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Low-Spoiler Hints and Tips for Nancy Drew: Danger By Design

Welcome to my Nancy Drew: Danger By Design 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 an ominous mystery like Danger By Design'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 Danger By Design 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 Danger By Design, 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: Danger By Design Hints and Tips
Nancy Drew: Danger By Design Walkthrough
Nancy Drew: Danger By Design Game Spoilers and Easter Eggs
Nancy Drew: Danger By Design Plot and Character Information
Nancy Drew: Danger By Design Cheats and Links
Backseat Game Designer: Nancy Drew: Danger By Design Critique

Danger By Design Hints and Tips

Nancy Drew: Danger By Design is a modern PC adventure game in the popular Nancy Drew series. Like the other Nancy Drew games, Danger By Design 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 Paris. These are relatively easy games, designed with young teens in mind, and Danger By Design 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: There is very little difference to the gameplay depending which difficulty setting you use. There are no additional puzzles if you play on Senior Detective, but a few of them are made easier for Junior players. If you play as a Junior, Nancy also makes a few more leading comments as she goes along, keeps track of more things in her notebook, and can ask her American friends for hints over the telephone. None of these are very important differences and 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, Danger By Design 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 several timed sequences in Danger By Design-- ringing telephones that must be answered in a certain amount of time to avoid annoying Minette, and so forth. If you run out of time on any of these, though, the "second chance" feature will restart the timer and let you try again. Except for these timed challenges, time does not matter in Danger By Design-- every night as the sun sets Nancy will automatically go back to her bedroom and the game will start again the next morning, but this is irrelevant to the gameplay. It doesn't matter if you conclude this quest in three days or thirteen; other than the newspaper headlines changing, there is no difference, and nothing in the game changes except in response to actions you've taken yourself.

Interrogation: You have a selection of different dialogue choices during most conversations with suspects in Danger By Design, but in most cases your choices do not affect anything in the game. (There is one exception, which the game warns you may have an effect: if you investigate carefully enough you will have a choice whether to tell Minette a secret about Heather or not, and the plot will progress differently depending on your decision.) Other conversational choices do not affect gameplay. You should, however, make an effort to exhaust every line of conversation with every character, 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 game.

Using French: Everyone Nancy has to talk to speaks English, and she automatically translates letters and signs that she reads for you. However, there are a few puzzles involving French words which you will need to translate for yourself. You can do this within the game by buying a French-English dictionary at the marketplace (beginning on day 2), or you can use a real French dictionary or your own knowledge of French; it's up to 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: Unfortunately, Nancy doesn't have a cell phone in this game (the rather lame excuse is that her luggage, including the cellphone, was lost on the way to Paris.) So if you want to make phone calls, you need to walk Nancy back to either the phone in the moulin or the one in JJ's house, and if you want to make an international call, you unfortunately need to enter your calling card number before you can enter a phone number. Luckily calling Nancy's friends in America is totally optional in this game and there aren't even that many plot-related phone calls Nancy needs to make (though she needs to answer Minette's phone a lot.)

Problem Spots: There's not much that could possibly go wrong as you play Danger By Design. There's no way to lose this game that Second Chance wouldn't undo. There is one choice you can make that will have an effect on the outcome of the game-- it will not prevent you from winning, but the epilogue will look a little different depending on which decision you make. If you're the sort of person who likes to see everything there is to see in a game, then save your game BEFORE deciding whether to tell Minette a secret about Heather or not, so that you can reload later to see what happens if you make the other choice.

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