Per the theme of this list, each game is generally better than the previous. Of course, this list can at times be randomly subjective, so any of the games in the top 10 can be justified as the “best” game at one time or another.
That’s the case with game 11, the critically hailed “Curse of Blackmoor Manor.”
It’s an excellent game, one of the best in the series actually, yet I’m not going to advance it past spot nine in this edition of the list.
Nancy gets a call from her neighbor, Mrs. Petrov, because her daughter Linda is showing some weird behavior and experiencing odd symptoms. Linda had just gotten married and moved to England with her husband, Hugh Penvellyn, and they’ve been living at Blackmoor Manor, the centuries-old Penvellyn estate.
Linda has not hand an easy transition across the pond, though. She’s been really depressed, tired, and secluded after a while at the manor. She’s become erratically isolated in her bedroom, and she won’t even come out from behind a sheet to talk to anybody.
Mrs. Petrov thinks that Linda’s just being irritable and stubborn, but it seems to be more than that.
Jane, Hugh’s daughter, gets rather lonely in the big mansion, having nobody to play with. She tends to get on Linda’s nerves. Could Linda just be having trouble adjusting to caring for a child?
Well, it also seems that Linda could be turning into something…specifically…the “Beast of Blackmoor.” Yes, Linda might be turning into a monster. It sounds ridiculous, but as the game goes on, it actually seems plausible.
You see, Linda was doing fine until she went exploring through the manor one day. She was fiddling around with a statue when all of a sudden, a secret passageway appeared! What she found inside is still haunting her today. Linda believes that she is cursed after reading an eerie message at the end of the passageway.
Ever since then, she’s been hiding in shame and has been acting crazy. So, the purpose of the game is to figure out what is going on with Linda, but boy, do we get a whole lot more than that.
Since it seems that Linda could be turning into an ancient monster, we are thrown into the historical whirlwind that is the Penvellyn family. Unique, intriguing, and monumental, the family history is full of surprises, as is the house.
Blackmoor Manor is a beautiful platform of which we literally get to explore from top to bottom. We learn just as much about the house as we do about the family and the characters, which is a great delight.
There’s all of that excitement, and I didn’t even mention the other eccentric characters!
Mrs. Drake, Hugh’s aunt, is obsessed with her plants in the conservatory. Tradition has it that if the current inheritors of the estate, which are Hugh and Linda, do not stay on the grounds for at least 6 months or something (and Hugh is away), then the next heir would receive half of the estate (which is Mrs. Drake). Could she be giving Linda some weird vibes to make her flea?
Ethel Bosinny is Jane’s tutor, and she knows WAYYY too much about the Penvellyns. She’s teaching Jane about the family, but she’s also teaching her some strange subjects. She’s mysterious, creepy, and pretty snobby; could she be using Jane to get to Linda?
Nigel Mookerjee is a researcher/author whom Mrs. Drake hired to write a memoir of the Penvellyn history. He knows a lot about the family, and is headquartered in the library. Is he hiding anything?
Loulou the parrot is also in this game! She gives you hints and fun dialogue, but only if you give her a cake first!
This game is undeniably charming, suspenseful, creepy, and excellent. It’s a home-run for sure. There’s so much to explore in the house, and that’s great added fun. Add weird late-night rituals, nightmares, creepy figures, and underground exploring, and you have a full game.
“Curse of Blackmoor Manor” could easily be the best game in the Nancy Drew series if it weren’t for the last section of the game. You have to go into this medieval forge within the house, which is super hard to understand anyway. It’s even harder to get there, which you have to repeat the process of every single time.
It’s the only part of the game that I don’t like. The other puzzles are excellent, albeit tricky, the characters are top-notch, the setting and atmosphere are perfectly done, and everything about it screams fun.
I could go on and on, but I would hate to accidentally spoil something for those who haven’t played.
So, there you have it. A perfect game until you get to the end. That’s why it’s at spot nine. However, it could’ve easily creeped up more if it were a different day. It started out at spot seven, then jumped to four, but backtracked to nine.
This game has nothing to be ashamed of though. Aside from a few really diabolical puzzles, it’s absolute fun and exploration from beginning to end.
Tune back tomorrow to see which game takes spot eight!