Today, I started work on a speedrun for Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon. By "speedrun", I mean that I'm going to try to beat the game as quickly as possible.
The first step is, of course, planning! I need to figure out what I have to do ahead of time, so today, I thought I'd get started with the start of the game.
After the opening cutscene, the game starts with Nancy in the first train car, talking to Charleena Purcell. She also talks with the Hardy Boys, the train engineer, and explores the train car a little bit. Here's the video of that in case you don't remember it:
I recorded myself playing the beginning of the game a few times. Thanks to that, I was able to confirm that the conversation with Charleena Purcell always goes like this:
1. Nancy has to ask "Do you think Lori is faking it?" or "Have you met Lori before?"
2. Charleena answers.
3. Charleena asks who Nancy is. Nancy has to ask, "You remember me?" or "You don't remember me, do you?"
5. Charleena says, "No."
6. Nancy can ask another question, "What do you know about Jake Hurley?" or "Have you met anyone else on the train before?"
7. After Nancy asks her question, a Hardy boy interrupts, telling Nancy to come talk to them. Nancy excuses herself from Charleena.
7. Talking ends, and you can save your game for the first time..
I checked the timing on the conversation topics, and these are the results:
2. Charleena's answer to "Have you met Lori before?" is two sentences longer (and about five seconds longer) longer than her answer to "Do you think Lori is faking it?".
3. Naturally, Nancy says "You remember me?" more quickly than she says, "You don't remember me, do you?"
6. It takes Nancy about one second longer to ask "Have you every met any other of Lori's guests before?" than it does to ask "What else do you know about Jake Hurley?".
So, in order to get through the conversation with Charleena as quickly as possible, always choose the FIRST topic of conversation. This is about, I dunno, seven seconds shorter. Woah! MAD TIME-SAVING SKILLS!
The next thing you HAVE to do is talk to the Hardy Boys. You can either walk to the Hardy Boys and talk to them, or try to leave the train compartment, which makes the game throw you into the conversation. It's faster to try to leave the train, as you start off right next to the door. That is, you have to click the mouse three more times to reach the Hardy Boys by walking to them, which saves about two seconds. Again, MAD TIME-SAVING SKILLS.
The conversation with the Hardy Boys goes like this:
1. Frank mentions trailing John Grey. Nancy can ask, "Any idea what he was doing?" or "Did you talk to him?"
2. Joe talks about trailing Tino. Nancy can ask, "Did you see what it was?" or "Did you ask him about it?"
3. Nancy can agree with Frank or Joe. The one she disagrees with responds with "You've got to be kidding!"
4. Nancy can talk to the Hardy Boys about the engineer, or the other guests, or she can end the conversation there.
Unlike Charleena, the Hardy Boys say the exact same thing no matter which dialogue option Nancy chooses. So speedrunning the conversation with thiem is simply choosing the dialogue options that Nancy says more quickly.
1. It is half a second quicker to ask "Did you talk to him?"
2. It is about a tenth of a second faster to ask "Did you ask him about it?"
3. It is about three-tenths of a second to agree with Frank than with Joe, because Nancy says the line "I kind of agree with you" more like "I...kind of agree with you", as if she's deciding who she should agree with. Watch 5:45 of the above video to see what I mean.
So for the Hardy Boys conversation, pick the first dialogue option, then the second, then the first. This saves almost an entire second. MAD TIME-SAVING SKILLS TO THE MAX!!!
At that point in the game, however, you get some plotline options. You can talk to the engineer if you want to, and you can talk to Charleena again if you want to. My question is, "Do you have to?" If I can beat the game without once talking to the engineer, or if I can skip the conversations with Charleena about Jake Hurley, I'm going to do that in order to save about three minutes of time.
I suppose the only way to figure out if the conversations are necessary or not is by trying to beat the game without going through them. Next time I work on this project, I'll do just that when I tackle going through the second/third/fourth train cars. Stay tuned!