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Low-Spoiler Hints for Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock

Welcome to my Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock 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 threatening mystery like Secret of the Old Clock'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 Secret of the Old Clock 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 Secret of the Old Clock, 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: Secret of the Old Clock Hints and Tips
Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock Walkthrough
Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock Game Spoilers and Easter Eggs
Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock Plot and Character Information
Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock Cheats and Links
Backseat Game Designer: Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock Critique

Secret of the Old Clock Hints and Tips

Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock is a modern PC adventure game in the popular Nancy Drew series. Like the other Nancy Drew games, Secret of the Old Clock offers a simple 1st-person point-and-click interface with which to navigate a small gameworld, solving puzzles and interrogating suspects. This one is loosely based on two classic Nancy Drew novels (Secret of the Old Clock and Mystery at the Lilac Inn) and is set in a somewhat bland small town in the 1930's. These are relatively easy games, designed with young teens in mind, and Secret of the Old Clock 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-- the in-game hint system (i.e. Bess and George) is scaled back, and Nancy doesn't automatically keep track of as many things in her notebook, and that's it. 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, Secret of the Old Clock 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: Unlike many Nancy Drew games, there is no game clock in Secret of the Old Clock. If another character tells Nancy to wait for something to happen, the only way this will ever occur is if you take some in-game action to trigger it. If a game event isn't happening, it's your responsibility to walk around talking to all the NPC's and picking objects up until the plot progresses. Nothing will ever change in this game without some unrelated help from you.

Interrogation: You have a selection of different dialogue choices during most conversations with suspects in Secret of the Old Clock, but in no case do your choices affect anything in the game. This is somewhat unfortunate (it would have been nice for the amount of information you decide to reveal to the suspects to affect their behavior), but it also means you really needn't waste your time reloading or replaying any conversations. You should, however, make an effort to exhaust every line of conversation with every character (except Bess and George, who are completely optional), 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 occasionally triggers an unrelated plot event to happen somewhere else.

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: This game has the gimmick of being set in the 1930's (though you'd never know it from all the references in town to musicals, movies, and TV shows of the '80's and '90's,) so Nancy does not have a cellphone or Internet browser as she does in earlier games. She must return to the front porch of the inn and spend ten cents on the pay phone every time she wants to make a phone call. Luckily, there is only one phone call she is really required to make in this game.

The Car: Nancy gets to drive her famous blue roadster, but unfortunately, that means you need to physically drag the car around the map of town with your mouse; you can't just click on where you're trying to go. Occasionally the game gets cute and has a cow blocking a road or something like that. If that happens, just drag the car all the way back and take a different route. Moving the car around is easy, but Nancy's car goes through a full tank of gas in about five minutes of driving (!), so you have to keep going back to the service station to get the tank refilled.

Money: Nancy only starts the game with a few dollars, so since each tank of gas costs 50 cents and she's going to need to buy several other things in the course of the game, she's going to need to make some money. She can do this by going to the telegram office and agreeing to deliver telegrams for 25 cents apiece. Yep, you have to drag the little roadster icon all around town over and over again delivering the mail. Well, it's still better than picking vegetables for Shorty.

Problem Spots: There's not much that could possibly go wrong as you play Secret of the Old Clock. There's no way to lose this game that Second Chance wouldn't undo. In fact, it doesn't even matter if you never read or pick up any of the important evidence. 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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