Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society Review
Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Gorilla Games 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Majesco 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: July 15, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Leave it to the Books…Please
by Amanda L. Kondolojy

When I was a young girl, I was what you could call a bookworm; I loved reading. Among my favorites were the Goosebumps series, the Babysitter's club, and of course, Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew was always a particular favorite, not necessarily because of the memorable characters, but because the mysteries were always so suspenseful and had an outlandish Scooby-Doo-like plot twist near the end. However, I never got into the Nancy Drew games, despite my zeal for their written inspiration. I felt like the video game would not mirror the novels' mystique and appeal.

Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society screenshot

And now, after playing Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society, I can definitely say I was right; there is definitely a lot lost in the book-to-game translation. One thing that is still intact, however, from the book series is the solid story. Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society begins with Nancy receiving an invitation to join the prestigious and mysterious Clue Bender Society, which her father believes is a secret society that has helped shaped the course of history. Nancy accepts the invitation and takes a ferry to a mysterious mansion, where she will have to take part in a competition to prove herself as a top-notch sleuth. However, once she arrives, the competition turns serious, as one of the society's most precious artifacts goes missing, and Nancy ends up having to solve a real mystery.

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In true Nancy Drew fashion, the story is pretty hokey and has some pretty severe plot holes and outrageous twists. But as I alluded to before, this is part of the whole charm of the Nancy Drew series, so it's something fans will surely recognize and appreciate. And if you're not a seasoned fan, well it might leave you scratching your head.

Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society screenshot

But story aside, I have to say this title doesn't have much else going for it. Chief among my complaints is the gameplay. Essentially, the gameplay is a connect-the-dots adventure, and I mean that in the most literal way. In effect, what you have to do is follow a trail of white circles and wait for an X button icon to pop up, which means you've found something and can continue following the dots. Once you finish finding all the necessary clues, you'll be treated to a fairly generic mini-game, which generally consists of solving a very simple puzzle. These generally consist of matching tiles or dropping balls into color-coordinated pots; they are very standard puzzle fare that won't really surprise or impress most gamers.

After you go through each paint-by-numbers level, you will be treated to a dialogue scene, which will consist of pictures of the characters' faces and some scrolling text at the bottom. Normally, I would be somewhat upset by the lack of animated cutscenes, but the scrolling dialogue is reminiscent of reading the Nancy Drew novels, so it is permissible in this case.

Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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