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Review CornerSoftware
Blue's Treasure Hunt
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
Packed with things to do, this delightful program combines an adventure format with educational activities, an arcade-style mini-game, creative opportunities, and a superb translation of the Blue's Clues television show. This 2 CD-ROM set is probably more appropriate for kids ages 5-6 (younger kids will need some help), but excellent design features allow for activities to be played independently of the adventure and for the program to be set at any one of 3 difficulty levels.
Award
Ages: 3-6  Subject: Early Learning  Brand: Humongous Entertainment
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
image Product Overview
Blue’s Treasure Hunt is a remarkable adventure software that contains 2 CD-ROMs filled with treasure hunts, traditional Blue’s Clues games in which players search for 3 "pawprint" clues, and a wonderful variety of educational mini-games. All of these adventures are tied in with each other, and kids’ ultimate goal is to help Blue, the dog, and Steve (his human friend and host of the Blue’s Clues TV show) enter the Land of Great Discovery.

Players must complete 3 treasure hunts in order to enter the Land of Great Discovery. Each treasure hunt is comprised of the following:

  • Solve a Blue’s Clues Game: this involves searching for 3 pawprint clues that will help solve the mystery of a Blue’s Clues character’s favorite treasure – find out the favorite treasures of Paprika, Mailbox, and Magenta.
  • Treasure Scroll Hunt: players are given a scroll with a hint that leads to the next scroll. The third scroll leads to the Treasure Bug who wants to know the answer to the Blue’s Clues game.
Once the 3 treasure hunts (or pathways) are complete, players have helped unlock the doors to the Land of Great Discovery, where they will find the following:
  • A Discovery Kit: includes 400+ pre-made stickers that can be altered, or kids can make their very own stickers using all the paint tools. These stickers are used to decorate the Treasure House.
  • Treasure Hunt Computer Game: 100 levels of this pong-like arcade game.
The Inventory Bar at the bottom of the screen contains the Handy Dandy Notebook, the clues and scrolls found to date, the Treasure Map, and various objects that kids have picked up (they will need to pick up and barter a few objects in order to progress through the game).

There are also 3 Blue Skidoo locations (one in each pathway) that take Blue and Steve to Recycle Town, an art museum, and a nursery rhyme book.

In addition to the hunts themselves, there are 11 activities found throughout the game:

  • Catch the Leaves — guide Blue under the falling leaves to catch the correct number of different color leaves.
  • Mixed-up Paintings — fix jumbled museum pictures by solving puzzles.
  • Bedtime Stories — help Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper create bedtime stories for Paprika.
  • Find the Numbers — find numbers that are hiding in the garden according to directional clues.
  • Which Pictures? — Shovel and Pail need help finding a picture that matches the content of their letters to friends.
  • Music Maker — listen to and play favorite Blue's Clues songs.
  • Magenta’s Photo Album — arrange photos in logical order (for example, that tell the story of an egg hatching into a chick).
  • Lights On! Lights Off! — study objects in the supply closet, and determine which one has been added or taken away after the lights go out.
  • Painting with Blue and Magenta — create pictures with paint tools, or complete unfinished pictures that Blue and Magenta have made.
  • The Discovery Kit — create stickers to personalize Your Land of Great Discovery.
  • The Treasure Hunt Game — arcade-style game that has 100 levels, and customizable levels as well.
These wonderful activities help teach skills like number recognition, spatial skills, creativity, and more. Each carries 3 difficulty levels that are automatically adjusted, but can be adjusted manually as well. Best of all, these games can be accessed independently of the adventure! (Simply press the letter "A" on the keyboard at the main screen, and the activity screen will come up.)

One of the many wonderful features of this program is Personalized Game Play – kids are asked their name, age, and favorite things (treat, color, farm animal, fruit) at sign-in, and these items will automatically appear throughout the adventure (for example, the fridge magnets in Steve’s kitchen will spell out the child’s name). This personal touch was well-received by kid testers — they were delighted.

Plenty of fun clickables and surprises are found throughout the adventure, as well as gorgeous screens and charming details.

There is a tremendous amount of content to this program. However the difficulty of the adventure is perhaps slightly mismatched to the age group that responds most to the Blue’s Clues TV show. Younger kids in the suggested age group may not have the follow-through or the know-how for embarking on all the adventures. In this case, parents will need to step in — or, better yet, older siblings can lend a hand (they may pretend they don’t want to, but the treasure hunts are hard to pass up!). Also, there are some relatively lengthy screen transitions, which keep the game somewhat slow-moving, much like the quiet nature of the television show! If needed, show children, show them the "Esc" key trick to stop short some of the cutscenes.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98, a Pentium 166 processor, 32 Mb RAM, and 4X CD ROM. Mac users require a 132 MHz Power PC with 32 Mb RAM, System 7.5.3, and at least 4X CD ROM. It requires 80MB of hard drive space.

Humongous games are generally very easy to install, and this game was no exception. With Windows 95/98 AutoPlay, it is a breeze. No glitches have been encountered, and graphics and audio are superb. Some "printables" are included, and printing can be turned on or off at the parent’s discretion.

Skills Covered
problem solving, thinking, logic, planning, strategy, number recognition, memory, creativity, story order, music, colors, counting, spatial skills, context clues

Educational Value
There is quite a range of skills covered in this program — from thinking and problem-solving skills to more traditional academic learning.

Entertainment Value
This program is extremely charming and entertaining for Blue's Clues fans.

Design
Difficulty levels are automatically adjusted as kids play the game, but parents can easily adjust them by pressing "S" on the keyboard – they can select Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced levels for either all the activities or individual ones. Pressing F1 will pull up a very detailed help screen, which includes general game hints as well as specific ones for the truly "stuck". Use the Esc key to skip through the cutscene.

Replayability
Nobody can complain that there is not enough content — in fact, some parents of younger children might think there is too much. This program is packed with things to do — multiple treasure hunts, lots of learning activities, an arcade-style game with 100 levels, and creativity games.

Dollar Value
This program is certainly worth the suggested retail price of $30 US.