Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Scarlet Hand - Box

Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Scarlet Hand
Ages: 10 and up

This is number six in the Nancy Drew Series, and there's no reason that this series won't go on forever. The Scarlet Hand in the title refers to the imprint left as a signature after the theft of a valuable Mayan artifact. The action occurs mostly within the confines of a museum and its garden. Action outside of the museum the hospital, the consulate's office, the art dealer and Nancy's hotel room provide a dose of realism.

A couple of things contribute to making this mystery one of the harder ones to solve. Many of the steps necessary to be able to get clues involve answering one word answers gleaned from the exhibits on display. It takes a while to get your bearings as to where everything is, plus there is a lot of going back and forth, first to get the question, then to find the answer, and then to give the answer. Providing names of things doesn't contribute much to learning, and at the beginning it feels more like rote schoolwork than an adventure.

Three levels of puzzles must be solved in the 'temple' before coming to the final sequence. It is important to save your game after a puzzle is solved, otherwise you will have to go through it again. A tip - there are two computers on each level of the tomb. On the first level it is easy to confuse the second one with the first, because of where it is located. Turn slowly. The game becomes more fun when you get past answering questions and do real sleuthing and snooping.

Being able to save often and to get a second chance are excellent inclusions in all of the Nancy Drew games. Those familiar with the other games already know the importance of manipulating the time of day or night by setting the hotel alarm clock. Newbies will have to pick up that clue or read the manual. Even with an easy and a difficult level, there needs to be a more consistent way to get hints. A game not finished, is to my mind, not a truly successful game. (Note: This review was done on a beta version of the game).

Editor Review 7/02

  • Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Scarlet Hand
  • © Her Interactive $19.99
  • Windows 95/98/2000/Me/XP
  • To Order: http://www.amazon.com