Rank 7: ‘The Haunted Carousel’

There’s something magical that happens when you combine a theme park, haunted rides, the black market, and suppressed memories with some intriguing characters and a sassy detective.

That magic takes form in case 8, “The Haunted Carousel,” which falls in slot 7 on my ranking list of the Nancy Drew games.

It’s actually a pretty straightforward game that isn’t too difficult, but the simplistic atmosphere really gives room for the characters and the plot to shine.

Nancy gets called in by the owner of Captain’s Cove Amusement Park in New Jersey to get to the bottom of some recent strange incidents. The historical carousel, while missing a horse in the first place, is starting up at random times throughout the night all by itself.

That’s weird enough, yet an accident just happened on the roller coaster, resulting in the injured party to potentially sue the park!

So, Nancy’s on the case, and it’s a pretty darn fun one. We get to ride the carousel as many times as we want, play as many games as we want (of which only one is fun, the others are kind of lame), and snoop around everyone’s offices.

We first meet Harlan, the park’s security guard. He’s friendly and hooks us up with game cards, but he also seems kind of shady when his stories don’t necessarily match that of others. Maybe he’s not as harmless as we think.

Joy, Captain’s Cove’s bookkeeper, is very apathetic and standoffish. She lets us do our thing, though.

Ingrid, the head engineer, is a pretty cool character actually. She has a soothing voice and the most chill attitude ever. She’s also a health nut and very, very open about it. It’s awesome.

Elliot is pretty cool, too. He’s a designer/illustrator for the park, and he’s way behind on his work. Like, behind to the point of being fired behind. He lets us do whatever we want though; he loves distractions.

The characters are surprisingly very interesting and well-developed. “The Haunted Carousel” is on the shorter side, but it doesn’t lack in character development.

Miles (1)
One of the best side-plots of the series is in this game too, and it happens to belong to Joy and her sad past. Her father used to co-own the park, but he recently passed away. She barely remembers her mother, and is loving a pretty sad life in that dark office.

She has some help though, a creation of her father’s: Miles the Magnificent Memory Machine. It’s this robot made out of a children’s bake oven and a bunch of other parts. He gives us riddles to unlock Joy’s past.

It’s very interesting and adds a lot to the game. And of course, what we think of as a subplot is actually vital to the main game as well.

This game has a very nice ending sequence, too. New areas get to be explored, and then we learn who’s behind it all.

There’s really not much left to say about this game without spoiling parts of it. The park is nicely designed along with everything in it. Heck, even the hotel in this game serves a purpose too.

“The Haunted Carousel” is basically a home run. It can, however, be slightly unapparent as to what needs done next, but that doesn’t last long at all.

Other than that and a few lack-luster puzzles here and there, I love this game. It’s one of the very best in my opinion, which is why it beat out sooo many other games.

I honestly think that the reason I love it so much is because it doesn’t try too hard. The game knows where it’s going, it doesn’t need a million side quests and unnecessary frills. It’s straightforward, and it really works.

Some of the other games try way too hard to be interesting and fun, but they really fall flat. “The Haunted Carousel” doesn’t.

So, there you go. Only six more games left on the list! Tune in tomorrow for the next slot.

Oh, one more thing.

“Remember, Niacin.”



  1. Pingback: Complete Ranking List from Worst-to-Best | The Senior Detective Blog

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