The Hardy Boys: The Hidden Theft - WII - Review
It has been a year since the debut of the Hardy Boys in their own adventure on the PC. Previously, they have had to share the action with Nancy Drew on a few of her many adventures from Her Interactive, but last year they went solo on the PC in The Hardy Boys: The Hidden Theft from The Adventure Company. Now, a year later, they have been ported to the Wii.
Essentially, this is the exact same game as last year's PC version, with only the controller being different. Therefore, I am including that review in this one, with additional comments specific to the Wii version. Following is an excerpt from that review (which you can read in its entirety here, at The Hardy Boys: The Hidden Theft PC review.)
Immediately, players are presented with high-energy action from the Hardy boys, two male teens who love to solve mysteries. Like Nancy Drew, the original Hardy Boys are a long-standing series of novels spanning the 1920’s to the 1970’s, with spin-off series published afterwards until now. Unlike the teens in the original series, evidently these two guys aren’t afraid to cause a bit of property damage in their sleuthing, or even to steal evidence. A little later in the game, another teen even impersonates a police officer, which is a big no-no in real life.
Reality aside, the stage is seemingly set for an action-packed game. However, after this frenetic introduction, the action slows to a crawl while Frank and Joe leisurely explore the town, high school and other locations to solve the mystery.
The Hidden Theft involves a theft of security bonds from an eccentric man, Samuel Spencer, who lives on a large estate. As these bonds were kept in a safe with a combination that only he and his brother, Thomas Spencer, knew, Samuel believes that his brother is somehow involved in the theft. Security bonds can be cashed by anyone, so it is imperative that the bonds are recovered quickly. Frank and Joe Hardy, the teen sleuths, are requested by an organization called the American Teens Against Crime, to help solve the mystery. What is really funny about this slightly hokey organization is that the teen representing them is the one who impersonated the police officer.
The game is a standard adventure game, where players interview characters, collect inventory items and solve puzzles. Much of this game is spent in talking to characters and walking around places looking for things to take. Despite the action sequence in the introductory cartoon, there is not much action. While there are some interesting puzzles later in the game, it seems to take forever to get to them.
The interface is not as easy or intuitive as it could be. Players will move Frank and Joe by clicking on footprint icons that will show in the corners of location, indicating that they can move to another place. However, this doesn’t work very well, and sometimes it’s hard to get Frank and Joe to a place that will trigger the footprints. The large inventory menu is displayed smack dab in the middle of the screen, obstructing the view of the screen. It’s not readily evident how to use the needed object and get out of the menu. Players will need to left-click the desired object, then right-click to get out of the menu. How to open certain inventory objects is also not easily understood. I wasted quite some time in the beginning of the game before I realized I could double-click on an item and open it to extract the contents.
On the whole, this is a fair game for young teens. The plot is intriguing and will keep interest for much of the game. The American Teens Against Crime idea is silly, but it’s not really a big part of the game after the first chapter. The dialogue and comments from Frank and Joe are the best part of the game, and will definitely connect to young teens. The writing is well-done, and I especially enjoyed their mom’s comments. The puzzles are also good, but there aren’t enough of them, especially in the beginning of the game. If compared to the Nancy Drew games, The Hardy Boys isn’t as entertaining, but this is the first game in the series and is a good beginning. Hopefully there will be more games to come, with some improvements. "
The above is the review of the PC game. The only thing that is different for the Wii is the use of the Wii-mote instead of a mouse for game interaction. The actions and menus are all the same. The menu is still annoyingly slap dab in the middle of the screen, the footprints are still icons for movement, and the action icons are the same. I wish they would have changed the menu design during the port.
The characters and objects don't look quite as good on the Wii as on the PC, but that is due more to the differences in graphical capabilities between a computer and the Wii, I would think, than any design changes.
It's hard to say which version to choose. They are both the same, except for the controller and and game system. The difference in price is only $10 more for the Wii. Which game to get will really depend on a preference to having the kids play on the Wii, or on the PC.
From the PC review: "An average adventure game for teens. The story is interesting, but the action is pretty slow. Much of the time players will be moving from one location to another, trying to figure out what to do next. The puzzles are fun enough, but there aren’t enough."
The graphics aren't nearly as attractive as in the PC version. The characters are blocky and they move a bit stiffly. However, this is probably due to the Wii graphical capabilities as compared to the PC.
The music and sound effects are average in quality.
The game is of a medium difficulty, with some puzzles harder than others.
There isn't a whole lot that is new, but the presentation is decent.
From the PC review: "A nice enough teen adventure that doesn’t have any inappropriate content, but one that could have been better. More things to do, more puzzles. The story is interesting, though, and the teen characterization of the Hardy boys is well-done. "
The Wii version is a faithful port of the original PC game. The graphics are not as good, but everything else works pretty much the same. The only real difference is the price, which is around $10 more for the Wii version than the PC version.