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Low-Spoiler Hints for Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake

Welcome to my Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake 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 Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake'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 Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake 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 Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, 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: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake Hints and Tips
Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake Walkthrough
Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake Game Spoilers and Easter Eggs
Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake Plot and Character Information
Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake Cheats and Links
Backseat Game Designer: Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake Critique

Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake Hints and Tips

Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake is a modern PC adventure game in the popular Nancy Drew series. Like the other Nancy Drew games, Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake 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 rickety cabin in some spooky woods. These are relatively easy games, designed with young teens in mind, and Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake 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, George, and the Hardy Boys) is scaled back, and you have less time to complete the timed challenges, 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, Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake 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. In practice, it is a very good idea to save your game after Red Knott gives you specific instructions on how to find a hawk, in a separate savegame slot, and set that savegame aside. There is a timed challenge that follows finding the hawk, and if you haven't set things up properly before it occurs, you may find it difficult or even impossible to complete in time (if you failed to pick up a certain inventory item, it's possible to save your game in an unwinnable position.) If this happens to you, you can always restore the pre-hawk savegame and set things up properly before going to find the hawk.

Time Management: There are two timed puzzles in this game (one beginning after you snap a picture of a hawk, and one after the final confrontation with the thief.) There is also one task, collecting bugs and worms for bait, that requires you to click quickly on the bugs before they vanish. Except for these timed challenges, Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake proceeds in Ultima-style flextime--the NPCs will become available and unavailable for conversation as the time changes from day to night, but if you miss them, you can just sleep for the requisite number of hours and catch them there the next day (click on the stairs to accomplish this.) It doesn't matter if you conclude this quest in three days or thirteen; except for the routine movements of NPC's, nothing in Moon Lake 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 Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, 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, George, Frank and Joe, 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.

Movement: The movement controls in the Nancy Drew games can be inconsistent and unintuitive--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). Clicking a down arrow will sometimes cause you to look down, and other times cause you to move down. There's no way to predict these things in advance, and it can be very disorienting. 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: Thankfully, Nancy doesn't need to use as much in this game as in previous games; however, it is still necessary to talk to Sally or Vivian a few times in order for the plot to continue advancing, and Nancy still does not have a cellphone, so if you're, say, in the cemetary when you need to make a phone call, you'll need to walk all the way back to the house to do it, then back.

Problem Spots: There's not much that could possibly go wrong as you play Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake. The only potential problem spot is the mid-game timed challenge, which can be difficult or impossible to complete in the allotted time if you haven't left a full bucket of water sitting under the pump. (Since many gamers are in the habit of carrying any pocketable items around with them at all times and the empty bucket can go into Nancy's inventory, it's an easy error to make.) Other than this, there's essentially no way to lose this game, thanks to the Second Chance feature. In fact, it doesn't even matter if you never read or pick up some 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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