History: At the Electronic Entertainment Expo, we interviewed Richard Gnant, CEO of Sirius, who has made his companyís reputation by selling five and ten pack CD ROMs for a very small price. This bargain basement sales of disks has resulted in a wind fall for the little company, which is no diversifying into other areas. One of those areas is the publishing of new software titles for the first time rather than the second time around where most of the fortunes of the company have been made.
Plot: Jonathan William Faulkner, professor, financer, and weird guy, who is also just recently deceased, wants to give someone some money - exactly one million dollars. But, Jon cannot do this in the normal way so he creates an elaborate contest to give away his hard earned cash to one of his virtual students in his will. Your introduction to the game is the reading of your late professors will, where he gives all his students a shot at the fortune.
In order to compete you need go to Jonís mansion and take the numerous words and phrases hidden there and combine them to form ten unique quotations. Your spirit guide on this journey to the beyond, which is beyond Jonís grave, is of course a Spirit Guide played by the beautiful Terry Farrell, star of the Star Trek Deep Space 9 television series. Terry is attired in various costumes from lingerie to menís suits, to the enjoyment of the male population who are expected to play this game.
Game play: The mansion is loaded with rooms that have hot spots. Each hot spot is an area of a cryptogram, acrostic, or other word puzzle for you to solve. Many of the other aspects of the game will drop clues as to the solution of these word puzzles. Different times you play the game give you different clues. There is even an online portion of the game that provides clues in a chat area. The one million dollar prize is supposed to be a real life prize to be given to the person who wins the world wide contest of the game.
There is no real plot save solve all the puzzles. There is no antagonist, save your competitors on the web. There are no cut scenes to reward us for our small victories. There are no subplots or characterizations or communication with non player characters or any of the other things that have made up computer games for the last decade and one-half.
Puzzles are challenging and well though out requiring much off line research. Three rooms are locked (The Library, Attic and Cellar) and solving certain puzzles are key to gaining entry and finishing the game in the money.
Interface: Point and click first person perspective adventure, which has you walking from room to room and looking at Terry in various stages of undress - but never quite getting to far with the nudity. The tasteful and suggestive but not pornographic treatment of Terry may be a little disturbing to the more puerile among us.
Actors: Terry Farrell, who stars as Lt. Jadzia Dax on the T.V. series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is the Treasure Quest spiritual guide who offers clues to players as well. This is the only human used in the game.
Music score: Treasure Quest also includes an original soundtrack on CD composed of eleven songs averaging three minutes each, written and performed by Jody Marie Gnant, the producerís daughter, and produced by Grammy Award winners. The soundtrack is a medly of songs which provide further clues to the mystery while provide movie like background music with a mixture of styles from gospel to rock.
Conclusion: Cute and unique word puzzle game which has a real prize of a cool million smakers, which as of this time is un won.
Multi-player: Treasure Quest was designed to combine new technology with old-fashioned interactivity. It is even working to bring complete strangers together, too. Since its inception April 10, the TQ web site has received more than 80,000 visitors and more than two million hits. Visit the site at any time and you will see people -- at the rate of 30,000 hits a day -- unselfishly helping one another with clues. This Internet camaraderie, this sharing of information in the spirit of fellowship, is a fascinating social phenomenon -- to say the least.
Reviewing the Reviewer: Unfortunately this game is not very well liked by several reviewers, save New Media who gave them an Invision award.
Chuck Miller, www.cnet.com/Gamecenter/Reviews/Treasure
C. Panther, Computer Gaming World, number 144, July, 1996, warm (66%)
Arinn Dembo, Computer Gaming World, Number 146, September, 1996, pg. 164-167, 1/5 (20%).
Phil Theí, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, pg. 108, 3/5, (60%-80%).
Press release: www.treasurequest.com/Home/News/PRAch/jun03.html
John Sauer, PC Games B+, July, 1996, pg. 56. (88%).
New Media Magazine, Invision gold award given out in Comdex in June of 1996.