There's a new trend that has children's software games combined with some form of a toy accessory that can be used with the program, and Hasbro is one of the companies on top of such a trend. This CD-ROM Playset combines a mystery-based software with a handheld SpyGlass an electronic clue finder that plugs into the computer's gameport and can be used to search for clues on-screen. Kids move their SpyGlass in front of the monitor and it lights up when a clue is located.
The software itself features 15 unique mysteries to solve in a museum setting, as well as 5 mini-games. Someone has stolen a valuable object from the Museum, and players take on the role of a Clue Jr. Detective as they explore the wings of the Museum, "interviewing" suspects, and playing arcade-style games. Not only do they need to determine the location of the missing object, they must determine the identity of the perpetrator from a line-up of 5 possible suspects. The crimes include The Case of the Missing Stuffed Vulture and The Case of the Missing Cathedral Bell.
Kids refer to their on-screen Notebook to help solve the mystery at hand, and go to the Information Booth to get some hints. There are "where" and "who" clues to locate, and a funny cast of characters to meet throughout the Museum. Clues are not hidden in difficult places, and their meanings are relatively straightforward. Mustache oil is a "who" clue in one of the mysteries, and kids can logically conclude that the person who stole the object has a mustache. In case kids don't arrive at that conclusion right away, Gabby will help them out.
Each wing has a theme Medieval, Egyptian, Jungle, Dinosaur, and Science and there's a mini-game in each that serves as a little "break" from looking for clues. Games include a memory game in which players race against the clock to try to match fossil pairs, zapping bugs with the SpyGlass, and more.
There is a lot of help given to players along the way. For example, if kids are clicking around a certain area for awhile, they are told "no clues here". Characters in the different wings will also give them direct hints. For example, if kids find a paper clip and give it to Dr. Adam Atom, he will tell them which wing to go to next find a clue. Once the main "who" and "where" clues are discovered, kids go to Joe Security and solve the mystery, after which there is a cute animation and a recap to conclude the case.
If you are expecting this program to bear any resemblance to the Clue board game, guess again. Kids won't meet up with characters like Professor Plum and Colonel Mustard, and the game itself doesn't play like the board game.
Kid testers enjoyed the program, though Clue Jr. SpyGlass Mysteries didn't meet with above-average enthusiasm after the initial novelty of the SpyGlass wore off. Kids eventually tired of holding the accessory close to the screen (and parents found that the SpyGlass simply brought their kids too close to the monitor when they did use it).
Gameplay is very straightforward clues are easy to find and hints are plentiful. Therefore, this program is best for kids ages 5-6.