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on July 9, 2008
IF your like me you have probably played all the Nancy Drews games. (some probably more then once) but if not dont worry. The good thing about these games is you can start at any game and not feel like youve missed anything. Nancy Drew and The Phantom of Venice was a great game. I have to say out of the 18 games there are this one is in my top 5.The Story line is very exciting. An elusive phantom is stealing from Venice. He wears a mask and no one can seem to figure out who he (or she!) is! so thats why the police of Venice call on YOU as Nancy Drew to crack the case. Your undercover and ready to uncover all the secrets Venice has to offer. The characters are fun to talk to, the music is new and goes right along with the Venice theme, the puzzles and games are a challenge and the graphics have progressed so much in the last few games. If you cant wait for the game after this one there is a teaser about the next game after you finish this one...But im not going to tell you what it is! Thats something your have to sleuth out on your own!
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on July 15, 2008
OK. I've played all of the ND games, and though this is not as good as the first ones, it is very good. Here is my review.

The Plot: In this game, you play as Nancy Drew who is working for the government organization called the GdiF. Your goal is to uncover the phantom who has been stealing Venice's valuable artwork. Even though the idea of a teenager working for the government is highly unlikely, you were somehow able to believe it in this game! I would give the plot a 10/10.

The Puzzles: The puzzles in this game were very easy in my opinion. They were not nearly challenging enough. The good thing about the puzzles were that many of them were more like mini-games. Therefore, you can play them over and over. I give the puzzles a hesitant 7/10.

The Characters: The characters were very well developed in this game. They were all realistic and believable. You felt like you knew them by the end of the game.

The Length: This game was just a tad short. Not as short as the previous game, Creature of Kapu Cave, but still pretty short. It only took me 3 days to solve! I give the length a 7/10.

Overall: This game was good. It was almost as good as the first ones, but not quite. If this is your first ND game, I would start with a different one. If you've already played the other games, I think you will really enjoy this one!

Hope I helped!
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on August 27, 2008
Nancy Drew 18: The Phantom Of Venice

-Before I Begin...
My review will be spilt up into sections and have a in-depth look at that topic. If you hate reading medium/long reviews or just don't have the patience I would not continue reading, but if you want to learn the most about the product before you buy it you'll continue.

-Interface
The game uses a point-and-click interface (meaning you click in a direction to move from environment to environment), which is easy to use and has been the preferred way for all eighteen games. On the bottom of the screen are the inventory, checklist, notebook, PDA (new icon for this game), save, load, settings, and exit icons. On the top of the screen there is Nancy's purse and her fashion icons. The fashion icon shows an outline of Nancy and what she is currently wearing. The PDA icon opens Nancy's PDA which has three features which come in handy with her undercover mission. I like this interface and I find it easy to use and the "Second Chance" option is great because you don't have to restart the whole game if you don't want to.
*****

-Plot
Nancy is off to Venice, Italy, where she has been hired by the Gdif (Italian Police) to stop Il Fantasma (Phantom) dead in its tracks. This game has by far the most detailed plot in the series. The story has many twists and turns and leaves you guessing until the very end. It is so detailed and intriguing that you never want to stop playing the game. The plot flows along nicely and you don't come to an unexpected abrupt end like some past games (Usually leaving you with many questions instead of answers). Kudos to the writers at Her Interactive because the story is so great!
*****

-Characters
There are five characters, each with different personalities, in this game. There are three main characters who preside at the Ca' Nascosta: Colin Baxter, Margherita Fauberg, and Helena Berg. Colin is an art restorer (with a rather noticeable crush on Nancy) who is working for Margherita. Margherita is a snooty Venetian socialite wannabe who owns the Ca'. Other characters include Enrico Tazza, the owner of Casa Di Giochi (House Of Game), and Antonio Fango, the electronics engineer and possible criminal Nancy is sent to spy on. Phone characters include Ned, and Prudence Rutherford, from Secret Of The Scarlet Hand (her voice can get very annoying after a while though!) All in all these characters were great. However one of the characters you do not even talk to at all in the game, but still a very important character. There was more character interaction than previous games but still not as much as I would have liked.
****

-Setting & Graphics
The setting was absolutely beautiful! It was so incredibly lifelike, from the glittering water to the old architecture in the squares and palazzos. It really was top notch. There were people talking in the background in Italian and although you couldn't see them it made the environment come to life with the rich Italian culture. There is even an activity in which you must know basic Italian to complete a mission. The graphics were also very beautiful and detailed. Each game progresses more and more with the graphics. Overall the Setting & Graphics were one of the best features of the game and really boosted the experience.
*****

-Puzzles/Activities
There was a good mix of puzzles and activities in this game, and there were no filler puzzles. Also a good thing is absolutely NO chores unlike ICE, which included constant cooking & cleaning. There were a lot of new puzzles, plenty of codes and numbers and a lot of snooping & spying. The "Nancy Undercover" idea is really stressed in this game. You have to wear disguises, you have to plant bugs in people's everyday items, spy on someone and eavesdrop a couple times. Nancy was definitely on a mission in this game! On a difficulty level there is a good mix of easy, medium, and a couple of hard puzzles. None of the puzzles were overly frustrating.
*****

-Ending
Sensibly the ending is the hardest part of the game. You have to navigate your way through a very different take on a maze. I don't want to spoil the ending, but I definitely found the ending pretty tough because it also includes a timed puzzle. Anyways, the ending made sense and everything clicked without a hitch, so you won't be like "What the heck?" when you get to the end. Also all your questions are answered at the very end, so no worries.
*****

-Overall
I can honestly say this is the most exciting Nancy Drew game to date. The setting was magnificent, the puzzles weren't overly challenging but some were, and the plot was simply outstanding. You will not be disappointed with this game at all, it really is a incomparable to previous games like ICE, DAN or CRE. Her Interactive did a fantastic job on this game, I can't wait for the next one! The Haunting Of Castle Malloy

Add all these up and divide by 6...
5 *'s (Interface)
5 *'s (Plot)
4 *'s (Characters)
5 *'s (Setting & Graphics)
5 *'s (Puzzles/Activites)
5 *'s (Ending)
= 29 Stars Divide By 6 (Categories) = 4.8 = Rounded to 5 Stars

-Recommended Games
Danger On Deception Island
Last Train To Blue Moon Canyon
The Secret Of Shadow Ranch
The Haunted Carousel

Thanks for reading my review!
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We have enjoyed all of the Nancy Drew games so far and The Phantom of Venice is not an exception. Here are my observations:

This game has a great interface and it is very easy to master moving "Nancy" and accessing the inventory.

Some of the puzzles were a little less challenging this time around (we did have to look up a "cheat" for one), but still very fun.

The plot was better than average and was a very good mystery.

The game play time was a little shorter than previous Nancy Drew games.

We played this as a family (12, 16, & adult) over three days and everyone enjoyed it.

We recommended this and the entire series for good family entertainment!
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on July 14, 2008
I have gotten all the Nancy Drew Series. But this is by far the best and most entertaining and educational!! I have been to Venezia and awaited with much anticipation for the Phantom of Venice and I was not at all disappointed but enthused by everything it has to offer. I speak Italian but found the way they had of teaching others was surely one for the books of learning any language with much ease and enjoyment! I look forward to putting my cat suit on and dancing in the club! lol got many boos at first but became a dancing queen in no time and worked har for my euros to get all those Italian shoes!! I was even happy to pick through the debris throughout Venice to earn extra money. (even though Venice is pretty meticulous) I love Scopa!!! A favorite card game of mines and several times played endless games with "Enrico"! The Phantom of Venice was never boring! It had tons of excitement and puzzles that will keep you on your toes. Che` Brava` Nancy Drew!!! Complimento!! Who ever gets this series will love it! I give it 10 stars if I could!! Buon` Fortuna tutti!!!(Good Fortune Every one!)
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VINE VOICEon January 10, 2009
In Nancy's eighteenth adventure from HerInteractive, Nancy makes good use of her passport in her second international outing, this time to Venice, Italy during Carnevale. Her old friend Prudence Rutherford (first heard from in Nancy Drew: Secret of the Scarlet Hand) has enlists her to discover the identity of the Phantom, a masked robber who's been making off with priceless antiques. The mysterious Phantom escapes detection, having knowledge of the security systems for each site.

Nancy's home base is Prudence's old palazzo, the Ca' Nascosta, now in a sad state of disrepair after Prudence sold it to a penny-pinching, ladder-climbing socialite. Nancy shares a room with Helena Berg, a young German journalist who is in love with Venice and hopes to move there. A British art restorer, Colin Baxter, develops a huge crush on Nancy while working on the Ca' and tries in vain to win her affection.

Italian culture is everywhere, and Nancy must even learn some basic Italian in order to participate in an important stakeout. You carry an Italian dictionary, which comes in useful for translating signs and documents. The background audio includes several conversations in Italian, but if you don't speak Italian, these aren't crucial to the game. Many times, characters are simply commenting on the Phantom and his adventures, or about personal events. Also included are several flavors of Italian gelato, the Italian card game Scopa, the various Carnevale masks, and Venetian architecture.

Nancy is working with the Guardia di Finanza, Italy's version of the FBI, to track the Phantom. Because it's Carnevale season, there aren't enough officers to tail him, so Nancy is given a PDA with tracking capabilities. There are several possible suspects, including Antonio Fango, the shady IT dealer who works across from Nancy's temporary residence, Enrico Tazza , a member of the Machiano Crime Syndicate and a fence for stolen goods , Colin, who has past secrets to hide, and the mysterious (and ungracious) hostess La Contessa Margherita Fauberg. Nancy has three modes of transportation: on foot (free), via vaporetto (water taxi, free), or by singing gondolier (between five and fifteen euros per trip). The main map is clearly laid out and is easy to navigate.

Like Nancy Drew: Secret Of the Old Clock, Nancy must earn money in order to purchase items needed in her investigation, including books and costume accessories. You begin the game with 200 Euros, and if you budget very wisely, you won't need extra money (those fashionable shopping trips, gelato cones and singing gondoliers really add up!). If you find yourself running short, there are several ways to earn extra income, including dancing in a nightclub dressed as a slinky black cat (!).I loved the variety of the nightclub dancing, although the character animation was jerky and I would have liked to see Nancy move more than just rotating her wrist in-between moves. From my own experience, you can earn between two to over thirty euros per dance depending on how well you nail the cues (for the hearing-impaired: the dance cues are auditory, but flashing colored lights also tell you which colored button to press).

I played the game on the Senior Detective level, which offers fewer step-by-step hints (there's no to-do list, for one) and more difficult puzzles, and the majority of the puzzles were sufficiently intuitive, but still challenging. The graphics are gorgeous as always; in scenes of the canals, visible from your bedroom balcony, the water ripples in real time. If you choose to ride a gondola (the amount varies depending on the gondolier), you're treated to a combination of still photos of Venice and rendered scenery which proves quite effective (along with the various Italian-language serenades taken from Italian opera and popular songs). Unlike some prior greats such as Nancy Drew: The Legend of the Crystal Skull and Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor, the actual story in "Phantom of Venice" is spread a bit thin; the game could have benefitted from one or two additional suspects. But the variety of puzzles, some of which are new to the series (stakeouts, tracking, jewel heists), and the inclusion of Italian culture make up for these shortcomings.
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on January 20, 2012
This was my first Nancy Drew game and I was very impressed. I thought maybe it was targeted for kids and wouldn't be much of a challenge for an adult who has played several of these types of games, but I was wrong. Because I wasn't expecting much difficulty, I jumped into the senior detective mode (instead of junior detective) and it gave my brain a really good work out. There were times that I made the rounds repeatedly to all the locations and talked to everyone available and clicked on every possible item, but wasn't getting any additional information so I knew I must have important clues staring me in the face that hadn't registered with me yet. It was usually when I took a break from the game for a little while that it would come to me what I needed to do.

It took me about a week to complete the game, playing for a couple hours each day. When I got done, I started it again to see what the junior detective mode was like and found it gave more hints and a checklist of items to do, so that might be a better choice for people who enjoy the overall process with less frustration. The senior detective mode was perfect for me because I like the sense of accomplishment I feel when I finally figure out what I need to do!

The graphics were good. The characters were interesting. I learned a little about Venice, chess, Chinese characters, a card game called scopa, the Italian language... All in all, I got more than got my money's worth!
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on June 15, 2011
I love all the Nancy Drew games, and usually they work on my Windows 7 64-bit PC... But this one does not. The game crashes when I launch it, and I followed HER's instructions[...] and also reinstalled DirectX afterwards.
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on September 27, 2013
The 18th game in the Nancy Drew series, "The Phantom of Venice," pits Nancy against a circle of thieves in Venice, Italy. While investigating, Nancy discovers that the robberies seem to be connected to someone in the house where she is staying. Following clues...and intercepting a few carrier pigeons...Nancy finds that the case may be more dangerous than she ever thought.

While the story is not ridiculously complex, it is effective. Unique to most Nancy Drew games, the "Phantom of Venice" begins at the end, allowing the great majority of the game to take place during a flashback. (Without including spoilers, of course!) A rather unlikely scenario explains Nancy's involvement with the case. Nancy is working with an Italian crime-fighting agency to dig into the robberies. Her main contact is Sophia, who gives Nancy various information and instructions throughout the game via mobile phone. The game is primarily plot driven, a relief after playing the puzzle-saturated "Shadow at the Water's Edge." Even puzzles which at first appear confusing will generally have simple explanations and are not difficult to carry out.

"The Phantom of Venice" continues the Nancy Drew tradition of four visible in-game characters that Nancy can interact with. (There is a fifth character that Nancy spies on but never interacts with). As per usual, there are additional characters reachable over the telephone. However, the crux of character interaction is with the main four. The first of the entourage is Margherita, the proprietor of the house Nancy is staying in and a women who spends entirely too much time sunbathing. Also in the house are Helena, a German journalist, and Colin, a man obsessed with colored tiles. Outside the venerable old home and in the city is Enrico, a thief who, next to jewels, lives for the card game of Scopa. Nancy can converse with them, although the conversations are not as insightful or interesting as in some other games in the Nancy Drew series. Over two different phones, Nancy can speak to two unseen characters; Prudence Rutherford, an extremely annoying character, and Sophia, an Italian agent. Consistent with most adventure games, visible characters can always be found in the same places, occasionally vacating their spots so that Nancy can look through their things. Besides communications with Sophia, phone calls play a relatively minor role in the game.

The creators of the game made an effort to give an extra dash of Venetian culture to the plot by using Venetian masks and characters from Italian fairy-tales for code-names of the thieves. However, it would have been nicer if these motifs had been capitalized on even more. Similarly to other games in the Nancy Drew series, history and lore are only tasted, leaving the games shallower rather than deeper. In fact, one of the most interesting aspects of the plot in "The Phantom of Venice" was the unseen character of Samantha Quick. During Nancy's investigation, she poses as Samantha to collect information. Samantha's identity is not discovered, but players are intentionally left wondering, (to quote the game) "who is she?"

The animation in this game is nicely done. While not absolutely outstanding, it serves its purpose very well. The main house is decent, with a well-executed view of Venice from the rooftop. There is also a nice (albeit limited) street scene outside the house next to one of the canals. The other locations in the game are reached by an interactive map which can be navigated by clicking on different locations. A number of sites include empty piazzas (voices in the background indicate that people are present somewhere) which serve as hubs for entering additional buildings. Nancy is generally allowed to enter one, or two, rooms inside most of the accessible buildings. Unfortunately, it is not possible to actually walk around much of the Venetian streets to soak in the atmosphere. Functionality being placed before atmosphere is a one of the downfalls of the Nancy Drew series. While there was more to see of Venice in this game than New Orleans in "Legend of the Crystal Skull," it would have been nice to navigate more of the streets instead of relying solely on a map and hub locations.

One point of the game I must give a shout-out to is the interactive Italian card game of Scopa. I had never heard of this card game before I played it in "The Phantom of Venice". It turned out to be a very enjoyable game. So much so, in fact, that there is now a real-life Scopa card set at my house!

The interface of the game is attractive and simple to use. It is not distracting, and is in general self-explanatory. Movement, as in all Nancy Drew games, is depicted by a yellow arrow. A magnifying glass serves as the general mouse icon and will light up when there is an object of interest or someone who can be spoken to. As usual, the game employs the series' signature "second chance" option, eliminating concerns about losing the game and starting over. The in-game hints are quite helpful and unusually thorough, accessible through the landline telephone at the house.

While "Phantom of Venice" is not a perfect game, it is an enjoyable and relatively simple game. The animation is satisfactory, the locations, while not outstanding, are certainly not bad, and the story is decent. The game includes some really enjoyable features like the game of Scopa and is focused more on the plot and action as opposed to solving massive amounts of puzzles.
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on May 9, 2012
This is a great game! Below is what I think about the different sections of it.
Characters: *** I think that they could have made them all more mysterious. There were plenty of characters though.
Graphics: ***** They were excellent graphics.
Length: ***** Not too long, not too short
Storyline: **** The story line is very mysterious and indulging.
Exploring: ***** There was so much to explore!
Overall rating: *****
Really good game. I love it!
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