Nancy Drew: Secret of the Scarlet Hand

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Secret of the Scarlet Hand Cover Art

Secret of the Scarlet Hand Cover Art

The Secret of the Scarlet Hand is a Nancy Drew game about the Maya.  It was made in June of 2002 for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7.  It is rated E for Mild Violence, and its age range is from 10 to adult.

Nancy Drew is taking a break from cases, and she landed an internship at Beech Hill Museum in Washington, DC.  She starts some basic curatorial jobs, such as rearranging the recordings at exhibits and reorganizing the Mayan numbering system, in preparation for the launching of a new exhibit involving a huge Mayan monolith in the garden..  When one of the museum’s most prized possessions, a jade carving of King Pacal, is taken, Nancy gets thrown into an increasingly complicated mystery involving a mysterious scarlet hand print and Mayan history.  Who took the carving and why?  Who can be trusted?  Is this a single occurrence, or is it part of something bigger involving a serious of thefts?

Characters:

Alejandro del Rio:  Ambassador to the Mexican Consulate in Washington, DC.   He believes that all Mexican artifacts should be returned to their homeland, and that anyone who takes these artifacts are “conquistadors.”  He insists that the jade carving of King Pacal should be returned to Mexico.  Would he steal the carving to accomplish this goal?

Henrik Van Der Hume:  Henrik is an expert at translating Mayan glyphs.  He was working on translating the glyphs on the monolith.  Did he steal the jade carving because he discovered a secret?

Joanna Riggs:  She runs the museum.  She doesn’t really help Nancy in her tasks, and doesn’t appear to have much time for her.  It is rumored that the museum obtained the jade carving and monolith illegally.  Could she have stolen the jade carving to cover this up?

Finally:

Taylor Sinclair:  He sells priceless artifacts to the museum like a shady used car salesman.  He can sell anything given the right price.  Could he have stolen the jade carving to sell it on the black market?

Screenshots

Screenshots

Cons:

The ending is creepy in a gross way.  Yuck.

Nancy was wandering around in circles for me in this game.  She seemed to be waiting for a lot of packages to arrive.  This was hard because I just wanted to continue on in the mystery.  It became frustrating.

Pros:

You learned a lot about Mayan history and culture.  This was the most history-intensive game so far.  You had to do tasks involving Mayan history and culture, and you had to use your new knowledge to solve the case.

It was fun unlocking new parts in the museum.  I didn’t know that museums had so many hidden parts to them.

When you were exploring the museum, it seemed a little frustrating because you didn’t know why you were doing it.  However, it led to a very large moment in the game.  The time seemed worthwhile.

This game seemed like it had multiple parts to it.  You were first finishing curatorial tasks, then finding out what happened to the jade carving, then…something else.  You weren’t exactly sure when the game was going to end.

You met Prudence Rutherford!  She makes me laugh.

More Screenshots

More Screenshots

Some Interesting Points:

“Want a cookie?  They’re from Oaxaca!”  Those cookies looked weird…. They were useful though.

The characters moved a lot in this game!  They moved to new locations in Washington!  I haven’t seen that much moving in a long time.

Gameplay Moments:

Ending.  Ewww.  Majorly.

Exploring the museum felt creepy after a while, especially alone.  I kept feeling some Mayan mummy was going to pop out at me…

Overall Impression:

I’ve been overlooking this game for a while.  I didn’t remember playing it.  However, this is one of my new favorite games.  There’s lots of exploring, snooping, history, and the characters move!  You never really know when you’re going to be done with it.  This really feels like a “classic” Nancy Drew game.  I will definitely play this game again soon.

Her Interactive

Secret of the Scarlet Hand

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