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Video Game: Nancy Drew
Kiri: But you're interested in them?
Nancy Drew: I'm interested in everything.
The Shattered Medallion

A series of DRM-free Adventure Games based on the Nancy Drew novels, released mostly for the PC by HerInteractive starting in 1998. The company continually makes two new games a year, to much critical acclaim.

    Titles include: 
  1. Secrets Can Kill (1998; rereleased in a Remastered version in 2010)
  2. Stay Tuned for Danger (1999)
  3. Message in a Haunted Mansion (2000)
  4. Treasure in the Royal Tower (2001)
  5. The Final Scene (2001)
  6. The Secret of the Scarlet Hand (2002)
  7. Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake (2002)
  8. The Haunted Carousel (2003)
  9. Danger on Deception Island (2003)
  10. The Secret of Shadow Ranch (2004)
  11. The Curse of Blackmoor Manor (2004)
  12. The Secret of the Old Clock (2005)
  13. Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon (2005)
  14. Danger By Design (2006)
  15. The Creature of Kapu Cave (2006)
  16. White Wolf of Icicle Creek (2007)
  17. The Legend of the Crystal Skull (2007)
  18. The Phantom of Venice (2008)
  19. The Haunting of Castle Malloy (2008)
  20. Ransom of the Seven Ships (2009)
  21. Warnings at Waverly Academy (2009)
  22. Trail of the Twister (2010)
  23. Shadow at the Water's Edge (2010)
  24. The Captive Curse (2011)
  25. Alibi in Ashes (2011)
  26. Tomb of the Lost Queen (2012)
  27. The Deadly Device (2012)
  28. The Ghost of Thornton Hall (2013)
  29. The Silent Spy (2013)
  30. The Shattered Medallion (2014)
  31. Labyrinth of Lies (2014)

Two additional games with a less immersive format, Lights, Camera, Curses! and Resorting To Danger, have been released under the "Nancy Drew Dossier" heading.Most of the the games are available on Steam note , and a digital version of The Curse Of Blackmoor Manor is now available on GOG.com.

Tropes in the games include:

  • 555: To the point where it's lampshaded ("Why does everyone's phone number begin with five five five?"). Even better, in Secret of the Old Clock, the 1930s phone numbers start with "KL5", which converts to 555.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Professor Hotchkiss calls you by a different name every time — even in the same conversation — and it's never Nancy. She does manage to get your name right in Treasure in a Royal Tower; she just forgets it again when you call her for help in later games. Same goes for other characters' names: "Baxter" instead of "Dexter", for example.
  • Acme Products: Krolmeister.
  • Action Girl: You and a surprising amount of side characters.
    • Noisette Tornade, who worked as a French spy during WW2.
  • Action Mom: Kasumi Shimuzu, who gave her daughters a freaking sword as their inheritance.
  • Adventure Game: Except for the Dossier spin-offs, all these games are played in a first-person perspective, similar to Myst.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: You have to escape a locked room this way in The Deadly Device. And you might even find out you weren't the first to go that way...
  • Alpha Bitch: Warnings at Waverly Academy's Izzy Romero. Leela comes pretty close, too, but she is shown to be an otherwise nice girl (if not a tad obnoxious).
    • Deidre Shannon in Alibi in Ashes is another example. Downplayed in her reappearance (well, just as a phone contact) in The Deadly Device.
  • Always Night: The games with overt horror elements (Water's Edge, Crystal Skull, Captive Curse and Thornton Hall) tend to use this.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The multicolored glowing cave lizards from Last Train.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Rentaro in the Shadow at the Water's Edge is socially awkward, and even lampshades this by saying that he works with machines because they tolerate awkwardness.
    • Can also apply to Mason from The Deadly Device. He shows all the symptoms of OCD, from arranging the items on his desk in a certain order to (allegedly) alphabetizing the ingredients for a sandwich before making said sandwich.
    • Colton from Ghost of Thornton Hall appears to have issues with anxiety and depression, but again, no one specifically states what his issues are.
    • Joy in Carousel is pessimistic as a rule, never talks about anything other than work or her (dead) parents, and rarely shows any emotion other than resigned sadness. A large part of the game's plot is helping Joy resolve her grief and move past her isolation. The possibility that she may have depression is obvious, but never made explicit.
    • Patrick in Medallion definitely conveys the impression that he's been knocked on the head too many times during his rugby career, although nobody comes out and says it.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Iggy the iguana, Isis the white wolf, and especially Loulou the parrot. Most of the animals in these games somewhat fit in this trope, in fact. Coucou the parrot ( Yes, she's related to Loulou.) and Casper the squirrel are also decent examples.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Sonny Joon in Secret of the Scarlet Hand believes this to be true, in the sense that he thinks the Maya were spirited away by aliens— despite the fact that roughly seven million Maya people are alive and well today.
    • Jamila in Tomb of the Lost Queen claims aliens taught humans to build the Egyptian pyramids, and cites Sonny Joon as the source of this belief. She's lying to cover up her true reason for being there.
      • Well, The Shattered Medallion makes that spoiler more ambiguous.
  • Ancient Tomb: Locating Nefertari's hidden burial chamber within one is your chief goal in Tomb of the Lost Queen.
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: Renate's story in The Captive Curse.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Carson is furious at you during The Silent Spy's beginning. This is because you are doing the exact same thing that got Kate murdered. He later clarifies that he isn't angry at you, exactly, and cools down after a talk with Ned.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Bet in Shadow Ranch is an in-universe example.
    Bet: Omigosh. You mean, Charleena Purcell is going to write a book that takes place on our ranch?
    Ed: Be still, my palpitating heart.
    Bet: Ed!
    Bet: You tell her she's welcome to visit Shadow Ranch and do all the research she wants, anytime she wants.
    Ed: Don't I get a say in this?
    Bet: No.
  • The Anticipator: This happens in virtually every game. No matter what, the villain knows exactly when you will finally thwart their plans. They nearly always wait for you in a final area in order to do away with you. Permanently. Some occurrences are:
    • In The Final Scene, Joseph is waiting for you to enter the attic where Maya is found.
    • In Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake the woman who owns the convenience store is waiting for you to solve a puzzle so she can trap you. She even brandishes a bone menacingly at you and tries to lock you in an underground safe.
  • Ascended Meme: The fandom has a tendency to make fun of the clothes shown in your suitcase, usually a green shirt decorated with a stylized horse head and what seems to be a pair of mom jeans. Then, in The Silent Spy, you'll discover a letter from your deceased mother telling how you continued to wear the "ugly" horse shirt to school despite teasing because you wanted to be liked.
    • We also get the following gem:
    Alec: If you're so attached to your mom's jeans, why did you take them on an international flight?
    • Similarly, in the early games, Nancy's voice actor says "Its locked" in a very deadpan way. They kept this in future games, so many fans play a game of trying to find all the locked doors they can just so they can hear the "It's locked." voice clip.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Rentaro from Shadow at the Water's Edge runs headlong into it.
    • Hal from Secrets Can Kill could also apply - about the only thing he does through the entire game is study, and he outright admits that his goal is to become a doctor.
  • Asshole Victim: Jake Rogers from Secrets Can Kill. Given that his classmates only remember him as a blackmailer and a bully, it's remarkable that they stop short of saying he deserved his fate. Though in the Remastered version he does ultimately contribute (posthumously) to helping you solve the mystery and bust another criminal.
    • To a lesser extent, this also applies to Niko Jovic from The Deadly Device, though he's not quite on Jake Rogers' level.
    • And in one of Thornton's multiple endings, you can leave the Big Bad, a thief and murderer, whose lies have ruined Harper's life, to die in a fire — akin to the one she caused. The following ending is treated as bittersweet even if you chose to save everyone else. The game's stance is that, whether the murderer deserved to die or not, you feel bad that you essentially killed someone, and your feelings are important, even if Clara's life isn't.
  • The Atoner: Moira in The Secret Spy, whose lies to Kate inadvertently caused her death.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Noisette Tornade translates from French as hazelnut tornado, which either sounds like a really bizarre weather phenomenon or a really awesome dessert.
  • Ax-Crazy: Many of the villains' sociopathy is played disturbingly straight.
    • A prominent example goes to Stay Tuned For Danger villain Dwayne Powers, for being the only one so enraged and crazy that he tries to kill you AGAIN in Ransom of the Seven Ships with an elaborate and time-consuming plan of revenge.
  • Bad Boss: Minette. She's gone through three assistants, and after playing Design, you'll understand why.
  • Bad Liar: In a Design game over sequence, your response to being arrested in an underground tunnel network is 'So this isn't the way to the Eiffel Tower?' (Normally, though, you're a pretty good liar- unless the plot requires otherwise.)
  • Bald of Evil: Shorty Thurmond from Secret of Shadow Ranch and Victor Lossett from The Deadly Device.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: If the suspects were actually honest with you, the games would be far, far shorter. Justified for the culprit, of course, and the few suspects who are innocent of the main crime but doing something else illegal.
  • Bears Are Bad News: One of the "Good News, Bad News" scenarios if you lose the final puzzle at the end of Warnings at Waverly Academy:
    The Good News: The giant pendulum that was about to slice you in half just before the camera cut away apparently missed and struck open the wall..
    The Bad News: Waiting for you on the other side of the wall: Angry bears.
    • Rule of Funny dismisses the Fridge Logic as to how or why they'd supposedly be there.
    • In Tomb of the Lost Queen, Lily tells us that the probability of "contracting" a curse is the same probability that you'd end up "white-water rafting with a hungry bear. Who also has the bird flu. And he's holding dynamite."
  • Berserk Button: Many suspects, villains or not, have them.
    • Mystico the Magnificent's is you asking for anything except for "something very special."
    • If you lose Jacques' medallion, he will get mad at you and not talk to you for pretty much the rest of the game.
    • Malachi Craven is really easy to set off. So is Minette.
    • Elliot Chen will kick you out if you accidentally knock down a can of paint. Alexei Markovic does the same with anyone who breaks one of his antiques.
    • Do not break Colin Baxter's microscope.
    • Leela Yadav likes having a boyfriend. Do not steal him from her.
    • Abdullah doesn't take too kindly to anyone who dares suggest that aliens built the pyramids.
    • Miwako reacts badly whenever her mother is brought up, and usually will stop talking to you.
      • She will also kick you out of the Ryokan if you ask her about an article that is detailing her mom's death. Justifiable - you're giving her proof that you've been inside her room without permission and pilfering her belongings.
    • Bring Shorty unripe vegetables one too many times...
    • Harper in Ghost of Thornton Hall gets you to push Clara's For the Lulz: the Thornton matriarch doesn't know who her father is.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In nearly every game, the suspect who is the nicest to you turns out to be the villain, though this is nicely averted once in a while to keep the games from becoming too predictable.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Thorntons, although not many of them are alive anymore.
    • The Penvellyns subvert this trope. They live in an extremely scary mansion and many of them are/were interested in science and the occult, but these are all Red Herrings. They're mostly good people- they just have a lot of secrets and consider their heritage very important.
      • An Easter Egg in Thornton (the portrait hanging in Charlotte's bedroom) implies these families may be related.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: J.J Ling in Design. Her job as a plus-size actually requires that she be this.
  • Big Damn Heroes: "Way to go, Ralph!"
    • Arguably Holt in Danger on Deception Island; you've already defeated the Big Bad by the time he shows up with the Coast Guard, but his arrival means you won't have to deal with the culprit's henchmen.
  • Big Eater/Bizarre Taste in Food: Professor Hotchkiss.
    • Also, Bess. Several phone conversations with her mention her continual attempts to diet.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Ironically, the so-called "ghost dogs" in Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake are actually this — when they're not being ordered to act vicious by means of a silent alarm. After their former owner goes to prison, Sally ends up adopting them.
    • Truth in Television. If a dog's acting violent in real life, there are five possible reasons why: the dog feels threatened, the dog is unused to humans, the dog is hunting and/or fighting for survival, the dog's owner is not disciplining it correctly, or the dog is being trained to be violent. And only the last two reasons could explain a dog pack attacking a house.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The family's surname in Shadow at the Water's Edge is Shimizu. The Japanese word "shi" translates to "death," and "mizu" to "water." Yes, this is significant.
    • The Shimizu kanji on the doorplate at Yumi's apartment literally means "spring water", using the characters for "clear/pure" and "water". There's no kanji meaning "death" involved. However, this could be a way of invoking the famous Japanese superstition regarding any word pronounced like "shi", instead of directly showing the kanji itself.
    • See also Meaningful Name below.
  • Big "NO!": In The Final Scene's climax, you get the option to do this in response to Brady insisting that he demolish the theatre despite the fact that Maya could be trapped inside it. You can choose not to, but why would you?
    • In Blackmoor Manor, a statue does this whenever you fail a particular puzzle.
  • Bishōnen: Sonny Joon, of all people.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Toni from Alibi in Ashes: a city official who runs the local ice cream shop. She may smile sweetly and pretend to root for you, but secretly she's pushing the police to railroad you into the ground, just because the cases you solve make her look bad in the polls. It's so bad that towards the end of the game, she keeps her Stepford Smiler face on while refusing to help you stop the real arsonist.
    • Also, Helena in The Phantom of Venice, Emily from Ghost Dogs at Moon Lake and Anja in The Captive Curse. All are as friendly as can be and Anja even offers you relationship advice. Yet, Helena turns out to be the mastermind behind the thefts in Venice; Emily is behind the fake ghost dogs so that she can get her hands on buried gold bars; and Anja is pretending to be the monster that stalks Castle Finster to get revenge on her ex-boyfriend.
    • Connie in the original Secrets Can Kill makes for a Double Subversion of this trope. She seems nice and responsible, the most open of the students...but just like the others, she refuses to help you catch the culprit- even after you make it clear that her reluctance may cause another murder. However, she comes through in the end.
  • Bladder of Steel: Played straight most of the time, but subverted in The Final Scene: you must make a trip to the bathroom before the game will let you receive an important phone call. In White Wolf, going to the bathroom several times is necessary to receive an Easter Egg.
  • Blondes are Evil: Lori Girard from Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon and Helena Berg from The Phantom of Venice.
  • Book Ends: Nearly every game begins and ends with a letter from you to either Ned or her family.
    • Thornton begins and ends with you being woken up in the middle of the night by a call on her phone. The first time, it's Savannah Woodham, a ghost-hunter who needs you to take her place. The second time, it's a secret agent.
  • Breather Episode: After the dramatic, tear-inducing The Silent Spy comes The Shattered Medallion, in which you trek across New Zealand to win a contest.
  • Breakout Villain: Dwayne Powers from Stay Tuned for Danger and Ransom of the Seven Ships has become this among a portion of the fanbase- partly because he's the only villain to have been featured in more than one game, partly because of how over the top he is in embracing his elaborate villainous schemes and character.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The culprit of Stay Tuned shouts that "Time's up!" if you fail to finish a timed puzzle before he/she attacks you. This is justified, though, as said culprit has confused reality with fiction ("Real life is a soap opera.") and thus treats everyone like characters in a plot...which they are. He/she's just mixed up the villains with the heroes.
  • Brick Joke: In Tomb of the Lost Queen, you just barely remember to release the cobra as you finish your letter home.
  • Broken Bridge: If you try to get into Thornton Hall's basement before Harper takes you there, a scythe will drop down from the ceiling and force you to use the Second Chance button.
  • Burn the Witch!: In The Curse of Blackmoor Manor, this was Elinor Penvellyn's fate.
  • But Thou Must: Nearly every game ends with you either going right into the villain's lair or confronting the villain herself, even when you have enough evidence about their crimes to go to the police. (You can refuse to go, but the plot won't progress until you do.) A Justified Trope in that, well, the series is based off mystery novels, and at the end of mystery novels, the protagonist always confronts the villain. It's more dramatic.
    • Stay Tuned was especially guilty of this trope. At the end, Lillian calls you and asks you to met her at the TV studio. At night. With no one else around. And right after that, you receive a note threatening to murder her if she doesn't go back to River Heights now. And you have to go.
    • In Shadow, you have no choice but to demand Takae tell you about her daughter's death. Even though you know the memory hurts her deeply. Even though every time you have tried this previously, it resulted in Takae getting angry and refusing to speak with you at all.
    • In Thornton, you have to tell Clara/Wade that Harper is hiding in the basement, even though Harper warns you not to do so.
  • Butt Monkey: Lamont in Legend of the Crystal Skull. His sole reason for existence is so Bess can do various cruel things to him in order to get a clue for you, much to the player's amusement.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Played realistically. At the end of Danger By Design, Minette's insistence on calling her attacks makes her easier to defeat. In fact, the Ichi-Do book that you read beforehand politely points out that this trope is the "only weakness" of the style.
  • Canon Immigrant: Not really an immigrant, but it took nearly eighty years and numerous untold books, spin-offs, movies, TV series, games and who knows what else for someone to finally give Nancy's deceased mother a name, Katherine "Kate" Drew (nee Austin) — which may just be another Shout-Out to LOST (Evangeline Lilly's character is named Katherine "Kate" Austen).
  • Canon Welding: Alibi in Ashes does this with a few of the different book series. Brenda Carlton is exclusive to the Files spin-off series, and Deirdre Shannon is exclusive to the Girl Detective series (Simon and Schuster considers Girl Detective an official continuation of the original Nancy Drew Mystery Stories; however, in reality, they fit better somewhere between Series Reboot and Spin Off.) However, they're both suspects in Alibi in Ashes, which effectively weld both the Files and Girl Detective series to the original Nancyverse. It's especially interesting because they're pretty much Expies of each other (both are the Alpha Bitch that functions as a jealous nemesis to you, although Deirdre is a more straightforward example, while Brenda is more an Alpha Bitch all grown up.)
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : While sneaking around and lying to people are perfectly acceptable tactics, neglecting any sort of real-life safety tip (leaving the iron on, not wearing a helmet or life jacket) will always get you fired or killed so fast it's funny.
    • This is cranked Up to Eleven in Secret of Shadow Ranch, where if you give Shorty the cook unripe vegetables one too many times, you get kicked off the ranch and are told you won't be allowed to return until you gain "the proper respect for produce".
  • Captain Obvious: Nigel's memoirs in The Curse of Blackmoor Manor, which you must transcribe, contain statements like "I was very small when I was born." Well, duh...
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Eventually, though no two fans can agree exactly when the series began to get darker.
    • You could probably narrow it down to a few options. It could be Legend of the Crystal Skull, which was the first seriously scary game since The Curse of Blackmoor Manor and came after the extremely silly Creature of Kapu Cave and White Wolf of Icicle Creek. The Deadly Device, which features a murder as the main case for the first time since the first game, is another good contender, especially since the game that follows it - Ghost of Thornton Hall - is probably the darkest game released so far, literally and metaphorically. You could also make a fair argument for the double feature of Secrets Can Kill Remastered and Shadow at the Water's Edge. Also worth noting is that the series started out quite dark - with a murder, death threats and kidnapping within the first five games - and got lighter first, before getting darker again.
  • Changeling Tale: In The Curse of Blackmoor Manor, it's rumored that one of the Penvellyns (specifically, Elinor Penvellyn) was a changeling.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Where to begin...?
    • How about with the flash paper and ring in The Final Scene? Acquired as a seemingly useless prize early on, it winds up being the very last item used, to get Joseph away from the marquee controls.
    • A multi-game one; you know how you occasionally mention that your mother is dead? Well, in the 29th game, we get to see her via flashbacks, discover more about her past, and eventually get a good idea of what killed her.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Remember Samantha Quick, the spy whose identity you borrow in The Phantom of Venice? You meet her in The Silent Spy. She's really an American spy named Zoe Wolfe. However, her alias of Samantha Quick is unimportant to the plot of that game, though you will find the false passport in Zoe's hotel room.
  • Clairvoyant Security Force: Paige Griffin. Especially at 3:00 AM, in the basement.
  • Clear My Name: In Alibi in Ashes, this is basically what you have to do when you're accused of arson.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Sonny Joon, full stop, especially when he finally appears in The Shattered Medallion.
    Nancy: Do you believe in aliens?
    Sonny: Well, I'm not one of those Area-51 types, but why not? Crazier things have happened.
    Nancy: Crazier things than aliens existing?
    Sonny: Sure, crazier things. Take a word and say it fifty times in a row and at some point you'll be like, "What's that sound I'm making? What's it mean? (increasingly angry) Why don't I speak my own language? Why did I borrow this one?" So... (suddenly calm) In conclusion, all y'all animals and mountains, equally unlikely and insane.
    Nancy: That's an interesting way of looking at it.
    Sonny: Is it? I think it's scary. And then hilarious.
  • Color-Coded Stones: In Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon, the gemstones you must find to operate a device that reveals the location of Jake Hurley's mine not only look exactly as this trope predicts, but exactly like the pictures of their type in a book you acquire.
  • Comic Book Time: Time passes, yet you apparently stay the same age and are still referred to as a "silly American teenager" ten years after the first game supposedly began.
    • Especially amusing in that the exact same voice actors and silly-teen references are used in Secret of the Old Clock, which is a 1930s period piece!
    • The games have been threaded together since the beginning, however. In the ending for Secrets Can Kill, Nancy mentions Aunt Eloise got a letter from a friend about a TV studio and death threats, which led into Stay Tuned For Danger. The last few games like Shadow at The Water's Edge and The Captive Curse have also stated they've occurred one right after the other. What has been ten years for us might actually have only been a couple of months or years in the Nancyverse, in which case she's solved 26 cases so fast she could get any law-enforcement job she'd want.
    • However, in Ransom of the Seven Ships, Dwayne Powers, the culprit from Stay Tuned for Danger, says that he'd been in prison "for several long years", yet you are still a teenager despite the eighteen-game gap. This one could be chalked up to the fact that Dwayne is the only genuinely crazy villain in the series who honestly believed life was a soap opera and was deluded. He could have just been either exaggerating or the aforementioned deluded state he lived in caused him to really believe it had been many years when it had only been maybe a year.
  • Commedia dell'Arte: In The Phantom of Venice, the gang of art thieves use the names of Commedia dell'Arte characters as code names.
  • Complexity Addiction: Everyone in the Blackmoor family — every second heir, at least. So, let's say you want your family to keep something secret. Forever. How do you make sure this happens? Well, if you're like Randulf, the first Blackmoor, you first build a giant castle out in the middle of nowhere, with multiple hidden compartments and secret rooms, some of which will kill whoever goes through them in the wrong order. And then leave in said castle a hint about how to get through said secret rooms and reach it. Done? Okay, good. Now get your intelligent grandson, and tell him about the secret and where the hint is. Then see that he creates another layer of security on top of your own secret passageways to protect the secret and keep it safe, and insist that he leave a sufficiently cryptic hint about how to get through said layer. Then ask that he does the same thing with his grandchild. Now get the Undying Loyalty of another completely unrelated family, tell them about your plan, swear them to secrecy about said plan, and make them promise to train their heirs as mentors and teachers to your own, so that even if a future Blackmoor heir is orphaned, someone will always be around to initiate them into the Blackmoor legacy and help them keep said secret. And It Worked. The Blackmoor treasure stayed hidden for centuries, and everyone involved played their parts to a T- even the people who were born long after Randulf's death.
  • Continuity Nod: In Alibi in Ashes, Brenda says that the fire at Town Hall is the biggest thing to happen since "Old man Crowley's will was found," a reference to the very first Nancy Drew book (which was also adapted into a game), The Secret of the Old Clock.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted in The Captive Curse. Opening the glass furnace without protection will get you severely burned.
    The Good News: You're safe from the castle's monster.
    The Bad News: But not from the furnace's monster. Yes. There is a furnace monster. That's how bad today is going for you.
    • Although in Creature of Kapu Cave, you can freely walk around inside the caverns of a volcano and beside rivers of magma with no ill effects at all.
  • Cool Old Lady: Hilda Swenson in Danger on Deception Island.
  • Cool Train: Where two thirds of Last Train To Blue Moon Canyon is set. It was the private train of, strangely, a failed gold miner, and contains lots of varnish and fancy furniture, as well as a secret passageway and a funky steampunk apparatus.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: When stealing the Sadal Malik sapphire in The Phantom of Venice, you must do this to avoid laser-equipped Roombas, er, security robots wandering the halls of the warehouse where the sapphire is being kept.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Karl in The Captive Curse believes himself to be one.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Sonny's grandfather, apparently, at the end of The Shattered Medallion.
  • Cuteness Proximity: In Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, your reaction when you meet the eponymous dogs being held in an underground pen is to remark on how the ghost dogs are a hoax, after all...but if you go back to see them again, your subsequent reactions are to Squee and ask them who's a good dog, a good boy, yes they are!
  • Cutting the Knot: In Danger By Design, you need to find a sprig of fresh mint. Unfortunately, there's a shortage of it (since the mint farmers are on strike) and the only place you can find it is at the market stalls, sold at an insultingly high price: 100 euros, which you will almost certainly lack at that point. So you could go off and paint souvenirs to earn the money... or you can order the restaurant's 8-euro ice cream and take the mint on top of it. Also counts as Guide Dang It, because the game gives no hint you can do this. Unless you see Arglefumph's playthroughs.
  • Could Say It But: Alibi's Chief McGinnis and Alexei indulge in this. Respectively:
    • "Nancy, I've worked with you for years! Of course I know you're innocent. But I can't help you with this, and I can't let you out of jail. That would be against the law. By the way, do you see this nice new evidence board we just hung up? Pity there's not much on it. Maybe if more evidence about this case appeared on the board, I might just see it. The next time I come out for a coffee. I like coffee. Almost as much as I like catching criminals. (Incidentally, there's the inter-office speaker cops use to call me out of my office. Nice, isn't it?)"
    • "No, I won't tell you kids where the entrance to the town's underground sewer tunnels are! That place is dangerous! Just go off and clear your friend's name somewhere else. But before you go, look at my books. I've been collecting them for years. There's so much information about the town in them, it's really something. You kids should respect history more."
  • Creepy Child: Jane Penvellyn in The Curse of Blackmoor Manor. There's just something so damn creepy about her... which proves to be not that far off when she turns out to be the culprit.
  • Creepy Doll: The late Camille Voulet's dolls in Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon, particularly Naughty Tina, what with her cracked face.
  • Creepy Good: Blue Moon's cryptkeeper. He's fascinated by graves, and hoarsely warns you that Camille's ghost will be watching over hers...but he's also courteous and completely harmless.
    • Ethel from Blackmoor Manor also counts. She has a habit of popping up at the most unexpected times and is seen preforming a creepy ritual with Jane, but is not the culprit and just wants to help Jane preserve the family legacy.
  • Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle: In the Russian translation of "Danger By Design", Minette's name had to be changed to "Marie", since the word "minet", which sounds exactly like her name, is Russian for "fellatio".
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dwayne Powers' motivation for his villainy deeds is him being unable to get over the fact that he didn't become an actor and get the girl. He seems a one-off villain in Stay Tuned For Danger, who at times appears rather childish and wimpy. He is also the only character so far to appear twice as a villain of a game and leave the possibility for at least one more appearance.
    • Bess is also this; she's not a moron, but her lighthearted, playful view of life contrasts strongly with Nancy's curiosity and Nerves of Steel. All through Skull, she's suggesting that you abandon the scary investigation and have fun with her. But when the situation calls for it, she is badass enough to infiltrate a secret society and accuse someone of murder.
  • Crystal Skull: What you're searching for in The Legend of the Crystal Skull.
  • Damsel in Distress: Emily in Old Clock.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Ghost of Thornton Hall is probably the darkest ND game yet (not only in terms of scary factor, but also in terms of psychological atmosphere), beating out even Secrets Can Kill. Depending on your actions at the end, you can leave three people to die and two others seriously injured.
    • And before Thornton, there was Alibi. In nearly all of the games up until that point, there was one culprit, one person doing all the bad things to everyone — and when you caught them, everyone could be happy. The series had its fair share of Nightmare Fuel, but most of it was related to the creepy settings and the bad things people had done in the past, not the present. In Alibi, there is quite a strong undertone of Humans Are Bastards, we see firsthand the results of complete social ostracism, and the ending is bittersweet; because even though you've resolved the troubles of both Nancy and Alexei, they still have to live with the knowledge that in their time of need, the people of their hometown abandoned them.
    • The trailer for the 29th game consists of nothing but a phone call to you in the middle of the night, while a heavily processed voice effectively informs you that not only your mother is alive, but that she is also a spy. Holy trailer, Batman!
      • The second trailer released ramps it up considerably. For the first time you get shot at with an actual gun, and this may be the first game where instead of being caught up in some external affair she is the center of attention and is possibly being intentionally targeted by the bad guys. Screenshots show a training arena, the caption of which states that you can 'hone your combat skills', which may indicate more physical confrontations or events than in past games.
  • Dark Mistress: In Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, Mickey Malone's girlfriend, Vivian.
  • Dead Man Writing: In Thornton, you find a note Charlotte wrote in anticipation of her death. Crosses over with Gambit Roulette.
    Please, please, please- never let this fall into the wrong hands.
    If you find this and do not know what it is, please, I'm begging you to put it back and hide it well.
    If you know who I am, then this will help you understand what I did.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mary Yazzie in Secret of Shadow Ranch, among others. You yourself are often this.
  • Death by Looking Up: Inverted, oddly enough; looking up when something is about to fall on you is necessary to actually avoid it. Looking down leads to instant death and Second Chance screen.
    • Also played straight on occasion, when the proper response is to step back immediately upon hearing the noise cue that something's about to fall on you.
    • Or, in Kapu Cave, where you must step to the right. Very quickly.
  • Death Trap: Nearly every game features a form of a death trap.
  • Disappeared Dad: In Thornton Hall, Jessalyn's father is never even mentioned by any of the characters, even though his daughter is both soon-to-be-married and missing. He's apparently alive, as his name appears without a death-date on the family tree, but that's it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: You can get booted from the games for some downright silly reasons, such as... picking under-ripe vegetables in Shadow Ranch!
    • Holt from Danger on Deception Island will have you arrested if you bring him a female crab. Yeah, catching them are illegal, but...
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The beginning of "The Phantom of Venice". Also, after certain manipulations in "White Wolf of Icicle Creek", you get to see a bizarre dream that implies the wolf is innocent. It is quite correct.
  • Drowning Pit: The water tank in The Phantom of Venice.
  • Door Roulette: Used infamously in Blackmoor Manor. Anyone who completed it on their first try either used Arglefumph's walkthrough or has a photographic memory.
  • Dumb Blonde: Lori Girard of Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon. Subverted in that she's actually smart enough to believably kidnap herself. She also knows she won't be able to find the game's treasure on her own, and manipulates you into doing it for her.
  • Dumb Muscle: Patrick Dowsett, The Shattered Medallion.
  • The Dutiful Daughter: Miwako Shimizu in Shadow at the Water's Edge, as opposed to her rebellious older sister, Yumi.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first game, Secrets Can Kill, aside from having a darker atmosphere, also had 2D "drawing" animations of the suspects instead of the 3D models from the rest of the series.
  • Easter Egg: Constantly, if you know where to look.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Yumi Shimizu in Shadow at the Water's Edge, though her favoring of the color pink makes her more of a Sweet Lolita.
  • Engineered Public Confession: The threat of this is what prompts Rentaro to confess for real at the end of Shadow at the Water's Edge.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In Alibi in Ashes, Deirdre dislikes Nancy for several reasons, especially for her seeing Ned. But she states that although she dislikes Nancy, she doesn't hate her enough to accuse her of burning down Town Hall. She even helps you out in a later game, The Deadly Device.
  • Evil Redhead: Several villains fall under this category, namely Lisa Ostrum from Treasure in the Royal Tower, Marion Aborn/'Jane Willoughby' from Secret of the Old Clock, and Minette from Danger by Design.
  • Exact Time to Failure: In The Final Scene, you have exactly three days to find Maya.
  • The Faceless: Nancy, as the games are in first-person perspective. Bess and George were faceless until Ransom of the Seven Ships.
    • Minette in Danger By Design. She wears a white mask so no one can she her face (and, no doubt, to give the animators some time to slack off). Turns out she was hiding her lame alien tattoo. The same goes for Enrico Tazza in The Phantom of Venice, who always wears his Carnivale mask when you meet him.
    • Plus, all the people you talk on the phone with, old people who left secret passages behind. Oh, and Sonny Joon — until The Shattered Medallion came out.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Henry Bolet wears a fingerless glove on one hand.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: In Message in a Haunted Mansion, this is how you can trap the villain at the end; untie it any earlier, however, and it's a game over.
  • Fangirl: Rita Hallowell in Warnings at Waverly Academy takes this trope Up to Eleven.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The Koko Kringle bars.
    • Danger by Design has Pricsy Colors, the cases of which look a lot like Prisma colors.
  • Fishing Minigame: In both Secret of the Old Clock and Creature of Kapu Cave. Sadly, both times are necessary to the plot, and you can catch other things as well, at least in Secret.
  • Five-Bad Band: The art thieves in The Phantom of Venice:
  • Foreshadowing: A bit of Gameplay and Story Integration, too. In Warnings at Waverly Academy, you find Rachel in her room after talking to her earlier and for some reason, she doesn't recognize you as much. And if you had seen Arglefumph's Let's Play or had played the game before, you'd notice that she has a lock of hair on the left side of her face. Most people would have simply chalked this up to the fact that she might have been under a lot of stress and hadn't recognized the "new girl" as much as her other floor-mates. It's actually because you're not talking to Rachel — you're talking to Kim.
    • Also, the villain of "Warnings..." is supposed to be the ghostly Black Cat. I'll give you three guesses as to what race the real villain is.
    • In The Captive Curse, Anja initially tells you that she sent in her resume, crossed her fingers, and hoped. Turns out she'd lied on the resume, giving new significance to her "crossing her fingers" (which some kids do when they lie, to ward off being found out).
    • In Stay Tuned, cracking open a fortune cookie in Dwayne's office reveals this (coded) message Even though revenge should be sweet/Jealous acts will end in defeat. Very fitting for a foiled Yandere.
  • Food Porn: The cooking minigames would be far, far more annoying if they didn't have this. (Someone made a Tumblr blog dedicated to all the series' instances of this. Some were even featured in a scrapbook you can find within The Shattered Medallion!) In particular, Danger by Design has the parfait-making minigame, in which you must pile ice-cream, fruit, cream, and candy into a delicious layered sundae.
  • Gaiden Game: The Dossier series.
  • Gambit Roulette: The culprit tricks you into helping them with their Evil Plan in Ransom of the Seven Ships. It counts as this trope because there are too many damn ways to die. If you had reached one of the many possibilities to get a game over, if you hadn't gotten past the carefully-set traps, or if you had figured out the true identity behind Johnny Rolle/Poole too early, the culprit's plan would have failed.
  • Game Within a Game: Shadow at the Water's Edge features a pachinko parlor, there are some nautically-themed games in The Haunted Carousel, Jane Pennvellyn in Blackmoor loves playing board games, a millionaire in Old Clock built his own golf course... There are lots of examples, you get the idea. Often leads into Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer.
    • Such minigames must often be completed once to advance the plot, no matter how illogical that might be. As with Venice's mob boss, who demands that anyone doing business with him must beat him in a game of Scopa.
    • Your cell phone has come "pre-loaded" with a few minigames as well, should you wish to take a break from the investigation.
  • Genre Savvy: Randulf the Red, so very much. Instead of hiding his treasure behind just one puzzle, he arranged a Thanatos Gambit in which every branch of his family added a puzzle on top of his own, ensuring that said treasure's protection only got stronger and stronger as the generations progressed. The only reason anyone outside the Blackmoor family could find it was because of the malice of Jane, the latest Blackmoor heir, whose crimes threw a Spanner in the Works — that is, Nancy. See Complexity Addiction.
  • Genre Shift: The Silent Spy quickly changes from "mildly scary investigation game" to "tense spy thriller where the fate of Glasgow is at stake." The shift is only permanent, though, the next game being set along more traditional lines.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The culprit in The Haunting of Castle Malloy seems to be a banshee, but we all know banshees aren't real! Instead, it's a feral old woman flying around on a jet pack! Duh.
    • Surprisingly, there's not as much a "culprit" as in other games.
  • Good News, Bad News: The good news: there just might be a way out of a "Game Over" scenario after all. The bad news: Just kidding! The bad news will always be there to dash those hopes!
    • Except in Ghost of Thornton Hall, to preserve the atmosphere, and every game before The Phantom Of Venice, which didn't have the good news/bad news yet and just took you back to the main menu. This has been dropped starting with Thornton Hall.
  • Gold Digger: Henry Bolet's girlfriend is one. Henry admits that he knows this, but won't break up with her because he's afraid of being alone.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Because you're playing in first person, you don't get to see the details in the more gruesome Game Over scenarios, which is actually a good thing, considering the more horrific ways to die — for example, one way to die in Treasure in the Royal Tower is by not pre-setting the elevator, not solving a puzzle in time, and thus getting crushed by an elevator. Or in the final trap on Warnings at Waverly Academy, which references Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum.
  • Goth: Mel from Warnings at Waverly Academy and Henry Bolet from The Legend of the Crystal Skull.
  • Grande Dame: Mrs. Drake in The Curse of Blackmoor Manor and Prudence Rutherford in various games.
  • Granola Girl: Ingrid Corey in The Haunted Carousel.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: French in "Danger By Design", Italian and German in "The Phantom of Venice", Hawaiian in "Creature of Kapu Cave" ("Kapu" means "forbidden", "Pua" means "flower", and you get addressed as "wahine" at some point).
    • Which often leads to some Genius Bonuses when certain puzzles require you to translate something. For example, in "Danger by Design," if you know how to speak French, you don't have to purchase a dictionary to translate Dieter's list of stock photos.
    • Also the hieroglyphics in Tomb of the Lost Queen.
    • "Shadow at the Water's Edge". Good God, "Shadow at the Water's Edge". Takae's butchering of the English language is somehow supposed to sound authentic, but in reality, it just sounds sloppy. No real Japanese person, no matter how old, would pronounce "always" as "ala-ways". Also in this game, if you already know the kanji for "man" and "woman", you might not make the mistake of trying to use the men's bathroom!
  • Grumpy Bear: An assortment of suspects are often like these. One particular example that stands out is Holt from Danger on Deception Island who pretty much holds a gruff attitude in general, and in one possible Game Over scenario he will turn you over to the police... for catching a female crab. So yeah... For what it's worth, he seems to be begrudgingly admitting he has to turn you over to the police.
    • Dexter Egan from Treasure in the Royal Tower is another good example, although he warms up to you. A little.
    • Tex in Secret of Shadow Ranch. Nicely enough, his sour character is rather subverted by the fact that he and Mary Yazzie are in love and have been secretly seeing each other.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Red Knott in Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake.
    • Renate in The Captive Curse is a female example, though she warms up to you.
  • Guide Dang It: Admit it, you've had your own moment with at least one puzzle per game. If not the puzzles, missing one small item or detail from a rarely-visited area will drive you to the brink of frustration.
  • Gypsy Curse: Various villains have given them to you, but they didn't have any magical backing. Except maybe Mystico the Magnificent's...
  • Hacking Minigame: Found in Lights, Camera, Curses!, wherein you have to view encrypted security camera footage.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Bess Marvin.
  • Hell Hotel: The main setting for Shadow At the Water's Edge.
  • Hellhound: The eponymous dogs in Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake look like this.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: In The Deadly Device, Gray Cortright and Niko Jovic.
  • How We Got Here: Phantom of Venice starts off with you getting locked in a room that is filling with water. The rest of the game is a flashback leading up to that scene — and you'd better figure out how to stop that water once you get there.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: A database in the The Secret Spy reveals that Logan (a temperamental, somewhat bumbling one-time assistant to Savannah Woodham) is a Cathedral informant. Suffice it to say that they are not the kind of person you'd expect to be mixed up in espionage — which is probably why they were chosen in the first place.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: How did you manage to carry a cotton picker around Thornton Hall?
    • Averted in Scarlet Hand. The calendar stones are far too heavy for you to carry them around like normal, as she immediately tells you. If you carry them for too long, you will drop them. Thing is, they're also very breakable, and of irreplaceable historical value — dropping them nets you a game over.
  • I Can't Use These Things Together: More common in the older games, but still recurs now and again.
  • Idiot Ball/Too Dumb to Live/What an Idiot: Depending on how sadistic the player is feeling, this can be deliberately invoked in Nancy in the many methods to get her killed or fired.
    • Played painfully straight at the end of Ransom of the Seven Ships without the player having to do anything (or in this case, not being able to do anything). So Nancy, that bum whom you've been helping turns out to be a former culprit out for revenge, not to mention a culprit who proved to be unstable and dangerous in the past and is about to trap you. So what do you do? Stand there and do nothing apart from whimpering "Oh no" when he launches a trap that you have been aware of since you first arrived on the beach. What makes it really outrageous is how the past games at least gave you a chance to outrun the culprit.
    • Sometimes, the suspects themselves can be prone to this. For instance, towards the end of Warnings at Waverly Academy, one of the characters has her term paper erased by the Black Cat. The player has the option of asking if she kept a hard copy, and her answer is..."No! It would've been like printing out a book!" Anyone who has gone to college and written a term paper can tell you why this reasoning is just plain stupid. Possibly a bit explicable in that this is actually high school, but even then, given the professionalism that Waverly Academy expects of its students, you'd think the students would know that.
      • From the same game, girls asking the new girl to do their homework for them. As anyone can tell you, that's a very stupid idea. It may be Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught, but you could easily get several other girls either expelled or dropped out of the valedictorian running for cheating on their homework.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Who the hell would go to a place called Deception Island?
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: On the Overcharge Batteries from Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake. Their slogan is "It pays to overcharge!"
  • Infant Immortality: At the end of The Curse of Blackmoor Manor, Jane, the pre-teen culprit, accidentally gets stuck in a potentially life-threatening trap which you must free her from... except no matter how long you take, she never dies, despite being stuck in an enclosed space that would guarantee suffocation within minutes.
    • Strangely enough, if you don't move out of the way of the trap in time, you get stuck in there with Jane - and you get a Game Over. So it can be averted - kinda.
  • Induced Hypochondria: Linda is a victim of this in Blackmoor Manor. Lampshaded in your phone conversation with Paliki, where the placebo effect is discussed at length.
  • Informed Ability: In Stay Tuned For Danger, Mattie Jensen, the actress whom you are staying with, is repeatedly stated to be a very talented actress, and has the awards on her home shelf to show for it. And yet in the one scene where you actually get to see her act...well...
    • Then again, this could be justified in that the more egregious bad acting can easily be fixed in editing so that the one take where Mattie is either outstanding, or at the very least not quite so awful, is shown on television.
  • Intrepid Reporter: The games have had three of these as suspects, so far: Lisa Ostrum, Helena Berg, and Brenda Carlton. You yourself are like this and have noted that reporters are a lot like detectives. Interestingly, all the reporters have been the culprit of their respective cases.
    • Maya in The Final Scene may also be this. It's difficult to tell though, as she's kidnapped early in the game.
  • The Irish Mob: One can assume the gangster, Mickey Malone in Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake was part of this.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home..." in Ghost of Thornton Hall.
  • It's Personal: The story of The Silent Spy is about Nancy's mom, particularly the mystery behind her death.
  • I Warned You: Savannah is careful to warn you about the...nature of the Thornton Hall case. You don't understand Savannah's fear, until you get to spend time in the house.
    Savannah: I didn't call you here just because you're a good detective. I called you because you're a skeptic.
  • Jerk Ass: Most seemingly jerkass characters turn out to be Jerks With Hearts of Gold, but not Simone Mueller of "The Final Scene", who uses the kidnapping of your friend Maya as publicity fodder.
  • Jet Pack: You get one of these in The Haunting of Castle Malloy.
  • Karma Houdini: The culprit in Ransom of the Seven Ships.
    • Tino Balducci of Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon claims that anything he did during that case is now all "water under the bridge" when Chantal insists that you call him for help in White Wolf of Icicle Creek.
    • Also, villains who've attempted to kill you, in the course of the game, are often described as going to jail for robbery, extortion, fraud, etc. You'd think attempted murder charges would rate a mention...
    • However, the culprit in "Shadow at the Water's edge" didn't get off so easily. Despite that one of Rentaro's inventions almost killed you, he actually did not intend to do it at all, and probably would have been charged with manslaughter at worst. However, the resolution, depending on what you did, has Rentaro either being fired from his job and never seeing Miwako again, or he gets to keep his job but Miwako is so angry at him he blows their relationship.
    • Not to mention the culprit of Warnings at Waverly Academy. She locks a claustrophobic girl in a closet overnight, sending her into a mental breakdown where weeks later she still isn't speaking. She also puts nuts into food of a girl allergic to them, sending her into the hospital and pulling her out of school for several weeks, the girl even states that she was lucky not to have died from it. Not to mention trying to kill you. Yet the only punishment she gets is to be expelled from the school.
  • Kimono Is Traditional: In Water's Edge, Takae — the most staid of the characters — is also the only one to wear a kimono.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: A staple of the series. If you can pick it up, you should pick it up, because it will be important later. At this point, you have stolen everything from priceless Mayan artifacts to chewed gum.
    • During Crystal Skull, you are asked to go into someone's room to get a Koko Kringle bar for them. The game gives you a trophy for stuffing yourself with the remaining bars.
  • Lack of Empathy: Nancy, surprisingly. Sometimes you have to ask really cruel, invasive questions to advance the game.
    • In the true ending of Resorting, Elwood is apparently so unaffected by his sister's attempt at mass murder that he writes a hit screenplay about it.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Bess pulls off a lot of puns, much to George's dismay.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Several of the above tropes for the book are commonly lampshaded in the games, especially Nancy staying the same age throughout the games: "Right I forgot, you're celebrating your...seventieth birthday next month?"
    • Professor Hotchkiss, a fan favorite recurring character, calls Nancy her own favorite recurring character in Tomb of the Lost Queen.
    • Nancy from Alibi in Ashes: "I get knocked unconscious and thrown into a dungeon every other week."
    • A phone conversation in Old Clock:
    Nancy: You know how I always seem to end up in these really old houses with secret passageways?
    (Beat)
    George: Sometimes I think they follow you around.
    • Amusingly, Bess and Ned also get to have this conversation with Nan in "Crystal Skull" and "Captive Curse" respectively.
    • Bess and George accuse you of being able to find a secret passage in anything, up to and including a blueberry muffin.
  • Large Ham: Many of the voice actors have too much fun with their roles (especially the ones voicing the villains when revealed at the end, or the ones voicing the particularly over-the-top suspects), but the culprit at the very end of Stay Tuned For Danger deserves an honourable mention. Once in a while, Nancy Drew herself gets in on the action.
    • Prop Master of DEATH!
    • The announcer of PUNCHYYYY LARUUUUUEE!
    • GRAAAH! Confound you, Nancy Drew!
  • Lawful Stupid: Jeff Akers, a park ranger in Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, occasionally falls into this trope. His actions include fining Sally for littering because she left a half-eaten ham sandwich on a picnic table and issuing you a citation for destructive behavior after you were locked in a burning shed. However, it's quite possible that he behaves this way to compensate for the fact that his grandfather was a gangster. Or he's just really bored.
  • Legacy of Service: In Curse of Blackmoor Manor, young Jane Penvellyn's tutor Ethel comes from a family who has served the Penvellyns since at least the Middle Ages. Not only does she teach Jane astronomy, math, science, French, and other varied subjects, she also serves as Jane's introduction into the long-standing and confusing traditions of the Penvellyn family. And she's completely necessary for this, because the traditions are passed from grandchild to grandchild, thus making it very difficult for the Penvellyns themselves to pass on the knowledge.
  • Lethal Chef: In Danger on Deception Island, at one point, you must make a sandwich. But if you use any expired or blatantly inedible ingredients (such as baking soda and fresh jellyfish) to make this sandwich and give it to either yourself or your hostess, one or the other gets food poisoning and the game ends. Likewise, in Secret of Shadow Ranch, you can get fired for overbaking the cake, or bringing Shorty unripe vegetables three times in a row. It's funny.
    • The former game is a strange example of this — it is not the combination of ingredients themselves that can make you or your hostess sick; rather, it's the individual ingredients by themselves (such as the aforementioned baking soda). As long as you use ingredients that are fresh and are actual food, you can make any kind of combination of different ingredients for a sandwich and it won't make one of you sick, no matter how incredibly disgusting it would be in real life (such as an ice cream and mustard and peanut butter sandwich).
  • Let Me Get This Straight: In one of Shadow Ranch's game over sequence caused if you overbake the cake, this is Aunt Bet's reaction.
    "So what you're saying is, you destroyed my oven, severely damaged my kitchen, and caused my cook to quit?"
  • Lighter and Softer: The first game, Secrets Can Kill, although not spooky, was actually much Darker and Edgier than later installments, as the crime under investigation is a cold-blooded murder and you must point a handgun at the culprit to prevail; the player must even click while doing this, which feels like you're shooting him, even if it's just to confirm where you're aiming so he'll surrender. One instance where going Lighter and Softer for the sequels was an improvement.
    • The Remastered version of it, while still keeping certain plot elements from the original, looks like it might be Lighter and Softer than the original... and then this is massively subverted at the end when the culprit holds you up at gunpoint.
  • Locked Door: It's locked. It's locked. I need a key for this. It's locked. I need something to make this work. It's locked. It's locked. ARGH!!!!!
    • Hilariously lampshaded in Trail of the Twister via a radio advertisement:
    Announcer: How many times has this happened to you?
    Nancy: It's locked.
    Announcer: Those days are over with the new Lock Buster Infinity! Made from space age nanotubes, Lock Buster Infinity opens every door!
  • Lost Forever: Sometimes (thankfully rarely), if you do a particular sequence out of order, you will be unable to solve the rest of the game (creating two back-up save games can come in handy at times like this). One particularly bad example comes from Stay Tuned for Danger: If you don't get two necessary items before going into Rick's room on the day after viewing the videotape (namely: the screwdriver and the wire-cutters to defuse the bomb) and you've already saved after going into his room... you're screwed.
  • Love at First Note: How Dirk and Frances fell in love.
    Charleena: [talking about Cappy Munger] His establishment contained the only piano within fifty miles. Frances, being as smart as she was, taught herself how to play it. That's apparently how she met Dirk. He heard her composing a song one day and fell in love on the spot.
  • Love Makes You Evil: In Shadow at the Water's Edge, Rentaro scares away guests from the ryokan in hopes that he can convince Miwako, his childhood sweetheart, to move away with him to the city.
  • The Mafia: The Phantom of Venice. Well, duh.
  • Man-Eating Plant: For some godforsaken reason, Mrs. Drake has one in The Curse of Blackmoor Manor. Complete with the part about eating you. It did make a funny death sequence, though.
    • There's one mentioned in passing in Secret of the Old Clock when you deliver a telegram to the nursery to a bloke called Seymour. It only bites, but merits a mention.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Many of the suspects get this way, but the only one Nancy seems to get particularly frustrated with is Sonny Joon.
    Sonny: Did you read my papers? Don't read my papers.
    Nancy: Why not?
    Sonny: Because they're fascinating and full of mystery.
    Nancy: You're sending me mixed messages.
    Sonny: No I am.
  • Meaningful Name: In White Wolf of Icicle Creek, it turns out that Guadalupe Comillo is a conservationist with a keen interest in wolves. A possible translation for Guadalupe is "Valley of the Wolf."
    • The name of the terrorist organization in The Silent Spy is "The Revenant", which is the English and French word for "ghost". But in its language of origin, French, this word has one more shade of meaning, because there it literally means "the one who comes back", from revenir, "to come back". Coming back is exactly what The Revenant tries to do in this game.
  • Memento MacGuffin: You mention that Ned gave you a locket just before she goes to Italy. There's a picture of the phantom thief holding a locket on the cover of the game. Was there ever any doubt that the locket would become this? Interestingly, the cover's locket looks nothing like yours. You do manage to retrieve it, at least.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Police detective Tino Balducci in Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon.
  • Monster Misogyny: The monster's victims in The Captive Curse are Always Female.
    • A case of Fridge Horror: the monster does not actually exist, in the present at least, and we never find out who/what was the 'monster' that kidnapped Renate's sister in the past. Think about something, anything dragging a child into the forest, never to be seen again, and tell me you don't find that disquieting.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Nearly all of the strange occurrences are explained away eventually as being from a secret passage, hidden music player, images from a projector... You get the idea. But there's always enough unexplained events that you are left wondering.
    Rentaro: A ghost doesn't need to be real to haunt you.
    • Most prominent in Thornton Hall where carbon monoxide explains everything. Everything. Except for the multiple scenes you can get where Charlotte gets pissed at you and insta-kills you, forcing you to restart. And the 'HELP ME' message that carves itself into the fireplace — at a point where it would be impossible for the villain to have done so — and then disappears. And Nancy Drew's name appearing out of nowhere on one of the crypt's gravestones, in a place where any fumes from the faulty furnace would be easily dispersed. And we never do learn what caused the climactic fire that destroys Thornton Hall.
      • Also, something that requires explanation: the moving statue of Charlotte in the cemetery. No way was that carbon monoxide poisoning.
      • The game's writers claim that Harper Thornton engraved Nancy's name on the gravestone, as some kind of plea. And that the ghost-induced death scenes were actually you hallucinating and having a heart attack, both caused by the gas.
      • According to this, the game over sequence caused by Charlotte was not meant to be interpreted literally; it was just a dramatic way of showing that the plot would end if you made that particular choice.
    Not every second chance is fatal, sometimes Nancy is simply removed from the case. At this point in the game, Nancy has found Jessalyn. If she doesnít work along with Jessalynís plan, the entire thing falls apart.
  • The Mole: Ewan MacLeod in The Silent Spy.
  • Multiple Endings: Occasionally, a game will feature a tidbit of dialogue that subtly changes your post-game monologue. That is, the end of the game itself stays the same, but what happens in the epilogue will be a little different. For example, about halfway through Danger by Design, you can choose whether or not to get Minette's assistant Heather McKay fired. Though the game goes on either way, if you choose to spare Heather, she lets Nancy model in her Spring show. If you fire her, she stays angry at you and you aren't invited.
    • The Nancy Drew Dossier downloadable games, a spinoff subseries with a less immersive format, also allow for multiple endings, based on whom you choose to name as a prime suspect halfway through the investigation.
    • Shadow at the Water's Edge has a minor version of this at the ending. After confronting Rentaro after recording him admitting to the hauntings, he asks you if he can confess to Miwako himself. If you choose not to let him do this, he leaves the ryokan for good and Miwako and Takae remain angry at him. If you allow him to confess on his own, Miwako breaks up with him, but he is eventually allowed to help modernize the ryokan "in small, Takae-approved ways."
    • In what is possible the most intense version of this trope in the Nancy Drew game series, you have three options for the end of Ghost of Thornton Hall: Save Harper and Jessalyn but let Clara perish, save everyone and get the happy ending, or save no one and allow Clara, Wade, Colton, Harper and Jessalyn to (possibly) die. Sure it's unclear whether or not any of them are okay, and the latter two are hospitalized in the bad ending, but still...
  • Mythology Gag: Items from previous games pop up all the time:
    • Professor Hotchkiss's purple ski boots from Treasure in the Royal Tower are in a garden shed in The Ghosts Dogs of Moon Lake
    • It's possible to unearth a broken carousel horse head in a dumpster in The Phantom of Venice. The horse is Glory from The Haunted Carousel
    • Renee in Legend of the Crystal Skull and Mel from Warnings at Waverly Academy both have dolls from Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon.
    • Jane in The Curse of Blackmoor Manor forces you to play a number of games based on previous HerInteractive releases.
      • Jane herself has a crush on Brady Armstrong, an actor who appears in The Final Scene.
    • Jane seems to be designing games herself, eventually, as "Jane's Game Portal" in Danger By Design would suggest.
    • All of the guests in the seating plan puzzle in The Haunting of Castle Malloy are characters from previous games.
    • In addition to this, suspects will return in later games for phone cameos — you can phone Last Train To Blue Moon Canyon's Tino Balducci in White Wolf of Icicle Creek and the aforementioned Professor Hotchkiss (a fan favourite) in The Legend of the Crystal Skull and Tomb of the Lost Queen. Charleena Purcell does this in reverse; you can phone her in Secret of Shadow Ranch, and in Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon, she returns as a suspect. Dwayne Powers from Stay Tuned for Danger is the most striking example, as he returns to be the culprit in Ransom of the Seven Ships, almost twenty games after his debut. In addition, in Ransom of the Seven Ships, he's the first culprit to actually escape from you, leaving it open for him to return a third time.
    • And, in the more recent games, if you use a bathroom, you will make a comment referencing a previous game.
    • On occasion, this is lampshaded; you ask Bill Kessler in White Wolf of Icicle Creek if he's related to Rolfe Kessler, the carousel horse maker, from The Haunted Carousel. The man cheerily replies that he has no idea.
    • If you give Mystico the Magnificent a "wrong" answer, he will say "Ack! What do you think I am?" and then he lists the descriptions of characters of previous games who could give you what you asked for.
    • One of the telegram recipients from Old Clock gives you a "hot tip" in exchange for his message: a clue for succeeding at a challenge from Blackmoor Manor.
    • Also in Old Clock, the opening speech references your friend Helen Corning, who was in the first few Nancy books then Put on a Bus in favor of Bess and George. Since the whole game was a period piece from the very first Nancy story, referencing her was a cute, appropriate case of Shown Their Work.
    • A portrait of Penelope Penvellyn (from Curse of Blackmoor Manor) can be seen in Charlotte's bedroom in Ghost of Thornton Hall.
    • Savannah Woodham, the author of a book on paranormal phenomenon from Shadow at the Water's Edge, is called upon for her expertise again by you in Ghost of Thornton Hall.
    • Sonny Joon is this trope personified (finally, definitively so in The Shattered Medallion).
  • Never Live It Down: In-universe example: Alexei in Alibi in Ashes is this way whenever somebody breaks one of his antiques. Also, Alexei himself suffered from this. He was a detective as a teenager, just like you, and was accused of theft by a man he'd busted.
  • Nikola Tesla: Featured in ''The Deadly Device''.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lori Girard, your hostess in Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon is an obvious stand-in for Paris Hilton.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Suki, a robot cat owned by Miwako Shimizu, in Shadow At the Water's Edge. Her boyfriend is trying to craft a robotic dog counterpart.
  • No Antagonist: Haunting of Castle Malloy turns out to be this. The 'kidnapping' was a complete accident and the 'villain' did nothing but try to help the imprisoned victim.
  • No Indoor Voice:
    Fatima: DO AH SOOOOOOOOOUND LIKE AH BUELL TA YOU!?
    • Also Dr. Malachi Craven from Creature of Kapu Cave.
    • You at some points. Just try clicking on an item on the to-do checklist during a quiet moment.
    Nancy: CAN'T CHECK THAT OFF TILL IT'S DONE!
    • Red Knott lampshades this in Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, telling her that she'll drive all the birds away by talking so loudly.
  • Noodle Incident: We never find out if Brendan Malloy worked for the Nazis or not, or what made people think so.
    • Or that furless, scurrying molerat... thing that scurries around occasionally in Thornton Hall. It's never explained or commented upon by Nancy.
    • Played for Drama in Thornton Hall. The developers intentionally cut out several aspects of the setting and backstory (what the Thornton 'family business' was, why no one ever talks about Clara's father, why Colton went to a therapist, what exactly happened the night Charlotte died...) to preserve the game's age rating. We get varying levels of information for each incident (for example, Word of God and multiple hints in-game confirm that the Thorntons were slavers) but most of them are never explained. This actually works in the game's favor.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Even by "rotting old mansion" standards, Thornton Hall is a dangerous place to be. Specifically, its cotton processing room has a scythe. A scythe that hangs innocuously up by the ceiling, until you try to get through the secret door there, or say the wrong rhyme when trying to summon Charlotte. Then it swings down and kills you. Then again, the Thorntons have always had a bad reputation when it comes to worker safety, so...
  • Not So Stoic: Normally, Heather is patient and courteous — the ideal secretary, especially for someone like Minette. Several characters comment on how odd it is that she's put up with Minette for so long... Then you find out that, before the game started, Heather snapped and sent her an anonymous, threatening letter. She only did this once, and Minette never knew it was her. By the time the game begins, she's long since put the mask back up.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The secret passages in The Curse of Blackmoor Manor seem to invoke this — dark, dank tunnels with ambient background music that sounds like dripping water. The only light source is a green glowstick that illuminates a small patch of the hallway at a time, leaving everything else pitch black. Even if you just checked the shadows, and you know thereís nothing there... youíll wonder.
  • Nouveau Riche: Margherita Faubourg in The Phantom of Venice.
  • Occult Detective: Subverted. There are a great many occasions where supernatural forces are thought to be at work, but eventually it all has a rational explanation.
    • Tell that to the carved swan head on a table... that moves in Message in a Haunted Mansion.
    • One of the Last Train suspects is a ghost-hunter on a TV show, who at least fancies himself to be this.
    • Played with in Ghost of Thornton Hall: a rational explanation for the hauntings is given in both the "bittersweet" or "happy" endings — an old furnace leaking carbon monoxide — but it is never stated outright, especially in the bittersweet ending.
  • Oktoberfest: Played straight at first in The Captive Curse, which is set in Bavaria. However, conversations with the employees reveal that their boss forces them to wear lederhosen and dirndls because that's what tourists expect of Germany. And of course, being a game with a mostly teenage demographic, there's no alcohol involved.
  • Old Dark House: A classic trope of the series, and for good reason; the best entries are usually set in one. (A rule of thumb is that, if the game's title mentions a house, this trope probably applies to it.)
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: As your journeys begin taking you to new and exciting places in the later games, they also subject the player to new and horrific fake accents. Among the most egregious examples of this are Kyler's spotty "British" accent in The Haunting of Castle Malloy and Yumi's inconsistent Japanese Ranguage in Shadow at the Water's Edge.
    • Yumi borders on Not Even Bothering with the Accent. Were it not for her occasional swap of "r" and "l," you'd think you were back in River Heights or somewhere.
    • Takae from Shadow at the Water's Edge is also atrocious at this, unfortunately. She consistently calls you "Nanacy-san", when a real Japanese accent would likely have pronounced the name "Nanshi-san" instead. (There is an actual N sound in Japanese — it's the only consonant sound that doesn't have a vowel after it.)
    • Jamila from Tomb of The Lost Queen, who is supposed to be an Egyptian Arab, doesn't even try to make up an accent, either. Also, Egyptians pronounce her name like "Gamila".
  • Optional Traffic Laws: Trail of the Twister, wherein you can cause ten-car pileups without any penalty. Until your health meter runs out, and you get a Good News, Bad News screen.
  • Opposites Attract: Ranch's Framing Story is that of Dirk and Frances. He was an outlaw who stole gold and she was a sheriff's daughter who liked to garden and play the piano. Of course, they're also Star-Crossed Lovers, and their story doesn't end well- but the game makes it clear that they really did love each other. Especially the ending. Those gold hearts...
    • Ranch also has another example: Tex and Mary. One is a distrustful, perpetually grumpy ranch hand, the other is a courteous, shopkeeping history buff. It works out.
  • Overtook the Series: While there are several hundred stories in the main series and spinoffs to draw from, somewhere near The Secret of Shadow Ranch, they simply started writing their own stories instead of continuing to directly adapt various books.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The games that are based on actual books tend to be this. Characterization and the length of time it takes you to solve the mystery receive the most cuts.
    • In the novel of Stay Tuned, for example, Nancy defeated the culprit by tackling him and fighting him till the police arrive. But that wouldn't make a good ending for a puzzle game, so the finale was made more puzzley (and, sadly, less awesome).
    • Danger by Design actually had combat in its finale. Puzzley combat, but combat nonetheless. It was a pretty good ending.
  • Paranormal Investigation: Several of your cases start out as these, although she generally winds up Doing in the Wizard when she solves them. John Grey in Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon is the host of a ghost-hunting TV program that does these.
  • Perky Goth: While not outright perky, Mel from Warnings at Waverly Academy is revealed to not quite be the stereotypical goth she appears to be at first (for one thing, she loves milk and cookies but has to hide that because of her "goth image").
  • Plot Lock: Try replaying one of the games and trying to do something before you have acknowledged (or written in your journal) how to do it — never works.
    • This can be very frustrating as some Plot Locks can only be unlocked through extremely obscure triggers. {This is what makes it difficult to use walkthroughs, even Arglefumph's, as you'll probably need to read through the whole guide before finding that little thing that triggers the next sequence.)
  • The Prankster: Lukas Mittelmeier in The Captive Curse.
  • Press X to Die: Most of the Second Chances. You're faced with something potentially dangerous and/or lethal (i.e. a space too wide to jump) but get the option to try it anyway. You usually comment with something like "I don't know if this is a good idea" when you first try to make Nancy do it, but you'll do it obediently the second time... and promptly fail and/or die entirely.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Chief McGinnis in Alibi is this, as is Alexei Markovic, who knows how it feels to be framed for a crime you didn't commit and wants to help Nancy. The assistance of both is vital to solving the case.
  • Red-Headed Hero: Nancy herself, as well as her mother, Kate Drew.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Some of the things you can get Nancy killed are downright hilarious because of this.
    • Haunting of Castle Malloy. The culprit...is a freaking 70-year-old feral woman riding around on a jetpack. And yet, it works.
    • Kapu Cave. See Rousseau Was Right.
  • Refusal of the Call: In the opening cutscene of Last Train, Lori mysteriously disappears, prompting all the passengers to start searching for her... except for Charleena, who believes that Lori staged her disappearance to get attention, and spends the entire trip typing on her laptop. She is exactly right.
    Charleena: (to Nancy) You can afford to look foolish, dear. I can't.
  • Riddle for the Ages: We never find out whether Harper really was committed to an insane asylum or not — she certainly didn't deserve it, but the family's Evil Matriarch may have done it to conceal her crime.
  • The Rival: Hugo Butterly to Minette; they both compete over the same slice of the fashion market.
  • Rousseau Was Right: In Kapu Cave, the culprits weren't bad people, they just had some financial problems and were quite smart in forming their plan. They also turn themselves in right away - and according to Nancy's monologue, it takes awhile for the authorities to figure out what to charge them with. This is subverted, though, if you fail the last puzzle; they will quite happily leave you to die in an underground cavern.
    • Haunting of Castle Malloy does not actually feature a culprit with malicious intent at all — she was just a 70-year-old feral woman flying around with a jetpack. It Makes Sense in Context. Somehow.
    • The culprit of Shadow at the Water's Edge didn't actually want to hurt anyone, just scare people away so the ryokan would close and he and Miwako could do something that he thought wouldn't hold them back.
    • And in Curse of Blackmoor Manor, the culprit is a young girl who imagined scaring off her new stepmother would get her parents back together. There's a lot of nightmare fuel and game over sequences in that game, but it's not her fault the eponymous manor is a deathtrap.
  • Ryokan (inn): A haunted one in Shadow at the Water's Edge.
  • Sauna of Death: One puzzle in game 16, White Wolf of Icicle Creek features Nancy being locked in a sauna and trying to get out.
  • Scenery Porn: One usually agreed upon thing is that the games are absolutely gorgeous, with mansions, castles, theaters, and Orient Express-style trains abounding. Add to that the locations she visits: New Orleans, San Francisco, Paris, Tokyo, Hawaii, England, Egypt...
    • Scenery Gorn: Thornton Hall is falling apart, and is still absolutely gorgeous.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: At the end of Thornton, you have the option to do this twice, for different reasons. But doing so does not end well. Specifically, it ends with the death of multiple people, the surviving people refusing to talk with you, the family grounds being left an empty, fire-ravaged wasteland, and lack of clarification about whether Charlotte's ghost was real or not. Oh, and Nancy gets one hell of a guilt complex about all this, judging by her ending letter.
    • Most of the games are set up to prevent the player asking why Nancy doesn't do this (i.e, her car broke down, there will be serious consequences if she doesn't solve the mystery, it's for a job, the phone lines have gone out, she investigates For the Lulz while waiting for something else to do...) and in some instances, to punish her for trying.
  • Separated by a Common Language: The flashlight/torch miscommunication in Curse of Blackmoor Manor.
  • Serious Business: Any of the extremely mundane things that can get you fired/kicked off the case/expelled/etc. The number one fan favorite of all time has to be picking under-ripe vegetables in Secret of Shadow Ranch too many times. Perhaps fitting, as Shorty definitely sees cooking as serious business:
    Shorty: Day in and day out I cast my culinary pearls before ungrateful, uncultured swine!
  • Ship Tease: In The Captive Curse and The Deadly Device, it's heavily implied Frank Hardy has feelings for Nancy.
  • Shout-Out: Later games contain shout-outs to earlier games.
    • Not to mention there are shout-outs to other real life stuff. The culprit in "Secret of Shadow Ranch" even uses a variant of the "Here's Johnny!" catch phrase from The Shining.
    • Many of the telegram recipients from Secret of the Old Clock are shout-outs to pop culture, referencing everything from Shirley Temple to Jason Voorhees.
    • The Captive Curse is obviously based on Frankenstein and its gag reel contains shout-outs to Monty Python and the Holy Grail and appropriately, Young Frankenstein.
    • The Ichi-Do book you use in Danger by Design used to be a library book... and apparently, the last two people to check it out were named "B. Lee" and "C. Norris"...
    • One of the phone numbers in Jean Mi's PDA is 4 8 15 16 23 42. Even the owner of the number is a Shout-Out to the same show: "Anne-Lucie Croix" is sort of a French play on "Ana-Lucia Cortez", the character played by Michelle Rodriguez.
    • In The Phantom of Venice, the address on one of Helena Berg's postcards says "Nina, 99 Luftballoons". Yes, they decided to spell it that way, for some reason.
    • The appearance of the ghost in Shadow at the Water's Edge, the way it moves and the mysterious CD are so reminiscent of The Ring, it almost feels like an homage.
      • Actually, the appearance and movements of the ghost are more like a case of Shown Their Work — the ghost is based on the Japanese Yuurei.
    • In Warnings at Waverly Academy you take the pseudonym of Becca Sawyer, which is a combination of Rebecca Thatcher and Tom Sawyer.
    • Bakhoum, a second name of a wannabe archeologist Abdullah, just may be a Shout-Out to Dahoum (real name Selim Ahmed) who was an assistant and a very close friend of a certain famous archeologist.
    • It's probably not a coincidence that a person with a name like Josiah Crowley was interested in the occult.
    • In The Silent Spy, the caption for the 'Unlocker' award is "I AM THE ONE WHO UNLOCKS!"
    • At the end of the credits for The Silent Spy, Nancy and Carson are talking about their favorite memory of Kate:
    Carson: That's easy. The day I met her.
    Nancy: I haven't heard that story.
    Carson: Sit down. It'll take about nine seasons to tell it correctly.
    • One of the cell phone charms that can be gotten in the special pre-ordered version of Shattered Medallion, which takes place in New Zealand, is nothing but a single, golden ring, which is rather plain for the usual charms.
  • Shown Their Work: Many games use quite a lot of factual information and details (such as eg. using real Mayan symbols and numerals, as well as describing a real Mayan ruler, Pacal, in Secret of the Scarlet Hand, using actual hobo code in Secret of the Old Clock, and so on.)
    • Danger On Deception Island has a fun one. Deception Island isn't a real place, but the regular hangout of the Snake Horse, Cadboro Bay, is. And they have a statue of Caddy.
  • Skewed Priorities: In Stay Tuned, after you defuse a bomb planted in Rick's room, what is Dwayne's greatest concern?
    "Ah, Ms Drew. Mattie told me all about the bomb you defused. What a stroke of luck you were passing by- with Rick's dressing room right next to Mattie's she could have gotten killed."
    • Which is actually fitting, since he's the one who planted the bomb.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Abdullah Bakhoum in Tomb of the Lost Queen.
  • Snow Means Death: Staying outside in the snow for too long in Treasure in the Royal Tower or White Wolf of Icicle Creek will result in Nancy freezing to death.
    • In White Wolf of Icicle Creek, this is taken Up to Eleven by the mere fact that you can sometimes freeze to death just before you reach a new area. Blame it on the very slow and long walking animations...
  • Soft Water: Averted in one of the Game Over scenarios in Haunting of Castle Malloy during the "Good News Bad News" script, which explains the flaw behind this trope perfectly.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: The more recent games have become fond of using this, though the earliest example can be traced back to Stay Tuned For Danger which, on top of everything else, imposed a time limit. Fortunately, the game makers took mercy on the players still screaming in frustration (or fear) and created a downloadable patch to give you an infinite amount of time.
  • Southern Gothic: The Legend of the Crystal Skull, and Ghost of Thornton Hall.
  • Spooky Seance: Abby holds one in Haunted Mansion. It's faked.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The backstory providing the fuel for the main mystery in Secret of Shadow Ranch.
  • Stage Mom: Mattie has one.
  • Story Arc: This has begun to appear in the most recent games. After solving Trail of the Twister, you are rewarded with a trip to Japan. While solving a mystery in Japan, a ghost expert mentions a frightening castle in Germany...
    • ...where, after a phone spat with Ned, you make up with him by agreeing you'll work together for a mystery-solving contest when you get back to River Heights. Cue Alibi in Ashes.
    • Actually, this had been involved since the very beginning. At the end of Secrets Can Kill, in your letter home (the denouement of the story,) after mentioning where everybody from that game ended up, you say that Eloise mentioned something happening in New York, "something about a TV studio and death threats," setting up Stay Tuned for Danger.
    • In The Final Scene's epilogue, there's a shot of a magazine with a scarlet hand on it.
    • In Icicle Creek's Easter Egg, Mystico says that he sees "a dark figure named Bruno" in Nancy's future. In Crystal Skull, she investigates the death of Bruno Bolet.
    • The older games' previews were more of an on-the-next-episode stinger, but recent games occasionally incorporate hints about the next one into Nancy's in-game telephone conversations.
  • Stranger Behind the Mask: The original solution for the first game, Secrets Can Kill, fell victim to this trope. This was fixed in the Remastered version by introducing the suspect halfway through the game, and adding a second culprit.
  • Strawman News Media: Brenda Carlton of Alibi in Ashes falls into Type IV especially when she turns out to be the actual arsonist.
    • Lampshaded; several characters comment that her methods of gathering information are unscientific and invasive, if not illegal. Brenda herself has tried repeatedly to find a job outside River Heights, but failed — probably because she's this trope.
    • Some of the games with an entertainment-media theme (The Final Scene, Lights Camera Curses!) have in-game glossy magazines lying around that Nancy can read, if she's willing to wade through all the vapid scandal-mongering.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Makes a few appearances in Shadow at the Water's Edge.
  • Surprise Creepy: Aw, it's a game about a teenage girl who likes to solve riddles, with pretty backgrounds and a cheerful protagonist. It's totally harmless, right? WRONG.
  • Swarm of Rats: One steals from Nancy's inventory while she goes swimming in Design.
  • Tap on the Head: Lampshaded in The Deadly Device by Deirdre, who suggests Nancy get her head examined because it's happened so many times.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Lampshaded by you in the beginning of Warnings at Waverly Academy: "I'm about to be thrown, totally on my own, into a world of bright, privileged, clique-conscious teenage girls. This could be my scariest case yet!" She is soon proved right. Though you were proved right long before that, in Secrets Can Kill.
  • The Ace: Charlotte. The cast's fondness of her is the only thing all of them agree on, and she is rarely described in anything but glowing terms. Her death was the last nail in the coffin where family solidarity was concerned.
    Colton: Everyone loved her and everyone wanted her attention, but she still made time for me.
  • The Thing That Goes Doink: An important clue in Shadow at the Water's Edge is hidden in this.
  • Thriller on the Express: Last Train subverts the trope. Lori faked her kidnapping, and aside from that, nothing happens (except for the train's near-derailment) until the finale, when you get off the train.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Nancy's dialogue in The Final Scene is noticeably more impatient and abrasive, probably because her friend has been kidnapped and will die if the theatre's demolition is not halted. It doesn't help that everyone around her is too cruel, insane, or self-absorbed to provide any real help.
  • Twenty Bear Asses: In Crystal Skull, Renee refuses to give you Bruno's shovel until you've collected five conk mushrooms for her. Given that Renee is the culprit and one of the mushrooms grows disturbingly close to a hungry crocodile, this may have been an attempt to get you killed.
  • Twin Switch: Played very brilliantly in Warnings at Waverly Academy with Rachel and her twin Kim.
  • Unperson: The nameless medieval fugitive who inspired the "monster" legend from The Captive Curse.
  • The Unseen: Sonny Joon, a doodle-drawing gag character whom you seem to be following around from one game to the next. To date, he's been:
    • Secret of the Scarlet Hand, deputy curator at the Beech Hill Museum.
    • Danger by Design, assistant to Minette.
    • Phantom of Venice, interviewed by Helena.
    • Ransom of the Seven Ships, works at Primate Research Center.
    • Shadow at the Water's Edge, a previous guest at the ryokan.
    • Tomb of the Lost Queen, prominent member of S.P.I.E.D. (Strange Phenomenon Inspectors: Extraterrestrial Edition.)
    • His name is hidden in The Deadly Device as well, as seen in arglefumph's blind playthrough. If you look at all the stickers in the ventilation shaft and order them numerically, the letters on them spell out "SONNY JOON WAS HERE".
    • Sonny himself finally turns up as an actual character - and suspect - in The Shattered Medallion.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In Alibi, most of River Heights' people are this. A respected, helpful detective who we've known since her childhood has been framed for setting the same fire that almost killed her? Let's deny ever being friends with her and throw a rock through her window!
  • Villainous Breakdown: Just about all of the culprits in the games. Some are more subtle, some are over the top.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Some of the various ways to kill off Nancy or otherwise get her fired are pretty funny, and it gets even more hilarious with the "Good News, Bad News" game over segments to accompany it.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Hope you're up to date on your WWII codebreaking trivia! At least there's a book sold earlier in the game that tells you how to crack the code. Admittedly, there's no indication of why you would want such a book, and you can't go back to the market by the time you need it, but they tried.
  • Violation of Common Sense: In The Final Scene, Nancy must stay inside the Palladium theatre just as it's about to be demolished, on the off-chance she'll be able to find her friend and get out in the seven minutes before it's destroyed. Police come through it and force Nancy to leave if you don't hide her in a closet, and this is treated as a bad thing.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Deirdre is this with Nancy, as she explains near the end of Alibi. She even becomes helpful in The Deadly Device.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Eating multiple chocolate bars in Crystal Skull makes the screen tilt and turn green.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Mel in the ending of Waverly Academy.
    "You just entered my room through the wall! I want an explanation!"
  • Wham Episode (overlaps with The Reveal): So, you're just about to finish Ransom. No surprise who the culprit is; there's only one other character on the island, so let's go confront him!...Oh. Nice to see you, Dwayne Powers.
    • Another in Thornton Hall, though it precedes a death scene and thus isn't counted as 'what really happened'- more like what could have happened. Still quite the shock.
    Jessalyn: Good for you, but I came down here not to be found.
    Nancy: Tell me what's happening or I'll tell everyone I've found you.
    Jessalyn: I'm not a bad person. (pleadingly) I'm really not. (angrier) You know, you could have helped. Fire so red-
    Nancy: (afraid) What are you doing?
    Jessalyn: This is your fault. Night so black. Dear sweet Charlotte, please come back!
    Charlotte appears, runs at you.
    Game Over screen: You have made a fatal error.
  • Wham Line: In the 29th game's teaser trailer: "But you know her by a different name. Kate Drew."
  • Who Forgot The Lights?: Legend of the Crystal Skull and Ghost of Thornton Hall. A little hard to see the scary moving shadows when they're completely drowned in darkness...
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In the case of Eda Brooks from the Dossier spin-off Lights, Camera, Danger!, it really is snakes. This creates a bit of a problem between her and the movie's director, as she is required to hold a live snake for the movie's climax.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Egregious in Stay Tuned's finale. You are in a room with a crazed psycho who has made it clear that they are about to murder you. There is no one to help you, and your only way out is locked by an extremely time-consuming puzzle. And yet, the game will not let you pick up the nearby fire axe and use it to defend yourself. There's even a Damsel in Distress with you who would testify that you'd done it in self-defense!
  • Woman Scorned: In The Captive Curse, Anja dresses up as the monster of Finster Castle in a ploy to get back at the castle's owner, her ex-boyfriend.
  • Woman in Black: In Blackmoor Manor Jane claims she saw one sneaking into Linda's bedroom. Also counts as Foreshadowing; Jane, the culprit, is lying to point suspicion away from herself, but sharp-eyed players will notice that Jane is the only character dressed in black. So she ends up playing this trope straight.
  • Wrench Wench: Ryan Kirkpatrick in The Deadly Device. Also Unkempt Beauty.
  • Yandere: The culprit in Stay Tuned for Danger is the rare male variety as part of his motive comes from the star he's trying to kill hooking up with the actress the culprit is secretly in love with.
    • Colin Baxter from The Phantom of Venice can also come across as this.

    It's locked.

The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew MysteriesFranchise/Nancy Drew    
MystPoint-and-Click GameThe Night Of The Rabbit
LocomotionRailroad IndexTransarctica
PDAdventure GameReisen
Monty Python's Flying CircusLicensed GameNaruto: Clash of Ninja
Namco ◊ CapcomImageSource/Video GamesCard Games
MystWebsite/GOG.comNeighbours From Hell
NaissanceeUsefulNotes/SteamNASCAR
My Sweet Bodyguardi OS GamesOffice Secrets

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