Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall

Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall

Fall 2013 Software
Ages: 10 & Up
Price: $19.99
Platform: Windows

In Her Interactive's 28th Nancy Drew mystery, the teenage detective goes to Thornton Hall, the Thornton family ancestral antebellum home on Blackrock Island, to find Jessalyn Thornton. It seems the youngest member of the Thornton clan has inexplicably gone missing just before her wedding day, and it's up to Nancy to piece together the clues left behind. Playing as Nancy Drew, players have little to go on other than Jessalyn's dead cell phone and a cast of strange and mostly uncooperative family members. Then there's the angry ghost of Charlotte Thornton, who disappeared a decade earlier but now haunts the dark mansion sending chills down your spine at random moments. No, really. She's scary.

As Nancy Drew veterans have come to expect, most of the classic gameplay elements are here: Choosing between the two levels of difficulty, players explore every inch of each scene seeking head-scratching clues, questioning suspects, and solving puzzles (not so much mini-games this time), all while trying to solve the mystery and catch the culprit. The animation, from the breathtaking interiors of Thornton Hall to the morbid and dark scenes in the graveyard, is mindboggling. And there's Nancy's usual technology, plus a ghost-hunting meter this go-round.

While the plot is fairly straightforward, the quest to find out what happened to Jessalyn and solve the mystery is cryptic and spooky. The atmosphere throughout, especially in the graveyard, will give you the willies. The soundtrack's just plain eerie. And all the characters seem to have secrets to hide-especially the in-your-face Harper, whose southern accent is as apparent as her seeming insanity.

So, parents of younger Nancy Drew fans should take into account that this one could be a frightening, nightmare-inducing experience. And, yet, in every aspect of game play, Her Interactive has managed to take another remarkable step in the Nancy Drew series.

Don Oldenburg   ©2013 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Her Interactive, Inc.

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