Sunday, September 5, 2010

Nancy Drew: Creature of Kapu Cave - Review

Here's a review that I have written for Nancy Drew: Creature of Kapu Cave, one that deals with the fact that a lot of people dislike this game. Let me know what you think!


Nancy Drew: Creature of Kapu Cave is sometimes pegged as the worst game in the entire series, for these reasons:

  1. Length: It is over twice as short as the other games.
  2. Plot: What plot?
  3. Graphics: It is glaringly obvious they got a new graphics team for this game.

So, if you like short mystery games with only a semblance of a plot, this is the game for you. Thus sayeth the cynics.


The plot of the game is that Nancy goes to Hawaii to help a quirky entomologist named Dr. Kim. The Hardy boys are there, too, doing a background check on a local surfer girl. And there have been sightings of Kane Okala, a minor Hawaiian god who is destroying the local pineapple crop. Could it be that someone is pretending to be Kane Okala in order to carry out nefarious deeds?

The plotline about Kane Okala, who I can only presume is supposed to be the titular Creature of Kapu Cave, gets dropped ten minutes into the game. The Hardy Boys’ investigation, while interesting at some points, is pretty much completely optional. In fact, when I tried to follow through with their investigation, I was unable to trigger the “confront the criminal” scene, which stinks because that’s basically the whole POINT of investigating crimes, am I right?

In fact, most of the plot of this game is entirely optional. And unfortunately, it’s often hard to trigger certain plot points because following through on their subplots is optional. So far too often you’ll end up with a bunch of unrelated plot points that don’t get explained and/or don’t seem to be relevant. Only when you replay the game a couple of times and choose different dialogue options will you be able to get an idea of how all the various plots are related.

The ending of the game amuses me, because it tries to wrap up all the various plotlines in as little time as possible. Personally, I like the idea of an ending that says, “You won the game! Congratulations! Here’s the plot as a reward.” In fact, if Final Fantasy games did this, I would be pleased as punch, because they do not contain discernible in-game plotlines.


Okay, that’s enough bad-mouthing the game. What good things can I say about it? The characters are pretty popular with everyone. Dr. Quigley Kim is loads of fun. Quirky is always fun personality trait, although it is immensely overused in children’s entertainment nowdays. Dr. Craven, whose main personality trait is angry, is also a fan favorite. There’s something oddly enjoyable about hearing Dr. Craven blow his top and yell like a maniac. The least popular character is surely Big Island Mike, who is personally responsible for 80% of the filler material in the game, but it’s a mark of good characterization that he can consistently get that negative reaction from most gamers.

As for the graphics, yes, it’s obvious that a new animation team was working on this game, but the graphics aren’t really all that bad. In fact, a lot of the time, the graphics are very good. The Hawaiian scenery, in particular, is so beautiful that I can’t help but think they used real pictures from Hawaii.

The problem, however, is with the character animation. From what I can tell, there are two different models for each character: a full-body model and a closer-up shot. The full-body models look just fine. The closer-up models? Not so much. If they stuck with the better models the whole time, nobody would have complaints about the new graphics. Or at least, people wouldn’t complain as much.

People would probably still complain about the game’s length, though. As I said earlier, it’s a pretty short game. Most of the other games in the series are twice as long. The worst part is that even though the game is short, it still feels like it has an overload of filler content that artificially extends the game’s length. For example, you have to do a five-minute fishing challenge–a minigame that is copy/pasted from Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock, by the way–three or four times over the course of the game. Then there’s the frass analysis challenge, which also takes up fifteen to twenty minutes, a lot of which are spent going back and forth between Quigley and her base camp. True, these aren’t any worse than similar challenges in other games, but maybe because this game is so short, they just stand out a lot more.

big island mike

Is this really the worst the series has to offer? I’m hesitant to say yes, but there are a lot of reasons to not like this game. It’s too short, the plot is poorly presented, and I’d like to be able to skip over some of the longer, repetitive tasks. On the other hand, the characters are well done, and the scenery looks great, so it’s not a total disaster. It definitely has its moments.

If you’re only going to play one Nancy Drew game in your lifetime, don’t make it this one. But if you want to enjoy all the series has to offer, don’t skip over it, either. Aloha!


Anyone want to come up with funny captions for the pictures in the review?


Sofia said...

I honestly didn't mind Creature Of Kapu Cave. Sure, it's a short game, and the plot could have been developed much more, but I wouldn't call it the worst game in the series. I actually very much enjoyed the graphics in this game. I thought they were very good for the most part. The character graphics were good and everything, but some graphics just annoyed me. Like the grass area near Pua's surf hut. It looked too much like painting, not like the Nancy Drew games. I think this game had much potential to be an excellent game if they;

1. Made the plot make more sense, or at least take out some of the random stuff in the Hardy Boy's case that didn't even matter in the end.

2. Gave the characters more personality. I mean, this game has some memorable characters in it, and it was very pleasuring to watch Dr. Craven yell all the time, but...the characters didn't talk much. And that took away a lot of the game.

3.Didn't include the 'first person Hardy Boys' thing. They should have done it like they did in Blue Moon Canyon. They should have had Nancy go to work for Dr. Kim with Frank and Joe, and you would talk to them back at her camp or something. I didn't like how they were on an entire different case. Because HER tried to make their two mysteries go together in the end, and they clearly failed at that.

So yeah. Not the worst game ever, but definitely not the best.

Karen said...

I also didn't mind this game. The only thing I didn't care much for was the new design of Frank and Joe. Though this isn't my favorite game it's also not the worst game either.

I remember the old saying; You can't please everyone!

~Mimzie~ said...

Pic 1: ...Quigley? You're rambling again....

Pic 2: In Hawaii, if you kill the plant, the plant (and the plant owner) kills you.

Pic 3: That necklace was mine, dang it!

Michael Kelley said...

Picture 1: Nancy! This rope is giving me a wedgie. Help!

Picture 2: On the outside, it is a mild-mannered Plant facility. On the inside, a Cryogenics Lab.

Picture 3: Uh, you gonna eat that?

Anonymous said...

1. do you see what's in my teeth ahhhhhhh

2. Instead of having trees outside like normal people I have them inside.

3. Big mike " You look delicious" Joe " what did you" Big mike jumps over the counter and starts eating Joe. Joe "ahhhhhhh help there's a wild boar eating me.

Twizzler206 said...

Creature of Kapu Cave also had all that stupid frass sorting that pretty much takes up the whole game.

RainLife said...

Picture # 1 -
Nancy: So you are Dr. Quigley? Nice to meet you? (Unsure)
Dr. Quigley: It's not so nice to meet you . I need Nancy Drew. Not some sweet innocent teenager on summer vacation!
Nancy: Um... I'm Nancy Drew.....
Dr. Quigley: Oh.... well..... then...... let's get to work! Here's some good ole' frass.

Picture # 2-
The botanist is sort of a psychopath. Instead of having children or pets like a lonely normal person would, he thinks the plants keep him company. If only he knew....

Picture # 3-
Big Mike: Um..Joe...
Joe: Yes, Big Mike.
Big Mike: I have to confess a secret.
Joe: Yes, what is it?
Big Mike: I've been really hungry lately and...
( Everything goes black and the nancy drew logo comes up and nancy says, " Dare To Play" !

CreateForLife said...

I wrote that above. I don't know why i put rainlife as my name.

Anonymous said...

CreateForLife you are a copy cat. you copied my anonymous post with Joe getting eaten. - Ethan

Anonymous said...

but I must admit I cracked up with the Nancy drew logo- Ethan

Anonymous said...

This game was OK but I liked it

Kaila said...


Quigley: If i open my mouth long enough, Im bound to catch some frittilated flag beetle samples.

Voice over: ...And the giant net descends over Nancy...

Mike:I think Im allergic to to that shave ice you gave me... my hands are so swollen!

Anonymous said...

Pic. 1:
Quigley: "I just drank 12 cups of Frass-Flavored coffee to better understand the life of the bug!"

Nancy: "..."

Pic. 2
Narrator: "...and that leads us to the HilliHilli Research Facility, led by Dr. Craven, who clearly has no home life and forgets to go to his anger management classes. We conclude our tour with..."

Pic. 3
Big Mountain Mike: "Does this shirt make me look fat?"

Joe: "Uh..."

Anonymous said...

Pic 1: ?
Pic 2: Nancy: Wait for it.
Dr Craven: *snore*
Nancy: He's asleep! I'm so happy that I peed my plants!
Pic 3: Nancy: (thinks to herself) Why does he want that necklace anyway? i doubt it'll fit on that meaty neck.