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 Big City Adventures: San Francisco

The city of San Francisco is best known for its steep hills, cable cars, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Prison and probably the most recognizable of ‘em all …Rice-A- Roni®. C’mon sing it along with me, “Rice-a-Roni® the San Francisco treat!” Ha-ha, thanks that was fun! Thanks.

Well, now we can add treasure hunt to its list of attractions and not just any treasure hunt but the First Annual Big City Adventure Treasure Hunt! As you’ve probably guessed by now it’s a hidden objects game, but if you think it’s just another hide and seek items type of game well…yeah ok it is kinda like that , but it also has a cute story attached to it.

San Francisco is gearing up for a city-wide scavenger/treasure hunt extravaganza and your lucky family was chosen as one of the teams! The city has emptied pawn shops, snatched up knick-knack collectors' collections, and picked the San Francisco dump clean... all in order to fill various city locations with clutter, clutter, and more clutter.

Did you know that San Francisco’s cable cars are the only moving National Monuments in the world?

Okay, so we’ve already established that this is a "hidden objects" game which to be honest with you I’m not a big fan of. I find them to be very boring and monotonous but the screenshots that I stumbled upon peeked my interest enough to give it a try. And besides I’ve always wanted to visit San Francisco; ever since I started watching the T.V. show “Full House” back in 1987 and fell in love with the Tanner family, but sadly it hasn’t worked out. So for now "Big City Adventure: San Francisco" is as close as I’m going to get to visiting this city. My virtual e-travel agent promises it will be a scavenger's trip of a lifetime!

When you first start the game you are asked to pick your character, your choices are Mom, Dad, brother, sister, crazy Grandma, or Grandpa. Your avatar doesn't actually affect the game in any way, but being able to choose gives it a nice personal touch. And then you're off! As soon as your feet touch the ground you're whisked to the famous island prison of Alcatraz, better known as “The Rock” for Round 1of the hunt. You are shown a scene made up of a hodge-podge of objects, and asked to find 12 (or more!) specific ones.

Before each new level you'll learn some interesting and some far out historical facts about the foggy city via a "postcard" written to your friends back home. For instance did you know more people visit Alcatraz each day than were ever incarcerated there in its 29 year history as a federal penitentiary and that it is believed to be haunted! But if you aren’t interested in learning anything about the city you can easily click past the postcards if you like it’s not as if you will be tested on them at any time. There are 60 rounds of treasure hunting (garbage picking) with 60 rounds of entertaining mini-games mixed in.

Did you know that the Golden Gate Bridge only took about four years to build?

Like all games of this kind, when you arrive at each location you'll find a bunch of items/objects displayed in such a way that would make even the best hoarders in the world jealous! Many of the items will be specific to the location but you'll see the usual suspects like hamburgers, umbrellas, and spiders. (It's impossible to make a hidden images game without spiders I think.) Some objects will be quite obvious, while others will be cleverly disguised. In any case, it is your job to find all the items listed before time runs out. Be warned… it starts off easy, but it will get harder! So don’t get all cocky early on like I did.

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The creators have added a time penalty for overzealous clicking. They aren't strict about it, however; you really have to be clicking around the screen like a wild man to be penalized. When you do get stuck which you inevitably will at some point, hints are given to help you but guess what-you have to find them! The hints are in the form of gold coins which are hidden amongst other hidden objects in the picture, but don’t worry they aren’t hidden too well and are pretty easy to spot. (Hint:They are huge and round with great big question marks on them.)

As I mentioned before, gameplay is not just about digging through level after level of accumulated junk. Fun minigames are thrown in as you progress between San Francisco's many famous and infamous locations. Match 3 tile games make an appearance, as well as the old memory game where you flip tiles over to match pairs of items. The last minigame, a standard jigsaw puzzle, breaks up the tile madness.

Did you know that there are 43 named hills in San Francisco?

What really sets Big City Adventure: San Francisco apart from the all the rest, however, is its attention to detail. Each location is beautiful with cute animations and realistic background sounds that add life to an otherwise still life/clip art game. Bugs crawl on walls, lights flicker, pigs fly (no not really!) but you get the picture. Meanwhile, you can hear people rustling about, the murmur of them talking around you, and the sounds of doors opening and closing. I know it's just a small touch, but it really adds something special to the game's overall charm.

For example, when hunting through the stuff in a Mexican restaurant, you’ll feel like grabbing a burrito. In the makeup room of the Opera House you can practically smell the face powder, and when you’re amongst the crowded streets in Market Square you can almost hear the sound of the cable car bell and feel like grabbing a hot dog (What? I got hungry again and besides that burrito was hours ago!)

Did you know Rice-A- Roni® is called that because the product is made up of half rice and half pasta?

The one complaint that I have with Big City Adventure: San Francisco is that you can't go back and replay a level. In fact the only way to do this would be to start over from scratch! Weird. The ability to replay a completed level or minigame for that matter, at any time should have been included don’t you think? Oh well maybe in the next one perhaps; I can almost guarantee you that there are going to be more. In fact the marketing for this game says it’s the first of the Big City Adventure series. How much you wanna bet New York, L.A., London and Paris are next on the list?

Big City Adventure: San Francisco is a top-notch “hidden objects” game. It's a treat for the eyes and ears. I guess Rice-A-Roni® isn't the only San Francisco treat any more!

Big City Adventure Tips & Tricks

Bonus Coins

  • Make sure to look for the hidden bonus coins. They can help you to find difficult objects and can give you some more time and even some bonus points.
  • Save your hint and fast forward coins for when you really need them (the objects are harder to find as the game goes on). If you don't use them right away, they can be saved to use in future rounds.
  • You can use the time bonus coins just before you finish to get a higher time bonus, even if you aren't running out of time.

Game Play

  • If you like a more easy going type of game, try relaxed mode and you won’t have to play with a timer.
  • Try to find objects quickly to earn a quick find bonus.
  • Try and create large groups of the same object in order to earn more bonus objects and to get a bigger score.

Jigsaw puzzle minigame

  • Try placing the corner and edge pieces on the board first.

Memory minigame

  • Use the hint coins if you are having trouble finding matches. They will give you a chance to see where all the object pairs are so you can find them easier.

Get Big City Adventures: San Francisco Here

Graphics B
Sound B
Pickup & Play B
Overall Fun B

Posted by oxyjen on May 8, 2007


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