the goal is to find clues and solve the mystery. Unlike the long-standing Adventure series, the Dossier games follow a fairly strict sequence of events, and isn’t entirely guided by the gamer. For instance, when Nancy has accomplished a task in one area, we don’t get to choose where she goes next—the game automatically takes us there. We also don’t get to wander around any given area as we would in the other games; rather, you look at the scene and search for hidden items, and pair them up where necessary (for instance, you might need to pair a wrench with a cap that’s stuck closed, the goal being to open and remove the cap). Nancy isn’t just looking for hidden objects for the sake of the activity; there’s purpose to what she’s locating—she’s then using the items to help her with her investigation. Unlike other hidden-object games, you still interact with characters and solve mini-puzzles (such as lockpicking). Points are accumulated as you solve puzzles, correctly pair items, and select the correct dialogue responses with the suspects. These points are used to advance your detective standing, with the final ranking being that of Ultimate Private Eye. The gameplay is very straightforward, with a tutorial at the beginning of the case and at the introduction of each mini-game. The story is easy to understand, you can’t really get stuck, and it’s a fun adventure if you only have a little bit of time on your hands, or if you don’t feel like delving into a longer, more in-depth mystery.

    As noted above, in this particular case, Nancy is investigating the filming of a new movie. There have been accidents on set and the film producer wants Nancy to figure out who is responsible. There’s also been a black cat running rampant, and you’re tasked with capturing the feline. There are four characters you meet: the producer, director, actress, and financier. It's up to Nancy Drew to figure out which of the quartet is responsible for the troubles occurring on set. In my opinion, the characters are rather bland. Perhaps that's because this is the first of the
    Dossier side series and the company didn't think to flesh them out a bit more. I, at least, did not particularly care for them.

    There are mini-games throughout the story. One of the nice features of this series that the Adventure brand lacks is Arcade Mode, where, after you've solved the mystery, you can go in and play the mini-games. This is a great addition if you just want to play around and solve some puzzles, but not worry about playing through the whole case. There are bonus activities and items, as well. Scattered throughout some of the chapters (the game is broken up into chapters, I should add) you may be able to find hidden audio diaries. They are a fun extra that are not required to be found. They just add a little extra oomph, which I quite enjoy.

    The artwork is primarily 2D, which separates it from the other Nancy Drew games. The characters, however, are 3D. The scenes are drawn really well, and there's a distinct colour theme that is consistent throughout the many locations. The music is perfectly fitting for an Egyptian-themed film set. This too carries throughout, though each space you investigate tends to carry its own musical score.

    I highly enjoy the
    Dossier series. It is quite different from the Adventure series, and therefore should not be compared against those games. As a hidden-object game, it's a great deal of fun. I do prefer the sequel, but still found this premiere of the series engaging and worth playing. I do hope that the series is eventually continued. I had high hopes for the third game, Ship of Shadows. I will continue to mention it in hopes that it will help convince the company to release that installment.

    Now, to conclude my review, a rating shall be given.
    Lights, Camera, Curses! was a promising start for the Dossier series. Perhaps because I enjoy the second game better, and so I know what can be achieved in these stories, I have rated this game 8/10. It was a great start in this line of games, the inclusion of Arcade Mode was brilliant, and the extra goodies scattered throughout (and at the end) are a big part of what makes this game stand out.

    Eustacia Andropov: Nancy Drew. The snoopy one. You are not dead yet?
    Nancy Drew: Uh, no.
    Eustacia Andropov: Most people, I talk to them one day, next day they are dead. It is an old age thing.

    -- Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake –