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spacer all reviews > > > girls software

Nancy Drew Secrets Can Kill

Her Interactive

Ages 11 and up

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
Kid Appeal
Ease of Use

Nancy Drew Secrets Can Kill Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

This new ‘role-playing’ game for girls is structured much like Her Interactive’s earlier effort, Vampire Diaries. In this case, however, the game is infinitely more accessible and appealing. It places the user in the role of the infamous Nancy Drew, teen investigator extraordinaire, and challenges her to stretch her exploration and observation skills in an effort to find a dastardly killer. Secrets Can Kill combines just the right level of difficulty with an intriguing storyline and an amusing mix of clues and red herrings, resulting in a game that girls want to play to its conclusion and beyond.

Nancy is staying in Paseo Del Mar, Florida with her aunt Eloise when a murder is committed at the local high school. Aware of her reputation as a crime solver, the school principal asks Nancy if she will attempt to uncover the murderer. This prompts Nancy to go undercover at the school where other students soon observe that she “asks a lot of questions.”

The story continues to unfold through a series of cryptic messages hidden throughout town, conversations with schoolmates who double as prime suspects, and miscellaneous clues revealed only through persistent investigation. Although the storyline is ultimately predetermined, users shape the gameplay as they go, choosing specific topics to discuss with animated characters, compiling evidence and collecting tools to help in the quest, and eventually bringing the story to its culmination.

Educational Value
This program challenges the user to become an investigator, to look carefully in every nook and cranny, and then return later to look again. It illustrates the need to carefully consider what is presented and sometimes reject the obvious. To question everything and to accept nothing without due consideration. It strengthens problem solving and critical thinking skills--skills that promote creativity, innovation and independence. This program is, furthermore, one of the few aimed at adolescent girls that encourages them to be clever and not frivolous.

Kid Appeal
Our teen reviewers thoroughly enjoyed this program. Although they sometimes sought simple answers to their questions and simple solutions to their quest, it was the very lack of these that kept them involved. Each new discovery was accompanied by excitement, enthusiasm, and pride. In addition to the story itself, clever extras kept involvement high: jukebox songs bear titles like “Help Me Nancy” and “Murder on My Mind”, pinball machines are interactive, a magazine rack holds recognizable issues of favorite publications, and the library includes books on the zodiac and other topics generally enjoyed by teen girls.

Ease of Use / Install
Secrets Can Kill installs easily on Windows 95. The program requires DirectX 6.0 and will install the application if it is not already present. Two modes of installation are available, a compact install, which requires 42 MB of hard drive space, or the recommended install, which takes 220 MB of hard drive space. We chose the compact install, and didn’t experience any difficulties running the program.

Program navigation is relatively simple. The magnifying glass cursor changes to blue when movement is available, and red when an item can be looked at more closely or kept for future use, and an interactive map of the school allows for quicker access to its various rooms.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Nancy Drew Secrets Can Kill requires patience, attention to detail, good problem-solving skills and a love of investigation. Girls who meet these qualifications will enjoy countless hours of ingenious fun and, with any luck, emerge from their adventure triumphant.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other girls software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC version.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95 and up, 166 MHz or faster cpu (200 MHz recommended), 42 MB hard drive space (220 MB recommended), 16 MB RAM, 16-bit color graphics video card, 12X or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit Windows-compatible stereo sound card.

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium166 with 48 MB and 12XCD
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