| Peanuts: Where's
the Blanket Charlie Brown?
Review by Orb
Charles Schultz was the demigod cartoonist of my childhood. As
a third-grader I would practice for hours trying to replicate
his drawings, and I loved reading the Peanuts strips and
studying how he drew his characters. As the years went by I developed
other cartoonist loves, but my first love was always Peanuts.
Imagine my delight in finding that Tivola has published a
title based on Charles Schultz's enduring comic characters.
Peanuts has been in print for over 50 years and is the
most widely syndicated comic strip in history. So of course there
would be some trepidation that, in this new medium, it would not
be true to the characters and situations that so many readers
are intimately familiar with. The truth is that a fabulous job
has been done here in duplicating the simplicity and fun of the
comic and adding an educational element for children while keeping
it enjoyable for an adult player.
The game goal is to track down Linus's blanket, which has disappeared.
The player picks one of two characters, Lucy or Charlie Brown,
and plays the game in the third person. My parents always made
it clear to me that I was Lucy's lost twin as a child, so my choice
was a no-brainer. Lucy (or Charlie), accompanied by Snoopy, travels
through a number of entertaining settings in order to find the
Where's the Blanket Charlie Brown? is a very linear game,
which is not necessarily a bad thing for an edutainment title.
The length of the game is surprisingand very satisfying.
Although not overly long, there are a goodly number of locations
in the game that are visited, including Schroeder's house, computer
camp, supermarket, school, library and more.
There is a small box for inventory. The nice thing about the
inventory is there is not too much of it, and what is there is
used in the same general area in which gameplay is occurring before
moving on to the next one, so there are no red herring items or
old inventory to keep track of. The number of overall items are
also kept to a minimum.
The puzzles are pretty much oriented toward problem-solving and
logic, which is great for kids. None are terribly challenging
for adults but all are perfect and entertaining for children.
The game is not so simplistic that an adult playing with a child
would not have a good time, and I enjoyed it on my own as well.
In additon to the main game there are nine component games. These
have a number of subjects, music and math, and some are arcade
games. Each has two difficulty levels, and even the hardest level
is a pretty straightforward matter for the adult player.
The music, a kind of Vince Guaraldi lite, is in keeping with
the sort associated with the Peanuts television specials.
A whimsical element from the television specials, the sound of
a horn as a substitute for the voice of an adult, is included.
Character movement is very controlled, and once in a location,
the character remains fixed and cannot move other than from room
to room or when moving to clicked-on items in game areas. Environments
are put together to give the player plenty to explore and look
for but not in such a way that would be overwhelming to a kid.
Conversations occur when characters are clicked on.
One drawback to the game is the save feature. There is a great
limitation as far as savingyou get only one slot, and saving
is automatic. If the player switches characters, he or she must
start the game over.
Whoever was responsible for choosing Tivola to develop and publish
a game based on these beloved characters, who have really become
part of the fabric of our culture, chose wisely. Tivola seems
to do a consistently high-quality job in the edutainment titles
they publish, with almost an old-world attention to detail, and
this game certainly is no exception.
Where's the Blanket Charlie Brown? is a perfect game for
kidsit provides a whimsical, entertaining activity but is
constructive from an educational standpoint. It's also a fun trifle
to pass a bit of time for the adult who is looking for a relaxing
and not-too-challenging experience.
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Release Date: May 2002
Four Fat Chicks Links
Pentium 166 MHz
32 MB RAM
SVGA graphics card
4X CD ROM drive
40 MB free hard drive space
32 MB RAM
Thousands of colors
4X CD ROM drive
40 MB hard drive space
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