The Haunted Carousel is the eighth game in the series of the Nancy Drew computer games. These interactive games are for mystery fans age 10 and up. It was developed by Her Interactive and distributed by Infogrames. It is based on the Nancy Drew book of the same name, #72 in the original series.
The plot of the game is that Paula Santos, the owner of Captain's Cove Amusement Park in New Jersey, is asking Nancy for help because there have been mysterious "hauntings" at the park - the carousel is turning on and off at night all by itself, and its lead horse is missing, in which there are rumored to be stolen jewels hidden. A roller coaster in the park also stopped suddenly, resulting in a lawsuit. The park is currently shut down for maintenance.
Joy Trent is the office manager and a jack-of-all-trades. She was recently hired to work at Captain's Cove Amusement Park as a service to her deceased father, who was originally a business partner of Captain's Cove. Joy is a nervous, sad, and slightly reclusive person who believes that the owner of the park is behind the haunting as a publicity stunt.
Harlan is the park's recently hired security guard and oversees the security system of Captain's Cove. He is helpful, efficient, and good at his job, but very evasive about his past. He thinks the mysterious occurrences are just a coincidence, and doesn't believe in the haunting.
Ingrid is the chief engineer of the park and maintains all the rides at Captain's Cove. She is extremely smart, but is overworked while the park is understaffed during the shutdown. She is interested in holistic medicine and believes the park is actually cursed.
Elliott works in Art Direction and is responsible for all the visual components at Captain's Cove. He is familiar and skilled with all art media and is also interested in contemporary culture. He is a major procrastinator and has no theory on what is happening at the park. He is far behind on his artwork.
Paula is the owner of Captain's Cove and has asked Nancy to come investigate on all the strange occurrences that have been happening at the park. She is away on business at the time and can only be reached by the phone.
Bess Marvin and George Fayne
Bess and George are cousins as well as Nancy's best friends. They talk to Nancy over the phone and offer tips and hints to aid her investigation. They are at home in River Heights at the time and are not suspects. Bess is waiting for a call from a boy she has a crush on named Matt.
Frank and Joe Hardy (The Hardy Boys)
Frank and Joe are brothers and amateur detectives. They help Nancy in the same fashion as Bess and George.
Miles the Magnificent Memory Machine
A small robot built by Joy's father to help Joy remember the good things about her tragic past. He gives riddles, which Nancy must answer to help Joy remember.
A man who is suing Captain's Cove for alleged injuries sustained in a roller coaster accident. You may only reach him on the phone.
As with all Nancy Drew games, in The Haunted Carousel, there are many fatal accidents, such as:
- Not switching the tracks on the roller coaster in time and getting hit by the train.
- Not turning off the iron in Nancy's hotel room.
- Trying to grab the brass ring too soon.
- Getting electrocuted while trying to fix the door to open the roller coaster.
- Soldering too many of the wires while trying to fix the roller coaster door creating an overflow of electricity and then turning the power on.
- Failing to put on goggles when making the dowel.
- Getting skewered by a pole under the carousel.
- Getting hit by a falling puffer fish.
- Not throwing the jewelry at the culprit.
- Not getting out of the workshop and being caught by the culprit.
- Not getting the brass ring and escaping through the locked door and getting caught by the culprit.
However, if the player makes a mistake, they may click on "Second Chance" at the main menu and it will take them back to the place before they made that mistake.
- Nancy Drew -- Lani Minella
- Joy Trent -- Laurie Jerger
- Elliot Chen -- Gary Hoffman
- Harlan Bishop/Anton Sukov/Receptionist/Miles the Magnificent Memory Machine -- Jonah von Spreecken
- Ingrid Corey -- Kathleen Howe
- Paula Santos -- Keri Healey
- Bess Marvin -- Alisa Murray
- George Fayne -- Maureen Nelson
- Frank Hardy -- Joshua Silwa
- Joe Hardy -- Rob Jones
- Detective K.J. Perris/Tink Obermier -- Fred Draeger
- Lance Huffington/Luis Guerra -- Max Holechek
- If the player goes to Ingrid's office when she's not there, go to the door and click on the very left, at the top of the fire extinguisher where there is a red sign, someone calls and asks the capital of Wisconsin. If they answer Madison, the player receives an Easter egg. When taken to Elliott's when he's not there, they must look at the box of horse tails, then go to the Midway, near the prize machine. Clicking on the wall on the right will result in a phone call from a special "friend".
- The brand of the television in Nancy's room is called "Fony" (as in Phony) instead of Sony.
- When you leave Joy a note, the paper that you will write on has a picture of one of the dogs from Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake.
- Elliott has a Poppy Dada painting in his office. Poppy Dada is a character from Secret of the Scarlet Hand
- On the exit of the Tidal Terror roller coaster, there is a red hand print, a reference to Secret of the Scarlet Hand
- The Barnacle Blast game at the Midway is made by Krolmeister. Krolmeister appears in many Nancy Drew games, such as Secret of the Old Clock, Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake and Legend of the Crystal Skull.
- The instructions on the back of the midway game have a note on them from Nick F. Part of the message reads "...had to fight the power switch." "Fight the power" was the catchphrase of Nicholas Falcone from The Final Scene.