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YMMV: Nancy Drew

Tropes in the books include:

  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk, Nancy gets struck by lightning. It has nothing to do with the rest of the story, it's over in less than a page, and nobody ever mentions it again, and isn't getting struck by lightning something you'd want to brag about?
  • Broken Base: Fans of the original '30s/60s version usually hate upon the late 80s version, for the way it modernized the character.
    • On the other hand, the late 80's version (specifically the Nancy Drew Files spinoff has its fanbase as well, and they don't take too kindly to the new Girl Detective reboot for going the other way and being too "kiddy" (usually, they like the original 30s/60s version, but feel like a certain amount of Nostalgia Filter might make them slightly biased toward everything afterwards.
  • Canon Sue: Nancy Drew was originally supposed to be a role model, after all. She can be taking lessons in trick riding and replace the circus star chapters later, for just one example. It depends on the book. Most later novels are victims of bad writing.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: In the original series, Bess is described as "slightly plump". In the "Files" series, while given a "fabulous figure", she is perpetually focused on losing five pounds. Additionally, she is consistently made out to be the weakest of the group - easily frightened, boy-crazy, somewhat ditzy, etc. As of the newest series, Girl Detective, she's over it. She's always described as curvy, but her weight is almost never addressed. Furthermore while she is still very fashion conscious, she has also become a full fledged Wrench Wench.
  • Memetic Mutation: Nancy tends to get name-dropped in regards to any female character attempting any kind of investigative work.
  • My Real Daddy: While Edward Stratemeyer is the actual creator of Nancy Drew, all he did was create a rough idea of the character and general outlines for stories for his ghostwriters to follow. It was Mildred Benson, the first ghostwriter, who added a lot more beyond his outline and really brought Nancy to life.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Nancy and co. engage in a lot of behavior that would be considered rude and meddlesome if anyone else were doing it, but it's always justified as the people she's displaying this towards are usually jerks and/or suspects in her case. For example, when she demands that a man explain something that she heard while eavesdropping on his private phone conversation, he is the one made to be in the wrong for screaming at her to mind her own business. Of course, he doesn't help his cause by actually grabbing and shaking her, but he still has every right to be upset for her butting into his personal life.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The "slightly plump" Bess, throughout all versions of the series, is consistently portrayed in a negative light — ditzy, boy-crazy, easily frightened, etc.

Tropes in the games include:

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: A truckload.
    • Is Henry Bolet 'just' lonely and insecure, or does he have clinical depression?
    • Rentaro. Is he an arrogant saboteur with total disregard for the lives he tries to ruin, or a fundamentally Nice Guy who's desperate to save a failing relationship? The ending allows for both interpretations.
    • Is Harper truly insane or not? If so, why?
    • Did Clara mean to kill Charlotte, or was that an accident?
  • Ascended Meme: HerInteractive itself has made fun of the "It's locked" meme. This trope may be why they brought it back for The Silent Spy.
  • Awesome Music: After going about three games without using the catchy opening tune, it returns with an all-new level of awesomeness.
    • While we're at it, why don't we mention just about every single score for the games? Kevin Manthei is a genius.
    • Special mention needs to go to Shadow at the Water's Edge. While the majority of the music is appropriately ominous, go into the city and you hear this cute little J-Pop number. It especially appreciated as something of a breather since most of the rest of Shadow is absolutely terrifying.
    • "Mattie's house - Day" is one of the best themes in the franchise. Such soothing music, which is especially appreciated in a crime game.
    • The Final Scene's 'Maya'. A short tune, the theme for a character you only see for five minutes, and yet it sums up everything about the game.
    • The composer for the newest games, Thomas Regin, has contributed some gorgeous pieces of music as well. Have some 'Electric' from The Deadly Device (unfortunately not in stereo) and 'Past' from Ghost of Thornton Hall.
  • Broken Base: The Silent Spy seems to be doing this for the games, specifically the revelation that Nancy's mother Kate's death wasn't an accident and she was actually a spy. Some see the whole story as completely brilliant and an interesting twist, other's feel like rewriting a part of the character's history that has been ingrained in the character and the stories since their creation 80 years ago as Her Interactive going a step too far. Not to mention the fact that the part their rewriting is her mother's death, a few are also crying Dude, Not Funny! at the same time.
  • Creepy Awesome/Crazy Awesome: Harper Thornton from Ghost of Thornton Hall. How literal the "crazy" part is is left for debate.
  • Ear Worm: The jingle from the wiki-tiki game in Creature of Kapu Cave
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Mel in Warnings at Waverly Academy and Dave in Secret of Shadow Ranch.
    • Nick from The Final Scene verges on Memetic Badass within the fandom: "Fight the power!"
    • The fangirls seem to like Henry Bolet.
    • Professor Hotchkiss. Even if only among the developers, she's so well-loved they brought her back for two phone cameos. High-five, team Hotchkiss!
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Nancy and... take your pick between one of the Hardy boys, or one of the various single male suspects in any of the games, even if it's the culprit, or if it would be totally unlikely in the game or in real life. The most popular of these, though, is Nancy and Dave from Secret of Shadow Ranch. Poor Ned...
    • Nancy/Frank Hardy has been a pretty common pairing since at least 1988, when the Spin-off/Crossover Supermysteries were written featuring the pair. Bess and Joe... not so much.
    • Of course, some people who follow his walkthroughs prefer Nancy/Arglefumph. Due in part to him voicing his jealousy of Ned and saying he wants to be Nancy's boyfriend.
    • Less so than the others, Henry Bolet from The Legend of the Crystal Skull and Mel Corbalis from Warnings at Waverly Academy.
  • Fridge Logic: Occasionally crops up when back-and-forth dialogue is kept sparse for pacing's sake, as when two different characters from Danger on Deception Island apparently know Nancy's e-mail address without being told.
    • In The Captive Curse, the monster allegedly carries off young women who wear a specific necklace. It's never explained how, since these girls are never seen again, the necklace returns to be worn by a new victim.
    • Occasionally a Game Over will have Nancy being kicked out of the investigation-site by a character who, if you finish the game, turns out to be the culprit who was counting on Nancy to find the treasure/evidence/whatever. You'd think that, say, Shorty could forgive Nancy a few under-ripe vegetables if letting her stick around made them rich.
    • The reveal of Ghost of Thornton Hall explains that the hauntings are really hallucinations caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, but that doesn't explain why they also occur in the cemetery, the crypt and the ruins where Charlotte died. It also doesn't explain one of the game-overs, when a certain person basically sics the ghost on you. Then again, it could be a case of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane.
  • Funny Moments: One of the bloopers after the end credits for Trail of the Twister features the dance club from Phantom of Venice. The one dancing? Pa. Doing the exact same dancing moves.
  • Genius Bonus: Knowing how to read sheet music will make one of The Silent Spy's most annoying puzzles much easier.
    • There's sheet music translation in the bagpipes book.
      • Yes, but having it already memorised will mean you don't have to take the book out constantly.
      • Knowing the layout of the keys on a piano wouldn't hurt either, since that's used in Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon
    • If you know how to speak some of the featured foreign languages, some puzzles can go faster. For example, in Danger By Design, you won't need to buy a dictionary to translate the list of photos for Dieter if you know a bit of French. The stakeout in Phantom of Venice is also much easier if you speak Italian going in.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: Dave and Henry Bolet are common targets. These bloggers explain the latter.
    • The other common target is Nancy herself; arglefumph, for example, has an avatar that says "Nancy Drew is my life" and says he would like to be her boyfriend.
  • Jump the Shark: Many fans see a declining quality in some of the later games' endings, and a selective few claim this happened with Ransom of the Seven Ships. The games never got bad, exactly, but there was a noticeable drop in quality around Ransom.
    • It's Easy, so It Sucks: The main complaint about the those endings is that, unlike the earlier endings which required you to think at lightning speed to catch or stay one step ahead of the culprit, they focused less on the action and more on the puzzles. The worst offender was Legend of the Crystal Skull which made the ending a little too easy to win.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Here.
    • In Alibi In Ashes a lot of people suspect Alexei Marcovic for framing Nancy and lighting the town hall fire, because he's an ex-amateur-detective who could be understandably jealous of her success. Alexei doesn't help this accusation by being excessively grumpy all the time. So what does he do when Nancy finally gets out of jail and goes to speak with him? Asks her if she's okay and tells her he'll do absolutely anything to help her out. He's been framed before too, and he's probably happier to see her freed than anyone else.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: If you fail to catch the culprit at the end of Secret of the Old Clock, a Spinning Paper shows up with the headline mentioning it. Since it takes place in the 30's, there is also a small article mentioning Pluto's discovery. Pluto's demotion happened only a year after this game came out.
  • Ho Yay: When Dwayne Powers explains himself to Nancy Drew in the end of Ransom of the Seven Ships, he mentions a man who did voluntary work in his prison. "We got to be friends. Good friends". The way he emphasises "good" is rather... ambigious. Also, here's the fact that it took place in a prison.
  • Hype Backlash: Some of the fans were a bit underwhelmed when they finally met Sonny in The Shattered Medallion after he's been The Ghost for so long and wasn't what they were expecting.
  • Let's Play:
    • Arglefumph of YouTube is perhaps the best known example of these.(Just approach his "Message in a Haunted Mansion" Let's Play with extreme caution if you use headphones.)
    • That Dude in the Suede has a good one of Water's Edge.
  • Memetic Mutation: Thanks to the tweenage fans with video cameras.
    • "It's locked."
    • Ladle Day 2k14.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Older games had a victory sting that played whenever a puzzle was solved.
  • Narm: In Curse of Blackmoor Manor, one of the puzzles you must complete involves moving a giant statue across the alchemy lab (don't ask) to capture all four wind clouds which keep trying to push the statue into pits of doom and you must start over. This would be a little more frustrating...were it not for the hilarious Big "NO!" the statue cries out.
    • Also, in one of the Game Over scenarios for Creature of Kapu Cave, if you make too much noise and wake up the grumpy professor, he growls " You young lady would appear to be in very. Deep. Trou-ble. " Try not cracking up.
    • In one of The Final Scene's Game Over scenarios, Nancy getting electrocuted produces some ear-shatteringly hilarious results.
  • Periphery Demographic: If you started playing these games in your early teens and still play them well into your college years, you are not the only one.
    • What if you're a boy? The original slogan "For girls who aren't afraid of a mouse" made it sound like a girl's club. (Although Herinteractive has stated that a good chunk of their audience is male.)
  • Seasonal Rot: Opinion varies on all of the games, but Ransom of the Seven Ships is the most constantly disparaged.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: While it's worse with earlier games, the annoyance of constantly returning to an overworld or map to get from house to house varies.
    • "Isis! Forward! Left! Down! Forward! Paw!" "... ... ... ... * whimper* " * Scuffle, scuffle, scuffle, scuffle, scuffle.*
  • That One Puzzle: Fox and Geese in White Wolf of Icicle Creek.
    • And the Wire Portrait puzzle in Shadow at the Water's Edge, as well as the Master Sudoku. Not only that, but it's not limited to Senior Detective (i.e. Hard) level. You have to solve five connected sudoku puzzles on Junior Detective level - easy.
  • Surprise Difficulty: Often. For example, the thought process of a new Blackmoor Manor player will probably run something like this: "Wait, what's that noise? Did the walls just move? And why are there six doors out of the room? (takes another step) Oh, God, it's moving again! (looks back) Wait, that's not the door I entered through! Where the f*k am I supposed to go?!"
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Averted. While many forms of gaming journalism refuse to acknowledge this series, they have a surprisingly large Periphery Demographic consisting of former Adventure-Game players.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The games' backstories are almost more interesting than the games themselves. In particular, the stories of Rita Hallowell and Julius Macquade would make stunning short stories, or even novels.
    • There's also Noisette Tornade and Dirk Valentine and Frances Humber on this list. Jake Hurley's story is nothing to sniff at either, not to mention the entire Penvellyn family, whose six hundred years of history are so fascinating that a character in the game is writing a book about them.
  • The Untwist: In Trail of the Twister, Scott, the suspect with the most obvious evidence and the rudest personality is the culprit.
    • Which may actually rate as a twist ending if you've played several of the other games first, as it's far more often the nicest suspect who turns out to be the culprit!
  • Values Dissonance: In Shadow at the Water's Edge, Miwako's ranting about Yumi being selfish for moving out of the Ryokan and wanting to have her own career instead of taking on the one expected of her only makes sense if you understand the general Japanese attitude about independence versus doing what's expected of you.
    • Oddly enough, it was just Miwako and her grandmother, Takae, who frowned on Yumi being her own person; their (deceased) mother, Kasumi, actually didn't mind if her daughters did what they wanted, as revealed in the letter to the girls found at the end of the game. Then again, Takae did describe Kasumi as being just as free-spirited as Yumi, showing that not every Japanese person holds the same attitude about a particular issue as the traditional attitude would command them to.


Tropes in the movie include:

  • Harsher in Hindsight: Dehlia Draycott was based on Natalie Wood, both dying from a drowning that was suspected to be a murder. Though Wood's death was eventually filed as an accident, five years after this movie her death was reinvestigated upon the discovery of new evidence suggested she may indeed have been murdered.
  • Mary Sue/ All-Loving Hero: Nancy in this depiction, is an unfailingly polite and proper girl who can turn and befriend those who are wary or dislike her and easily excels at all her endeavours.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Nancy's best friends Bess and George are only in the opening scenes, and left behind when Nancy moves to LA.

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