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Then, we have game 5, The Final Scene.







A friend of Nancy's, Maya Nguyen, is doing a piece on the demolition of a very old theatre, the Royal Palladium, in Saint Louis. She scores tickets to the premiere of the latest Brady Armstrong movie, which will be the very last showing at the Palladium before it is destroyed, so she invites Nancy to come with her. Within seconds of the two of them getting there, however, Maya gets kidnapped, and Nancy has to race against the clock in order to save her before the theatre is demolished.

Oh, Nancy. You're just walking, talking, sleuthing bad luck, aren't you?

I loved the setting and the characters in this game. The theatre is beautiful, and I enjoyed all the old-world-magician lore. The characters are interesting, as well. I enjoyed how well-rounded Brady turned out to be. Simone was such a jerk, I loved it. And Joesph Hughes was really sweet -- it was obvious how much he loved the theatre, how running theatres was his whole life.

The energy was perfect for a Nancy Drew game, and I don't think any other game captured the sense of urgency Nancy has in this one quite as well. She's super frustrated and yelling at everyone in the beginning, and as time goes on and the police start to think she's crazy, she gets more and more upset, until you get to the end and she's basically running around freaking out trying to find Maya literally moments before the building is demolished. Super cool.

However. And this is a pretty big however, at least to me: The play length and difficulty just weren't there. I finished the game in one sitting, and I didn't need any help figuring out the puzzles. Whenever I play a Nancy Drew game, I always make sure to have a pen and paper near by to work out any puzzles I come across; in this game, I only used it once -- to draw a copy of the key. That's it.

Spoilers:The Final SceneCollapse )

All in all, I'd give The Final Scene:


7/10



A great setting, an amazing sense of urgency, and likable and believable characters all make this game exceptional. However, the short length and the ease of gameplay keep it from being truly great.
 
 

Today is a two-for-one deal (because I beat them so easily, boo) - first, game 6, Secret of the Scarlet Hand.








Nancy takes an internship as a Deputy Curator at the Beech Hill Museum in Washington D.C. -- as something fun between cases. I think we all know how this is going to end. The museum's prized possession  a jade carving of King Pacal, the "crown jewel" in their Maya exhibit, is stolen and all that is left behind is a mysterious red hand-print. Nancy must discover who stole the carving and why, all while trying to puzzle out what secrets are hiding inside the carved stone monolith tomb.

... Okay, I'm going to be honest. And I think you can probably tell from that piss-poor game summary, but I found this game extremely boring. Don't get me wrong, I loved the history parts - learning about the Maya, the graphics are great for this time period, and I think most of the characters were interesting. But.

Most of this game plays like busywork. In fact, it isn't until a good chunk of the game has passed that the carving gets stolen in the first place. Which I suppose plays well into the "Nancy didn't come here looking for a mystery" thing, but ... it makes everything that comes before it seem a little fruitless.

I like Joanna well enough, as well as Alejandro and the phone one-offs like Poppy Dada and (yay! again!) Prudence Rutherford. I think the only character I really enjoyed was Henrik van der Hume, which is interesting considering how the plot turns.

The puzzles were at the mid-range of challenging -- nothing too easy, but also nothing so hard that I had to turn to a guide.

Spoilers:Secret of the Scarlet HandCollapse )


All in all, I'd give Secret of the Scarlet Hand:



6/10





The gameplay was solid enough, and the setting was beautiful and historically intriguing, but the "I'm not looking for a mystery" setting left me wanting this time. A good enough game, but not one I'd play again.

 
 
Today we're up to game 7, Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake.



An artist friend of Mr. Drew, Sally McDonald, has recently moved into a cabin on Moon Lake that used to belong to famed bootlegger, Mickey Malone. She's been having some problems, and so she asks for Nancy's help. On the night Nancy arrives, Sally has fled because she is too terrified to spend another night in the cabin - she's too afraid of the alleged "ghost dogs" attacking the cabin, and wants Nancy to figure out what's at the bottom of it.

First of all: the part with Malone's ghost dogs howling, snarling, and throwing themselves at the house terrified me the first time I played it. I really love when ND games start out with horror or terror or suspense, and this game definitely delivered for me.

The music and sound effects helped pretty well atmospherically, although that cheery-ass "Day" music started to grate after awhile. It sounds like the sort of twinkly, "here-come-the-forest-creatures" sort of music that would play in the background while Snow White (animated!Snow White, not Badass!Snow White; I honestly can't imagine Mary Margaret passively waiting for ANYTHING) dances around cleaning things. Sort of distracting, considering the setting. The speakeasy music was probably my favorite. On the whole, however, I didn't like the music as much as I did in the previous game (next game? IT'S CONFUSING PLAYING THESE BACKWARDS).

The characters weren't as interesting in this one, either - the only one I really liked was Ranger Akers, which is amusing, considering all the other characters in the game don't like him. Emily grated - maybe it was the REALLY thick and REALLY over-the-top accent? - and Red was way too interested in bird watching to really pay too much attention to you.

The setting, however - the setting, oh man. First of all, the forest parts were rendered beautifully (making allowances for how long ago this game was created, of course) and the speakeasy was beautiful. I'm a big fan of that whole Prohibition-Roaring 20s-Bootlegging shebang, so the historical context of the game was right up my alley. In that regard, getting to talk to Malone's old girlfriend, Vivian, was probably the most interesting interaction for me.

Spoilers:Ghost Dogs of Moon LakeCollapse )

All in all, I'd give Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake

7/10



Though the game has it's problems really standing out, it does have the chill factor, varied suspects, and a beautiful and unique setting. The puzzles are interesting and all well-themed considering the game's context. It doesn't really "pop," however, and though it's a fun play, I probably wouldn't play it again.
 
 
Next up is game 8, The Haunted Carousel.



A friend of Nancy's dad, Paula Santos, has recently become sole owner of the Captain's Cove Amusement Park in New Jersey, from which the prized lead carousel horse has recently been stolen. To make matters worse, the carousel is turning on and off by itself, leading to rumors that the park is haunted. Nancy goes in to investigate, and gets involved in an ever-growing stockpile of crime and emotional turmoil.

... And it's really, really fun.

I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this game, even with the (lazy by today's standards) pictoral overworld that limits the environments you can explore, which is something that usually really bugs me.

Something that helps with the overall feel is how intersting all of the characters are. I like when HER Interactive creates well-rounded characters, without making it seem as though they're padding the game with irrelevant information and wasting your time, or confusing you. Joy was my favorite, and her entire quest line involving the hilarious and adorable Miles the Magnificent Memory Machine is probably my favorite sidequest in a Nancy Drew game. Seeing her character grow over the course of the narrative is not something you see often in these games. Harlan Bishop, with his shady past and thick Jersey accent are pretty unforgettable. And I like when they introduce a misdirect, which happens with Ingrid Corey and Lance.

The music in this game was phenomenal, oh my god. It strikes this great mix between beautiful and creepy that is both perfect for a regular amusement part and this game's specific haunted one. If it isn't my favorite Nancy Drew soundtrack, it's certainly one of my favorites.

The real downside of this game comes in the length - I finished it in one sitting. None of the puzzles were particularly difficult either, though the compelling storyline and the sheer fun of playing distract from that very well.

Spoilers:The Haunted CarouselCollapse )

All in all, I'd give The Haunted Carousel

8/10



Fun gameplay, an interesting and captivating storyline (especially where Joy and her father are concerned), and AMAZING music makes this a really fun play. The only criticisms I have are evidence that, apparently, you don't really need or can't even get, the ease of the puzzle solving, and the overall length, which keep this game from being perfect.
 
 
Next on the list is game 9, Danger on Deception Island.



George's friend, Katie Firestone, invites Nancy down to Deception Island for a whale-watching excursion. Of course, when she gets there Katie's boat has been vandalized and a mystery is afoot. There is an ongoing division in the area about what to do with the orca that has appeared in Snake Horse Harbor - some, like Katie, want to see the orca returned to her pod, while others, like Holt, just want to see it gone.

Vacations, again? Nancy, we just talked about this!

As in Secret of Shadow Ranch, I found the characters fairly unimpressive - none of them really stuck out. The only glittering exception to this is Hilda Swenson, who is Old Hollywood and witty and, unfortunately, very brief. Katie spends most of her time fixing the boat - and being under suspicion of all the wrongdoing from everyone else in the town. Honestly, it must suck to live somewhere where everyone hates you for sticking to your ethics. Andy Jason was largely unremarkable, besides having a first name for a last name. Holt Scotto mostly gives you busy work or tells you to get lost, which can be funny or frustrating depending on what part of the game you're in, and Jenna Deblin doesn't really do much but ply you with clam chowder.

Which actually looked really good and kept making me so damn hungry Seriously, I live in Wisconsin's Fox Valley area - there are no delicious clams anywhere close by. It's quite sad.

None of the puzzles really stood out to me. They were all fairly intuitive and none mind-breakingly hard; it plays well, if a little boring. 

Kayaking is probably the most interesting part of the game, which is good, because you do a ton of it. I was inordinately pleased with myself every time I punched in the right coordinates on the GPS; I don't know why. Something about the fanfare noise?

Speaking of which, I noticed that when you would finish a puzzle or large task in this game, a little snippet of triumphant music would play, and I rather liked it. I don't remember this being used in any other game. I can see how, in some of them, it could get distracting, but in this rather light-hearted mystery I think it fits. 

SpoilersDanger on Deception IslandCollapse )

All in all, I'd give Danger on Deception Island

7/10

Less-than-memorable characters and ease of play takes a fair chunk of points off the score. Despite these game flaws, however, the fun-factor of the orca and the interesting ending make for an incongruously fun first-time game with, unfortunately, little to no replay value.
 
 
 
16 October 2012 @ 11:24 am
Title: Come A Little Closer
Author: brocadearcade / ashemiku
Artist: blaineywainey / blaineywainey
Wordcount: 34,000+
Rating: PG-13
Characters / Pairings: Klaine, Samcedes. Includes Rachel, Sebastian, Jesse, Dave, Noah, Brittany, Sugar, Finn, Carole, Burt, Quinn, Wes, Thad, Jeff, Tina, and Artie, in varying amounts.
Warnings: Scattered moments of angst, mostly silliness.
Summary: Prince Blaine Anderson traveled half-way across the world to marry Prince Kurt Hummel, one of the West's most eligible and notorious bachelors. When he arrives and realizes he's unknowingly entered into a contest with five other suitors to win Kurt's hand, Blaine worries he's made the trip for nothing - how can he compete with such accomplished, handsome, courageous, epically tall men? With the help of his Royal Guard, Kurt's meddlesome handmaidens, a swamp witch with a short temper and an amazing singing voice, and an extremely ill-tempered pony, Blaine sets out to prove that he is Kurt's best match.



Author's Notes: Wow. We're finally here! Before this round of the Blaine Big Bang, I'd never finished a Big Bang before - though I had entered the first round, to disasterous results - and it had been quite a long time since I'd finished something that wasn't a two or three thousand word one-shot. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

The title is from a song by a Korean indie artist, Neon Bunny, which you can watch on DailyMotion with english subtitles. The translation isn't perfect, but it was the only video I could find with the lyrics superimposed.

I wanted to thank my friend Eric for being my biggest cheerleader - those frequent, "Hey, you should be writing your story" texts saved me on a weekly basis, and Raven for being amazing and both keeping me on my toes, especially around the deadline, and making some fantastic art - seriously, just look at it, it's amazing!


Edit (July 2013): Very cool news! Someone requested Klaine Fics PDFs on tumblr create a more-suitable-for-e-readers copy of this fic, and now you can download it from them in ePub and PDF formats.
 
 
16 October 2012 @ 10:57 am
Title: Come A Little Closer
Author: brocadearcade / ashemiku
Artist: blaineywainey / blaineywainey
Wordcount: 34,000+
Rating: PG-13
Characters / Pairings: Klaine, Samcedes. Includes Rachel, Sebastian, Jesse, Dave, Noah, Brittany, Sugar, Finn, Carole, Burt, Quinn, Wes, Thad, Jeff, Tina, and Artie, in varying amounts..
Warnings: Scattered moments of angst, mostly silliness.
Summary: Prince Blaine Anderson traveled half-way across the world to marry Prince Kurt Hummel, one of the West's most eligible and notorious bachelors. When he arrives and realizes he's unknowingly entered into a contest with five other suitors to win Kurt's hand, Blaine worries he's made the trip for nothing - how can he compete with such accomplished, handsome, courageous, epically tall men? With the help of his Royal Guard, Kurt's meddlesome handmaidens, a swamp witch with a short temper and an amazing singing voice, and an extremely ill-tempered pony, Blaine sets out to prove that he is Kurt's best match.


Part xCollapse )
 
 
16 October 2012 @ 10:51 am
Title: Come A Little Closer
Author: brocadearcade / ashemiku
Artist: blaineywainey / blaineywainey
Wordcount: 34,000+
Rating: PG-13
Characters / Pairings: Klaine, Samcedes. Includes Rachel, Sebastian, Jesse, Dave, Noah, Brittany, Sugar, Finn, Carole, Burt, Quinn, Wes, Thad, Jeff, Tina, and Artie, in varying amounts..
Warnings: Scattered moments of angst, mostly silliness.
Summary: Prince Blaine Anderson traveled half-way across the world to marry Prince Kurt Hummel, one of the West's most eligible and notorious bachelors. When he arrives and realizes he's unknowingly entered into a contest with five other suitors to win Kurt's hand, Blaine worries he's made the trip for nothing - how can he compete with such accomplished, handsome, courageous, epically tall men? With the help of his Royal Guard, Kurt's meddlesome handmaidens, a swamp witch with a short temper and an amazing singing voice, and an extremely ill-tempered pony, Blaine sets out to prove that he is Kurt's best match.


Part ixCollapse )
 
 
16 October 2012 @ 10:48 am
Title: Come A Little Closer
Author: brocadearcade / ashemiku
Artist: blaineywainey / blaineywainey
Wordcount: 34,000+
Rating: PG-13
Characters / Pairings: Klaine, Samcedes. Includes Rachel, Sebastian, Jesse, Dave, Noah, Brittany, Sugar, Finn, Carole, Burt, Quinn, Wes, Thad, Jeff, Tina, and Artie, in varying amounts..
Warnings: Scattered moments of angst, mostly silliness.
Summary: Prince Blaine Anderson traveled half-way across the world to marry Prince Kurt Hummel, one of the West's most eligible and notorious bachelors. When he arrives and realizes he's unknowingly entered into a contest with five other suitors to win Kurt's hand, Blaine worries he's made the trip for nothing - how can he compete with such accomplished, handsome, courageous, epically tall men? With the help of his Royal Guard, Kurt's meddlesome handmaidens, a swamp witch with a short temper and an amazing singing voice, and an extremely ill-tempered pony, Blaine sets out to prove that he is Kurt's best match.


Part viiiCollapse )
 
 
16 October 2012 @ 10:42 am
Title: Come A Little Closer
Author: brocadearcade / ashemiku
Artist: blaineywainey / blaineywainey
Wordcount: 34,000+
Rating: PG-13
Characters / Pairings: Klaine, Samcedes. Includes Rachel, Sebastian, Jesse, Dave, Noah, Brittany, Sugar, Finn, Carole, Burt, Quinn, Wes, Thad, Jeff, Tina, and Artie, in varying amounts..
Warnings: Scattered moments of angst, mostly silliness.
Summary: Prince Blaine Anderson traveled half-way across the world to marry Prince Kurt Hummel, one of the West's most eligible and notorious bachelors. When he arrives and realizes he's unknowingly entered into a contest with five other suitors to win Kurt's hand, Blaine worries he's made the trip for nothing - how can he compete with such accomplished, handsome, courageous, epically tall men? With the help of his Royal Guard, Kurt's meddlesome handmaidens, a swamp witch with a short temper and an amazing singing voice, and an extremely ill-tempered pony, Blaine sets out to prove that he is Kurt's best match.


Part viiCollapse )