[[caption-width-right:350:Dare to play.]]

->'''Kiri Nind:''' But you're interested in them?\\
'''Nancy Drew:''' [[ConstantlyCurious I'm interested in everything]].
-->-- ''The Shattered Medallion''

A series of DRM-free AdventureGames based on the ''Literature/NancyDrew'' novels, released mostly for the PC by [=HerInteractive=] starting in 1998. The company typically releases two new games a year, to much critical acclaim. As of 2017, the release of ''Midnight In Salem'' has been delayed due to an overhaul of the game engine and (reportedly) internal trouble at the company.

[[folder:Titles include:]]
# ''Secrets Can Kill'' (1998; rereleased in a ''Remastered'' version in 2010)
# ''Stay Tuned for Danger'' (1999)
# ''Message in a Haunted Mansion'' (2000)
# ''Treasure in the Royal Tower'' (2001)
# ''The Final Scene'' (2001)
# ''The Secret of the Scarlet Hand'' (2002)
# ''Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake'' (2002)
# ''The Haunted Carousel'' (2003)
# ''Danger on Deception Island'' (2003)
# ''The Secret of Shadow Ranch'' (2004)
# ''The Curse of Blackmoor Manor'' (2004)
# ''The Secret of the Old Clock'' (2005)
# ''Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon'' (2005)
# ''Danger By Design'' (2006)
# ''The Creature of Kapu Cave'' (2006)
# ''White Wolf of Icicle Creek'' (2007)
# ''The Legend of the Crystal Skull'' (2007)
# ''The Phantom of Venice'' (2008)
# ''The Haunting of Castle Malloy'' (2008)
# ''Ransom of the Seven Ships'' (2009)
# ''Warnings at Waverly Academy'' (2009)
# ''Trail of the Twister'' (2010)
# ''Shadow at the Water's Edge'' (2010)
# ''The Captive Curse'' (2011)
# ''Alibi in Ashes'' (2011)
# ''Tomb of the Lost Queen'' (2012)
# ''The Deadly Device'' (2012)
# ''The Ghost of Thornton Hall'' (2013)
# ''The Silent Spy'' (2013)
# ''The Shattered Medallion'' (2014)
# ''Labyrinth of Lies'' (2014)
# ''Sea of Darkness'' (2015)
# ''Midnight in Salem'' (2019)

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 games are available on UsefulNotes/{{Steam}} [[note]]Except for ''Secret Of Shadow Ranch'' , ''Stay Tuned For Danger'', ''Message in A Haunted Mansion'', ''Treasure in the Royal Tower'' and ''The Final Scene'' [[/note]], and a digital version of ''The Curse Of Blackmoor Manor'' is now available on [[http://www.gog.com/game/nancy_drew_curse_of_blackmoor_manor GOG.com]]. Big Fish Games has all releases from 2000-2014 (including the Dossiers).

!!Tropes in the games include:

* FiveFiveFive: 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 FiveFiveFive.
%%* AcceptableBreaksFromReality: Zig-zagged.
%%** Definitely not so much in "Warnings at Waverly Academy", where several puzzles require you to flat out ''do other girls' homework for them''. Granted, they don't actually tell, and you are not caught doing their homework, but these girls are ''incredibly'' lucky you don't turn them in -- that alone is enough to get them at least a warning for academic dishonesty. Ironically, all of the girls are supposed to be in the running for valedictorian.
* AccidentalMisnaming: 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.
** Also true (once) for Casey Porterfield in ''Deception Island'', and repeatedly for Lori Girard in ''Last Train''.
* AcmeProducts: Krolmeister.
* ActionGirl: You and a surprising amount of side characters.
** Noisette Tornade, who worked as a French spy during [=WW2=].
** Connie Watson, who in the original ''Secrets Can Kill'' [[spoiler: does a flying kick at Mitch, even though he's got a gun.]]
* ActionMom: Kasumi Shimuzu, who gave her daughters a freaking [[spoiler:sword]] as their inheritance.
** Kate Drew, of course.
* AdventureGame: Except for the Dossier spin-offs, all these games are played in a first-person perspective, similar to ''VideoGame/{{Myst}}''.
* AirVentPassageway: 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...
** You have to break into a locked room the same way in ''Treasure in a Royal Tower''.
* AlphaBitch: ''Warnings at Waverly Academy'''s Izzy Romero. Leela Yadav 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''. [[spoiler:The teaser for ''Midnight in Salem'' now has her desperately asking you for help.]]
* AluminumChristmasTrees:
** Believe it or not, people have hidden treasures and written cryptic riddles as to how to find it. [[http://altereddimensions.net/2015/forrest-fenn-hidden-treasure-millions-dollars-hidden-gold-jewels-clues-treasure]]
** In ''Stay Tuned for Danger'', [[CloudCuckooLander Millie]] sometimes says "Don't take any wooden ''nickels'', young ''lady''!" This may seem like a NonSequitur, but it actually ''isn't''.[[https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/tradeshow-promotions/woodennickel-extralarge-12306.jpg]]
** Nancy's car and [[spoiler: Emily's]]. Yes, cars actually look like that. Or used to in the 30's. For those of you too young to remember, they actually didn't look the way they do ''now'' until the late 90's.
* AmazingTechnicolorWildlife: The multicolored glowing cave lizards from ''Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon''.
* AmbiguousDisorder: 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.
*** Xenia in ''Labyrinth'' mentions that she suffered from a "vast sadness" as a child that she suspects will always return for her, which also sounds a lot like depression. [[spoiler: It's easily to see how she could be making it up, though, seeing as she's an exceptionally manipulative villain.]]
** 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.
* AmplifiedAnimalAptitude: Iggy the iguana and Isis the white wolf. Most of the non-anthropomorphic named animals in these games (except Bob the horse) fit in this trope, in fact. Casper the squirrel is also a decent example.
* AncientAstronauts:
** 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. [[spoiler: She's lying to cover up her true reason for being there, although ''The Shattered Medallion'' makes that more ambiguous.]]
* AncientTomb: Locating Nefertari's hidden burial chamber within one is your chief goal in ''Tomb of the Lost Queen.''
* AndThatLittleGirlWasMe: Renate's story in ''The Captive Curse''.
* AngerBornOfWorry: Carson is furious at you during ''The Silent Spy'''s beginning. This is because [[spoiler: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.
* AnimalAssassin: In ''Shadow Ranch'', Nancy speculates that the rattlesnake in Bet and Ed's bedroom was planted by the villain. [[spoiler: Interestingly, it's a mishap the villain ''doesn't'' cop to during their MotiveRant, implying [[SubvertedTrope the snake just wandered in by chance]].]]
* ArtEvolution: The graphics were never really going to win any awards, and the animations were quite limited (Even for early 00s standards), but as the series progressed, the animations and graphics got more and more detailed, the designs became much more realistic, and the characters started making more and more fluid motions. Compare "Sea of Darkness" to "Message in a Haunted Mansion".
* AsYouKnow: ''Alibi in Ashes'' has to rely on this a lot, as the game takes place in River Heights, where Nancy and her friends have always lived. ''They'' have a lot of information about the people in town, but the ''player'' doesn't, so Nancy, Bess, George, and Ned end up making comments such as "Remember-- Deirdre's always had it in for you!" or "Remember all of those times that Brenda did something crazy to get a story?" throughout a lot of the game.
* AscendedFanboy: Or fangirl. Bet in ''Shadow Ranch'' is an in-universe example.
-->'''Bet:''' Omigosh. You mean, [[FamedInStory Charleena Purcell]] is going to write a book that takes place on ''our'' ranch?\\
'''Ed:''' [[SarcasmMode 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:''' [[BluntYes No]].
** Her Interactive also held a contest to get your picture put in ''Secrets Can Kill'' remastered as students in the high school. Arglefumph (one of the most famous Lets Players of the series) was one of the contest winners.
* TheAnticipator: 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'', [[spoiler:Joseph Hughes]] is waiting for you [[spoiler:to enter the attic where Maya is found]].
** In ''Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake'' [[spoiler:Emily Griffin]] is waiting for you to solve a puzzle in order to trap you. This person even brandishes a bone menacingly at you and tries to [[spoiler:lock you in an underground safe]].
* AscendedMeme: 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 [[OutdatedOutfit mom jeans]]. Then, in ''The Silent Spy'', you'll discover [[spoiler: 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]].
** ''Spy'' also gives us 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, your voice actor says "It's ''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.
* AsianAndNerdy: Rentaro from ''Shadow at the Water's Edge'' runs headlong into it.
** Hal Tanaka 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.
** And, as it turns out in ''The Shattered Medallion'', Sonny Joon.
* AssholeVictim: 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 [[spoiler: 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.
** Deconstructed somewhat in one of ''Thornton''s multiple endings, you can leave the BigBad, [[spoiler: a thief and murderer, whose lies have ruined Harper's life, to die in a fire -- akin to the one [[DeathByIrony she caused]].]] The following ending is treated as bittersweet [[spoiler: even if you chose to save everyone else]]. The game's stance is that, [[spoiler: whether the murderer deserved to die or not, [[YouBastard you will feel bad that you essentially]] ''[[YouBastard killed someone]]'', and your feelings are important, even if Clara's life isn't]].
* TheAtoner: [[spoiler:Moira Chisholm]] in ''The Secret Spy'', whose lies to Kate [[spoiler:inadvertently caused her death]].
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Noisette Tornade translates from French as ''hazelnut tornado,'' which either sounds like a really bizarre weather phenomenon or a really awesome dessert.
* AxCrazy: ''Many'' of the villains' sociopathy is played [[NightmareFuel disturbingly straight]].
** A prominent example goes to [[spoiler:''Stay Tuned For Danger'' villain Dwayne Powers]], for being the only one so enraged and crazy that he [[spoiler:tries to kill you AGAIN in ''Ransom of the Seven Ships'' with an elaborate and time-consuming plan of revenge]].
** [[spoiler:Thanos Ganas in ''Labyrinth of Lies'']] is another example. Not only does he have [[spoiler:connections to the Greek mafia and]] multiple past murders on his record, but [[spoiler:you find a confession note written by Grigor near the end of the game, which he wrote in anticipation of being killed by Thanos after the heist]].
** [[spoiler:This becomes a literal case in Sea of Darkness, although the villain does not actually harm you with the axe, instead using it to trap you in an ice cave.]]
* BadBadActing: Niobe. [[spoiler:Justified, since it's a front for an elaborate heist, and she's the least experienced of all her co-conspirators -- except probably for Thanos]].
* BadBoss: '''Minette''' from ''Danger by Design''. She's gone through three assistants, and after playing ''Design,'' you'll understand why.
* BadLiar: In a ''Danger by 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?' ([[RuleOfFunny Normally]], though, you're a pretty good liar- unless the plot requires otherwise.)
* BaldOfEvil: [[spoiler:Shorty Thurmond]] from [[spoiler:''The Secret of Shadow Ranch'']] and [[spoiler:Victor Lossett]] from [[spoiler:''The Deadly Device.'']]
* BeAsUnhelpfulAsPossible: 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 and/or against the rules of where they are employed.
* BearsAreBadNews: 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:''' [[spoiler: The giant pendulum that was about to [[GoryDiscretionShot slice you in half just before the camera cut away]] apparently missed and struck open the wall..]]\\
'''The Bad News:''' [[spoiler: Waiting for you on the other side of the wall: Angry bears.]]
** RuleOfFunny dismisses the FridgeLogic 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."
* BerserkButton: 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' [[spoiler: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.
** Do not suggest to Jasmine Ivy from ''Resorting to Danger'' that Eda Brooks, from ''Lights, Camera, Curses!'', is her sister. Or suggest that Jasmine looks and sounds like Eda. Jasmine really hates Eda!
** Leela Yadav likes having a boyfriend. Do not steal him from her.
** Abdullah Bakhoum 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.
** One case involves Nancy having to go into someone's briefcase, read his manuscript, and ask him a question about something mentioned in said manuscript. The question itself is so specific, he asks where you heard of it, and mention that you read it in a book, he'll (correctly) deduce you were poking around his belongings and game over.
** Bring Shorty unripe vegetables one too many times...
** [[spoiler:Harper]] in ''Ghost of Thornton Hall'' gets you to push Clara's ForTheLulz: the Thornton matriarch doesn't know who her father is.
** Don't you dare get caught with your hands in Renate's purse. Justifiable - you're stealing things from her purse.
** Ewan [=MacLeod=]'s is messing with the temperature controls in the server room
** Xenia Doukas loses it when you inform her that you discovered that some of the art pieces on display [[spoiler:are forgeries]].
* BewareTheNiceOnes: 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.
** Sometimes someone who isn't the culprit can go in this territory. A notable example is Daryl from ''Secrets Can Kill'' remastered who gets angry with Nancy when she asks too many questions. [[spoiler:It turns out that he had top secret information, which he gave "Detective Beech". Jake used this information to blackmail both of them and you can guess how well this ended for him.]]
* BeneathTheMask: Nearly every culprit. Literally with Minette.
* BigBad:
** While the series itself has no real "Big Bad", every game usually has one (Sometimes two) figure(s) that act as this, called "The Culprit" by the fandom and WordOfGod. The Culprit is the one committing the game's crime, and sometimes makes attempts on Nancy's life, although some of these happen by mistake. However, there is one aversion (see NoAntagonist).
** Perhaps the closest that the series itself has to a BigBad is [[spoiler: Dwayne Powers, the only culprit to return]].
** BiggerBad: Several of the "Culprits" are merely figures working for another group, such as [[spoiler: the Greek Mafia in ''Labyrinth of Lies'' and the Fredonian Government who Yanni has been spying for]].
* BigScrewedUpFamily: 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 Herring}}s. They're mostly good people- they just have a lot of secrets and consider their heritage very important.
*** An EasterEgg in ''Thornton'' (the portrait hanging in Charlotte's bedroom) implies these families may be related.
* BigBeautifulWoman: J.J. Ling in ''Design.'' Her job as a plus-size model actually requires that she be this.
** HollywoodPudgy, since J.J. specifies that she's three pounds shy of a "perfect size 12" like Minette wants. Even worse if Minette is going by European sizes, where a 12 is closer to a US 10.
* BigDamnHeroes: [[NarmCharm "Way to go, Ralph!"]]
** Arguably [[spoiler:Holt Scotto]] in ''Danger on Deception Island''; you've already defeated the BigBad by the time this person shows up with the Coast Guard, but their arrival means you won't have to deal with the culprit's henchmen.
** Both [[spoiler: Alex and Magnus]] in ''Sea of Darkness'' - [[spoiler: Alex]] catches the BigBad while [[spoiler: Magnus]] rescues you from being trapped.
* BigEater: Professor Hotchkiss who has a BizarreTasteInFood.
** Also, Bess. Several phone conversations with her mention her continual attempts to diet.
** To get some achievements, you have to indulge your sweet tooth until you can't take it anymore.
* BigFriendlyDog: Ironically, [[spoiler: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]].
** TruthInTelevision. [[spoiler: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]].
* BigNo: In ''The Final Scene's'' climax, you get the option to do this in response to [[spoiler:Brady insisting that he demolish the theatre despite the fact that Maya could be trapped inside it]]. You can choose not to, [[RuleOfFunny but why would you?]]
** In ''Blackmoor Manor,'' [[ItMakesSenseInContext a statue]] does this whenever you fail a particular puzzle.
* BilingualBonus: 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.
** ''The Creature of Kapu Cave''. "Kapu" is the Hawaiian word for "Taboo".
** In a morbid-humor example, one of the cemetery zones in ''Crystal Skull'' is called "Terra Siesta". Yes, Bruno Bolet actually named one of the final resting places in his custody ''"Dirt Nap"''.
** See also MeaningfulName below.
* {{Bishonen}}: ''Sonny Joon'', of all people.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Antonia "Toni" Scallari from ''Alibi in Ashes:'' a city official who runs the local ice cream shop. [[spoiler: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 StepfordSmiler face on while refusing to help you stop the real arsonist.]]
** Also, [[spoiler:Helena Berg]] in ''The Phantom of Venice'', [[spoiler: Emily Griffin]] from ''Ghost Dogs at Moon Lake'' and [[spoiler: Anja Mittelmeier]] in ''The Captive Curse''. All are as friendly as can be and [[spoiler:Anja]] even offers you relationship advice. Yet, [[spoiler:Helena turns out to be the mastermind behind the thefts in Venice]]; [[spoiler:Emily is behind the fake ghost dogs so that she can get her hands on buried gold bars]]; and [[spoiler:Anja is pretending to be the monster that stalks Castle Finster to get revenge on her ex-boyfriend]].
** Connie Watson in the original ''Secrets Can Kill'' makes for a DoubleSubversion 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. [[BigDamnHeroes However, she comes through in the end.]]
** In ''The Shattered Medallion'', Kiri Nind is the nicest person to you at the beginning of the game, but she turns out to be one big bitch.
** This trope isn't just confined to female villains, either. [[spoiler: Joseph Hughes, Taylor Sinclair, Elliott Chen, Andy Jason, Shorty Thurmond, and Rentaro Aihara]] are among the male characters who at first appear helpful and amiable to Nancy but wind up attempting to kill or at least foil her.
* BladderOfSteel: 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 EasterEgg.
* BookEnds: 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. [[spoiler:The second time, it's a secret agent]].
* BreatherEpisode: After the dramatic, [[TearJerker tear-inducing]] ''The Silent Spy'' comes ''[[spoiler:The Shattered Medallion'', in which you trek across New Zealand to win a contest]].
* BreakoutVillain: [[spoiler:Dwayne Powers]] from ''Stay Tuned for Danger'' [[spoiler:and ''Ransom of the Seven Ships'']] has become this among a portion of the fanbase - partly because [[spoiler:he's the only villain to have been featured in more than one game]], partly because of [[EvilIsHammy their over-the-top persona embracing elaborate villainous schemes and bombastic character]].
* BreakingTheFourthWall: The culprit of ''Stay Tuned'' shouts that "Time's up!" if you fail to finish a timed puzzle before attacking 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.'' They've just mixed up the villains with the heroes.
** In-universe, oddly enough, in ''Labyrinth of Lies'' where Grigor's lines for the play have him break the fourth wall and lampshade it.
** Any time Bess & George say they can't give you a hint because you're (playing as) a Senior Detective, or Nancy's notes point out she doesn't have a Task List for the same reason.
* BrickJoke: In ''Tomb of the Lost Queen'', [[spoiler:you just barely remember to release the cobra as you finish your letter home]].
** Early in ''Sea of Darkness'', you can ask Soren about his job at the Cultural Center, and his description includes the line "Nothing says I love you like a new murder tool." [[spoiler:Among the possible anniversary gifts you can buy for Ned, the one that produces the best endgame result is the replica Viking sword.]]
** In ''Phantom of Venice'', Nancy uses a fake identity from a spy. In ''The Silent Spy'', that person then returns and tells Nancy it's impolite to use other peoples' identities.
* BrokenBridge: 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.
** Dangerous animals are a common bridge-breaking obstacle, like the rattlesnake under Zebra Rock in ''Shadow Ranch'' or the eel that blocks a snorkeling Frank Hardy in ''Kapu Cave''. Neither will budge until the game's ready to allow it.
* BurnTheWitch: In ''The Curse of Blackmoor Manor'', this was Elinor Penvellyn's fate.
* ButThouMust: 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 JustifiedTrope in that, well, the series ''is'' based off mystery novels, and at the end of mystery novels, the protagonist ''always'' confronts the villain. [[RuleOfDrama It's more dramatic.]]
** In ''Sea of Darkness'', Dagny's heater breaks. Nancy points out that there is in fact a pub right around the corner, but Dagny won't tell Nancy what she needs to do next (and won't budge) until you solve the most blatantly-contrived puzzle in the series. (Hilarious though...)
** ''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 Nancy 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 [[spoiler:that Harper is hiding in the basement]], even though [[spoiler:Harper]] warns you not to do so.
* ButtMonkey: 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, [[TheChewToy much to the player's amusement]].
* CallingYourAttacks: Played realistically. At the end of ''Danger By Design'', [[spoiler: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.
* CanonImmigrant: 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 ShoutOut to ''Series/{{LOST}}'' (Evangeline Lilly's character is named Katherine "Kate" Aust'''e'''n).
* CanonWelding: ''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 SeriesReboot 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 AlphaBitch that functions as a jealous nemesis to you, although Deirdre is a more straightforward example, while Brenda is more an AlphaBitch all grown up.)
* CantGetAwayWithNuthin: While sneaking around and lying to people are perfectly acceptable tactics, neglecting any sort of real-life safety tip (leaving your hotel room without turning off the iron, not wearing a helmet or life jacket) will ''always'' get you fired or killed so fast it's [[RuleOfFunny hilarious]].
** This is cranked UpToEleven in ''Secret of Shadow Ranch'', where if you give Shorty Thurmond 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".
* CaptainObvious: Nigel Mookerjee'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...
** Justified, as some players may take fiction less seriously and believe he came into existence at the same time "Secret of Shadow Ranch" came out.
* CerebusSyndrome: 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.
* ChangelingTale: In ''The Curse of Blackmoor Manor'', it's rumored that one of the Penvellyns [[spoiler:(specifically, Elinor Penvellyn)]] was a changeling.
* ChekhovsGun: Where to begin...?
** How about with the [[spoiler: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, [[spoiler:to get Joseph away from the marquee controls]].
** A multi-game one: you know how you occasionally mention that [[spoiler:your mother is dead?]] Well, in the 29th game, [[spoiler:we get to see her via flashbacks, discover more about her past, and eventually get a good idea of what killed her]].
* ChekhovsGunman: Remember Samantha Quick, the spy whose identity you borrow in ''The Phantom of Venice''? [[spoiler: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]].
* ClairvoyantSecurityForce: Paige Griffin (''Warnings at Waverly Academy''). Especially at 3:00 AM, in the ''basement''.
* ClearMyName: In ''Alibi in Ashes'', this is basically what you have to do when you're accused of arson.
* CloudCuckooLander: [[AgentMulder Sonny Joon]], full stop, especially when he finally appears in ''The Shattered Medallion''.
-->'''Nancy''': [[CaptainObvious Do you believe in aliens]]?\\
'''Sonny''': Well, [[BlatantLies 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? [[ReluctantPsycho I think it's scary]]. [[LaughingMad And then hilarious]].
** Professor Hotchkiss has a broad streak of this trope, as does Casey Porterfield (the maritime historian from ''Deception Island'')
* BritishEnglish/CockneyRhymingSlang: Makes for some confusion while ordering food from the Boar's Head in ''Blackmoor Manor''.
* CollectorOfTheStrange: Bruno Bolet's collections of glass eyes, scale models, and exotic pets. [[spoiler: All of which are plot-relevant.]]
* ColorCodedStones: 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.
* ComicBookTime: 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,'' you mention 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'', [[spoiler:Dwayne Powers, the]] culprit [[spoiler:from ''Stay Tuned for Danger'', says that he'd been in prison]] "for several long years", yet you are still a teenager despite [[spoiler:the eighteen-game gap]]. This one could be chalked up to the fact that [[spoiler: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]].
* CommediaDellArte: In ''The Phantom of Venice'', the gang of art thieves use the names of Commedia dell'Arte characters as code names.
* ComplexityAddiction: '''Everyone''' in the Blackmoor family -- every [[spoiler: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 [[spoiler: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 when your intelligent grandson comes along, 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 UndyingLoyalty 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.]] The Blackmoor treasure stayed hidden for ''centuries,'' and [[ThanatosGambit everyone involved played their parts to a T- even the people who were born long after Randulf's death.]]
** Captain James Lawrence in ''Sea of Darkness'' also has some of this. [[spoiler:To ensure that only a descendant of his will find his ship's treasure, he not only scatters several puzzle pieces all over his ship and within the town he settled in, he hid the final clue to opening his chest... in the lyrics of a lullaby to be passed on to each child in his line]].
* ContinuityNod: In ''Alibi in Ashes'', Brenda Carlton 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.''
** The blog ''[[http://nancyincognito.tumblr.com/ Nancy Incognito]]'' records several.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: 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.
** Played straight in ''Creature of Kapu Cave,'' where you can freely walk around inside the caverns of a volcano and beside rivers of magma with no ill effects at all.
** Also played straight in the Hades sets of ''Labyrinth of Lies''
* CoolLoser: Dwayne, Joseph, Lou, and Loulou.
* CoolOldLady: [[TheChessmaster Hilda Swenson]] in ''Danger on Deception Island.'' Vivian from ''Ghost Dogs''.
* CoolTrain: Where two thirds of ''Last Train To Blue Moon Canyon'' is set. It was the private train of, [[FridgeLogic strangely]], a failed gold miner, and contains lots of varnish and fancy furniture, [[spoiler:as well as a secret passageway and a funky steampunk apparatus]].
* CorridorCubbyholeRun: When [[spoiler:stealing the Sadal Malik sapphire]] in ''The Phantom of Venice'', you must do this to avoid [[spoiler:laser-equipped Roombas, er, security robots]] wandering the halls of the warehouse where [[spoiler:the sapphire]] is being kept.
* CosmicPlaything: Karl in ''The Captive Curse'' believes himself to be one.
* TheCuckoolanderWasRight: [[spoiler:Sonny's grandfather, apparently, at the end of ''The Shattered Medallion'']].
* CutenessProximity: In ''Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake,'' your reaction when you meet the eponymous dogs [[spoiler:being held in an underground pen]] is to remark on how the ghost dogs ''are'' a hoax, after all...[[DevelopersForesight 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!
* CuttingTheKnot: In ''Danger By Design'', you need to find a sprig of fresh mint. Unfortunately, [[DiabolusExMachina there's a shortage of it]] (since the [[SeriousBusiness 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 [[spoiler:order the restaurant's 8-euro ice cream and take the mint on top of it.]] Also counts as GuideDangIt, because the game gives no hint you can do this. Unless you see Arglefumph's playthroughs.
** After you first complete ''Blackmoor Manor's'' laborious moving rooms puzzle, a shortcut becomes available, [[AntiFrustrationFeatures meaning you don't have to do the puzzle every time you travel through that tunnel.]] The game doesn't tell you this beforehand either.
* CouldSayItBut: ''Alibi's'' Chief [=McGinnis=] and Alexei Markovic 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 [[spoiler: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."
* CreepyChild: Jane Penvellyn in ''The Curse of Blackmoor Manor''. There's just something so damn ''creepy'' about her... [[spoiler: which proves to be not that far off when she turns out to be the culprit]].
* CreepyDoll: The late Camille Voulet's dolls in ''Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon'', particularly Naughty Tina, what with her cracked face.
* CreepyGood: ''Blue Moon'''s [[TheFaceless 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 [[spoiler: is not the culprit]] and just wants to help Jane preserve the family legacy.
* CrossCulturalKerfluffle: 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".
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: [[spoiler:Dwayne Powers' motivation for his villainy deeds is [[ICouldaBeenAContender 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'', [[spoiler: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 your curiosity and NervesOfSteel. All through ''Skull,'' she's suggesting that you abandon the [[NightmareFuel/NancyDrew scary]] investigation and have fun with her. But when the situation calls for it, she [[spoiler:is badass enough to infiltrate a secret society and accuse someone of murder]].
* CrystalSkull: What you're searching for in ''The Legend of the Crystal Skull''.
* UsefulNotes/{{Dada}}: The appropriately named Poppy Dada from ''Secret of the Scarlet Hand'' has art like this.
* DamselInDistress: Emily in ''Old Clock''.
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''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''. [[spoiler: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 NightmareFuel, 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 HumansAreBastards, we see firsthand the results of complete social ostracism, and the ending is bittersweet; [[spoiler: 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 [[spoiler: 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 [[ParentalBetrayal 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.
* DarkMistress: In ''Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake'', Mickey Malone's girlfriend, Vivian.
* DeadManWriting: In ''Thornton'', you find a note Charlotte wrote in anticipation of her death. Crosses over with GambitRoulette.
-->''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.''
* DeadpanSnarker: You are often this.
* DeathByLookingUp: 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.
* DeathTrap: Nearly every game features a form of a death trap.
* DidIMentionItsChristmas: Just ''after'' Christmas in Skipbrot, actually - Soren's records suggest you arrived in early January - but as Icelanders consider Yuletide to last until Epiphany (Jan. 6), the village holiday decorations are still up. Not that anyone comments on them.
* DisappearedDad: 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.
* DisproportionateRetribution: You can get booted from the games for some downright silly reasons, such as... [[FelonyMisdemeanor 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 it's not as if Nancy ever intended to eat it ... and ''he's'' the one who'd insisted you catch one, in the first place!
* DreamingOfThingsToCome: The beginning of [[spoiler: "The Phantom of Venice"]]. Also, after [[EasterEgg certain manipulations]] in "White Wolf of Icicle Creek", you get to see a bizarre dream that implies [[spoiler: the wolf]] is innocent. It is quite correct.
* DrowningPit: The water tank in ''The Phantom of Venice''; the ship's bilge in ''Sea of Darkness''.
* DoorRoulette: Used infamously in ''Blackmoor Manor''. Anyone who completed it on their first try either used Arglefumph's walkthrough or has a photographic memory.
* DullSurprise: [[https://youtu.be/8lCd1nZW-Pk?t=2m39s "Fire"]]. Despite that it has a punctuation mark next to it, Nancy just says "Fire" as if it's something she sees every day.
* DumbBlonde: Lori Girard of ''Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon''. Subverted in that [[spoiler: 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]].
* DumbMuscle: Patrick Dowsett, ''The Shattered Medallion''.
* TheDutifulDaughter: Miwako Shimizu in ''Shadow at the Water's Edge'', as opposed to her rebellious older sister, Yumi.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: 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.
* EasterEgg: Constantly, if you know where to look.
* ElegantGothicLolita: Yumi Shimizu in ''Shadow at the Water's Edge'', though her favoring of the color pink makes her more of a Sweet Lolita.
* EngineeredPublicConfession: The threat of this is what prompts [[spoiler: Rentaro]] to confess for real at the end of ''[[spoiler: Shadow at the Water's Edge]]''.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: In ''Alibi in Ashes'', [[spoiler: Deirdre dislikes you for several reasons, especially for you seeing Ned. But she states that although she dislikes you, she doesn't ''hate'' you enough to accuse you of burning down Town Hall. She even helps you out in a later game, ''The Deadly Device'']].
* EverybodyDidIt: [[spoiler:All four of the theatre troupe members in ''Labyrinth of Lies'' are involved with the art heist. Xenia is the BigBad; Thanos, TheDragon, Grigor, the grifter with connections to move the art out (who is also Xenia's intended fall guy); and Niobe was forced to actually copy the art]].
* EvilCostumeSwitch: Happens in ''Labyrinth of Lies''. [[spoiler: As you near the end of the game, Xenia changes from her pretty white robe into one that's black and red and patterned to look like a lava flow. This makes her suitably sinister-looking when she later reveals herself as the BigBad.]]
* EvilRedhead: Several villains fall under this category, namely [[spoiler: Lisa Ostrum]] from [[spoiler: ''Treasure in the Royal Tower'',]] [[spoiler: Marion Aborn/'Jane Willoughby' from ''Secret of the Old Clock'',]] and [[spoiler: Minette]] from [[spoiler: Danger by Design]].
* ExactTimeToFailure: In ''The Final Scene'', you have exactly three days to find Maya.
* TheFaceless: Nancy, as the games are in first-person perspective. Bess and George were faceless until ''Ransom of the Seven Ships''. The closest we've get to seeing Nancy's face has been a photograph in the ending letter of ''Shadow at the Water's Edge,'' where Nancy's facial features are blocked out by cartoon fruit. We also see Nancy from the back at the very end of ''Labyrinth of Lies''. In ''Sea of Darkness'', a picture of a girl makes her remark that the girl looks like her.
** 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 [[spoiler: 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.
* FashionableAsymmetry: Henry Bolet wears a fingerless glove on one hand.
* FallingChandelierOfDoom: 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 UpToEleven.
* FictionalCounterpart: The Koko Kringle bars.
** ''Danger by Design'' has Pricsy Colors, the cases of which look a lot like Prisma colors.
* FishingMinigame: In ''Secret of the Old Clock'', ''Creature of Kapu Cave'', and ''White Wolf of Icicle Creek''. Sadly, each time is necessary to the plot, and you can catch [[FishingForSole other things]] as well, at least in ''Secret'' and ''Wolf''.
* FissionMailed: In ''White Wolf of Icicle Creek'', triggering an avalanche will bury you in snow and cause a GameOver. The first time you visit Chicken Ridge, the same cutscene will play... except this time it's part of the plot, and you have to wait [[spoiler:until Isis digs you out]]. After that, the game continues as normal.
* FiveBadBand: The art thieves in ''The Phantom of Venice'':
** TheBigBad: Il Dottore aka [[spoiler: Helena Berg.]]
** TheDragon: Il Capitano aka Antonio Fango.
** TheEvilGenius: [[VillainousHarlequin Arlecchino]] aka Enrico Tazza.
** TheBrute: Brighella aka [[DumbMuscle Il Fantasma]] aka [[spoiler: Nico Petit.]]
** DarkChick: Scaramuccia aka Gina.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: A bit of GameplayAndStoryIntegration, too. In ''Warnings at Waverly Academy'', you find [[spoiler: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 LetsPlay or had played the game before, [[spoiler: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. [[spoiler: 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. [[spoiler: I'll give you three guesses as to what race the real villain is]].
** In ''The Captive Curse'', Anja initially tells you that [[spoiler: 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 ''[[spoiler:Even though revenge should be sweet/Jealous acts will end in defeat.]] Very'' fitting for a [[spoiler:foiled {{Yandere}}]].
** Most of Jane's doodles in ''Blackmoor Manor'' are her gushing about Brady Armstrong, but one from the "Norse Runes" pamphlet translates as [[spoiler: "Mom", and is surrounded by little hearts. Guess who she misses terribly and hopes will come back to live with her father if she can chase Linda away?]]
* FoodPorn: [[JustifiedTrope The cooking minigames would be far, far more annoying if they didn't have this.]] (Someone made a ''[[http://cluecrewcookin.tumblr.com/ 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.
* FriendlyEnemy: In ''Alibi in Ashes'', Deirdre is ultimately this toward Nancy. She admits that she hates the teen detective--but she doesn't ''hate'' hate her, and in fact enjoys disliking her so much. Nancy seems to return the favor.
* GaidenGame: The ''Dossier'' series.
* GambitRoulette: [[spoiler: The culprit tricks you into helping them with their EvilPlan 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]].
* GameOver: There are various ways that you can encounter this. Some result in Nancy's death while others lead to her being relieved of the case. Thankfully, you always get a second chance and make the correct choice.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation:
** Bess and George usually serve as the "hint line" over the phone, to help you out whenever you are stuck. They tend to give information they shouldn't be aware of at all, especially because they aren't there and don't know about the secrets any more than you.
** The first two games are particularly bad about this; there are random word puzzles all over the place (for example, some where words are upside down or the spacing is incorrect) that give some sort of hint about a puzzle somewhere in the game, ''including those that are part of the end game.'' There is absolutely no logical explanation as to how they could be there at all, and are pretty much there more for a gameplay element than for plot development.
*** While other games tend to have the puzzles more integrated into the plot, ''Sea of Darkness'' features a ''very'' blatantly contrived puzzle that is PlayedForLaughs. Nancy's reaction sells it.
--> "That was the strangest wiring panel I've ever seen."
* GameWithinAGame: ''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 SidetrackedByTheGoldSaucer.
** Such minigames must often be completed once to advance the plot, no matter how [[InsaneTrollLogic 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.
* {{Gaslighting}}: The culprit does this in ''Secret of the Old Clock''.
* GenreSavvy: Randulf the Red, so very much. Instead of hiding his treasure behind just ''one'' puzzle, he arranged a ThanatosGambit in which [[spoiler: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 SpannerInTheWorks -- that is, Nancy.]] See ComplexityAddiction.
* GenreShift: ''The Silent Spy'' quickly changes from "mildly scary investigation game" to "tense spy thriller where the fate of [[spoiler:Glasgow]] is at stake." The shift is not permanent, though, the next game being set along more traditional lines.
* GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere: The culprit in ''The Haunting of Castle Malloy'' seems to be a banshee, but we all know banshees aren't real! Instead, [[spoiler: 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.
* GoodNewsBadNews: 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''.
* GoldDigger: Henry Bolet's girlfriend is one. Henry admits that he knows this, but won't break up with her [[IJustWantToBeLoved because he's afraid of being alone.]]
* GoryDiscretionShot: 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''.
* GrandeDame: Mrs. Drake in ''The Curse of Blackmoor Manor'' and Prudence Rutherford in various games.
* GranolaGirl: Ingrid Corey in ''The Haunted Carousel.''
* GratuitousForeignLanguage: 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 [[HaveAGayOldTime "wahine"]] at some point).
** Which often leads to some {{Genius Bonus}}es 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!
* GrumpyBear: 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... [[FelonyMisdemeanor 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 [[spoiler: he and Mary Yazzie are in love and have been secretly seeing each other]].
* GrumpyOldMan: Bill Pappas in ''Stay Tuned for Danger'', Red Knott in ''Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake'', Gunnar Tonnisson in ''Sea of Darkness''.
** Renate in ''The Captive Curse'' is a female example, though she warms up to you.
* GuideDangIt: Admit it, you've had your own moment with ''at least'' one puzzle per game. If not the puzzles, [[FailedASpotCheck missing one small item or detail from a rarely-visited area]] will drive you to the brink of frustration.
* GypsyCurse: Various villains have given them to you, but they didn't have any magical backing. Except maybe Mystico the Magnificent's...
-->"[[LargeHam You have incurred the wrath of Mystico!]] From this moment forward, [[DoomMagnet bad luck shall creep behind you like a malevolent shadow!]] [[WhyAreWeWhispering Mystico has spoken.]]"
* HackingMinigame: Found in ''Lights, Camera, Curses!'', wherein you have to view encrypted security camera footage.
** Also shows up in ''The Deadly Device''.
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: Bess Marvin.
* HardHead: By now, Game-Nancy isn't all that far behind Books-Nancy for the world record on "average number of times knocked out per adventure", yet she generally bounces back fine. Subverted with the occasional Game Over when she's clobbered worse than usual, and in ''Kapu Cave'' when Joe Hardy ends up in the hospital for observation.
* HeWhoMustNotBeSeen: Nancy and her friends aren't show for most of the games. Nancy's friends do eventually get physical appearances and pictures for their contacts. Nancy, on the other hand, is never fully shown in any of the games. The audience is teased by the possibility of seeing her face, but we only get glimpses of it.
* HellHotel: The main setting for ''Shadow At the Water's Edge.''
* {{Hellhound}}: The eponymous dogs in ''Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake'' look like this.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: In ''The Deadly Device'', [[spoiler: Gray Cortright and Niko Jovic]].
* HiddenInPlainSight: A database in ''The Silent Spy'' reveals that [[spoiler: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.
* HideYourLesbians: Subverted; Dagny Silva from ''Sea of Darkness'' is possibly the first lesbian character (definitely the first explicitly lesbian) in the video game series.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Late in ''Labyrinth of Lies'', [[spoiler:Thanos Ganas]] traps you in a cage in Tartarus. Some time after you escape, you see [[spoiler:Thanos]] coming after him, and have to trap [[spoiler:him]] in that same cage. [[spoiler:It doesn't hold him long though.]]
* HomemadeInventions: Miles the Magnificent Memory Machine, whose visible components include bike handlebars, smokers' pipes, a gramophone's trumpet and an old oven.
* HowWeGotHere: ''Phantom of Venice'' starts off with you getting locked in a room that is [[DrowningPit 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.
* HyperspaceArsenal: How ''did'' you manage to carry a cotton picker around Thornton Hall? Or a full wetsuit around Paris?
** Averted in ''Scarlet Hand''. The [[spoiler: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.
** You also refuse to carry Bob's saddle outside the stables in ''Secret of Shadow Ranch''.
* IdiotBall[=/=]TooDumbToLive[=/=]WhatAnIdiot: [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential Depending on how sadistic the player is feeling]], this can be deliberately invoked in you in the many methods to get yourself 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, [[spoiler: that bum whom you've been helping]] turns out to be [[spoiler: a former culprit out for revenge, not to mention a culprit who proved to be [[AxCrazy unstable and dangerous]] in the past]] and is about to trap you. So what do you do? [[spoiler: 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...[[FacePalm "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 a case of "It's {{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.
* IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace: Who the ''hell'' would go to a place called Deception Island?
* ImpossiblyTackyClothes: Sinclair from ''Scarlet Hand''. When even ''Sonny Joon'' admits your tie is too garish, you might want to change your look...
* IncrediblyLamePun: On the Overcharge Batteries from ''Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake.'' Their slogan is "It pays to overcharge!"
* [[spoiler:InfantImmortality]]: At the end of ''The Curse of Blackmoor Manor'', [[spoiler: 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 [[spoiler: 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]].
* [[spoiler:InducedHypochondria]]: Linda is a victim of this in ''Blackmoor Manor''. Lampshaded in your phone conversation with Paliki, where [[spoiler:the placebo effect]] is discussed at length.
* InformedAbility: 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...[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ucg-PgrJN3g&feature=related&t=7m57s 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.
* InformingTheFourthWall: More common in the older games, but still recurs now and again.
* IntrepidReporter: The games have had four of these as suspects, so far: Lisa Ostrum, Helena Berg, Brenda Carlton, and Moira Chisholm. You yourself are like this and have noted that reporters are a lot like detectives--the parallels are especially obvious when you learn that Nancy's mom was a reporter (and sometimes spy) herself.
** Maya in ''The Final Scene'' may also be this. It's difficult to tell though, as she's kidnapped early in the game.
* InvisibleWriting: In the game ''The Haunted Carousal''; she helps out the bookkeeper with some puzzles that would reconnect her childhood (long story). One puzzle involved a piece of lemon scented paper that showed a message when ironed.
* TheIrishMob: One can assume the gangster, Mickey Malone in ''Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake'' was part of this.
* IronicNurseryTune: "Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home..." in ''Ghost of Thornton Hall''.
* ItsPersonal: The story of ''The Silent Spy'' is about [[spoiler: ''Nancy's mom'', particularly the mystery behind her death]].
* IWarnedYou: Savannah is careful to warn you about the...''[[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane 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.
* JerkAss: Most seemingly jerkass characters turn out to be [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Jerks With Hearts of Gold]], but not Simone Mueller of "The Final Scene", who uses the kidnapping of your friend Maya as publicity fodder.
* JetPack: You get one of these in ''The Haunting of Castle Malloy''.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler: 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. [[spoiler: 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 [[spoiler: 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.
** [[spoiler: Thanos]] is said to have gotten out of jail due to connections with the local police.
* KimonoIsTraditional: In ''Water's Edge,'' Takae -- the most staid of the characters -- is also the only one to wear a kimono.
* KleptomaniacHero: A staple of the series. If you ''can'' pick it up, you ''should'' pick it up, because [[ChekhovsGun 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 ''[[CosmeticAward a trophy]]'' for stuffing yourself with the remaining bars.
** Alex Trang from ''Sea of Darkness'' outright calls you a "klepto."
* LackOfEmpathy: You, surprisingly. Sometimes you have to ask really cruel, invasive questions to advance the game.
** In the true ending of ''Resorting'', [[spoiler:Elwood is apparently so unaffected by his sister's attempt at mass murder that he writes a hit screenplay about it]].
* LamePunReaction: Bess pulls off a lot of puns, much to George's dismay.
* LampshadeHanging: Several of the above tropes for the book are commonly lampshaded in the games, especially [[NotAllowedToGrowUp you, staying the same age throughout the games]]: "Right I forgot, you're celebrating your...seventieth birthday next month?"
** [[MetaGuy Professor Hotchkiss]], a fan favorite recurring character, calls you 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? \\
'''George:''' Sometimes I think they follow you around.
*** Amusingly, Bess and Ned also get to have this conversation with you 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.
** Either the CerberusSyndrome of the last few games or the series-wide tradition of putting you into near-death experiences prompts your character to point out, in ''Sea of Darkness'', that you're "hard to kill."
** The heating puzzle from ''Sea of Darkness'' is... not quite an electrical circuit puzzle. This prompts Nancy to say that it was the weirdest wiring panel she's ever seen.
* LargeHam: 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'' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX1Dzmkm-yo&feature=channel deserves an honourable mention]]. [[spoiler:Justified as Dwayne thinks life is a soap opera.]] Once in a while, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx8M9QPQqmw&feature=channel Nancy Drew herself gets in on the action]].
** Prop Master of DEATH!
** The announcer of PUNCHYYYY LARUUUUUEE!
** GRAAAH! Confound you, Nancy Drew!
* LawfulStupid: Jeff Akers, a park ranger in ''Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake'', occasionally falls into this trope. His actions include fining Sally for littering because [[FelonyMisdemeanor 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 [[spoiler: his grandfather was a gangster]]. That or he's just really bored.
* LegacyOfService: In ''Curse of Blackmoor Manor'', young Jane Penvellyn's tutor Ethel [[spoiler: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 [[spoiler: serves as Jane's introduction into the long-standing and confusing traditions of the Penvellyn family.]] And she's completely necessary for this, because [[spoiler: the traditions are passed from grandchild to grandchild, thus making it very difficult for the Penvellyns themselves to pass on the knowledge]].
* LethalChef: 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. [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential 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).
** Nancy can become a Lethal ''Animal'' Chef if she doesn't take care to consult online before baking Loulou's cakes in ''Blackmoor Manor'', or if she mixes up food for the ''Shadow Ranch'' horses incorrectly.
* LetMeGetThisStraight: 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?"
* LighterAndSofter: The first game, ''Secrets Can Kill'', although not spooky, was actually ''much'' DarkerAndEdgier than later installments, as the crime under investigation is a cold-blooded murder and you [[spoiler: 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 LighterAndSofter 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...[[spoiler: and then this is ''massively'' subverted at the end when the culprit ''holds you up at gunpoint.'']]
* LockedDoor: 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. [[BerserkButton 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!
* LoveAtFirstNote: How Dirk and Frances fell in love.
-->'''[[MrExposition 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.
* LoveMakesYouEvil: [[spoiler: 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]].
* TheMafia:
** ''The Phantom of Venice.''
** The Greek mafia, Kronos, plays a part in ''Labyrinth of Lies''.
* MalevolentMaskedMen: The Jolly Rogers act like this when [[spoiler: Bess spies on their meeting and is captured. Subverted when they let her go unharmed.]]
* TheManBehindTheMan: For most of ''Labyrinth of Lies'', [[spoiler:Thanos and Grigor]] are set up as the most villainous characters, particularly after [[spoiler:Thanos]] locks you in a cage and you spot [[spoiler:Grigor]] carrying a forged vase up a lift. Turns out the real BigBad is [[spoiler:Xenia Doukas, with Thanos as her Dragon and Grigor as the fall guy]].
* ManEatingPlant: For some godforsaken reason, Mrs. Drake has one in ''The Curse of Blackmoor Manor''. Complete with the part about eating you. [[RuleOfFunny 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 [[ShoutOut nursery to]] [[Film/LittleShopOfHorrors a bloke called Seymour]]. It only bites, but merits a mention.
* MasterOfTheMixedMessage: Many of the suspects get this way, but the only one you seem to get particularly frustrated with is [[CloudCuckooLander Sonny]] [[MadArtist 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''': [[LampshadeHanging You're sending me mixed messages]].\\
'''Sonny''': [[MindScrew No I am.]]
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: 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 ''un''explained events that you are left wondering.
-->'''Rentaro:''' A ghost doesn't need to be real to haunt you.
** Most prominent in ''Thornton Hall'' where [[spoiler: carbon monoxide]] explains everything. ''Everything.'' Except for [[spoiler:the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI4_JPPL5-o multiple]] scenes you can get where Charlotte gets pissed at you and instakills 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 sparked the climactic fire that destroys Thornton Hall]].
*** Also, something that requires explanation: [[spoiler: the moving statue of Charlotte in the cemetery]]. No way was that [[spoiler: carbon monoxide poisoning]].
*** The game's writers claim that [[spoiler: Harper Thornton engraved Nancy's name on the gravestone, as some kind of plea]]. And that the [[spoiler:ghost-induced]] death scenes were actually you [[spoiler:hallucinating and having a heart attack, both caused by the gas]].
*** According to [[http://nancythedrew.tumblr.com/post/50969621688/gth-official-answers-to-unanswered-questions this]], the game over sequence caused by [[spoiler: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 [[spoiler: found Jessalyn]]. If she doesn’t work along with [[spoiler:Jessalyn]]’s plan, the entire thing falls apart.''
** In ''Blackmoor Manor'', the [[spoiler:Penvellyn treasure (a fallen meteor)]] is valuable because Penvellyn superstition holds that it brings luck. On one hand, [[spoiler:it seems awfully stupid to devote your family to protecting a cosmic trinket]]...but on the other, the Penvellyn family has endured for ''centuries'', gaining both wealth and fame. [[spoiler:Their luck may not be supernatural, but they definitely have a lot of it.]]
* MeaningfulName: In ''White Wolf of Icicle Creek'', [[spoiler: 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 [[spoiler: "the one who comes back", from ''revenir'', "to come back". Coming back is exactly what The Revenant tries to do in this game]].
* MementoMacGuffin: You mention that Ned gave you a locket just before she goes to Italy. [[TrailersAlwaysSpoil 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? [[spoiler: Interestingly, the cover's locket looks nothing like yours. You ''do'' manage to retrieve it, at least]].
* MilesGloriosus: Police detective Tino Balducci in ''Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon.''
* TheMole: [[spoiler:Ewan [=MacLeod=]]] in ''The Silent Spy''.
* MonsterMisogyny: The monster's victims in ''The Captive Curse'' are AlwaysFemale.
* MonsterShapedMountain: Chicken Ridge from ''White Wolf''. Three Finger Rock from ''Kapu Cave''.
* MoodWhiplash: Some of the conversations could come across as this. If the person you talk to gets upset with Nancy, the conversation could end with them cheerfully sending her off.
* MultipleEndings: 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 [[spoiler: to get Minette's assistant Heather [=McKay=] fired]]. Though the game goes on either way, [[spoiler: if you choose to spare Heather, she lets you 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 [[spoiler: 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'': [[spoiler: 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...]]
* MythologyGag: 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.''
** One of the bad guys on the slot machine in ''Secret of Shadow Ranch'', El Diablo, is half of another pair of star-crossed lovers from the backstory of ''Message in a Haunted Mansion''.
** A statue of Aeolus, the automaton from ''Blackmoor Manor'', is for sale in Lamont's curio shop from ''Crystal Skull''.
** 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. [[spoiler: 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 PutOnABus 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 ShownTheirWork.
** 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''.
** Moira Chisholm from ''The Silent Spy'' knows Dagny from ''Sea of Darkness'' - her name is on a book found in Dagny's suitcase.
** Sonny Joon is this trope personified (''finally'', definitively so in ''The Shattered Medallion'').
** In the Dossier game ''Resorting To Danger'', the animals in Helfdan's lab are Iggy the Iguana (''Crystal Skull''), Casper the White Squirrel (''Waverly Academy''), a black cat (''Waverly'' also), and one of the monkeys from ''Seven Ships''.
* NeverLiveItDown: In-universe example: Alexei in ''Alibi in Ashes'' is this way whenever somebody breaks one of his antiques. Also, Alexei himself suffered from this. [[spoiler:He was a detective as a teenager, just like you, and was accused of theft by a man he'd busted]].
* NeverSmileAtACrocodile: Watch out for Bernie, the alligator from ''Crystal Skull''.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Lori Girard, your hostess in ''Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon'' is an obvious stand-in for Paris Hilton.
* NonHumanSidekick:
** 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.
** [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Miles the Magnificent Memory Machine]] is this for Joy in ''The Haunted Carousel''.
* NoAntagonist: [[spoiler: Haunting of Castle Malloy]] turns out to be this. The 'kidnapping' [[spoiler: was a complete accident]] and the 'villain' [[spoiler: did nothing but try to help the imprisoned victim]].
* NoIndoorVoice:
--> '''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 [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this in ''Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake'', telling her that she'll drive all the birds away by talking so loudly.
** In ''Danger on Deception Island'', [[spoiler: while finding Katie kidnapped in the culprit's boat]], you and Katie literally yell at each other.
--> '''Katie:''' Nancy, I was afraid no one would ever find me!
* NoodleIncident: 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 you.
** PlayedForDrama 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, [[AmbiguousDisorder 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, WordOfGod and multiple hints in-game confirm that the Thorntons were [[spoiler:slavers]]) but most of them are never explained. [[SerendipityWritesThePlot This actually works in]] [[NothingIsScarier the game's favor.]]
** In ''White Wolf of Icicle Creek'', which came out almost two years after ''Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon'', Chantal sets Nancy up to talk with Tino Balducci through the phone. In one part Nancy reminds him of what he did ''Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon''.
* NoOSHACompliance: 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...
** Rotten floorboards, toppling trees, hanta-infected mice in the cellar, and arsenic in the well water... haunting or no haunting, Sally from ''Ghost Dogs'' got ripped off badly when she bought Malone's cabin.
* NotSoAboveItAll: Mattie freaks out after Rick is almost murdered with a stage light.
* NotSoStoic: In ''Danger by Design'', normally, Heather is patient and courteous -- the ideal secretary, especially for someone like [[BadBoss Minette]]. Several characters comment on how odd it is that she's put up with Minette for so long...[[spoiler: 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 [[BeneathTheMask the mask]] back up.
* NothingIsScarier: 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'' there’s nothing there... you’ll wonder.
** In the games that really sell themselves on being scary - like ''Haunted Mansion'', ''Water's Edge'', ''Blackmoor Manor'', ''Captive Curse'', and ''especially'' ''The Ghost of Thornton Hall'', you will spend a lot more time wandering around in the dark while spooky music plays than actually ''seeing'' ghosts or monsters. And that makes it ''so much worse.''
** When you encounter the "Culprit" in Haunting of Castle Malloy. [[spoiler: She is a 70 year old feral woman who wordlessly reaches out to you and pushes you down a hole.]]
* NouveauRiche: Margherita Faubourg in ''The Phantom of Venice.''
* ObviouslyEvil: Thanos in ''Labyrinth of Lies'' is clearly set up to look like this, what with his cold, dismissive attitude, constantly trying to send you away, the fact that he's playing the God of the Underworld and likes hanging out in the Underworld set AND you learn pretty early that he ''may'' have killed someone before and ''may'' be part of a pretty shady group (as in "mafia" kind of shady). He's also fascinated by death, going off his commentary about Hades and the Underworld and he's never happy or amused. Almost immediately, he's the most obvious candidate for the culprit. [[spoiler: Somewhat surprisingly due to the series habit of making it always the nicest person as the culprit, the game plays the trope straight for the most part, though he's TheDragon and not the BigBad]].
* OccultDetective: 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 [[spoiler: 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 [[spoiler: in both the "bittersweet" or "happy" endings -- an old furnace leaking carbon monoxide --]] but it is never stated outright, [[spoiler: 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.
* OldDarkHouse: A classic trope of the series, and [[TropesAreNotBad 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.)
* OlderThanTheyLook: [[KiddieKid Jane Penvellyn. If you listen carefully to the opening letter, she is said to be 12.]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5ZXGhFDAI0 Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Part 1) - Linda]]
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: 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 JapaneseRanguage in ''Shadow at the Water's Edge.''
** Yumi borders on NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent. 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".
** In ''The Phantom of Venice'', the German-speaking Helena Berg pronounces the ''German'' name of her magazine, ''Eurowelt'', not the way it's pronounced in German (''OH-y-roh-vehlt''), but rather the way a French speaker would pronounce it (''oh-roh-VEHL'').
** PlayedForLaughs with ''White Wolf'''s "Mystico the Magnificent", who temporarily drops his Lugosi-esque stage accent when he chides you for not calling him "the Magnificent".
* OpeningTheFloodgates: Nancy can die this way in ''Ghost Dogs'' if [[spoiler: you don't drain the water tank where the gold is hidden first.]]
* OptionalTrafficLaws:
** ''Trail of the Twister'', wherein you can cause ten-car pile-ups without any penalty. Until your health meter runs out, and you get a GoodNewsBadNews screen.
** Weaving back and forth or driving on the wrong side of the road is often the only way to avoid potholes or mud in ''Old Clock''.
* OppositesAttract: ''Ranch's'' FramingStory 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 StarCrossedLovers, and their story doesn't end well- but the game makes it clear that they really did love each other. Especially the ending. [[spoiler:[[ItMakesSenseInContext Those gold hearts]]...]]
** ''Ranch'' also has another example: [[spoiler:Tex and Mary. One is a distrustful, perpetually grumpy ranch hand, the other is a courteous, shopkeeping history buff]]. It works out.
** Elísabet Grimursdóttir and Magnus Kiljansson from ''Sea of Darkness''. She's descended from hometown legends, and accordingly has very close ties to its people and traditions. He's a restless, daydreaming explorer who dreams only of captaining his own ship and being able to travel the world.
* OrgasmicallyDelicious: Lampshaded in a Tumblr blog called Poorly Drawn Nansee Droo. [[http://poorlydrawnnanseedroo.tumblr.com/post/149433300434#notes]]
* OverprotectiveDad: If Carson had his way, you would never leave the house ''period''. In ''The Silent Spy'', after finding out you have sneaked off to Scotland, Carson has a meltdown.
-->'''Carson:''' YOU'RE IN SCOTLAND?!\\
'''Nancy:''' How did you know?\\
'''Carson:''' NEVER MIND HOW I KNOW!\\
'''Carson:''' You don't have my permission to be in Scotland!
* OvertookTheSeries: 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.
* PragmaticAdaptation: 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 [[spoiler:him]] and fighting [[spoiler: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. [[PuzzleBoss Puzzley combat,]] but combat nonetheless. [[AdaptationDistillation It was a pretty good ending.]]
* ParanormalInvestigation: Several of your cases start out as these, although she generally winds up DoingInTheWizard 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.
* PerkyGoth: 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").
* PermanentlyMissableContent: 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: [[spoiler:the screwdriver and the wire-cutters to defuse the bomb]]) and you've already saved ''after'' going into his room... you're screwed.
* PlotLock: 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.)
* ThePrankster: Lukas Mittelmeier in ''The Captive Curse.''
* PrematurelyMarkedGrave: In ''Ghost of Thornton Hall'', Nancy's name appears on a previously-blank tombstone once things start getting creepy.
* PressXToDie: 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.
* PunnyName: Nancy follows a chain of such names around the cemetery in ''Crystal Skull''.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: [=Chief McGinnis=] in ''Alibi'' is this, [[spoiler: as is Alexei Markovic, who knows how it feels to be framed for a crime you didn't commit and wants to help you-as-Nancy]]. The assistance of both is vital to solving the case.
* RedHerring: Since everyone is a suspect until proven innocent, you may encounter one or two until TheReveal. One notable example is that in ''Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon'', the person who pulled the brakes isn't the culprit.
* RefugeInAudacity: Some of the things you can get killed are downright hilarious ''because'' of this.
** ''Haunting of Castle Malloy''. [[spoiler: The culprit...is a freaking 70-year-old feral woman riding around on a jetpack]]. And yet, it works.
** ''Kapu Cave''.
* RefusalOfTheCall: 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. [[spoiler:She is exactly right]].
-->'''Charleena:''' ''(to [[BornDetective Nancy]])'' You can afford to look foolish, dear. I can't.
* RiddleForTheAges: We never find out whether Harper really was committed to an insane asylum or not -- she [[spoiler:certainly didn't deserve it, but the family's EvilMatriarch may have done it to conceal her crime]].
* TheRival: Hugo Butterly to Minette; they both compete over the same slice of the fashion market.
* RougeAnglesOfSatin: Pretty badly at the end of ''The Silent Spy''. After you solve the last puzzle, she proudly states that "I [[spoiler:diffused the bomb]]," which is [[http://www.uhs-hints.com/uhsweb/hints/nancydrew29/395.php pretty much the opposite]] of what you want to do with one of those.
* RousseauWasRight: In ''Kapu Cave'', the culprits weren't bad people, they just had some financial problems and were ''quite'' smart in forming their plan. [[spoiler:They also turn themselves in right away - and according to your monologue, it takes a while for the authorities to figure out ''what'' to charge them with]]. This is subverted, though, if you fail the last puzzle; [[spoiler: they will quite happily leave you to die in an underground cavern]].
** ''Haunting of Castle Malloy'' [[spoiler: 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.]] ItMakesSenseInContext. Somehow.
** The culprit of ''Shadow at the Water's Edge'' [[spoiler: 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]]. The [[spoiler: ghost pinning Nancy underwater happened ''entirely'' by accident]].
** And in ''Curse of Blackmoor Manor'', [[spoiler: 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]].
** ''Ghost of Thornton Hall'' has [[spoiler: Clara having started the fire at her feelings of jealousy toward Charlotte, though she never meant to hurt anyone. The guilt eats at her for years]].
* {{Ruritania}}: Only used once in the series. Yanni in ''White Wolf of Icicle Creek'' comes from a land called "Fredonia", which is implied to be this based upon his accent. [[spoiler: Given that he is a spy for them, this trope was probably used to [[JustifiedTrope avoid making any unfortunate political implications]].]]
* {{Ryokan}}: A haunted one in ''Shadow at the Water's Edge''.
* SaunaOfDeath: One puzzle in game 16, ''White Wolf of Icicle Creek'' features you being locked in a sauna and trying to get out.
* SceneryPorn: 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...
** SceneryGorn: Thornton Hall is falling apart, and is still absolutely ''gorgeous.''
* ScoobyDooHoax: ''Lots'' of them, as well as a few inversions in which "hauntings" are staged as publicity stunts. Deconstructed in ''Captive Curse'', in which it's [[spoiler: a hoax ''of'' an inverted ScoobyDooHoax, as the culprit wants the castle's unwitting owner to be blamed for a dangerous publicity stunt.]]
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: 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 [[spoiler: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 you get one hell of a guilt complex about all this, judging by your 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 ForTheLulz while waiting for something else to do...) and in some instances, to punish her for trying.
* SelfDefenseless: Nancy gets pepper-sprayed in ''Royal Tower'', and while her vision does go blurry and she coughs a bit, there's no indication that she's actually in pain.
* SelfDeprecation: ''"Whrak! Polly is a stupid bird, Polly is a stupid bird!"''
* SeparatedByACommonLanguage: The flashlight/torch miscommunication in ''Curse of Blackmoor Manor''.
* SeriousBusiness: 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!
* ShipTease: In ''The Captive Curse'' and ''The Deadly Device'', it's heavily implied [[spoiler: Frank Hardy]] has feelings for Nancy.
* ShoutOut: Later games contain [[ContinuityNod 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 ''Film/TheShining''.
** ''Curse of Blackmoor Manor'' has a few with the variety of deaths for Loulou the talking parrot. These can turn into BlackComedy since, you know, these lines are her FamousLastWords.
** 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 dream from ''white wolf'' heavily features a [[WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle moose and squirrel. ]]
** ''The Captive Curse'' is obviously based on ''Literature/{{Frankenstein}}'' and its gag reel contains shout-outs to ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'' and appropriately, ''Film/YoungFrankenstein''.
** 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 [[Creator/BruceLee "B. Lee"]] and [[Creator/ChuckNorris "C. Norris"]]...
*** Does that mean Nancy Drew is [[MemeticBadass the]] next Creator/ChuckNorris?
*** Also in ''Danger by Design,'' check out Dieter's fish tank. He has two fish; a [[WesternAnimation/FindingNemo clownfish and a very excitable blue fish]]
** One of the phone numbers in Jean Mi's [=PDA=] is [[Series/{{Lost}} 4 8 15 16 23 42]]. Even the owner of the number is a ShoutOut 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 [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsU8fRvTeCI "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 ''TheRing'', it almost feels like an homage.
*** Actually, the appearance and movements of the ghost are more like a case of ShownTheirWork -- the ghost is based on the Japanese [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%C5%ABrei 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 ShoutOut to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dahoum Dahoum (real name Selim Ahmed)]] who was an assistant and a very close friend of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._E._Lawrence a certain famous archeologist]].
** It's probably not a coincidence that a person with a name like Josiah [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alastair_Crowley Crowley]] was interested in the occult.
*** Or that two of the characters in ''White Wolf'', [[Film/TheWolfMan1941 Lou Talbot]] and [[Film/AnAmericanWerewolfInLondon Bill Kessler]], share their surnames with two of the best-known werewolves in film history.
** In ''The Silent Spy'', the caption for the 'Unlocker' award is [[Series/BreakingBad "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 [[Series/HowIMetYourMother nine seasons]] [[TakeThat 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 [[LordOfTheRings single, golden ring]], which is rather plain for the usual charms.
** More likely a coincidence, but when you ask Alex Tranh why you're "here" (meaning here in Iceland) in ''Sea of Darkness'', Alex responds with "Woah. Deep. [[Machinima/RedVsBlue I gotta think about that one. I mean, what are any of us doing in this crazy, messed-up world, you know?]]
* ShownTheirWork: 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. [[http://gbphotodidactical.ca/images/Photo-Cadboro-Bay-41-2011-07-30-Cadboro-Gyro-Park.JPG And they have a statue of Caddy.]]
* SmallNameBigEgo: Abdullah Bakhoum in ''Tomb of the Lost Queen'' and Yanni Volkstaia in ''White Wolf of Icicle Creek''.
* SnowMeansDeath: Staying outside in the snow for too long in ''Treasure in the Royal Tower'' or ''White Wolf of Icicle Creek'' will result in you freezing to death.
** In ''White Wolf of Icicle Creek'', this is taken UpToEleven 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...
* SoftWater: 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.
* SolveTheSoupCans: 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 [[NightmareFuel (or fear)]] and created a downloadable patch to give you an infinite amount of time.
* SouthernGothic: ''The Legend of the Crystal Skull'', and ''Ghost of Thornton Hall''.
* SpookySeance: Abby holds one in ''Haunted Mansion''. [[spoiler:It's faked]].
* StalkerShrine: In ''Ransom of the Seven Ships'', Nancy finds all sorts of references to her old cases such as newspapers and a US map with certain areas marked. [[spoiler:Considering that the culprit is one of the first people she arrested, of course he's been keeping tabs on her.]]
* StarCrossedLovers: The backstory providing the fuel for the main mystery in ''Secret of Shadow Ranch''.
* StageMom: Mattie has one.
* StoryArc: 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'' EasterEgg, Mystico says that he sees "a dark figure named Bruno" in your future. In ''Crystal Skull'', you 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 your in-game telephone conversations.
* [[spoiler: StrangerBehindTheMask:]] The original solution for the first game, ''Secrets Can Kill'', fell victim to this trope. This was fixed in the Remastered version by [[spoiler: introducing the suspect halfway through the game, and adding a second culprit]].
* StrawmanNewsMedia: Brenda Carlton of ''Alibi in Ashes'' falls into Type IV [[spoiler: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 you can read, if you're willing to wade through all the vapid scandal-mongering.
* StringyHairedGhostGirl: Makes a few appearances in ''Shadow at the Water's Edge''.
* SurpriseCreepy: 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? [[NightmareFuel/NancyDrew WRONG]].
* SuperSpeed: In ''Treasure in The Royal Tower'', after calling Bess, she calls Ned about it ridiculously fast.
* SwarmOfRats: One steals from your inventory while you go swimming in ''Danger by Design''.
** You have to catch a bunch of rats several times in ''Trail of the Twister''.
* TapOnTheHead: Lampshaded in ''The Deadly Device'' by Deirdre, who suggests you get your head examined because it's happened so many times.
* TalkingAnimal: Loulou and Coucou.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: There's one surefire way to tell when a game in this series was released - look at the style of your cellphone.
* TeensAreMonsters: 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 [[spoiler: ''Secrets Can Kill'']].
* TheAce: 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.
* TheThingThatGoesDoink: An important clue in ''Shadow at the Water's Edge'' is hidden in this.
* ThrillerOnTheExpress: ''Last Train'' [[spoiler: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]].
* TookALevelInJerkass: Your dialogue in ''The Final Scene'' is noticeably more impatient and abrasive, probably because your 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.
** The game over sequences have some characters yell at Nancy for messing up. This includes Nancy's best friends and boyfriend being unreasonably angry with her. Some sequences involve Nancy being seriously injured and yet, the character shows no sympathy for her.
* TongueTwister: The opening narration for ''Shadow Ranch'' include a photo of Aunt Bet's clothing shop, with a prominent storefront sign reading "Bet's Best Bets".
* TwentyBearAsses: In ''Crystal Skull'', Renee refuses to give you Bruno's shovel until you've collected five conk mushrooms for her. [[spoiler: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]].
* [[spoiler:TwinSwitch]]: Played ''very'' brilliantly in ''Warnings at Waverly Academy'' with [[spoiler: Rachel and her twin Kim]].
* {{Unperson}}: The nameless medieval fugitive [[spoiler: who inspired the "monster" legend]] from ''The Captive Curse''.
* TheUnseen: Two significant examples come to mind:
** 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. [[spoiler: 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".]]
*** [[spoiler: Sonny himself '''finally''' turns up as an actual character - and suspect - in ''The Shattered Medallion''.]]
*** ''Sea of Darkness'': briefly employed at the Skipbrot Cultural Center, and leaves you a comic book ("The Adventures of Sonny Joon and Cyborg Nancy") in the Missti Skip.
** Hilda Swenson from ''Danger on Deception Island'' is a self-invoked example, hiding away from other people and communicating with Nancy via cryptic messages in bottles, planted clues, Morse code and (eventually) telephone. Nancy's quite disappointed that [[spoiler: they never do get to meet face-to-face.]]
* UngratefulBastard: 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!
** [[spoiler: Alexei's past tells us that they were always this way, and [[ShadowArchetype he suffered a similar fate as Nancy did -- except it took decades before his framing was proved to have been]] a hoax]]. Yeah, it isn't a very happy game.
** In ''Train,'' your reward for finding Lori [[spoiler: a small fortune in historical relics]] is [[spoiler:to be left to die in an abandoned mine. Fortunately, Lori gets her comeuppance]].
* UnholyMatrimony: [[spoiler:Xenia Doukas and Thanos Ganas]] in ''Labyrinth of Lies.''
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: In ''Alibi in Ashes'', once Nancy finds enough evidence to prove her innocence, Bess, Ned and Carson are very casual about her getting out of jail. George is the only one who's excited to see Nancy free.
* VillainBall: At the end of ''Stay Tuned for Danger'', you are actually able to accuse who you think the culprit is in the final conversation before the finale. However, if you choose anyone that isn't the real one, the culprit outright just reveals themselves instead of letting someone else take the blame for their misdeeds.
* VillainousBreakdown: Just about all of the culprits in the games. Some are more subtle, some are over the top.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Some of the various ways in which you can get killed or fired ''are'' pretty funny, and it gets even more hilarious in the games with the "Good News, Bad News" segments to accompany it.
** Killing the parrot in ''The Curse of Blackmoor Manor'' can be most entertaining.
** [[PlayedForDrama Played for huge drama]] in the ending of ''The Ghost of Thornton Hall''. See MultipleEndings for details.
** CrueltyIsTheOnlyOption: ''Legend of the Crystal Skull'' pretty much requires you (while playing as Bess) to be cruel to Lamont in order for the game to progress.
** From ''Danger on Deception Island'', there's a place where you must make a sandwich. The first thing to pop into your head will be, "Hm, I think I'll make a sandwich with [[CordonBleughChef ancient mayonnaise...Koko Kringles Ice Cream...jellyfish...mustard...baking soda...tomatoes]]", then "[[VideoGameCrueltyPunishment Eat that sandwich, Nancy!]] Awww darn it, I got a game over!"
* ViewersAreGeniuses: 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. [[GuideDangIt 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.
* ViolationOfCommonSense: In ''The Final Scene,'' you '''must''' stay inside the Palladium theatre ''just as it's about to be demolished,'' on the off-chance you'll find your friend and [[JustInTime get out in the seven minutes before it's destroyed.]] Police come through it and force you to leave if you don't hide in a closet, and this is treated as a bad thing.
* VisualPun: John Penvellyn's coat of arms depicts a parrot and an open mouth. His motto, ''Per aures ad animum'' technically means "through the ears to the mind/spirit", but to English-speakers, the crest as a whole suggests "Talk to the animals", i.e. [[spoiler: go chat with Loulou for clues!]]
* VitriolicBestBuds: Deirdre is this with Nancy, as she explains near the end of ''Alibi.'' She even becomes helpful in ''The Deadly Device''. [[spoiler:In the teaser for ''Midnight in Salem'', she's now asking for your help]].
* TheVoice: Many of the experts Nancy calls during her investigations, seeking information on everything from wood samples to werewolves, never appear in person. Subverted with Charleena Purcell, who is consulted over the phone in ''Shadow Ranch'' before showing up in the flesh for ''Last Train''.
* VomitDiscretionShot: Eating multiple chocolate bars in ''Crystal Skull'' makes the screen tilt and turn green.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler: The culprit, Joe]] in ''The Final Scene''. [[spoiler: This person]] treats Maya well despite kidnapping her, and committed the crime in a desperately misguided attempt to keep the theater open.
* WhamEpisode (overlaps with TheReveal): 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![[spoiler:...Oh. Nice to see you, [[ContinuityNod 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.
-->[[spoiler: '''Jessalyn:''' Good for you, but I came down here ''not'' to be found.]]\\
[[spoiler: '''Nancy:''' Tell me what's happening or I'll tell everyone I've found you.]]\\
[[spoiler: '''Jessalyn:''' I'm not a bad person. ''(pleadingly)'' I'm really not. (''angrier'') You know, you could have helped. Fire so red-]]\\
[[spoiler: '''Nancy:''' ''[[OOCIsSeriousBusiness (afraid)]]'' What are you doing?]]\\
[[spoiler: '''Jessalyn:''' [[IWarnedYou This is]] ''[[IWarnedYou your]]'' [[IWarnedYou fault]]. Night so black. Dear sweet Charlotte, please come back!]]\\
[[spoiler: ''Charlotte appears, runs at you.'']]\\
[[spoiler: '''Game Over screen:''' ''You have made a fatal error.'']]
* WhamLine: In the 29th game's teaser trailer: "But you know her by a different name. [[spoiler: [[FakingTheDead Kate]] [[MissingMom Drew]].]]"
* WhatTheHellHero: Some of the [[GameOver Game Overs]] lead to characters calling Nancy out for her careless behavior, which either caused property damage, unnecessary issues for other characters or the culprit escaping.
* WhoForgotTheLights: ''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...
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: 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.
* WhyDontYaJustShootHim: 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 DamselInDistress with you who would testify that you'd done it in self-defense!
* WomanScorned: In ''The Captive Curse'', [[spoiler:Anja dresses up as the monster of Finster Castle in a ploy to get back at the castle's owner, her ex-boyfriend]].
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: [[spoiler: Joseph Hughes]] from ''The Final Scene'' is at first content kidnapping Maya with the (admittedly reasonable) expectation that that the [[PoliceAreUseless police]] will surely rescue a hostage from a building that's ''about to be demolished''! No such luck. And during the game we find out [[spoiler: his only brother, [[YankTheDogsChain whom he'd been looking for]] [[{{Tearjerker}} is dead]]]]. And all through that [[spoiler: he's a genuinely NiceGuy who encourages Nancy to keep looking for her friend.]] Even in the climax where [[spoiler: he's fully prepared to let himself, Nancy and Maya get crushed to ''death'']] you still can't help but feel bad for [[spoiler: him as he was just a man desperate to hold on to the one thing in his life that mattered.]] Nancy [[AlasPoorVillain certainly did]], to the point where she was hoping Maya would [[StockholmSyndrome have sympathy for her captor]].
* WrenchWench: Ryan Kilpatrick in ''The Deadly Device''. Also UnkemptBeauty.
* {{Yandere}}: The culprit in ''Stay Tuned for Danger'' [[spoiler: 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.
* YouShallNotPass: [[spoiler:Mel]] in the ending of ''Waverly Academy''.
-->"You just entered my room ''through the wall!'' [[GenreSavvy I want an explanation!]]"

--> ''It's locked.''