Destination: Treasure Island
Avast ye landlubbers, all aboard for peg legs and hooks, parrots and patches, not much swabbing but plenty of knots (literally and occasionally figuratively). There is treasure ahoy!
As you would expect in a game called Destination: Treasure Island, particularly one that says it's freely inspired by the Robert Louis Stevenson novel, Long John has left a riddle, one that arrives by parrot and leads, perhaps, to treasure. If you can find a way out of the cabin below decks and evade the scurvy knaves that locked you in, well who knows what you might find. A boat hopefully, and then it's on to Emerald Isle. But will that be the end of the road?
It's a gentle game, which makes Destination: Treasure Island a good entry level for new gamers, but it's also a fair bit of fun for old seadogs as well. It's jaunty and a little different in some respects, and kept me entertained for a weekend.
It's a straightforward tale. Long John's riddle or "enigma" will lead to the treasure if you can solve it. Each few lines are a step along the way, and are essentially clues to the puzzles which will confront you. Long John's parrot will also provide assistance, though often it's just reiterating what's in the enigma. You can, in fact, complete parts of the enigma out of order, although the game is not as open as that might suggest. But there are times when there is more than just one thing to do at that time or location, and the island does open up as you move through the game.
The puzzles in Destination: Treasure Island tend to be little environmental manipulations — find the correct items and use them in the correct way to open a way forward, or to receive an item that will assist in a solve somewhere else. Nothing too onerous, and nothing too unique. I did like the extent to which inventory items could be disassembled and the parts used in a variety of ways. This included in the production of several other items as well as the original item having to be put back together. As well, many items were not single use or used in a single location, so retrieval was wise.
I was not terribly enamoured with the knot tying however. On several occasions you need to tie a specific knot which is accomplished by choosing the correct next step. There might be half a dozen steps in tying the knot. You can try to determine the next step by examining the picture, or just choose from the available options (either one or two) and if wrong, choose the other one. Getting it wrong means you have to start from the beginning, but with so few steps it's hardly a challenge, and whilst knots are nautical and piratey, these exercises are really little more than a different form of filler. You can, though, review all your successful knots from a menu and study their assembly, and who knows, perhaps it will teach you a knotty thing or two.
Destination: Treasure Island looks quite good at times, although I thought it lacked a little visual vibrancy in some settings, and a little sharpness in the detail. Plus it's very still. Birds circle above but trees and just about everything else is stationary. Not very island like, although a still backdrop is a part of many games. The sounds, though, were well rounded.
Cut scenes are presented like still pages from a comic book, which I thought helped give the game an adventure book feel, although I know some players thought it showed a little lack of sophistication (or maybe money). A bit harsh I think. There is one short traditional cutscene at the end.
Speaking of which, fittingly the end puzzle is quite elaborate, and a good finish. It provided the biggest challenge in the game, and despite the silly snake aftermath, was a good finale.
It's first person perspective with an excellent degree of rotational panning, meaning you need to look carefully in all planes. Point and click to move around and animated icons will indicate hotspots or actions that can be performed. A right click brings up the inventory screen where you can assemble and disassemble objects, and examine them in more detail. It also gives access to the enigma itself for ready reference (also accessible with either the mouse middle button or the control key) and a map which you can use to jump to places you have already been. And in case you want to review your knot tying expertise, there is a page for that as well.
Although there isn't a lot of talking (apart to yourself) an image will appear of the character that is talking. It pays to listen to them and to yourself as well — you might learn something, including about a puzzle.
Subtitles are available, and save slots seem to be unlimited. No glitches, no timed puzzles, quick load times and a good menu system. You can revisit the comic strip gallery from the menu, and check out all the items you have assembled and pulled apart. I think I had about 30 at games end.
All up, Destination: Treasure Island is a nicely constructed and good fun adventure game.
Copyright © Steve Ramsey 2007.
All rights reserved.
Win 98SE/ME/2000/XP, Pentium III 800 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 1.3 GB disc space, 16x CD ROM, 64 MB video card DirectX 9 compatible.