Welcome to my Secrets Can Kill walk-through. (-: If you're new to my series of low-spoiler computer game walkthroughs, the idea is to point players
towards things they might not have tried in each game rather than giving away puzzle solutions or offering step-by-step instructions.
These Nancy Drew games are structured a little differently than most graphic adventure games, though. In particular, you can solve most of the game's puzzles in
any order you feel like, making a chronological walkthrough of little use, but the physical area the game is played in is TINY -- only 10-15 rooms per game. In light of
this, rather than breaking my walkthrough down into "chapters" or "stages," I'm just going to break it down into areas, with a checklist of important tasks at the
beginning and one of optional tasks at the end. Note that I don't tell you how to solve any of the puzzles--just where they are. If you've found a puzzle
but just can't seem to get it right no matter what you do, UHS is a good place to go for a
single hint that won't spoil the rest of the game for you.
Secrets Can Kill: Key Tasks
If you find yourself getting stuck in the game, keep in mind that the answer frequently doesn't have anything to do with puzzles or additional exploration.
The only times the plot of Secrets Can Kill actually advances are after you've spoken with the NPC's. So if you
really have no idea what to do next, first make sure that none of the four NPC's have anything to say to you. If that doesn't work,
take a look at this checklist of important tasks you will need to complete to solve the game (the order is largely up to you):
1) Talk to all four NPC's. Repeatedly. Having certain conversations with them is necessary for the plot to progress.
2) Figure out how to open Aunt Eloise's safe.
3) Solve the slider puzzle in Aunt Eloise's house. (Actually, if you *really* hate slider puzzles, it's possible to skip this one--the box contains Aunt Eloise's computer
login and password, but the information on her computer can also be found by solving a riddle carved into the wall of the highschool.)
4) Figure out how to open Jake's locker and click on everything inside it.
5) Look at the judo picture outside the gym (you must look at it in close-up.)
6) Read the encyclopedia article about "kanji" in the library. (If you read it before meeting Connie, you may need to go back and read it again.)
7) Figure out how to get into the teacher's lounge, and find an important item in the file cabinet.
8) Get a note from Daryl ( this only happens after you've completed #1-6 and no one else has anything more to say to you.)
9) Figure out how to get into the boiler room. (There are two ways to get this information.)
10) Solve a puzzle in the boiler room. (There are two possible ways to do this.)
11) Find and watch Jake's videotape.
12) Go to the pharmacy and win the timed endgame challenge (this can only be done after you've completed 1-11 and no one else has anything more to say to you.)
Those are actually the only things you need to do in this game. There are literally hundreds of functionally useless word puzzles
and red-herring reading materials scattered around the environment, but none of them are of any use at all (at best, they duplicate information you can find
along the main path of the game anyway, and at worst, they contain plot spoilers--I solved almost all of them, and ended up knowing not only whodunnit but
also the solution to every puzzle before encountering it, which wasn't very fun.) If I were you, I'd ignore all the word puzzles completely, with the exception of
two in the high school study dome and library that I will note below in the area guide.
Secrets Can Kill: Area Guide
The game does its irritating best to hide it by making it take dozens of useless clicks (and frequently a change of disks) to get from one area to the next,
but there are really only ten rooms in this game (seven in the high school, and three outside.)
Things worth noticing in each area:
Aunt Eloise's House
*There is a note from Aunt Eloise on the hall table.
*You can find Aunt Eloise's safe and, as she suggests in her letter, the combination to open it to get an important item.
*You can solve a slider puzzle for a useful clue.
*You can find a key to open Eloise's chest, and acquire an (ultimately useless) item.
*You can find Aunt Eloise's phone card (only useful if you need a hint from Bess, George and Ned.)
*You won't be able to make Eloise's TV work until later in the game when you have a videotape to play.
*Daryl Gray is here, behind the counter; you will need to talk to him repeatedly.
*There are pinball machines here which you can play if you have a quarter, but you don't actually get to work the controls or anything.
For some reason you get your quarter back at the end of the game, too.
*There is a jukebox here, but all the names of the classic rock songs have been altered to have something to do with this game and its plot
(i.e. "Help Me Nancy," "Bye Bye Jake," and so on.) However, using the quarter to play one of these songs does not result in actually
hearing any Nancy Drew-related music (or the original song, either.)
*In the kitchen, you can acquire an optional but useful item; keep your wits about you, though!
There is nothing in this area; it's just the setting for the ending cutscene, and you can't do anything here till it's time for the finale.
The High School: Hallway
Most of the highschool is taken up by a long, dull hallway plastered with posters and bulletin boards decorated with word
puzzles which are of little to no use to you. (It doesn't matter if you solve a word puzzle to learn a secret about Hal Tanaka, for example;
you still cannot progress in the game until you learn the same secret from the file you're supposed to learn it from.) Many of these puzzles turn
out to be frustrating spoilers and I recommend not solving them (unless you want to know everything about the puzzles and plot in advance.)
None of the puzzles in the hallway are useful. There is one thing of importance here, however:
*Jake's locker. You can't miss it; it's the only one marked with yellow police tape. Figure out his locker combination (one of the other NPC's
will give you a hint, or you can find a hint on one of the bulletin boards) and be sure to read and examine everything in the locker.
The High School: Gym
*Hulk Sanchez is here, flipping a football; you will need to talk to him repeatedly.
*There is a judo poster on the wall here which you must read in close-up.
The High School: Study Hall
*Hal Tanaka is here, doing his homework; you will need to talk to him repeatedly.
*There is one bulletin board clue in this room that is worth reading, on the bulletin board near the window about Jake's locker combination.
(You could get this clue from one of the NPC's as well, but it's harder to comprehend that way.)
The High School: Student Center
*Connie Watson is here, reading a magazine; you will need to talk to her repeatedly.
*There is a phone in here--if you have Aunt Eloise's phone card, you can call Bess, George and Ned for hints (though they're not very
good conversationalists in this game.) You can also call Aunt Eloise or any of the phone numbers you've found scattered around, but
none of them will yield any information.
The High School: Library
*You need a key to enter.
*Most of the word puzzles here are either useless or annoying spoilers and should be avoided, but the puzzle with the principal's name carved into the wall is one of
two ways you have of learning a valuable code.
*There are a ton of books here, most of which are red herrings, word puzzles, or both. The only useful ones are two encyclopedia volumes which you will need to
look up symbols you come across elsewhere in the game. There are several shelves worth of encyclopedias, so make sure you check out the red set and the
brown and white striped set.
*You can check out the card catalog for a subtle clue.
The High School: Boiler Room
You need to solve a puzzle to unlock the boiler room in the first place. If you come in here before you receive a note telling you to
do so, you can look around but not do anything, so since it requires a disk swap to enter the boiler room, it's probably better to
wait until you're told to go there--at which point you will find a puzzle to solve, a clue, and an important quest item.
The High School: Teacher's Lounge
*You can't get in or out by the door in the student center, so you'll need to figure out another way in.
*You can find some interesting information about one of the suspects in the file cabinet.
*You can log onto the school computer--one of two ways of learning a useful code. You can also print out and read an interesting security report.
*Solved the slider puzzle in Eloise's house?
*Opened the trunk in Eloise's house?
*Taken the bolt cutters from the diner (without blowing it up)?
*Printed out and read the security report in the teacher's lounge?
*Tried calling some of the phone numbers to be found in the game (Aunt Eloise is the funniest, but you can also call the judo place, the pizza place, the pharmacy,
the diner, the police tip line, the Save the Manatees club, and, believe it or not, Jake's locker?)
*Played pinball and tried out the jukebox?
*Solved the word puzzles? (Some of them are really quite clever--I might recommend trying them all AFTER Daryl tells you about Mitch, since there's nothing left to
spoil at that point.)