53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2010
Nancy Drew 1: Secrets Can Kill REMASTERED
-Before I Begin...
My review will be spilt up into sections and have a in-depth look at that topic. Then at the end of the review I round up the stars and give an overall rating.
**Also you should know that this is not a completely new release by Her Interactive, it is a refresh of their very first game ever, which was made in 1998 and is rather outdated. With that said, I have not played the original Secrets Can Kill (except for the very beginning until I got frustrated with the two disk swapping, impossible to navigate, no direction of the game). So I do not know all the differences of the original compared to this Remastered edition.
First off you should now that the original Secrets Can Kill (SCK) had a much different interface than this game does. SCK was very hard to navigate and play in with comparison to the refreshingly simple one in this game: Secrets Can Kill Remastered (SCK2). The inventory, task list, journal, and the camera icons are all new to SCK2. I love the interface Her Interactive uses, and is so much better to play in than the difficult original game.
Finally, the first (and only thus far) plot surrounding a murder. You may have noticed with 98% of the Nancy Drew games that the plots are pretty tame. They usually revolving around a treasure, mysterious accidents, sabotage, or, every so often, a kidnapping. This game is refreshing because somebody was killed and there is a vicious murder on the loose. I was instantly intrigued and as you played through the game, the plot thickened and grew even more interesting as you questioned suspects and gained leads. And don't worry, the murder isn't shown or described in a gory detail (Her Interactive would never go higher than an E 10+ Rating) so you shouldn't worry about scaring yourself or any children playing this game. Although I would definitely say this game is older kids who can understand what is going on a little better because there is a steroid reference, a tiny bit of violence, and blackmail. Overall this simple plot is very entertaining and appeals to even older audiences.
The characters have been rendered from 2D in SCK, to 3D for SCK2. From the pictures I have seen, the 3D characters are a huge improvement from the lifeless 2D ones. Her Interactive did a great job at developing each character and giving them a distinct personality, background and motive for killing the school bully Jake Rogers. Also, SCK2 has a brand new character! If you would like to be surprised on who it is then don't read any further about the charcters. The new character is very helpful in solving the case, his name is Detective Beech and he hangs out at Maxine's Diner. He is pretty uptight and old compared to all the young teenager characters, but he is a great addition to the mix. The interaction with the characters was great too, there was a lot to talk about if you exhaust every question and find every clue. You felt like you were really getting to know the characters as real people, I had my own deductions and suspicions of each and every character. These characters and their interactions are what makes a fantastic Nancy Drew game that we know and love. I was throughly impressed with these characters!
-Setting & Graphics
The graphics in this game are absolutey beautiful and realistic. They did a great job at updating the original 1998 graphics, which were very cheesy looking (no offense). There are three different locations you can explore from smallest to largest, Aunt Eloise's House, Maxine's Diner and Paseo Del Mar High School. The school is eerie and realistic, and the diner has a interesting 50's vibe to it. I loved exploring and snooping around every corner of the library and school grounds. The diner and Aunt Eloise's are pretty limited in exploring, but you will spending a majority of your time at the high school anyway. Personally I would have liked more to explore (but I always want more to explore anyway) in the school and Aunt Eloise's. Like seeing Nancy's room, searching a classroom for clues or getting food at the Maxine's diner. But Her Interactive still did a great job with the environments, and they managed to fit the entire game onto to a single disc.
The puzzles in this game are very straightforward and only midly challenging. I understand because this was the first game that Her Interactive ever made, so they didn't really have a grasp on their puzzlemaking skills. Most of the puzzles are word/code puzzles which are fun and easy to figure out. But each of those little puzzles adds a piece to the ultimate puzzle near the end of the mystery which is only in SCK2, not the original. There were not a lot of puzzles so the game felt pretty short, I think I finished in about 2-3 hours on my first try. Also you can breathe a sigh of relief if you were expecting chores to be in this game, but there are NONE! The high school students don't ask for favors, they don't ask you to fix anything, they don't ask you to do their homework or anything else! It was very refreshing after the burdensome Trail Of The Twister. That's another reason why this is a great game, Nancy is focused solely on the mystery, not on being the gopher for every single character, which is something that has been detrimenting these Nancy Drew games for a while now. Overall, I enjoyed the puzzles and I only wish there were a bit more of them.
The only word I can say about the ending is: WOW! I saw the original ending of SCK on YouTube and saw why they changed it for SCK2. There is a huge twist at the end that really surprised me and the defeating the culprit was logical and brilliant! I loved how you could really make your own judgement at the end and use the knowledge you have accumulated over the game to catch the culprit. All I can say is pay attention to the details of the game and you will suceed. Her Interactive gave a really great heartpumping ending to a short but sweet mystery. I was impressed, they even tied up every last "loose end".
While you don't see the actual murder of Jake Rogers or Jake's body, the game was pretty spooky. Walking around the halls of the lonely high school was scary in it's own right. The library had some pretty scary sounds too, it felt like there was someone following you. Nothing ever really jumps out to scare you, but I was on edge with all the creepy sounds and scary music. The fact that a murderer is out on the loose also gives you the creeps, but this game is nowhere near as scary as Curse of Blackmoor Manor.
I can honestly say that I have fallen in love with Nancy Drew all over again! This game has all the great factors that make it a standout, yet classic Nancy Drew title. There is a thrilling plot, fun puzzles, intersting characters and a spooky setting. Her Interactive did a fantastic job at remastering this game for Nancy's 80th Anniversary. The graphics are beautiful, its so much easier to navigate, no disc swapping, the characters are 3D and awesome, and the ending is just great! I would definitely recommend this game to all Nancy Drew fans, even if you have played SCK before, SCK2 has new clues and secrets to uncover. Also if you are new to Nancy Drew, this would be a great first game to try because the puzzles are straightforward and the plot is great. Secrets Can Kill Remastered is definitely one of my favorite Nancy Drew games ever! It is pretty close to Phantom Of Venice and Danger On Deception Island for me. As a side note, I also really hope that Her Interactive remasters other games, especially Stay Tuned For Danger because the characters are waxy and unrealistic, and you can easily get stuck in the game and have to restart. I am really excited for Nancy's next adventure with Bess & George in Japan! See you next time with Nancy Drew 23: Shadow At The Water's Edge!
Add all these up and divide by 7...
5 *'s (Interface)
5 *'s (Plot)
5 *'s (Characters)
4 *'s (Setting & Graphics)
4 *'s (Puzzles/Activites)
4 *'s (Scare Factor)
5 *'s (Ending)
= 32 Stars Divide By 7 (Categories) = 4.57 = Rounded to 5 Stars
Secrets Can Kill REMASTERED
Warnings At Waverly Academy (See my review of this game)
The Phantom Of Venice (See my review of this game)
Danger On Deception Island
Thanks for reading my review!
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2010
I confess, I've played every Nancy Drew game in order beginning with the original Secrets Can Kill. Playing this remastered version of the first effort is an interesting and fun way to see how the series has changed.
What's the same? The plot remains, although the ending differs significantly. Unlike the typical ND game now, you're solving a serious crime--a murder--and dealing with more adult themes, such as drug use. All of the original characters appear, with what to my memory are their original slightly awkward scripts. You visit the same locations--including the still somewhat difficult to navigate high school hallways that all look alike--and solve many of the same puzzles, which mostly aren't particularly needed to finish the game. Playing the game was definitely not a new experience, and I was not surprised by the culprit because, well, if you've been down this road before you will see it coming. Trust me.
So, where's the remaster? There are some much appreciated technical improvements: the newer, user-friendly interface; the introduction of Nancy's cell phone; the replacement of the old three-level difficulty system with the now-standard Junior/Senior Detective selection; and other good stuff like improved graphics. Thanks to Nancy's notebook, I did not have 150 Post-its with clues all over my desk. The game's main puzzle is new, and the ending is now much more elegant. The developers have replaced a lot of non-essential original content with nods to series games, which gives SCK a bit of a greatest hits feel.
On its own merits, the game--groundbreaking and innovative in its day--doesn't really stand up to its successors. It's easy, it's short, and it's not particularly quirky. If you're a fan of the series, however, it's totally worth playing; due to all of its technical shortcomings, the original SCK isn't very accessible to the modern player, and this version certainly is. Even as a replayer, I'm glad I had the chance to visit with Nancy's history.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2010
HERinteractive, the company who create the Nancy Drew games, decided to remaster the very first game out - Secrets can Kill, for Nancy's 80th Anniversary. I have not played the original game so I won't be comparing it to the original, just judging the game on it's own merits. In this game, Nancy goes undercover as a student at the local high school, where her Aunt lives. Nancy is working with a local police officer, and has the task of finding out what happened to Jake Rodgers, a student who was murdered. The game does not show the body or anything gory, nor does it go into detail about what happened to Jake, so it would be fine for kids to play, but they should have an adult there to explain some of the other things in the game.
When you, as Nancy, arrive in town the first thing to do is meet the other students. All of these kids have something to hide. Daryl works at the local diner, Connie spends most of her time studying, Hal, an exchange student, and Hector, a football player who is obsessed with playing pro ball someday. I found the different students fun and interesting to talk to, so I enjoyed that. You have three places to explore - The diner, Maxine's, the school, and Aunt Eloise's home. To help you out in the game, you also have access to a notebook, a to-do list, and Nancy's trusty phone. The puzzles in the game were not extremely hard, and in fact I didn't need to use spoilers for most of them.
Another special part of the game is that in many places you will be able to see references to the Nancy Drew books, from the book covers to the pictures from inside them. In addition to this, you will also be able to see actual drawings from Nancy Drew fans in the game. I loved this, it was so fun to see all of the amazing artwork. Overall, I found this game really fun and interesting to play. It had a good plot, and interesting characters, and for someone who hadn't played the first, it was great to see how the games first started out!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered" is the re-release of the first game in the Nancy Drew adventure game series which was just simply titled "Secrets Can Kill." Having played both versions, I can say that this game is much better than the original having not only improved many aspects of the game but also having added several new features. Here is the breakdown of what to expect in the game:
Story - You have been called to Paseo Dal Mar High School to solve the murder of a teen guy who was pushed down a flight of stairs after being beat up. A policeman has requested your help, and you are staying at your Aunt Eloise's while going undercover as a new student at school.
Graphics - This was definitely one of the many improvements on the game. The 3D backgrounds have been redone to look even more realistic with more detail in them than before. The 3D characters, while, surprisingly a bit worse than Herinteractive's usual characters, are still very much better than the cartoon characters the first game had.
Sound - The music is pretty much the same although a few new songs have been added. This is actually not bad at all, as the music was pretty good in the original game to begin with. The background sounds are good, and whether it's the sound of a drawer being opened or the static on the tv, it is well done. The voice acting is definitely better for the most part, although for one of the characters it sounds as if the same exact lines were recycled from the first game, and this was slightly disappointing.
Gameplay - Although the first-person point and click interface is the same, there are a LOT of differences with the gameplay. First of all, the arrows that allowed you to look up and down in the original are gone, making this a much smoother play through. Also, in addition to your inventory, you are also provided with a journal for writing down clues, codes, and thoughts; a checklist for telling you what things you need to get done; and a cell phone for calling people anywhere you need to. You are only able to call Ned in the game, and he really only gives hints, which made me wanting more of a conversation with him as in previous games. The puzzles are mostly the same, although a large slightly cumulative puzzle has been added in, making you search for some new things in the game. However, this doesn't add too much of a challenge to the gameplay, and the older puzzles are just as easy as before, although they are slightly harder on Senior Detective Level (this is basically the "hard" level as opposed to the "easy" Junior Detective Level). One location has been taken out of the game (the drugstore, for those of you who have played the older version), and no new locations have been added. There is a new character introduced into the game, however, the Detective Beech who invited you over. There is also a brand new ending to the game with a new culprit. This along with a slightly changed script definitely moved away from following the book, which the game is based on, too closely. As a last change, this game does NOT require the constant changing of the CDs as the first game did, which was definitely a huge improvement.
Length - This newer version of the game has pretty much stayed around the same length of the original game which is about 3-4 hours. It's pretty easy to be able to tell what to do next, and you shouldn't get confused or stuck too often in the game.
Overall, this will probably interest fans of the series who have never played the first game. It may be a bit shorter than the regular games, but it will still be a fun play. As for veterans of the series who have experienced the game already, this is pretty much a very similar yet improved experience. I'll leave it up to you whether you like the game enough to buy this version, but know that not much has been changed in the game to make it a new experience.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2014
I had (still have, though it doesn't run anymore) the original release of Secrets Can Kill, and fondly remember playing it as a kid. This remastered version brought that experience back for me, along with new content and much improved graphics and navigation. I wasn't sure it was worth it to get a game I essentially already had, but I was not disappointed. This game is fun and fresh no matter how well you remember the original.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2010
I love the game and its a much improved version of the first one but the Remastered version seemed very short to me I think there were only 2 puzzles in the whole game which was a bit of a dissapointment because what was there was very fun, and the new ending was good also. still a must have for your collection.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2011
I'm an avid player of the Nancy Drew games series. I downloaded this game on my Mac after beating Crystal Skull on my PC, which had been the most recent title I'd owned. I loved the new interface on this game, and have been stocking up on all the new games since.
I did, however, find this game to be a little too simple. After how challenging the earlier games had been (such as Stay Tuned for Danger or Blackmoor Manor), I was expecting to be playing this game for more than just a few hours. I sat down and knocked the whole thing out in a a single sitting without cheats or any periods of time where I was stumped! It was a nice reintroduction to the series that I hadn't touched in a year or so, but the desire to replay this game is gone. Unlike the other games where I still have a challenge even after beating the game, this game is a total yawn to play over.
That being said, the graphics were nice and the puzzles were fun. I thought the periodic table puzzle was charming and an interesting twist on what is normal for Nancy Drew puzzles. The settings weren't too confusing, and even though some of the exploration was lacking, there was still plenty to see in the highschool and being able to explore Maxine's Diner was unexpected.
The characters weren't the best, in my opinion. I usually find a character or two that I really like in each game, but this one was an exception. Within the first meeting of each character, I found them unlikable. They were all dark people, who only became worse with time. I will admit that all of the secrets each character had made it so that at first, the culprit was hard to determine.
By the time the game was about half-over, I knew who the culprit was. Any seasoned Nancy Drew player would have been able to guess after playing for a while. A very traditional "least expected suspect" kind of thing. I did, however, find the motives to be a nice twist.
I am an 18-year-old player, and found that the game was not scary at all (I have always found The Final Scene and Blackmoor Manor to be 'lights on' kind of titles and yelped a few times while playing Shadow at the Water's Edge). I found the final scene a bit unnerving being held at gunpoint. I wouldn't recommend this installment of the series to younger girls because of that scene. That and the themes of murder and drug use are a little mature. Some people have said the drug references are subtle but I found them blatantly obvious. In fact, I was surprised at how much HER Interactive put inside one of the magazines in the student library.
It's unfortunate that the easiest game released isn't a good game for young players due to the more mature themes.
For as many gripes as I have, I did enjoy the game a lot, and recommend it to any older fan of the series. It's definitely a nice break from the games that have had us all ready to pull our own hair out in frustration.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2010
I'm another avid Nancy Drew gamer who started off the first game way back when. (I had to rent it from the library multiple times before I finished it!) I've purchased every game so far, and have completed all but a handful of the newer ones. I was definitely interested in seeing how the revised Secrets Can Kill held up agains the original one, which, among other things, was a pain to play because you had to switch back and forth between two discs in order to visit the various areas of the map.
Overall, there are a lot of changes. The more noticable ones include that you can no longer visit the pharmaceutical building, although this isn't particularly significant since you were only ever allowed to view the outside of the building in the original game. All four original characters have been re-done in 3D, and one additional character has been added. I appreciated the addition of some new phone calls and interactions, especially seeing as how the original crook and ending sort of felt like they came out of left-field.
Dialogue seems to have been re-recorded, although the lines are pretty much the same as the original. Daryl, Hulk, and Connie all sound as though they have new voices, and Hal sounds very similar if not the same as his original voice. As someone who had to listen to Hulk's, "I'm not into pushy girls. Do me a favor: bother someone else!" line a million times over in the original, I was a little disappointed that the newly recorded line didn't seem as forceful, haha. But overall, the new dialogue sounds very good.
Most of the musical cues are the same, although there was one musical cue from the kitchens that I was a little disappointed didn't play at the same time as in the original game. It was fun also looking through the game and seeing the changes to the scenary, such as the removal of the phonecard and payphone in the lounge, due to the addition of the cell phone. (I feel like they still could have left the payphone in and just had it be inaccessible, though. The booth looked lonely without it.) Also, there's a new way to get into the teacher's lounge that does not include cutting a hole in the window, as in the original!
There's a new puzzle woven throughout the entire game, which made it fun to hunt around for the new clues. However, the puzzle itself seemed rather far-fetched, which kind of put me off. Also, I had to look up a "cheat" on a certain part of the puzzle, since I either missed something, or there was a very obscure task that needed to be accomplished in order to access the puzzle. The ending is completely different (though still incorporates aspects of the original ending) and definitely a lot smoother.
Overall, it was a fun update to the classic game, and an enjoyable one to play through. Obviously having played the original game before, some puzzles are the same and not particularly challenging. The not having to switch disks, and the updated graphics and gameplay make this game definitely the better bet for new players over the original. However, the original Secrets Can Kill will definitely always have a special place in my heart as the game that introduced me to this awesome series!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
We played the original "Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill" game when it first came out and liked it so much that we played every one since. If you played the first one you will notice that there are changes to most elements of the game, some major and some minor.
The game play is enjoyably as you guide Nancy through various puzzles and following up on leads. The interface and graphics are good, adding to the overall game play as well. It is still a lot of fun and even challenging in places, but experienced players will be able to solve it in a few hours of game play.
We have enjoyed revisiting "Secrets Can Kill" and new players will also find a really fun game.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2013
The reason I didn't give this game five stars is because it's a little short. This is the remastered version of the first game ever created, and the first games in the Nancy Drew series are shorter than the newer ones. Therefore, this remastered version is shorter as well. However, the story line is intriguing and the characters are fun to talk to. I would recommend this game to beginners, since it is a little shorter and can help you get a feel for how the games work. However, it is a great game for any other Nancy Drew fanatics that love a good story line. Overall, a really fun game!