Today’s game is another Hasbro board game transposed into a computer game, along the same line as Operation. This is Clue, and unlike Operation, it is the classic game directly transposed into a computer game with no added value. Like Operation, however, this game came in a box of General Mills cereal and the disc implores us to collect “them” all. I’m not entirely sure how many there are but a little googling on the topic of “general mills hasbro cd-rom promotion” reveals that The Clue and Operation titles must have run as parts of separate promotions.
My first task is to determine whether this game is the same as the Clue title that is already in MobyGames, which bears the full title of Clue: Murder at Boddy Mansion. The extended title is not featured anywhere in this game. But based on some screenshots I found on some other sites, this appears to be the same game (it was difficult to determine since there is an assortment of graphical quality levels).
The game comes in quite a few languages including US & UK English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Swedish. Various bits of the localization point to the Clue/Cluedo dichotomy, the latter being the game’s name in Britain and perhaps elsewhere in Europe. I would like to know if it’s pronounced as “cloo-doo” or “cloo-doh”.
As previously indicated, the game is simply a direct adaptation of the classic board game onto the computer screen. At least 3 characters need to play. It can be just you against 2-5 computer players. It can even be 3-6 computer players, if you’re simply the voyeuristic type. There is TCP/IP-based multiplayer with other human players, if you’re really willing to go through that much trouble. At the highest detail levels, the graphics are beautifully rendered but terribly confusing with all the translucent walls. Regrettably, the game actually looks much better, or is less madness-inducing, if you play with all the graphical gimmicks shut off.
All in all, this game hearkens back to an era where anything digital was greeted with uncritical, wide-eyed wonderment. Those were the days. These days, the schtick wears thin really quick and you’re much better off with the original board game which is still quite common to come by.
The game features a number of Cinepak/PCM AVI files that depict the 6 differents characters committing a ghastly murder with each of 6 possible weapons (thankfully, the designers felt it unnecessary to also show each scene in each of the 6 possible rooms). The weirdest movie is how they handle the initial card shuffle. Remember that at the beginning of a Clue game, you randomly select the guilty party, the weapon, and the room where the crime was committed. The other cards are shuffled and dealt to the player. How to handle it in this game? With special ghost hands whose hands deal fate. Observe:
One more fascinating bit of trivia about this particular CD-ROM: iTunes thinks that the disc is Kelly Clarkson’s Thankful album. The CD hashing algorithm experienced a collision and it mapped to Kelly’s album. However, there are 4 very nice redbook audio tracks on the disc, ripe for the rip.
I saw an ad in for the new PSP version of Final Fantasy and for the first time ever I actually entertained the thought of purchasing said portable console. When it comes right down to it, the original Final Fantasy for the NES has to be my all-time favorite RPG. I sitll have my original copy with all the trimmings which easily qualifies it as one of the most valuable games in my extensive collection (not that that’s saying much).
In order to complete the original game back in 1990, I developed one of the most clever (if I do say so myself) strategies I have ever employed in a video game. My party consisted of a knight, ninja, white wizard, and black wizard. The final dungeon had the party descending down level after level to re-fight the various elementals before making it to the end. My knight was tough and could survive long after the other 3 party members had been finished off. But he couldn’t finish the game all by himself. I reasoned that the knight could make it all the way to the end of the water level to face off with the kraken before more assistance was absolutely required. Though it appeared that I would need to waste more time leveling up so those other 3 could keep up, I figured that it would be nice if I could somehow keep the other 3 party members in reserve and start using them as needed.
Then I realized that I could do exactly that! I could put the ninja and 2 wizards in cold storage and let the knight take care of business until the others’ services were required with the kraken. How? Stoning! Certain monsters had the ability to turn your party members to stone during combat melees. When a character was stoned, they were just frozen– they couldn’t help your party but also couldn’t take any damage. Thus, I went to a section of the overworld where a bunch of cat-like creatures who were known for stoning liked to roam and worked hard to let them stone the other 3 characters. This was a bit tricky, but after it worked (and the correct characters were stoned), I saved the game and was off to complete my quest.
The plan worked famously in the end and I was able to resurrect the ninja first as needed and the wizards even later.
While on vacation, I visited my old hometown, home to 2 of my very favorite video game shops– one shop specializes in consignment PC games and the other is a spent video game shops that even has video games as far back as the Atari 2600. I picked up over 30 CD-ROMs for around $100 (as you may have ascertained by this point, I pretty much buy games by the pound). The games are for DOS, Windows, Sega CD and Sega Saturn. Right now, I’m cataloging them in my master spreadsheet.
Here are some odds & ends that I’m not sure are actual games. One is Steel: Audio Action-Adventure. I couldn’t tell if this was supposed to be some kind of game or just an audiobook. Judging by the jewel case copy that states, “Audio adaptation of Warner Bros.’ latest action-adventure film introducing a great new super hero with underscore and special 3-D sound effects,” it sounded like a straight audio CD. However, it has a QSound insignia on the back which made me think that it might be more than an audio CD. Nope– it’s just an audio CD. It’s a 35-minute adaptation of the 1997 film (of which I have positively no recollection), retold in 35 minutes. It’s sort of like an old-time radio play. I remember having a cassette tape in the mid-80s that gave the same treatment for Return of the Jedi.
The next title I’m not sure about is called Composer Quest. The jewel case copy doesn’t explain enough about the game to be judged as a game or not, but the “Quest” in the title certainly sounds promising. The disk contains FLIC files and contains the AAPLAY.DLL file (multimedia nerd trivia). When I run the game from the CD-ROM, it insists that it needs to create a file on the root of C: for high scores– another promising sign!
It turns out the CQ is, loosely, a game (look! the title screen has a “Play” button). It is to classical and jazz music what ArtRageous! was to the world of art. I.e., a mini multimedia encyclopedia of classical and jazz composers and music mixed with some games, largely trivia-based.
I admire this guy’s ambition– he is endeavoring to play every Zelda game ever and blog about the experience. That sounds almost as nutty as attempting to play one new and usually obscure game every single day and blogging about it. Hats off! He isn’t too far along so far, but he has completed The Legend of Zelda, both the first and second quests (no mean feat, the latter) and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
Through his site, I also learned of Blogging Ultima, a blog with the same goal but with Ultima in mind and which is considerably farther along with its chartered purpose; and Blogging Dragon Quest.
Story time: The Legend of Zelda was the first NES game I actually purchased for my NES (aside from the SMB/Duck Hunt cartridge that came with the NES Action Set). I don’t mind telling you that I was fantastic at Zelda back in the day. I was the master, at least of the first quest (the second quest took me quite a while to complete but I did eventually get through it). How good was I? I once had a classmate call me up and ask me how to complete the game. He was standing at the entrance of the level 9 labyrinth. I was able to guide him — completely from memory — through the dungeon, including how to collect all relevant items (weapons, compass, map). Before he entered a room, I would brief him on how many of which type of enemies he could expect to encounter. And before taking on Gannon, I was able to brief him on exactly how to defeat the big boss. I think he did it on his first try.
Thankfully, these days lazy gamers have the internet and FAQ/walkthroughs.
Some of the top search terms driving traffic to this little blog deal with games revolving around a certain Mexican delicacy. (I am loathe to name specific search terms as that often has the effect of hijacking traffic from the more relevant page on my blog.) Of course, this is due to this series of games. Googling for the same terms to see what else could possibly be out there, I learned that Taco Bell is involved in another game distribution deal.
Included free in Taco Bell kids meals right now is 1 of 4 courses for 3D Ultra Mini Golf Adventures, a Sierra title that was released in April for the PC and Xbox 360. So, naturally, I was down at my local Taco Bell restaurant to procure all 4 discs, which can be purchased separately from a kids meal for a dollar apiece. I read that the promotion is scheduled to run through June 27 if, for whatever reason, you are motivated to gain possession of your own copies, which come with a number of kids puzzles including a simplified Sudoku puzzle. (Hint: I learned that these types of promotions tend to run at Taco Bell-only establishments vs. the increasingly common combo restaurant; e.g., Taco Bell/KFC combo restaurants are unlikely to feature these games).
This is the first time I have ever played a computer simulation of mini golf. I must say that I am impressed with this particular concept. I appreciate this game in the same way I appreciate outlandish pinball boards in computer pinball sims. Check out the Sly Serpent course:
The above is the second of 4 holes available on the Lost Island disc. The other 3 discs are named Carnival, Space, and Wild West. The full version of the game claims to feature a full 36 holes. Each of these Taco Bell-distributed CD-ROMs appears to have 4 holes each while the scorecard in each has columns for 9 holes. That would qualify each of these as demo discs. The reason I am hashing this over is that I am trying to understand whether each disc warrants entry into MobyGames.
While I’m trying to figure that out, here’s a screenshot from the Space disc which features the “Two Planets” hole where the hole is on a separate asteroid from the one where you are standing. Creative.
Regrettably, these games have no notable Taco Bell tie-in other than the branding on the CD-ROM promotional sleeves. No chalupa or burrito-themed courses.
Today is Father’s Day in the U.S. While visiting one of my favorite spent video game shops the other day, a mother and her son stopped in. She explained that her husband had expressed interest in a retro-gaming fix with an Atari 2600 during their 9 years of marriage. She had been to about 5 video game shops in the area but this is one shop that actually stocks really old stuff (I picked up another pile of Sega CD and Saturn games). This shop was able to oblige her with one of several custom wrapped packages that contained an Atari 2600 base console, a controller, the hookups, and a Pac-Man cartridge. Price of the nostalgia fix: $50. Plus, they still have a pile of old 2600 carts for a dollar apiece.
So that wife left happy with the Father’s Day present and I trust the hubby is happy today — provided that their current television accepts coaxial input.