Peanuts: Where's the Blanket Charlie Brown?
This is one game that will surely stand out on the shelves. The bright red box featuring Charles Schultz's unforgettable smiling foursome - Linus, Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy - is enough to grab the attention of any young computer enthusiast, and if you haven't spent the last 30 years holidaying on Mars, then you won't miss it either.
The age range is noted as 4 to 102, and I can't argue with that. I had a smile on my face before I even started playing. However, I should point out that the gameplay is most definitely aimed at the younger end of the spectrum. The very best way for grown ups to enjoy this game would be with a child on your knee or sitting right beside you.
Linus is in deep trouble. Grandma is visiting again and she's still out to confiscate his precious blanket. The trusting little soul decides to leave it in the safe keeping of totally reliable Charlie Brown. And would you believe it ... the blanket disappears?
The aim of the game, of course, is to find the blanket. There's a good number of interesting places to explore including Charlie Brown's house, the library, computer camp and the supermarket, and there's a tricky trip up to Woodstock's tree top world as well. The graphics are bright, colourful and uncluttered; ideal for younger players, and the voices fit the characters perfectly. Good Grief! Charlie Brown is having another one of 'those days' and Lucy is as crabby as ever.
It's a third person perspective game and the player can choose to accompany either Charlie Brown or Lucy on this serious searching expedition. The game varies slightly for each character with inventory items hidden in different places so it seems fair that it be played at lease twice so they are both given a go. And that's just for starters, the game is varied enough with 9 activities or mini-games to bring kids back for more. Each game can be saved separately so that several children can have individual games in progress. When returning to the game just click on the relevant graphic and it will pick up where you left off.
It's a lot of fun chasing after that elusive blanket. In true adventure game style, just when you think you've got it, either it slips through your fingers or it turns out to be not the blanket you're looking for. Snoopy is always there to give a helping hand but he does demand some special attention. If he's going to help out then he's going to need some sustenance, so the player must watch the Snoopy meter and be on the look out for Snoopy's favourite snacks.
The game is all point and click and the interface is simple, particularly suitable for first time computer game players with a small inventory and a line of icons below the playing area. There is no text, but when the cursor is moved over these icons their use is clearly explained. Charlie Brown or Lucy will also have something to say to keep the goal in focus.
The gameplay involves some simple adventuring challenges - never too many at once to confuse. What, for instance, should you do with that crystal ball and magicians hat, or how do you get that package that is out of reach? As problems are solved the game world opens up for the next part of the chase.
The mini games are mostly well integrated into the gameplay and clearly explained by Charlie Brown or Lucy, as the case may be. They include a painting activity, fitting together a torn blanket, negotiating a road maze with one-way streets, a tile swapping puzzle to put Peppermint Patty back together, a Schroeder inspired music puzzle, find the book described, and catch Snoopy if you can. These mini games have two levels of difficulty for a range of ages, and variously test comprehension, memory, logical thinking, colour recognition (maths for the harder level) as well as hand eye coordination. J
Peanuts: Where's the Blanket Charlie Brown? is a great little game for young players and one that will bring back a lot of fond memories for older players. It can be played in either German or English, and the disk contains a pdf walkthrough file in case of emergency.
Copyright © Rosemary Young 2003.
All rights reserved.
Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP, Pentium 166MHz, 32MB RAM, SVGA Graphics Card, 4x CD ROM Drive, 40 MB free hard disk space.
MAC OS from 8.1, Power PC, 32 MB RAM, Graphics Card (32.768 colors), 4x CD ROM Drive, 40 MB free hard disk space.