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A museum, Phidias Cultural Center in Greece, hires Nancy Drew to assist with the museum's most anticipated event of the year, Persephone in Winter, a play about the myth of Persephone, while it is being performed in the amphitheatre. The museum hopes to get publicity to its new Life in Ancient Greece exhibition through it, but somehow artifacts from the exhibit are mysterious disappearing. Nancy Drew sets out to figure the mystery behind who or what is pulling the strings behind the scenes.


Best time on Amateur Sleuth difficulty: Single-segment 0:34:40 by Michael 'arglefumph' Gray on 2014-11-04.

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Author's comments:

Nancy Drew is amazing.

General Summary:

Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies is a non-linear videogame. For example, at the start of the game, you can go through the theater area first, or the museum area first. But if you're doing a speedrun, the game becomes much more linear. You're forced to do things in a certain order at the start, mainly because Nancy doesn't have any items yet. You're also forced to do things in a certain order at the end, because Nancy gets captured by the villains at that point, and that gives her a much smaller area to move around in.

The middle half of the game is the interesting part, from a speedrunning standpoint, because there are so many possible routes. My original plan was to solve the puzzles in the order I found them, to cut down on backtracking. I later changed my route, in order to solve as many puzzles as possible, during the vase-making challenge. That's optimal, because the vase-making challenge takes five minutes of real time.

Stay sleuthy, Nancy Drew fans!

Detailed Summary:

The speedrun starts with me skipping through the conversations in the opening scene. I go to the backstage area, then U-turn and use the ropes before meeting Grigor. Normally, you talk to Grigor, then click out of his conversation, then you examine the ropes. By examining the ropes first, I get to skip clicking out of his conversation. It saves about a second.

Once I drop the ropes, I steal Xenia's script, which lets me break into Grigor's tablet. I solve the puzzle while Nancy is talking, and I finish in the upper/left corner because that's where the "What's in a Name?" note is kept.

Grigor orders me to fix the fly system, and I go down to the hydraulics room. I skip getting the book in the area and open the door with the passcode 18355. (The passcode was in Xenia's script). This gives me the all-important lift remote!

I tend to play with the lift remote during the scenes when Nancy is talking, just because.

I use the lift remote to get to the underworld set, where I look at the rubbing and the ferryman's hand. That was the first goal of my route: see those two things. They trigger items appearing inside the museum.

I head to the museum, where there are a few overlapping puzzles. First, I meet Niobe and get her book, then I look around and get Melina's instructions from her door. The instructions give Nancy three jobs to do: the temple puzzle, the vase puzzle and the ticket puzzle. It also tells Nancy where the key to Melina's office is.

I go to the vase area, then I call the Hardy Boys. Nancy calls them and asks for a book. You can't solve the vase puzzle, unless you have their book. While the phone is out, I take a picture of a specific vase for the provenance puzzle later. Using Nancy's phone for two purposes at once is a timesaver, since it takes a second or so to pick up her phone and put it away.

I solve the temple puzzle quickly, then get the key to Melina's office. I go inside the office to make Melina appear; you can't talk to her in this game, unless you have been inside her office once.

I go back to Niobe, who asks me for a favor from Niobe. I go to the lion next to Niobe, then I call Melina for the favor, at the same time I take a picture of the lion. Melina's favor unlocks the animal puzzle in her office, so I go there and solve the puzzle. This gives me the filing cabinet key, which I use to get the vase display labels and the display key. I save time by not looking at the files in the cabinet. I also save time by not looking at the sticky note in the file cabinet, which gives the password to the computer.

I log onto the computer and solve the ticket puzzle. At the same time the tickets are printing, I grab a piece of paper for the rubbings, which saves a second.

Since I have the display cabinet key, I go there and unlock the display cabinets. Nancy talks for a bit when you pick up the coin, so I use the time to take out the camera and take the third provenance picture. I find it amusing that the game accepts the picture of the necklace, even with the coin blocking the way.

I drop off the tickets, and I'm done with the museum for now. I run to Grigor's area and look in his bag to find a list of names. (This is why I read the "What's in a name?" note on his tablet, earlier).

I go to the underworld, where I go through the various sets. This time around, my goal is to get to the third set, while solving as few puzzles as possible. The Cerberus puzzle is randomized, so it can be tricky. The only real room for improvement is getting better luck with the dog on the second round. The hands puzzle isn't randomized, so it's a matter of clicking the right spots as quickly as possible.

On the third set, I grab the security alarm instructions. That triggers a scene with Thanos not too long from now. I use the instructions to disable the security alarm. The controls for the security alarm can be tricky--you'll notice I moved my mouse to solve the puzzle before the game was ready--but it went smoothly. Once that's done, I get a piece of graphite so I can make some rubbings.

I make one rubbing, then get kicked out of the area by Thanos. I confront Grigor about the list of names in his bag, to unlock three entries on his tablet. Each entry leads to a puzzle. I immediately solve one of the puzzles, which is the letter box on Xenia's table.

I go to the museum and get the book from the Hardy Boys. I have a minor mistake, because I click one too many times, even though I slowed down a bit. This forces me to U-turn at the door, take a step forward, then U-turn again to get the mailbox. This doesn't take that much time, but it looks embarassing.

In the museum, I enter and exit Melina's office for a scene. This scene automatically plays, after Thanos yells at you. I solve the gem slider puzzle in really good time, although now that I'm watching the video now, I probably could have done it in four less moves if I went clockwise with the last three pieces, not counter-clockwise.

I get into Niobe's workshop and talk to her. She asks Nancy to do a vase-making puzzle. This is a TIMED CHALLENGE. Exactly five minutes from now, the vase will be finished, and I can see the Sphinx piece. I don't know why the game thinks this is necessary, but it is.

I arranged my route to have lots of puzzles in this five-minute segment. That's why I solved as few puzzles as possible, on my first time through the underworld. First is the puzzle to get to the remote. Then I go all the way to Tartarus and solve the vine puzzle. (You must do the vine puzzle after the gem slider puzzle). The vine puzzle solution wasn't ideal, but fortunately, the five minutes gives me a little leeway.

I make another mistake, in not going up the hill immediately. I clicked too far to the right, which took Nancy to the door, not up the hill. It's not a total loss, because I had to go there anyway, to get a rubbing, but I didn't mean to do it then.

I go up the hill and get the pitcher for the pitcher puzzle. That unlocks the door, so I can get the final rubbing. Now that Nancy has a complete Greek alphabet, she can start the token slider puzzle (which Grigor's tablet mentioned). The slider puzzle is a killer, but I did it pretty well.

Even though I've done all the underworld puzzles, the five minutes is not finished. So I go up to the museum and solve two puzzles. First is the names puzzle. I had to enter Grigor's name twice, and I'm still not sure why the game didn't accept it the first time. I do the vase puzzle, and I use the key from the vine puzzle to see Thanos' hidden note. (Xenia's script, which I never bother to read, gives the clue for this).

I go back to the workshop, but the five minutes is STILL not finished. I was a few seconds early, so I have to leave and exit the room a few times until the five minutes are up and I can get the sphinx.

Then, I solve the provenance puzzle on Melina's computer. That's why I took the three pictures towards the start of the game. You can solve this puzzle much earlier, but I decided to do it here. That way, Nancy would be close to the computer, when she calls Melina about the smuggling. Melina gives Nancy a computer password, and you must log onto the computer to expose the forgeries.

The speedrun is pretty straightforward from this point on, as the game progression is linear. I log onto the computer for forgery-exposing information, then I grab a pottery shard. I expose two pieces as fakes, following Melina's instructions. This lets me confront Niobe, which triggers a puzzle with Xenia.

Xenia makes you do the light cues, which is kind of a slow puzzle. I save a little time by picking colors in a particular order. For example, the red I use in Cue 2 is the same red I use in Cue 3; it saves time because I don't have to select red twice.

Solving the light cues triggers the scene with Grigor. This makes a hex appear in Niobe's workshop, so Nancy can get a blacklight and prove the vase is a fake. I confront Grigor, then go to see Niobe. Niobe sends me to get a key, and once I grab it, Thanos attacks.

There's a scene with Grigor, and Nancy breaks out of her prison cell. I solve Grigor's puzzle--the puzzle is set up the same way every time, making it easy to get through--then I have to go all the way back to Tartarus to make Thanos appear. I trap Thanos in the prison cell, then I leave and return to make him disappear.

I go a little slowly in getting the marbles, because the navigation can be tricky. The "pick up marbles" location is pretty close to the "go forward" arrow. Once I have the marbles, I solve the weights puzzle. The standard solution for this puzzle is to weigh three marbles against three marbles. That way, you know which group, out of the three, has a heavy marble. This puzzle solution is randomized. If you're lucky, the heavy marble is in the group of two; that saves a few seconds, because you have one less marble to deal with. Sadly, that didn't happen this time around.

Nancy is knocked out, and we have another scene. Xenia's throne room has three puzzles. The ring puzzle went perfectly, and the slider puzzle was near-perfect. The ideal solution has the yellow and red pieces going into place at the exact same time, which I missed by a half-second.

The seeds puzzle went fine. I'm not very good at that puzzle, and you'll notice I made two mistakes. I didn't make any BIG mistakes, like missing a color block and having to go back for it later. I save some time by doing red last, because red is the color that appears more than any other color on the board.

There is an announcement about the intermission, and at this point, I play with the lift remote. I time it perfectly, so Nancy's line of dialogue (about the lift remote being broken) is cut off by the announcement. It's a timesaver, because I only listen to one line of dialogue, but the game thinks I listened to both.

The only other place in the game that you can do the "use the lift remote to interrupt dialogue" trick is after setting the wifi box. I try to do this, but I failed on the timing. As a result, the game forces me to listen to Nancy's dialogue twice. The good news is that it doesn't cost me any time, since the three seconds I gained on the line's first appearance are cancelled out by the three seconds I lose on the line's second appearance.

As for the wifi puzzle, there are multiple solutions. I went for the one that requires two clicks, instead of one of the solutions that require three.

After Nancy uses the lift remote to get onstage, that is essentially the end of the game. The ending scenes play, and there is a bonus trivia question afterwards. I managed to get the trivia question right, which is nice. Then I click three times, to get through the achievements screen, the preview for the next game, and the ending credits. Then I close the game window, which quits the game.

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