An avid Nancy Drew fan will report, there are simply no 'bad' games by Her Interactive. When that title screen loads and the theme music signifying a brilliant mystery begins, all of sudden, we all become Junior (or Senior) detectives. Many a time we have been brought face-to-face with Nancy's desk, rifled through her notes, and agree to take on many a problem in the search for a solution. Now that there are 32 main games and a Salem, MA-based mystery coming out in November, it's time to bare all and rank our favorite playthroughs. Are we up for a sleuth? Absolutely... Time to revisit a personal top ten favorites list.
10 Secrets Can Kill, The Remastered Edition
As someone who has played (and replayed) every game in the series, it can be confirmed that ranking these games is not easy. Therefore, it had to be done in terms of fun factor. Secrets Can Kill had to be on this list because it was the original -- not to mention, it was such a massive game that it came on two CDs. For both nostalgia and the thrill of a high school mystery, this is the lowest ranked, but still in the top ten. The remaster improved all the old issues, making this truly one for the books.
9 Message In A Haunted Mansion
Message in a Haunted Mansion was so incredible simply because it was so creepy. There are plenty of other games that followed suit with ghosts and the paranormal but, as any true detective knows, there's always a scientific reason behind the bumps in the night. In this case, they were discovered behind secret doors and with deciphered codes.
To memory, this was the first game that encompassed everything there is to love about the Her Interactive series, complete with sketchy characters and Victorian decor.
8 The Silent Spy
This game was beautifully done as it was one of the later PC games to come out, and the story was brilliant (then again, aren't they all?). We don't know much about Nancy's mother but it was through this game that her past was brought to life. It's up to the player to work their way through Kate Drew's past in Scotland, taking on the same mission she once held years before. Not only was the mystery in this game fluid but the gameplay was flawless. A little danger never hurt anyone and this game was as action-packed as can be with none a dull moment.
7 The White Wolf Of Icicle Creek
The 16th game in the series takes place in Alberta, Canada, which was, in itself, an intriguing start. Half the fun of playing these games is learning where the next mystery will take a player and this one did not disappoint. From lunch-making to explosions and everything in between, it's the white wolf who truly becomes the hero in this game. Various puzzles and accusations will lead the player to the end of the game where they find themselves in a heart-pounding scenario before finding an escape route... Really, would Nancy have it any other way?
6 Shadow At The Water's Edge
This is most definitely up there with the most memorable playthroughs of any game. Not only does Nancy travel to Japan, but all of Tokyo (and beyond) are available via train. It was as close to open-world as you can get in a PC game such as this and it was riveting. The music was tremendous and fitting and each character was dynamic and engaging. Not to mention, there were definitely a few memorable jump-scares during several cutscenes. Leave it to Nancy to test her skills at Sodoku while hunting down a malicious poltergeist at the same time... All while making Bento boxes!
5 Warning At Waverly Academy
Yet another memorable playthrough was Warning at Waverly Academy. This game was unique in the sense that Nancy is sent to investigate the goings-on at a private school, and it was unlike any other game in the series up to that point. This game was very interview-focused and required the player to get a genuine feel for each character they'd interact with. Under the alias of the 'Black Cat', Nancy gets repeated threats from someone attempting to sabotage the class of valedictorians... Friendly competition or danger zone? We'll just have to replay it to find out.
4 Ghost Dogs Of Moon Lake
Another personal favorite was Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, mainly because this was absolutely a game that should be played at midnight, in the dark. Spooks aside, this game had some seriously tense moments when it came to stepping out of the cabin at night.
If the creepy environment wasn't enough, the player was encouraged to go through a string of interesting, outdoorsy-themed puzzles in order to get close to solving the mystery. However, it was the story that kept us so enamored. Mickey Malone, a post-prohibition era cabin, and his ghost dogs? Sign us up.
3 The Creature Of Kapu Cave
This game came out just prior to the last and was an absolute blast to play. While not as challenging as some of the other games, the player can enjoy taking in the island life... for a short while, anyway! Joined by the Hardy Boys, it's up to Nancy to play the role of a research assistant in order to figure out what's plaguing this Hawaiian island. The unique puzzles are only part of what made this game so memorable; teamwork with the Hardy boys as well as a seemingly endless list of unique activities is what cemented this game in our memories.
2 Danger On Deception Island
While staying stateside, Nancy takes on a case of vandalism and a threatening note. Being the ninth game in this series, it was surprisingly unparalleled in fluidity and graphics nature. Each character was well-thought-out and provided just enough information to keep the story going, and the outside environment was perfectly fitting for the story. This entire game had a sense of foreboding throughout and providing the perfect balance of eerie and thrilling. Not to mention, the player has the chance to kayak and go orca-watching.
1 The Secret Of The Old Clock
If The Secret of the Old Clock was to be described in one word, it would surely be 'charming'. Personally, there is no 'best' game because they're all incredible... but this one is undoubtedly a top favorite. Everything about it, from a timeline set in the year 1930 to the historical references to the Great Depression, made this game a work of vintage art. The music, the characters, and even the environment that the Lilac Inn had been designed around were pure magic for players. The town itself was old-timey and made one feel as though they had actually journeyed back to solve a decades' old mystery.