Blue's Clues: Blue's Treasure Hunt

aka: Blue's Treasure Hunt
Moby ID: 21110
Windows Specs
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Description

This is another Blue's Clues CD-ROM game from Humongous Entertainment, which features the USA Blue's characters including video footage of the human character Steve.

This two CD game allows multiple pre-school kids to each have their own settings, by entering names. The game is controlled by the mouse, with plenty of things to click on. The images are a collection of real-world, clay, and paper - just like the Blue's Clues TV show. And, of course, there are paw prints to find.

In this game, you help Blue and Steve enter the Land of Great Discovery. To do so, you must complete three unique treasure hunts (these can change each time), multi-level pre-school learning, a Blue skidoo and lots of locations.

Activities include: - Bedtimes Stories (early reading, rhyming, storytelling) - Catch the leaves (simple motor skills) - Mixed-up Painting (Visual id and discrimination skills) - Find The Numbers (Number/Color id, inductive reasoning) - Which Pictures (logical thinking, listening, verbal/visual cues) - Magenta's Photo Album (sequencing, storytelling) - Lights On! (visual memory, visual discrimination) - Painting ( creative expression, color recognition)

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Credits (Windows version)

145 People (139 developers, 6 thanks) · View all

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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 4 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.0 out of 5 (based on 4 ratings with 1 reviews)

A step up in terms of quality, but not so much in terms of quantity

The Good
Only about a year has passed since Humongous Entertainment gave the Blue's Clues franchise its first adventure game with Blue's Birthday Adventure. Yet despite this followup's short development cycle, they still managed to recapture the first game's strengths while also ironing out some of its flaws.

A key difference lies in the game's structure. It's once again episodic, but the order is linear this time in order to tell an ongoing story. In typical Humongous fashion, said story is largely just an excuse to go on an adventure, but it's still nice to have some more flow and see the episodes actually lead to something.

The game is divided into three consecutive treasure hunts. Each of them again features a game of Blue's Clues, this time in order to figure out the favorite treasure of a certain character. The three clues can once again be found in any order thanks to the game's non-linear structure, with most of them being hidden behind puzzles and activities. And they eventually culminate in finding the answer and participating in another activity that revolves around it.

But that doesn't quite mark the end of an episode this time, as figuring out Blue's Clues is merely one aspect of the treasure hunt. You're also tasked with following the hints on a series of scrolls until you find its host, Treasure Bug. Compared to playing Blue's Clues, this is a decidedly simpler affair, as there is nothing obstructing your progress here. You simply need to determine the character or location the current scroll describes and head there. But it's nonetheless a nice extra that helps give various locations more of a purpose.

Once you've found both Treasure Bug and the answer to Blue's Clues, you get a key that leads you one step closer to your final destination, the Land of Great Discovery, which serves as a post game of sorts. But more on that later.

One of the bigger complaints I had about the game's prequel was the fact that its puzzles and activities were largely separate from each other with barely any overlap. This has been completely resolved now. Just as before, each episode features two puzzle chains that lead to two of the three clues as well as two activities (not counting the third activity you engage in as a reward for figuring out Blue's Clues). But this time, the activities are actual parts of the puzzle chains rather than just side attractions. Participation is now necessary to complete the game, though you don't have to stick around for long. This change alone significantly improves the game's design.

The quality of the activities is generally fine. There's nothing too exciting about them, but they mostly succeed in being educational yet are also at least mildly entertaining. A few of them lean a bit closer to the entertainment side of the edutainment spectrum than last time. And some once again have dynamic difficulty levels that can be manually adjusted in a hidden screen meant for parents. The key difference that sets them apart from those in the Blue's Clues activity collections is that they're only one part of the experience. And you don't have to excessively engage in them in order to complete the game.

The scope of the game's world has grown. Though Steve's house has a mostly similar structure as last time, the game's setting now also encompasses Blue's school and a nearby park, both of which offer some nice locations that help keep things fresh. Like last time, each episode also has an exclusive skidoo location to make it more distinct. They're once again rather small, with Recycle Town in particular just being one screen that you'll only spend a few minutes in, but they still succeed in adding some variety.

Like its prequel, the game also attempts to give each of its episodes a distinct theme, with much of their content being related to a certain character or a topic connected to them. For example, the first episode involves figuring out Paprika's favorite treasure. With her being a character who resides in the kitchen, it feels appropriate that this episode has you skidoo to the so-called kitchen art museum. Again however, the theming isn't entirely consistent. The first two episodes also have some content that doesn't really have anything to do with their focal characters.

Another welcome improvement is the handling of Steve. He's once again represented through live action cutscenes, so various shortcuts are still apparent, but not as much as last time. He actually has notably more unique cutscenes, which helps give him more of a presence and makes the game feel less repetitive. And like with Blue's 123 Time Activities, these weird fake scanlines are gone, so his footage looks a lot better.

There is also a bit more replay value now. I still wouldn't consider it a very replayable game, as much like its predecessor, it's more focused on providing a series of distinct adventures rather than one adventure that changes every time. But the order in which you obtain two of each episode's scrolls is randomized and most of their riddles can also be phrased in multiple ways.

Outside of that, the graphics are rather decent as usual. Most of them capture the show's look pretty well, but there are some spots where the dithering sticks out. Some of the screens in Steve's house look perhaps a bit too similar to their equivalents from Blue's Birthday Adventure and sometimes feel a bit plain, but the new locations have plenty of creativity and detail.

The music still isn't great, but it's gotten better. There is more variety to the selection than last time and more locations have their own music, which helps give them a more distinct identity. (While I'm at it, can I just mention how weird it is that Recycle Town of all places has three exclusive tracks? How many players actually heard them all in their entirety?) Humongous also figured out how to properly synchronize Steve's footage and voice clips with the two songs he performs on screen, so those now sound fine as well. Beyond those, there are also many more songs taken directly from their episodes that can be listened to as part of one activity.

The voice acting is generally decent. Mailbox and Tickety Tock now have their actual voice actors from the show. The only character who got recast is Little Miss Muffet, a very minor character both in this game and in the episode of the show that vaguely inspired it, Blue's Big Treasure Hunt. But I'd argue that this was for the better, as I quite frankly have no idea what the show's staff was thinking when they picked her TV voice actress. She sounds like an old lady, whereas her counterpart here actually has the kind of voice you'd expect from a little girl.

The Bad
Some of the prequel's flaws still remain however. One of each episode's clues is still notably easier to find than the rest. One of them is just lying around in the open, one involves a short and simple puzzle and the last just requires interacting with a character. This is still better than Blue's Birthday Adventure with its three throwaway clues, but it doesn't go as far as I'd have liked. Like I explained in that game's review, I don't really see the point in making one of the clues easier to find than the rest, since there's no guarantee players will head to its location early on.

The way clues are handled once found is largely the same as last time, so it still has overly stiff drawing animations. Furthermore, the developers seem to have struggled with keeping them in sync with Steve's narration. There are plenty of spots where the narration is either ahead or behind the animation's timing, and even several occasions where the crayon suddenly stops moving for a moment, which I can only assume were last minute corrections to keep it from getting even further out of sync. I'm not sure what happened here, considering I never noticed these kinds of issues in the previous game. Although on the plus side, it's no longer possible to miss Steve's dialog after he's done drawing the first or second clue where he goes through the current set of clues and encourages speculation about their meaning.

Additionally, there is one aspect of the show that was at least somewhat present in the first game, but is now gone entirely. Contrary to how the show usually handles this, characters who played a notable role in the current episode no longer show up after Blue's Clues is solved unless they're directly related to the solution. And neither Steve nor the characters themselves remind the audience of what they did together.

Mailtime is still completely absent. An understandable omission for file size reasons, but an omission nonetheless.

Also, there are no longer any optional items to collect. The prequel's noisemakers were by no means a major part of the experience, but they still provided an incentive to explore Steve's entire house and play around with the clickpoints. With them gone, there are now multiple screens in each episode that you don't really have any reason to visit, while clickpoints are just small extras. Like before, they're mostly just mildly cute animations that are far more restrained than what you'd find in a Junior Adventure, with only a few being somewhat memorable.

Another minor downgrade is that the difficulty of the puzzles can no longer be reduced as much as before. From what I can tell, setting the game's master difficulty to the lowest level only makes a single puzzle in the first episode a bit easier and seems to cause the scrolls to always provide the same riddles. As such, particularly young or inexperienced players might be better off starting with the game's prequel, which had the option to drastically simplify its puzzles.

But the game's biggest shortcoming is its fourth episode, or rather its lack thereof. Once you're done with the third treasure hunt, it's off to the Land of Great Discovery. With its very creative scenery, this location was a highlight of the episode Blue's Big Treasure Hunt. And with Humongous having a knack for weird and surreal locations, you'd think adapting something like this would be right up their alley. However, they chose to handle things very differently. While you get a few glimpses of what this place is like in the TV episode during the opening cutscenes, once you're put in control, it becomes clear that the game has no interest in actually sending you on an adventure in which you get to explore it. Instead, you're simply thrown into a group of six largely empty screens and asked to populate them with stickers. The game offers you various pre-existing ones but also gives you the tools to draw your own. Some children might find some fun in that, but many others probably won't. I played the game myself when I was younger, and I remember being quite disappointed by this, as I was never really the creative type and thus found little enjoyment in it.

Beyond that, there is also a breakout clone you get to play here. As far as Humongous' minigames go, this is far from the worst, though it's nothing particularly special either. It offers a decent level of ball control and has a few somewhat innovative concepts, such as bricks that you can only temporarily destroy with a powerup (though this carries the risk of making certain levels unwinnable and forcing a game over if you fail to destroy vital bricks before running out of powerups.) But it's nothing too out of the ordinary. And I doubt most people have the patience to sit through all 100 of its levels. In the first place, it just feels weird to have something like this in a Blue's Clues game, since the show doesn't usually offer pure entertainment without educational elements.

I understand that the Land of Great Discovery was envisioned as a reward for completing the game, but neither of its components has a lot of substance or feels very appropriate for Blue's Clues. It makes for a pretty anticlimactic conclusion and simply doesn't offer enough to serve as a substitute for a proper fourth episode. For all regards and purposes, the game really only has three episodes with a bit of bonus content at the end, and that's what you should expect going into it.

The Bottom Line
All in all, this is a pretty well-made adaption of the show. It gets a lot of things right and manages to address a number of its predecessor's flaws. I'd consider the first three episodes good examples of how Blue's Clues should be turned into a video game, which makes it unfortunate that such a game would never be made again. It's mainly the lackluster post game that holds the game back somewhat. With only three rather than four proper episodes, this is a somewhat shorter experience than Blue's Birthday Adventure, but I'd argue it's still the better one overall.

Windows · by SomeRandomHEFan (164) · 2022

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Error in credits SomeRandomHEFan (164) Nov 2, 2022

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Dave Timoney.

Macintosh added by DJP Mom.

Additional contributors: Kayburt.

Game added February 6, 2006. Last modified June 5, 2024.