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BB&C newsletter articles by Michael Véronneau

Big Blue & Cousins
The Newsletter of the Greater Victoria PC Users' Association - Web Edition
Volume 13, Number 7, August 1996

Treasure Quest

by Michael Véronneau

Perhaps its a sign that multimedia has come of age. Sirius Publishing is willing to give away one million dollars to the `winner' of Treasure Quest, their recently released, CD-ROM based, multimedia puzzle game. To invest that kind of money they must think that there is equivalent value in the attention that they will attract in the market and, possibly, in the volume of games that they will sell. Of course, it could turn out to be a colossal blunder -- but that is for time to tell. In the meantime, if you enjoy complex puzzles with a literary flavour, and you wouldn't mind an outside chance to win a million dollars, then Treasure Quest is definitely worth a look.

Treasure Quest casts you as one of the students of a recently deceased professor. The dear old fellow found so much joy teaching his students that he wanted to leave behind one final brain-twisting challenge for them. As a small reward, he has left his inheritance of $1,000,000 to the first student who can solve the mystery that he has left behind.

The Mystery

It seems that the professor has hidden words and phrases in each of the ten rooms of his mansion. You must discover the words and phrases hidden in each room and assemble these into a quote. Ten rooms in the mansion means ten quotes to find. Oh yes, to claim the inheritance, you must also be able to explain how and where you found the words for each quote (so its no use stealing quotes from other `students'). There is a cryptic reference to "...after you have discovered the quote in each room, there is but one step remaining" -- whatever that final step may be.

Now before you race off and start pulling drawers out of furniture and looking underneath for scrawled words and phrases--remember that this is a multimedia game. The words and phrases are hidden in images, in musical and audio clues, and in videos that appear as you point and click your away around the professor's mansion. Sound difficult? You bet! But after all, Sirius doesn't want it to be too easy to get their million bucks.

Clues Ahoy!

As you wander through the mansion you will receive some information and clues from a spiritual guide (played by actress Terry Farrell of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine). She appears in a number of video clips tailored to the theme of the ten rooms (e.g. games room, bedroom, kitchen) in the mansion. In addition, the printed material that accompanies the CD-ROM provides valuable background information, so take some time to read it!

Sirius has established a web site to support exchange of information between `students', provide game support, and give out a few `tips' to help with playing the game. If you're already on the web then just point your browser to www.treasurequest.com and browse away. Or install the SiriusNet software from the CD-ROM to access the Internet (three hours of access free). I visited the site and discovered that there is some pretty valuable information posted there--ranging from the complete solution for the bedroom's quote, to a page on Rumor Control. There is a list of web sites that they claim can help with your search and each week a new TQ `tip' is made available.

A final source of information is available, for a price, to game players: The Official Resource Guide. In what seems like a blatant grab for additional money ($19.95 US) Sirius is offering the resource guide to players with the wonderful reassurance that it "...may help you on your journey." It boasts that it provides maps to the 10 rooms (in case you have missed a clue in the rooms) and additional background information. Anyway, to be fair, they do offer a 10 day `satisfaction guarantee' refund if you choose to return the resource guide.

Technically Speaking

Treasure Quest's graphics and images are attractive and the sound quality is superb--I didn't hear any distortion or noise during the few hours that I spent exploring the game. Five icons appear on each screen of the game. Four of these icons assist your game play: a notebook icon launches a note pad so you can record your thoughts and achievements; a pocket watch icon takes you back to the previous screen; a paper airplane lets you exit the game; and a globe icon takes you to a navigational screen that allows you to jump directly to another room. Most rooms are not accessible at the start of the game, but the further you explore the easier it become to jump back and forth between the ten rooms. The fifth icon allows you to adjust sound and other game settings.

Race For The Prize

The interest in Treasure Quest appears fairly high. Sirius experienced a `melt-down' on their web site earlier this year when the number of accesses to their web side soared to over 40,000 a day. Since then, they have upgraded their web server and there was no problem when I accessed their web site. But its obvious that the prize money has kindled a firestorm of interest in the game.

But what will happen when (if?) someone wins the prize? As of June 25th, 1996 there were five official submissions (a guide included with the game outlines the requirements for an `official submission') with solutions to the game. So at least five people think they have the mystery solved. Will people still be interested in playing the game once the money has been won? Again, time will tell.

System Requirements:

486/33, 8 MB RAM, 10 MB hard disk space, VESA or PCI Local Bus Video, 640x480x256 colours), Microsoft Windows 3.1 or 95, 2x CD-ROM drive, Sound Card

Treasure Quest (c)1996 Sirius Publishing, Inc. 7320 E. Butherus Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, 602-951-3288, http://www.treasurequest.com (Macintosh version available)


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