Destination: Treasure Island Review
Destination: Treasure Island box art
System: PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: The Adventure Company/Kheops 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: DreamCatcher 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Aug. 21, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Professor, What's Another Word for Pirates' Treasure?

by Nathan Meunier

One might suggest creating a video game sequel to a classic novel from the late 1800s, especially from a tale as influential and piratical as Treasure Island, could be a tad risky. It's certainly an ambitious project since the story it's based on has played a huge role in shaping how people view pirates today. Nonetheless, Dreamcatcher's Destination: Treasure Island is a faithful pirate adventure, even down to the last bottle of rum. There's a lot more than buried treasure to keep you busy on this island.

Destination: Treasure Island screenshot

Players don't have to read the original tale in order to properly enjoy Destination: Treasure Island, but it certainly helps. The game picks up four years after its namesake, with the young Jim Hawkins now a captain of his own seafaring vessel, though not for long. Below deck, a rapping on the window turns up the old crusty parrot of Long John Silver with a riddle and a portion of map from his supposedly deceased master. The excitement over an enigmatic promise of lost treasure is short-lived, as some mutinous scallywags take over the ship and force Hawkins into a hasty escape. Not before you pick up a few helpful items around the cabin, of course. Once you reach the shores of the mysterious Emerald Isle, it's up to you to piece together the clues left by Silver in order to progress to the innermost reaches of the island and find the riches that reside there.

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The beach is no Cancun, but the game's high-quality photorealistic graphics look amazing regardless. Along the shoreline, sparkling seas shimmer in the distance beneath a blue sky. Further in, the leafy green canopy teems with the sounds of wildlife. There are moments where it seems peculiar you can't catch a whiff of the brine as it hits the sand. As the air thins up on the higher terrain, the view is breathtaking - at least when you consider you're glimpsing glorious digital hills and valleys on a PC screen. On your travels, you'll climb cliffs, swing across rivers, trudge through swamps, spelunk through caves, and even venture beneath the waves as you search for usable items to further your quest. The sights and sounds you'll encounter make the experience seem all the more realistic. The only downside is most backgrounds have very minor animation. Storytelling is handled by sequences of hand-drawn comic stills with text and voice-overs. In most cases it gives the feeling of a flashback, though this mechanic is used for all areas of the story.

Destination: Treasure Island screenshot

A mishmash control interface affords players a better view of their surroundings, quite literally, though movement is slightly prohibitive. Using the mouse, players can look in any direction, at any possible angle, much like a first-person shooter. This lets you examine everywhere for clues or scenery elements which can be interacted with by pointing and clicking. Moving from one "scene" to the next is done by simply clicking the direction you wish to go, assuming it corresponds with an arrow signifying it is possible to move there. It's pretty clear where you can and can't go, based on the visual cues of the surrounding scenery. A lack of transition animations between visual areas makes moving feel more like teleporting than walking, but it gets the job done.

Exploring the island's many areas is interesting, but the meat-and-potatoes of this game revolves around finding items, and using them at the proper place to achieve the necessary affect to allow you to progress. Solving the isle's many puzzles will require patience and a MacGuyver-like ability to assemble and disassemble a wide range of devices using components found along the way. This is done through a rather ingenious item system. Many things you find can be combined with another item to create something new, and most can be used several different times in multiple locations. Some of these combinations are obvious, while others require a bit more thought. Clues are scattered about to help with some of the harder combinations. Most of the puzzles are fairly intuitive. For example, taking apart a rusty knife and ditching the cruddy blade will leave you with a decent hilt. By then combining the hilt with a newly found blade and a piece of string, you will enter into a knot tying mini-game. Successfully tying a constrictor knot, by selecting images in the proper sequence, will result in a handy new knife which can be used elsewhere. It's a blast when you come up with the solution to a particularly tough puzzle, but equally frustrating when the answer eludes you.

Destination: Treasure Island screenshot

Moving along deeper into the island is a fairly straightforward process, and players can backtrack at almost any time to pick up items they might have missed on the first pass. The path is linear, leaving little question as to where you must go next. The challenge instead comes from figuring out the key to each puzzle. Some are simple and can be solved with one or two items. Others require careful examination of your inventory for the proper combination of tools. The solutions to a few larger puzzles in the game rely heavily on clues from Silver's enigma.

Even with its heavy puzzle element, Destination: Treasure Island is a grand adventure. If players don't get snagged up on the rocks of a few of the tougher puzzles, they should be able to make it through the game in several sittings; once you get hooked you'll hardly want to break for the bathroom. Solid storytelling, great graphics, and a lot of nice touches make this quest for booty a pirate fan's delight. Landlubbers should get a kick out of it too.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Freelance Writer

Features:

  • A thrilling quest: Set out in search of an incredible lost treasure.
  • The sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's fabulous adventure - a tale that has fascinated millions of readers from around the world.
  • A treasure trail: Danger at every turn keeps you in suspense for hours.
  • Breathtaking photorealistic island settings that make your feel like you're really there.
  • Dozens of fascinating enigmas - resolve them or never reach the treasure.

    3.8

    Overall Rating - Good
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
    Rating out of 5
    Rating Description

    4.2

    Graphics
    Super realistic 3D environments. A greater level of animation would have been nice.

    3.5

    Control
    Point-and-click interface with radial look-around works well. Item construction is intuitive.

    3.5

    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    It sounds like an island should, although with perhaps one too many rounds of "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum" sung by a parrot.

    3.6

    Play Value
    Tons of puzzles and a reasonably lengthy quest make for a weekend of island fun.

  • Screenshots / Images
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