Nancy Drew: The Secret of Shadow Ranch

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Nancy Drew: The Secret of Shadow Ranch
Nancy Drew - The Secret of Shadow Ranch Cover Art.jpeg
Developer(s) Her Interactive
Publisher(s) DreamCatcher
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
  • NA August 30, 2004
Genre(s) Adventure
Mode(s) Single player

The Secret of Shadow Ranch is the 10th installment in the Nancy Drew point-and-click adventure game series by Her Interactive. The game is available for play on Microsoft Windows platforms. It has an ESRB rating of E for moments of mild violence and peril. Players take on the first-person view of fictional amateur sleuth Nancy Drew and must solve the mystery through interrogation of suspects, solving puzzles, and discovering clues. There are two levels of gameplay, Junior and Senior detective modes, each offering a different difficulty level of puzzles and hints, however neither of these changes affect the actual plot of the game. The game is based on the best-selling Nancy Drew book of all time, The Secret at Shadow Ranch (1931).[1][2]

Plot[edit]

Nancy Drew is invited to Shadow Ranch in Arizona for a vacation. On the first day there, Nancy discovers that the owners of the ranch, Ed and Bet Rawley, are gone. The previous evening, a glowing horse came galloping up to the ranch, causing a huge commotion, and shortly after, Mr. Rawley was bitten by a venomous snake and rushed to the hospital.

Dirk Valentine, an outlaw from the 1880s, was romantically involved with the sheriff's daughter, Frances Humber, who lived at Shadow Ranch. Dirk was arrested and eventually hanged, but local legend says that Dirk's horse has come back to avenge its master and that misfortune will befall whoever sets eyes on it.

Development[edit]

Characters[edit]

  • Nancy Drew - Nancy is an eighteen-year old amateur detective from the fictional town of River Heights in the United States. She is the only playable character in the game, which means the player must solve the mystery from her perspective.
  • Dave Gregory - Dave is the ranch foreman. Always polite and very shy, Dave is a man of frustratingly few words who is mainly concerned with doing his job and doing it well. He grows very fond of Nancy over the course of the game.
  • Tex Britten - Tex is the ranch's head wrangler. An old-fashioned cowpoke, his weathered face and cynical attitude reflect the fact that he feels much more at home with horses and cattle than with humans. He dislikes city folk, and enjoys putting Nancy in situations that he thinks she can't handle.
  • Shorty Thurmond - The ranch cook, Shorty, is more talkative than the other two ranch hands combined. He loves to gossip and for that reason loves having Nancy around. He also loves to cook, despite doing it badly, and takes great pride in the food he serves. An admitted opportunist, he's always looking for ways to get rich quick, but has failed every time.
  • Mary Yazzie - Mary is a Native American who runs a store on the land adjacent to Shadow Ranch. She knows all about the history of the area, especially as it pertains to the ancient Pueblo people who once inhabited the nearby cliff dwellings. She has repeatedly offered to purchase a portion of the Rawley's land, allegedly in search of petrified wood, but her offers have been continuously rejected.

Phone Contacts[edit]

  • Bess Marvin and George Fayne - Nancy's best friends who were supposed to join her at Shadow Ranch before their flight got cancelled. They can be called for hints and tips.
  • Ed Rawley and Bet Rawley - Ed and Bet are Bess and George's aunt and uncle and the friendly owners of Shadow Ranch. They recently sold their clothing store to purchase the property. Before Nancy's visit, Ed is hospitalized. They can be contacted for more information about the ranch and their employees.
  • Frank Hardy and Joe Hardy - Nancy's friends who work for a secret organization called ATAC. They are undercover detectives. Like Bess and George, they can be called for hints and tips.
  • Sheriff Hernandez - Hernandez is the sheriff who is investigating the phantom horse. He can be contacted for more information about the accidents.
  • Charleena Purcell - Charleena is the author of the best-selling novel Like Wind Through My Heart. She is the go-to person for information on the history surrounding Shadow Ranch and Dirk Valentine.
  • SW Geo Survey - The southwest geological survey can be contacted for more information about mineral deposits in the area surrounding Shadow Ranch.

Cast[edit]

  • Tex Britten - David S. Hogan
  • Mary Yazzie - Amy Broomhall
  • Shorty Thurmond / Mineral Map Guy / Radio Voice / Charleena's Assistant - Jonah Von Spreecken
  • Dave Gregory - Stephen Hando
  • Charleena Purcell / Radio Voice - Julie Rawley
  • Bet Rawley - Shannon Kipp
  • Ed Rawley - John Nelson
  • Sheriff Hernandez / Radio Voice / Dirk Valentine - Gary Hoffman
  • Meryl Humber - Max Holechek [3]

Gameplay[edit]

New Interface[edit]

The Secret of Shadow Ranch features the first new user interface in the series. The player window is opened up to fill most of the viewing area. The inventory is no longer accessed at the bottom of the screen but through a separate window that is opened by clicking on the inventory icon. A few other new features include: a To Do list (available only to Junior detectives) that lets the player know what tasks need accomplished and a journal that automatically jots down important notes and keeps track of clues and suspects. Also, Nancy’s cell phone comes with built-in Internet browsing and e-mail, in addition to its typical use of calling Nancy’s friends to gain hints.

Fatal Errors[edit]

In each of the games, there are different points where Nancy can make "fatal errors." These points are usually when she blows her cover as a detective or gets seriously injured. At such points, the game will stop and give the player the option to try again before the fatal error occurred. If the player doesn't wish to retry, then the game is over. The fatal errors in The Secret of Shadow Ranch include:

  • Setting the kitchen on fire.
  • Getting bitten by a rattlesnake.
  • Going riding without talking to Tex.
  • Failing to patch the chicken coop.
  • Getting stung by a scorpion.
  • Feeding the chickens incorrectly.
  • Feeding the horses incorrectly.
  • Dying in the jail cell (by hitting the key before setting the chair upright).
  • Getting pecked by the angry chicken.
  • Keeping the saddle or forgetting to take it off your horse.
  • Picking unripe vegetables.
  • Allowing the culprit to catch and choke you to death.

Gameplay Awards[edit]

An award is given at the end of the game based on your sleuthing style. These are all of the possible awards:

  • All Ears: For listening to the advice of Bess and George.
  • Bunny: For finding Easter eggs.
  • Come Back Kid: For getting a second chance, and another, and another, and...
  • D.T. (DeTermined): For persevering for days to complete the case.
  • Flapjack: For cookin' up a storm to create the perfect cake.
  • Hawkeye: For reading everything you can get your hands on.
  • Ironpants: For ridin' all over the range.
  • Marbles: For playing games until your eyes crossed.
  • R & R (Riding and Roping): For barrel bendin', sawhorse ropin', and lariat tossin'.
  • Rocket: For speedily solving puzzles with just a few tries.
  • Scout: For going everywhere and seeing everything.
  • Sherlock: For successfully completing the case.
  • Snoopy: For relentlessly interviewing suspects.
  • Turner: For leaving no stone unturned.
  • Windy: For talking and talking and talking on the phone.

References to Previous Games[edit]

References to previous games in the series include:

Trivia[edit]

Nancy Drew Mobile Mysteries: Shadow Ranch[edit]

In early 2011, Her Interactive released an app called Shadow Ranch under their new subseries of Nancy Drew games entitled Mobile Mysteries. Shadow Ranch is a story-based gamebook app with the book aspect of it as the actual text of the Shadow Ranch novel and the game aspect of it as minigames within the story. The game shows the voices and screenshots of characters and locations from the The Secret of Shadow Ranch PC game. Shadow Ranch is available only for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, priced at $2.99 for the iPad and $0.99 for the iPhone and iPod Touch.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1], The Secret of Shadow Ranch Teaser Trailer
  2. ^ "Nancy Drew The Secret of Shadow Ranch | Girl Games Online". Herinteractive.com. 
  3. ^ "Nancy Drew The Secret of Shadow Ranch IMDb". 
  4. ^ [2], Nancy Drew Mobile Mysteries: Shadow Ranch Teaser Trailer
  5. ^ "Nancy Drew Mobile Mysteries Shadow Ranch | Girl Games Online". Herinteractive.com. 
Preceded by
Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island
Nancy Drew Computer Games Succeeded by
Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor