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

Our favorite female super sleuth has decided to take a break from solving crimes. A good friend of her father has secured her a job as the deputy curator at the Beech Hill Museum. There, all goes well until a priceless carving gets stolen. The only clue is a scarlet hand at the scene of the crime. Can Nancy solve this puzzling mystery? Or will the thief get away? You decide.

I thought that this game was definitely not the best game I have ever played. I would rate it a 6 out of 10. Of course, I've also never read Nancy Drew. From what I've heard of the detective, a lot of her cases are the same, but since I've never read the books, I cannot tell you if this case is a repetition of past cases. I cannot say if other girls would like this, because each and every girl in this country has a different interpretation of Nancy Drew. You may think that she is totally cool, or you may say that she's just a hyped up version of Barbie.

The things that I like the best in this game are very generic. I thought that the graphic were very lifelike, that the sounds were also true to life, and that the situation was real enough. I also like the way that you could carry on a conversation with the people around you, and that you could also call people on the telephone and carry on a conversation with them. What was also interesting was that the Hardy boys made a appearance and became telephone confidents. I also liked the way that you could move from place to place by way of the Washington D.C. Metro.

I had no problems with the actual game. Of course, when your computer has 60 viruses, (not kidding) you would think that there would be some problems. To name a couple; the sound didn't work, and I couldn't have an intelligent conversation because the text went by so fast. Also the absence of the detective handbook took a toll on productivity. The game play was relatively interesting. The only annoying part was when the item was stolen. All Nancy can do is finish her curatorial tasks. She can't actually get on with solving the mystery.

I would probably play this game 3 to 5 times, then get bored, because it would be the same thing over and over again. The sound, when I could hear it, was very good, and the graphics were consistent throughout the entire thing. You could play this with another girl, but it would be hard because only one girl can control the game. I do not know the stated age range, as this was a beta version of the game, but I would say ages 10 and up.

This game is hard even in the Junior Detective category, and even I, at my advanced age of 13, had some trouble with this game. All together, this game is the type that you play at a friends; you play it once, talk about it for a couple of days and then forget about it. You wouldn't want to buy it. Still, for all those Nancy Drew fans out there, all I can say is 'You have to decide for yourself'.

Review by Vivian B.

  • Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Scarlet Hand
  • © Her Interactive $19.99
  • Windows 95/98/2000/Me/XP
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