Psst. As the summer months heat up, our minds turn to one thing: Tracking down buried treasure. Don't laugh, but finding a map to hidden treasure is a mainstay in video gaming. This week we shed some light on this trope by reviewing five games about finding treasure. Can you follow the clues and find the secret stash? Find out now when you read A Week Full of Buried Treasure!
You would think that having fun playing a video game would be prize enough for most people. But in 1993, American Softworks decided to up the ante by giving away more than 36,000 prizes. The result was Treasure Master, a 2D platformer with big ambitions and an MTV sponsorship. Unfortunately, not even winning the $10,000 prize package is enough to make Treasure Master worth playing.
You play Skooter (or, if you're paying attention to the advertising, Scooter), a young boy who is off on a large scavenger hunter. After finding a mysterious foreign coin, Skooter learns about the "Legend of the Treasure Master." As it turns out, there's a large prize out there for the taking, and this is just the hero to finally tackle this centuries-old challenge.
Despite ABC canceling the show some twenty years before the launch of Nintendo's Game Boy, that hasn't stopped Taito from publishing this pun-filled game based on The Flintstones. King Rock Treasure Island may not look like much, but this portable outing offers a surprisingly solid Flintstones adventure, even if it lacks most of the humor from the show.
With his wedding anniversary just around the corner, Fred is at a loss for the perfect gift. As luck would have it, our hero discovers a treasure map and sets out on a quest to find Wilma something extra special. What he doesn't realize is that somebody doesn't want him finding that hidden treasure and will stop at nothing to make sure you fail. This is the set-up for the least funny Flintstones episode yet.
They're tiny, they're toony and, according to the theme song, they're all a little looney. That's right; it's time for Tiny Toon Adventures, the remarkably clever Looney Tunes spin-off from the early 1990s. Starring Buster and Babs Bunny, Tiny Toons managed to run an impressive one hundred episodes. And like all popular kids shows of that era, this Spielberg-produced cartoon was quickly adapted as a video game. Unfortunately, Buster's Hidden Treasure isn't nearly as toony or looney as the theme song suggests.
A mysterious treasure map has everybody in Acme Acres buzzing with excitement. It's up to Buster Bunny to set out on an epic adventure to see what's hidden under that giant "X". But he's not alone, because Montana Max will stop at nothing to beat Buster to the prize. Max has gone as far as to recruit Dr. Gene Splicer to kidnap all of Buster's friends. Worse yet, thanks to the mad doctor's proprietary technology, the normally good-natured inhabitants at Acme Acres have turned into blood-thirsty rabbit killing machines.
Given their wide pop culture reach, I'm a little surprised we didn't see more successful video games starring Troll dolls. It's even more remarkable that the Troll games we got often felt like crazy experiments gone horribly wrong. That certainly describes Trolls on Treasure Island, a bizarre puzzler that mixes nonsensical gem collecting with an uncontrollable mascot character.
Believe it or not, Trolls on Treasure Island is actually a repurposed version of American Video Entertainment's Dudes with Attitudes. Although the puzzles are slightly different, the main structure is in place. This includes a penchant for black backgrounds and controlling a character appearance in order to gain access to specific treasure. On second thought, maybe "controlling" isn't the best word to use while describing Trolls on Treasure Island.
Admit it, the idea of spending two hours with Ronald McDonald doesn't sound like the most exciting afternoon. He'll probably spend the whole time selling you hamburgers and shakes. You would rather be shooting aliens and taking down bosses. As it turns out, the makers of Gunstar Heroes created a game that even the most cynical gamer can get behind. McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure offers a surprising amount of fast action with a familiar face that uncharacteristically avoids the hard sell. Believe it or not, this is a McDonald's game you can feel good about owning.
Our adventure starts when Ronald stumbles across a mysterious map with the word "treasure" on it. He immediately puts two and two together and sets off on an adventure to, you guessed it; find whatever buried treasure awaits him. Unfortunately, Ronald only has part of the map. It's up to him to travel around the world, battle bosses, collect more pieces of the map and, if everything goes well, finally unearth the buried treasure.