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Low-Spoiler Hints and Tips for Nancy Drew: The Final Scene

Welcome to my Nancy Drew: The Final Scene 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 deadly mystery like The Final Scene'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 Final Scene 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 Final Scene, 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 Final Scene Hints and Tips
Nancy Drew: The Final Scene Walkthrough
Nancy Drew: The Final Scene Game Spoilers and Easter Eggs
Nancy Drew: The Final Scene Plot and Character Information
Nancy Drew: The Final Scene Cheats and Links
Backseat Game Designer: Nancy Drew: The Final Scene Critique

The Final Scene Hints and Tips

Nancy Drew: The Final Scene is a modern PC adventure game in the popular Nancy Drew series. Like the other Nancy Drew games, The Final Scene 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 condemned theater once owned by Houdini and appropriately stocked with secret passages and slider puzzles. These are relatively easy games, designed with young teens in mind, and The Final Scene 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 Ned) is scaled back, and you have less time to complete 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, The Final Scene 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. However, there is one design flaw near the end of Day 2 that can be game-ending: if you don't have an object you need for Day 3 in your inventory when you begin your final conversation with Joseph, the game will not allow you to end the day by leaving the room. However, the object in question is not in the room, so you can be trapped in the projector room with no way forward. It's unlikely that you'd have missed this object, but just to be on the safe side, save your game after calling the police to report seeing Maya. Then if you get trapped in the projector room, you can reload and search the theater for the missing object, and won't have to replay the entire chapter.

Time Management: There are two timed puzzles at the end of Day 3 (one beginning when the police announce they're clearing the building, the other beginning when Nancy is locked in the projection room.) If you run out of time in either case, the "second chance" feature will restart the timer and let you try again. Unlike earlier Nancy Drew games, however, there is no game clock in The Final Scene, and except for the aforementioned endgame sequence, time will not pass if you simply sit and wait. On several occasions Nancy will say she has to wait for something to happen (a character to finish a phone call, a press conference to begin, a package to be delivered, etc.), but 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. The sun will not set in this game without some unrelated help from you.

Interrogation: You have a selection of different dialogue choices during most conversations with suspects in The Final Scene, 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 and Ned, who are completely optional), both because it gives you more details so that you can figure the kidnapping out for yourself, and also because the act of conversing with an NPC often triggers an unrelated plot event to happen somewhere else in the theater.

Movement: The movement controls in the Nancy Drew games are very inconsistent and often 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 to the left or right will sometimes rotate your view 90 degrees, and other times cause you to rotate and move. Clicking a down arrow will sometimes cause you to look down, sometimes cause you to move down, and other times cause you to back up. There's no way to predict any of 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 only thing that's easy to miss during the first ten minutes of the game is the projector booth, which is up the stairs between the two balconies; you need to click a hard-to-find side arrow to reach it.

The Phone: Nancy needs to use the phone a LOT in this game, which is a pain because she needs to click her way over to the ticket office every time (who would have thought I'd miss Kate Walker's cellphone?) To minimize the aggravation factor, don't waste your time making unnecessary phone calls. Except for the police (911 works fine), the only times you ever need to make a phone call are when an NPC has specifically asked you to (those would be the County Administration, Eustacia Andropov, and Sherman Trout.) All the other telephone numbers you will come across in this game are red herrings and calling them will do nothing but waste your time (there aren't even funny messages to listen to at the other end, just a generic failed-call audio.) Of course, as always, you can call Bess, George and Ned for moral support and hints.

Problem Spots: Except for the game design flaw I mentioned in red above, there's not much that could possibly go wrong as you play The Final Scene. Other than dying, there's no way to lose this game. 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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