The Great Waldo Search (video game)
The Great Waldo Search is a puzzle video game developed by Radiance Software, published by THQ in 1992 for the Genesis, SNES, and Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a video game adaption of the The Great Waldo Search and the second video game in the Where's Waldo series. The scenes in the game are adapted from the book, although the game also includes Woof, the dog who wasn't introduced until Where's Waldo?: The Ultimate Fun Book.
Like with the book, the player's objective is to find Waldo in various scenes as well as a couple other objects like the scroll, clocks, and point tokens.
I was a big fan of the Where's Waldo books when I was a kid, but I had little interest in a video game adaption, and, after playing them, I'm glad I didn't, because they're absolutely awful! A couple years after I beat Where's Waldo, I discovered that its sequel book was also made, so I tried it out. I ended up beating the expert version on my first try on 2021-12-07 after only a few minutes! The next day, I finished the Genesis and SNES ports as well.
I do not own this game, but I beat the NES, Genesis, and SNES ports all on expert difficulty.
Best Version: Genesis
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The game does a pretty decent job of capturing the look of five scenes it adapted from the book.
- It's impressive to see lyrics from the TV show, albeit terse, on an NES game title screen. I was surprised these weren't included on the SNES port which has superior hardware sampling.
- The parental feature to help younger kids who are struggling is a nice addition.
- A "150" bonus is not thematic. The designers could have used any number of objects from the books to serve this purpose.
- The Woof minigame uses the same placement for bonus points every time, so it's easy to memorize. Except, on the SNES port, the bones are too close together to catch them all. The 16-bit ports use bones for Woof to catch, which is a step up from the 150 boxes in the NES port.
- The clock mini game, where you have to find a secondary object in the scene, was a good idea and fits with the books, but there are only a few in the game, and they're all really easy to spot.
- The game is far too easy. Even on expert difficulty, I beat all three of the ports on my first attempt with plenty of time to spare. The resolution just isn't large enough. The designers should have supported vertical scrolling to create larger scenes. Also, the color palettes of several scenes cause Waldo and the items to clearly stand out, making them easy to spot, even on expert difficulty.
- With only five scenes, the game is too short. More of the scenes from the book should have been included, or at least more minigames. The Genesis and SNES, with their larger memory, could easily have fit more into the game.
- By randomizing the scenes, all of the artistic cartoon charm from the books has been lost. And, with the limited memory of the systems, not enough variety exists. This leaves the scenes looking bland and repetitive.
Each of the ports use the book cover as their guide, but they use different versions of the cover.