“The gameplay definitely improves in scope and presentation from the first of the series, though still not entirely stellar.”
– from the full review.
I love the Where’s Waldo? series of seek-and-find picture books.
Remember all those I Spy books? Yeah, those are crap. Waldo was where it was at. I loved them as a kid, and I still think they are brilliant — colorful, imaginative, and just plain fun. They enhance visual acuity and attention span while effectively forming a fictional world for thinky children like me to fill with grand adventures and absurd characterization. I miss Waldo, in a way, like the awe-struck joy of finding him on the page for the first time. Those original tomes were amazing in their capacity to shove so much detail into every spread, leaving little treasures here and there for the eyes to discover, even on repeat trips. I will even go so far as to say that, by making a caricature of human conflict, the Where’s Waldo series is an effective critique on war and general strife among humankind.
Fun fact: Sadly, the official Waldo website, FindWaldo.com, has not been updated since 2010. And if you really want a piece of your childhood to be shattered into painful fragments, go ahead and summon enough courage to see where the Twitter link goes.
Now, as for the video game, it is certainly better than the original mess, but still not great. THQ just seems to have a knack for creating 8-bit titles that seem a little “off” somehow, like their staff was never quite as big or as talented as the more mainstream development houses. One example: Wayne’s World. One weird note about the original game: It was made by Bethesda. You may recognize the developer name from such series as Elder Scrolls and Fallout.
Notably, myself and Pat The NES Punk have gotten into a couple brief Twitter exchanges before, concerning our respective review philosophies, and specifically the idea that one should know the subject matter of a game before one can have any credibility in reviewing it. This is a point I vehemently disagree with him on; I believe a video game should be able to stand on its own merits, and not rely on a player’s source-material familiarity in order to enjoy. He has publicly cited my reviews (specifically, my dislike of the Three Stooges NES game) as inspiration for him starting his own video reviews, as a way of refuting my supposed ignorance. I say all of that only to say this: I wonder what he would think of the Waldo games on NES, a series that, although I am very fond of the source material, I do not believe the games are of high quality. I guess I can finally say that with some credence, since I am familiar with the original books. Disclaimer for the heck of it: I like the Punk and enjoy his work.
Read The Full Review For: My attempt to write a review that may take you longer to read than to complete the game.
NES Gameplay Tips For The Great Waldo Search: For Woof’s bonus stages, the next point icon will almost always (almost!) be in the opposite up-or-down direction of the prior. What I mean by that is that, if the previous point symbol was lower than the prior, than the next will be higher, then the next lower, then higher again, then lower, etc. You can just bob Woof up and down immediately after grabbing each. Of course, I am not sure how many truly hardcore high-score seekers there are for Waldo video games on the NES. Really, though, just learn to look for specific details and you can find your targets very quickly.
Oh, and in case you are wondering: No, Waldo is not in the exact same place every time. Also: The difference between Normal and Expert is that less of Waldo is visible on Expert mode. Finally: It really is a shame that the scroll has a black background for its rectangular image, rather than transparent pixels, because it is usually very easy to find despite its relatively small size.