Written by  :  Jeanne (76593)
Written on  :  Feb 10, 2002
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

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Not my favorite in the series so far, but still a good mystery adventure

The Good

If you have played any of preceding Nancy Drew games, you will find the overall playing aspects very familiar. The look and feel of the game is very similar to Message in a Haunted Mansion with no changes whatsoever in saving and loading games, movement, inventory management, etc. This worked fine in Message, and it works just as well in Treasure.

In this game, Nancy’s case takes place in Wickford Castle, a ski lodge and hotel in Wisconsin originally built in the early 1900s. The atmosphere is that of a traditional hotel, but with a historical touch (tall columns, marble and stonework). Everywhere you look there is another piece of classic art, and many of the windows are stained glass. Of course, there are secret, hidden areas within the castle that Nancy must find in order to solve the case. One aspect that was different than the other Nancy Drews I’ve played is that you can actually go outside, although not very far (weather permitting, of course!).

A snow storm strands Nancy and a few guests in the castle, and, of course, she discovers that the castle, its owners and the other guests all have secrets. And, you know you can’t keep secrets from Nancy Drew for long! You, as Nancy, will be traipsing between floors, running errands for the caretaker and talking to the other three characters as you try to uncover those secrets.

The puzzles, in my opinion, were not as numerous nor as hard as the ones in the previous game. One memorable puzzle features an unusual board game where you must move pieces to a specific spot on the board. In addition, there is a jigsaw “rearrange the pieces” puzzle, and some in which you must know some specific “settings” or a combination. Some of the puzzles are randomly generated (a “concentration” type door lock, for instance), and those are different for each game and even within the same game when you have to do it again.

Other problems Nancy encounters are either conversation or object oriented (find a key to unlock something, or fetch an item for another character). There’s even an “educational” aspect when you are requested to do research in some books (mostly about Marie Antoinette, the castle or the French Revolution) and report back your findings.

Like in the previous games, you can choose to play either as a Junior Detective or Senior Detective. (I played the game twice and chose a different one each time.) But, there is little difference between them – only two of the puzzles were distinctly unique for each difficulty level.

Generally speaking, the music and sound effects are average and do not add to or detract from the game play. When you find an important object, you are given intensified special music to praise your effort, though. Voices and acting are all very good and lip-sync is done well. The graphics of the characters seem realistic enough (although they could have made the caretaker less grumpy looking).

The Bad

I enjoyed Treasure and found very little to complain about. Picking it apart, though, there could have been some changes.

The same, old music is used as the game starts and as background while saving and loading games. Nice and familiar, sure, but I’m ready for a change.

Still only 7 save game slots!

Going back and forth between the tower and the main portion of the castle became tiresome and repetitive. (Couldn’t they have given Nancy a secret switch somewhere?) The same goes for the door lock (and one other puzzle) leading into the tower. (Why did I have to solve those more than once?)

The Bottom Line

Treasure in the Royal Tower is not my favorite thus far in the series, but it is still a good game and worth playing, especially for mystery adventure lovers. Not as challenging as most, this would be a good introductory game for newbies to computer adventures.