Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor
First posted on 15 April 2011. Last updated on 21 November 2014.
Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor is the 11th game in the Nancy Drew series developed by Her Interactive. For gamers who may not be familiar with Nancy Drew, she is a teenaged American detective who gets to fly around the world solving mysteries that are seemingly insolvable for others. Nancy's innate curiosity combined with determination always leads her to the solution of the crime—as well as into danger.
This time, Nancy is urged to travel to England to check up on the daughter of a neighbor of hers. Linda has not been herself since marrying diplomat Hugh Penvellyn and moving to England to live at the family estate. She refuses to leave her room (even her very bed) and will not allow anyone to see her. There are other strange goings-on at the estate as well, such as voices howling in the night and flashing red eyes startling visitors at the manor's doorway. Nancy is left to wonder if there is a supernatural influence at work—or perhaps an influence that is a bit more mundane...
After meeting Nigel Mookerjee, a writer staying at the mansion working on the Penvellyn family history, Nancy discovers that there is indeed a family curse. The curse reaches back centuries to the era of witch burnings and supposedly turns present day family members into wolves. Is this even possible? Nancy is again left wondering. She is taken aback when, during a particular evening, she sees Linda's hand reaching from behind the bed curtain. The hand is covered in hair! Of course, being the levelheaded girl she is, Nancy does not immediately believe in the family curse. Instead, she keeps an open mind and explores all possibilities to search for a more sounding explanation (which is great fun). All along the investigation into the family's history and the residents at the manor, you get to play the guessing game along with Nancy. Is the family truly the target of an age-old curse? Or is Linda (as well as Nancy) just the victim of foul play?
As with all previous titles in the Nancy Drew series, this game is great fun to play. The ease of the interface makes it a joy to play whether you are a novice (particularly young girl) gamer or a seasoned adventure fan. The game uses a classic point-and-click interface. At the bottom of the screen lies the Menu, Tools, Journal, Cell Phone, and Help icons. The Menu lets you change system options such as resolution and sound levels. The Cell Phone allows you (as Nancy) to talk to Ned and Mrs. Petrov (Linda's mother) as well as to surf the internet for information about in-game clues as they appear. Some puzzles require a bit of effort such as securing a key or a poem, while other puzzles are as simple as talking to the resident parrot Lou Lou. In general, the puzzles in this game are a bit difficult, at least compared to earlier games in the series. While there are hints to be gained from the books in the library, other characters at the estate, and even the in-game internet, the game can be a challenge for novice sleuths. (The game offers 2 levels of difficulty: Senior Detective and Junior Detective.) Like all other Nancy Drew games, this game is meant for a single player, though you may quickly find yourself wishing for a partner to help out!
The music is relaxing and surrounds you with a feeling of comfort and ease when exploring the magnificent mansion and sceneries. It is well done and not too distracting. The graphics are attractive. Every room of the manor is a delight to explore. The jewel toned colors catch the eye with every turn, and objects are rendered so beautifully that some of them look almost real. It is all too easy to get immersed totally in this game, with the music drawing you in like a symphony and the graphics keeping you there longing to stay for as long as possible.
Nancy Drew: Curse of the Blackmoor Manor is truly a jewel (no pun intended) in Her Interactive's crown. It is lovely to look at, has great storytelling, and is just plain fun to play. The game can be difficult in some areas, but if you are an experienced Nancy Drew sleuth like me, you will enjoy the challenge.