SDA logo

The Sea of Darkness refers to the North Atlantic in this, the 32nd Nancy Drew adventure published in 2015 as always by Her Interactive. Nancy's goal is to discover the fate of Magnus Kiljansson, captain of the famous Icelandic seacraft called Heerlijkheid, who vanished during the ship's journey. The fixtures of the series, copious and extremely varied logic puzzles are the portals Nancy must unlock to advance the story and learn more about the local inhabitants, their influences and motivations.


Return to the Game List, the FAQ, or the Home Page.

Amateur Sleuth 0:33:38 by Michael Gray, done in 8 segments.

Get Flash to see this player.

Author's comments:

Nancy Drew is awesome.

A copy of this run with my commentary is here:

My computer is two years older than the game, so the hardest part of the speedrun was getting the game to record without slowing down the game. With long segments like segment 6, it's not uncommon to have 1-2 minutes of lost time, simply because the game slowed down during navigation.

The two most obvious mistakes in this run examples are the navigation errors at the end of segment four, and the misclick on the music box, at the end of segment six. Both errors cost 1-2 seconds. But these are still my fastest speeds, by far, because they have no slowdown.

Another timewaster, which is unavoidable, is waiting for Gunnar to reappear in the pub in segment 6. He reappears after three minutes of real time. The route is designed so you solve seven puzzles AND hear a musical number during this waiting period. I got through the puzzles extremely quickly, and so I had to wait a comparatively long time (twenty seconds) for Gunnar to reappear.

This only happened to me about four times, out of sixty; with every other attempt, there was no wait for Gunnar to reappear, because game slowdown ate up at least twenty seconds.

I think the best way around the "mandatory wait for Gunnar" problem would be to re-route the run, so you do eight puzzles instead of seven. Either the dartboard puzzle or the crow's nest puzzle would work nicely here. The downside being that both those puzzles are over thirty seconds long, and you'd have to do backtracking with that route (either a backtrack to Soren's, or backtracking to the dartboard puzzle later to solve the other puzzles there).

Segment 1 - 1:53.6
Segment 2 - 9
Segment 3 - 7.03
Segment 4 - 6:35.4
Segment 5 - 1:01.73
Segment 6 - 12:36.83
Segment 7 - 7:35.97
Segment 8 - 3:52.17

Total: 33.51.73

Master Sleuth 0:33:37 by Michael Gray, done in 8 segments.

Get Flash to see this player.

Author's comments:

Nancy Drew is awesome.

A copy of this run with my live commentary is here:

In Sea of Darkness, amateur sleuth and master sleuth modes are identical, except for these ten puzzles:

•The heater puzzle. You have to put the pieces in different places. The time difference is minimal, since both modes require you to put six pieces on the board.
•Lighthouse puzzle. You have to make two extra lights on master sleuth mode, which greatly increases the time and difficulty.
•Lighthouse Numbers Puzzle. The numbers are different, but the time difference is minimal. In both modes, your solution is to put ten numbers on the board.
•Crystal Puzzle. Again, the time difference is minimal. You have to click the same number of crystals on both modes.
•Dog Toy Puzzle. The solution is the same on both modes. In amateur sleuth mode, the puzzle begins with three toys already in place. In master sleuth mode, no toys are already in place. So it's slightly faster on amateur sleuth mode.
•Bilge Pump Puzzle. The master sleuth solution is a tad longer, since you have to spin the wheels 3 or 4 more times.
•Music box puzzle. Twice as long on master sleuth mode, since all the teeth are split in half.
•Archery puzzle. You have to click on the board ten times in both modes, so the time difference is negligible.
•Fish puzzle. The route is completely different it both modes. This is the only puzzle where it's a lot faster in master sleuth mode.
•Shapes puzzle. In both modes, you put 25 shapes on the board, so the time difference is negligible.

Believe it or not, master sleuth mode is slightly faster than amateur sleuth mode, thanks to the fish puzzle.

Segment 4 has the biggest mistake of the run, which is the heater puzzle. Nancy and Dagny talk during this puzzle. When the puzzle is solved, you have to wait for either Nancy or Dagny to finish her current line of dialogue, before the game cuts away.

In master sleuth mode, I've never been able to end the puzzle on the first line of dialogue. This SHOULD be possible; I've just never been able to do it. Normally, I end on the second line of dialogue. Here, I messed up, and I ended on the fourth line of dialogue. That's two seconds more than normal.

The lighthouse puzzle was amazing luck for me; I got the speed of 47.47 seconds (one white light every 6.78 seconds) on my second attempt. For reference, it took me over a hundred attempts to get my all-time best speed of 47.27, the last time I did a master sleuth speedrun for this game. Anything under a minute is acceptable for a speedrun, because the puzzle requires you to make at least 105 combinations, minimum, with the randomized dot locations.

If you saw my amateur sleuth speedrun, you'll know I had to wait 20 seconds for Gunnar to appear in Segment 6. Here, I only have to wait 10 seconds. This doesn't save any time, since he's on an automatic timer, but it looks a lot better.

Return to the Game List, the FAQ, or the Home Page.