26th Nancy Drew Mystery
Her Interactive's 26th Nancy Drew computer game, Nancy Drew: Tomb of the Lost Queen, showcases a new user interface and enhanced graphics. Instead of starting at Nancy's Desk, this game launches during a sandstorm in Egypt, when the head of a university dig team is injured. The enhanced graphics make all of the scenes seem more realistic, from the whipping sand pelting your screen to the life-like characters who make you feel as if you are in the room with them.
Jon Boyle, the now-injured archaeological team leader, asks for Nancy's help when he discovers that the blows to his head during the sandstorm were purposeful. You step into Nancy's shoes and play the game from her perspective in this click-and-find adventure. Dr. Boyle requests that you investigate the dig site for clues and to help discover who is buried in this tomb. He gives you carte blanche to interview others and to snoop.
Set in the middle of the desert, the dig site includes two tents above ground, and numerous rooms and tunnels below ground. As you explore, you can tell when to investigate because the magnifying glass-shaped cursor changes color. You can take some things that you find and add them to your expanding inventory displayed on the bottom of the screen. Others you'll need to read or examine and then leave in place. Some of the things you'll find will be helpful later in the mystery. For example, the shovel you find on a table will come in handy later when you need to uncover artifacts.
You will also meet a colorful cast of characters with whom to talk. By questioning these suspects, you will discover some are lying. The hurt Dr. Boyle, who is recovering in a hospital in Cairo, is available to you by phone, as is another expert, Professor Beatrice Hotchkiss.
How to Play
Your actions make the game progress and trigger certain events. Some conversations will reveal facts that then lead you to search a specific area or talk to a particular person. As you attain knowledge about the Egyptian gods, you are able to solve specific puzzles. There isn't one set way to solve this mystery, so you can go about it as you see fit. But the game does provide a tasklist, which acts to remind you of the things you still need to do. And it automatically generates notes so that you don't have to take them as you play.
This game can be solved on two levels of difficulty: Amateur or Master Sleuth. This level selection affects how hard it is to solve the puzzles; but it doesn't change the actual mystery. On the Amateur level, you get easier puzzles, hints, and a detailed tasklist. When playing as a Master Sleuth, you face more complex puzzles, no hints, and just a basic tasklist.
Lots of Puzzles
The puzzles you will encounter vary greatly but they all incorporate Egyptian themes in clever ways. Some are straight deciphering of codes or translating of hieroglyphs. Others require you to reassemble ancient artifacts. A few involve placing objects in the correct sequence, based on what you find in an ancient text. One tests your ability to reason logically to move pieces on a grid. There is even a version of the classic balance scale puzzle about how to repeatedly divide a group of identical objects so that you can eventually find the one that weighs more.
In addition to the puzzles, the game also teaches you how to play Senet, an old Egyptian board game that has some similarity to Backgammon. And if you are a game-lover, Nancy's phone houses four other logic games.
Why This Game Is So Good
Nancy Drew: Tomb of the Lost Queen is one of the best ever of the Nancy Drew mysteries. It's a compact, tightly-crafted whodunit that drips with history and intrigue. With cunning deceptions, cave-ins and cobras aplenty, the game's got the right balance of scary but not too scary. And if you make a wrong decision that results in a fatal, game-ending mistake, the game offers you a do-over.
The stunning graphics also contribute to this game's appeal, from the brightly colored paintings on columns in the tomb to facial details presented when talking to a character. Plus these characters are brilliantly voiced and superbly animated to make them appear to be alive. Their well-written dialogue makes you want to pursue conversations.
For mystery lovers and families looking for great adventure games, Nancy Drew: Tomb of the Lost Queen is a don't-miss winner.
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