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Low-Spoiler Hints and Tips for Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel

Welcome to my Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel hints page. (-: If you're new to my series of low-spoiler computer game walkthroughs, the idea is to point gamers towards things they might not have thought of in each game rather than divulging puzzle solutions or giving step-by-step instructions. There's not much point in playing an adventure game if you know the puzzle solutions in advance, and there's no point at all in investigating a mysterious plot like The Haunted Carousel's if you've already had the story spoiled for you.

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So these pages are as close to spoiler-free as possible while still providing some valuable The Haunted Carousel hints and game recommendations. If you are looking for the solution to a particular puzzle, I recommend UHS--due to their unique website setup you can only see one hint at a time, so you can get the answer to one pesky puzzle without ruining all the others for yourself. Here's the UHS link if you're interested. My site here focuses on exactly the things traditional walkthroughs don't: the non-critical bits of The Haunted Carousel, detours you can take, little things you can do to smooth the gameplay out for yourself, extra details you might miss if you did only what was strictly necessary to complete the game. If you want even fewer spoilers--you're considering whether to buy the game, for example, and want to know whether there's anything you're going to detest in it--please try my Nancy Drew Review page to find all the pertinant information in one convenient spoiler-free package.

Now, on with the game!

Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel Hints and Tips
Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel Walkthrough
Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel Game Spoilers and Easter Eggs
Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel Plot and Character Information
Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel Cheats and Links
Backseat Game Designer: Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel Critique

The Haunted Carousel Hints and Tips

Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel is a modern PC adventure game in the popular Nancy Drew series. Like the other Nancy Drew games, The Haunted Carousel offers a simple 1st-person point-and-click interface with which to navigate a small gameworld, solving puzzles and interrogating suspects. This one is set in a spooky amusement park. These are relatively easy games, designed with young teens in mind, and The Haunted Carousel is very much plug and play. However, there are a number of things you may want to be aware of before beginning to play in order to get maximum enjoyment out of the game. Without spoiling anything:

Difficulty Setting: I've never seen a game with such an irrelevant difficulty setting as the Nancy Drew series has. There are no additional puzzles if you play on Senior Detective-- Nancy just makes a few more leading comments as she goes along if you play as Junior, and you have slightly more time to complete timed challenges. If you've played the game on one setting, there is no need to go back and play it again on the other.

Savegames: Like other games in this series, The Haunted Carousel is well-constructed and does not suffer from serious bugs; in fact, the Nancy Drew games have a "second chance" feature that allows you to automatically replay any scene in which Nancy dies or fails at her mission, so you theoretically shouldn't need to worry about savegames at all. Even in practice, one savegame should suffice. Which is good, because the savegame mechanism in the Nancy Drew games is extremely annoying.

Time Management: There are a few timed sequences in Haunted Carousel which can result in Nancy's death if she doesn't move quickly enough. Due to the aforementioned "second chance" feature, if you fail at a timed challenge you can just try it again till you get it right. Except for these sequences (which are self-contained and impossible to miss,) time does not pass in The Haunted Carousel. Characters will move from their locations only when you have completed enough tasks to advance the plot, and if another character has promised to do something for you (such as call you back on the phone), it will never happen until you complete whichever unrelated task is next on your list. So don't just sit around waiting for a phone call; it will never come on its own.

Interrogation: You have a selection of different dialogue choices during most conversations with suspects in The Haunted Carousel, but in no case do your choices affect the gameplay or the plot. They do affect the other characters' attitudes towards you, and sometimes you can even get additional dialogues with NPC's based on what you've told one character about another (a nice touch.) I've listed special conversations you can have in my Optional Actions checklist, so you can see if you've missed any. However, no matter how much evidence you discover or how many subplots you sniff out, there is nothing you can actually do about any of them and they will not change the plot, the endgame, or the final wrap-up, so you needn't worry about reloading or replaying any conversations. You should, however, make an effort to exhaust every line of conversation with the other characters, both because it gives you more details so that you can figure the mystery out for yourself, and also because the act of conversing with an NPC sometimes triggers an unrelated plot event to happen somewhere else in the park. The only exception are the recurring phone characters (Bess, George, Hannah and the Hardy Boys) who will talk your ear off if you let them but only need to be called once, when you need George to do some research for you.

Movement: The movement controls in the Nancy Drew games can be inconsistent--sometimes it is hard to see an exit to your left, right, or even straight ahead (!), because the cursor does not shift to show that you can go that way unless it is resting in the precisely correct location (which is not always to the far margin of the screen where you'd expect it). Luckily the area available to explore in each of these games is very small, so you can get used to the arrows in each location quickly.

The Phone: Thank goodness, Nancy has finally invested in a cellphone. This means you don't need to trek back to her bedroom every time you want to make a call. Sometimes, however, you will find yourself unable to use the cellphone. Usually this is because there is another person in the immediate vicinity (well, what detective would want to give everything away to the suspects by yakking away on her cell phone?) If this happens to you, just back away a step or two and try again.

Problem Spots: There's not much that could possibly go wrong as you play The Haunted Carousel. There's no way to lose this game that Second Chance wouldn't undo. In fact, it doesn't even matter if you never investigate any of the leads you find at all. There is only one ending cutscene, and it is not affected by any choices you make. Of course, the game is more fun and makes more sense if you bother collecting the evidence and conversing with suspects.

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