Rank 3: ‘The Phantom of Venice’

We’ve made it to the top three Nancy Drew games! The list will be wrapped up on Sunday, so we still have a few more days of fun reviews!

Spot three goes takes us to a beautiful snapshot of Venice, Italy in case 18: “The Phantom of Venice.”

This game is really fun because Nancy gets to go undercover for the Italian FBI (GdiF) in order to stop a theft ring during the Carnevale festival. An unknown man in a phantom mask and cape has been stealing precious artifacts throughout the city and leaving behind playing cards at every crime scene.

So, since she’s proven to be such a noteworthy detective throughout the world, the GdiF called in Ms. Drew for help. Prudence Rutherford, whom Nancy has helped throughout the years (like in “Secret of the Scarlet Hand” and “Danger by Design“), talked one of her contacts into having Nancy help in the investigation.

Basically, the detective is hired to be a crime detective, which is AWESOME.

They arranged for Nancy to stay at the Ca’ Nascosta, the home of well-to-do socialite Margherita Faubourg. All she does is lay out on the rooftop terrace sunbathing and making snide comments towards Nancy. It’s pretty funny.

Sure enough, Nancy’s staying here because she has to spy on someone across the street, whom the GdiF believe is in on the crime spree.

Also headquartered at Ca’ Nascosta are Colin Baxter, an art restorer from England, and Helena Berg, an Austrian/German journalist who specializes in crime reporting.

Colin is shy, weird, and totally has a crush on Nancy. Although, he can’t really go two seconds without talking about tesserae. He’s obsessed with it, which explains his sad life. Is he just using awkwardness as a cover?

Helena is very smart and knows her way around Venice. She’s nice, but she’s very calculating and shrewd. Does she have some connections that we’re not aware of?

Our GdiF liaison wants us to keep a close eye on EVERYONE though, so everyone is a suspect.

While the people at Ca’ Nascosta are interesting yet kind of boring, there’s a whole city out there just waiting to be explored. That’s where all the fun is.

Well, we get to go some real locations around Venice to do some hardcore detective work.

To me, this game is really realistic, and that’s why I like it so much. We get introduced to some serious classified information and get caught in acts of crime itself.

That’s the funnest part, in fact: getting on the bad guys’ good side.

We have to go uncover (while we’re undercover!) as a highly respected thief, Samantha Quick (does that name ring a bell, “The Final Scene” fans?) for a club owner, Enrico Tazza. In fact, he introduces us to the hands down best mini-game in the entire Nancy Drew series: Scopa!

It’s a classic, addicting Italian card game, which we have to beat Tazza at to get the 411. However, after that, we can play as many times as we want, and it’s awesome! I actually bought a real life version of it, which I love.

Anyway, it gets kind of tense when we end up working with good and bad guys, but that makes it so much more thrilling!

We get to steal things, catch people, almost get caught ourselves, and dance through Venice.

Yes, we literally dance through Venice. In order to earn some money for undercover costumes (and for other reasons) Nancy has to get hired at a dance club. Yes, Nancy becomes a club dancer nicknamed Punchy LaRue. What would Carson and Ned say?

We also get to interact with messenger pigeons. That’s fun.

This game does have a pretty hard ending, which is why I can’t rank it any higher.


Also, most games give us a few clues as to who the culprit is, but there’s such a huge one in this game. I’m not going to spoil it, though. For that reason, I can’t say that much more about this game.

We do get to ride around on gondolas with singing Guidos and Luigis. That’s a nice touch. The setting itself is really, really nice.

The best part does occur while interacting with Tazza and the theft rings. It’s so fun and very anti-Nancy. Plus, the club is the only place where we can play Scopa!

“The Phantom of Venice” is a home run for the series, in my opinion. There’s so much I like about it. It is one if the harder games though, at least I think it is.

If you want me to discuss any other aspect of the game, just ask me in the comments! I don’t want to spoil anything, so I can’t be too specific.

There’s only two games left! What do you think their order will be? Tune in tomorrow and Sunday to find out!



  1. This game had some of my favorite puzzles of the series, and also some of my most hated puzzles. Like the one where you have to avoid the robot security guards took me, like an hour to beat! And the ending sewer puzzle can take forever just to understand how it works. Honestly if this were one of the newer games, these would be helpful places to have in-game hints (even though the hints take all the fun out of solving the puzzles yourself).
    I do like the atmosphere and the overall pacing of this game, and the plot was well done. I think that there are actually two different ways that you can figure out who the culprit is, but when I played the game, I missed both of them. I ended up doing the thing where you finish the game, and you let Nancy reveal who the culprit is. Anyway, I also like this game, and I think that it definitely deserves to be in the top ranks.

    Liked by 1 person

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