Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill

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Secrets Can Kill was the first of many installments in the Nancy Drew point-and-click adventure game series by Her Interactive. It was officially discontinued in 2010. The game had an ESRB rating of E for moments of mild violence and peril. Players took on the first-person view of fictional amateur sleuth Nancy Drew and solved the mystery through interrogation of suspects, solving puzzles, and discovering clues. The game is animated in 3D, but unlike later games, the characters are 2D. There were three levels of gameplay, Junior, Senior, and Master detective modes, each offering a different difficulty level of puzzles and hints, however none of these changes affected the actual plot of the game. The game was loosely based on a book of the same name Secrets Can Kill (1986).[1]

Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered, a remastered version of the game, was released on August 24, 2010. Sales of the original Secrets Can Kill were discontinued on August 1, 2010.[2]


Nancy Drew takes a semester off of school to stay with her Aunt Eloise in Florida. A student named Jake Rogers is murdered at the local high school, where Eloise works as a librarian. Eloise asks Nancy to investigate, so Nancy goes undercover as a new student and attempts to solve the mystery.

Throughout the game, Nancy discovers that Jake Rogers was blackmailing several of the other characters by videotaping their misdeeds:

  • Hal Tanaka took on additional coursework in order to be approved for a scholarship. He knew that if he didn't get the scholarship, his family would send him back to Japan. He slowly became overwhelmed and buried in work, so he decided to plagiarize an English essay from a school library book, which Jake Rogers caught on camera. Jake blackmailed Tanaka into doing his homework for the remainder of the semester, otherwise Jake would reveal the plagiarism to Hal's family.
  • Connie Watson was struggling to get enough money for college tuition, so she decided to use her Judo expertise to compete secretly in a men's tournament (the prize money was significantly better than the women's tournament), which Connie easily won. Jake caught her removing her mask on camera, and subsequently forced her to date him.
  • Hulk Sanchez was badly injured while playing football, so in order to continue playing and impress the college scouts, he decided to break into the local pharmaceutical plant to steal some steroids. After filming Hulk leaving the plant, Jake forced him to be his lackey.
  • Daryl Gray's father was former U.S. senator Eugene Gray, who went bankrupt after some poor business deals. Daryl got involved in a drug smuggling deal with Mitch Dillon. Jake caught video footage of the transaction and thus demanded a cut of the profits that Daryl was receiving.
  • Mitch Dillon was running a drug transport ring from the local pharmaceutical plant. When Jake caught video footage of a transaction between him and Daryl Gray, he attempted to blackmail Mitch.



  • Nancy Drew - Nancy is an eighteen-year old amateur detective from the fictional town of River Heights in the United States. She is the only playable character in the game, which means the player must solve the mystery from her perspective.
  • Daryl Gray – Daryl is the one who found the victim's body. He works part-time as a short-order cook at Maxine's Diner, and he is the school's student council president (taking after his father who was a Florida state senator). He is known as a rich, popular, pretty-boy who drives a Porsche. He tends to be a bit of a flirt, but is he as wholesome as he seems?
  • Connie Watson – Connie is a strong girl with an attitude and a dark secret. You can always find her in the Student Lounge. She seems like a nice normal, if not tough, teenage girl...or is she?
  • Hal Tanaka – Hal is a foreign exchange student from Japan. He's very focused on getting a scholarship so that he can go to college and become a doctor. He is always in the study dome at the school. He seems intelligent, but is he smart enough to plan the death of the devious blackmailer known as Jake Rogers?
  • Hector "Hulk" Sanchez – Hulk Sanchez is a stereotypical jock who hopes to play college football, and the go on to play for the Miami Dolphins. However, Hulk needs an athletic scholarship to reach that dream. Are his future plans as stable as he says?
  • Mitch Dillon – Mitch is the school's boiler serviceman and is not seen much in the game. He's as shady as they come....did Jake get mixed up with him?


  • Nancy Drew - Lani Minella
  • Hal Tanaka - John Truong
  • Hector 'Hulk' Sanchez - Rick Calvert
  • Daryl Gray - Bill Corkery
  • Mitch Dillon - Kenton Leach
  • Connie Watson - Donna Rowry[3]


Secrets Can Kill was officially discontinued on August 1, 2010 due to incompatibility issues with sound cards in newer computers. On August 24, 2010 Her Interactive released a remastered version of Secrets Can Kill with a brand new ending and three-dimensional characters.[4][5]


Critical reception for Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill has been mixed.[6] The Washington Post panned Secrets Can Kill, criticizing it for not giving the player a good sense of the character of Nancy Drew and stating "This sanitized game could get old pretty quick; I'd stick with the books".[7] Adventure Gamers gave the game two stars.[8] The New York Times has dubbed the game the "Un-Barbie of computer games".[9] The Sun Sentinel has praised the game, writing "Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill is a wonderful game for readers of Nancy Drew mysteries and even past readers. It helps bring the characters alive, while injecting a bit of the player into the role."[10]

Commonsensemedia reviewed the remastered game and gave it a favorable review, rating it at five stars.[11]

See also

GBA release

  • The game was scheduled to be released for Game Boy advanced in 2002, but was shelved during production of The Final Scene.


  1. "Nancy Drew Secrets Can Kill | Girl Games Online". 
  2. "The un-Barbie of gaming". New York Post. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  3. "Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill IMDb". 
  4. "Nancy Drew Secrets Can Kill Remastered | Girl Games Online". 
  5. "Secrets Can Kill REMASTERED Released!". 
  6. "Kidsday: Toys and games for the holidays". Newsday. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  7. "Screen Shots". The Washington Post (subscription required). April 16, 1999. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  8. "Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill (review)". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  9. Vickroy, Donna (September 10, 2006). "This one's for the girls". The Sun- Naperville, FL (subscription required). Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  10. KU, LIEN-FONG. "With A Computer, You, Too, Can Be Nancy Drew". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  11. "Review: Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill! (Remastered)". Commonsensemedia. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 

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