Der Schatz von Venedig
(= The Treasure of Venice)
Release date: 1997
Developer: De Agostini / Daniele Panebarco
Game language: Deutsch
USK: suitable for all ages
A review by André 10th August 2003
Ebay - infinite space! Unexplored area! Homeland of numerous rarities and obscurities to buy at an auction! And so one beautiful day I got hold of this only meagerly described game, only knowing that it's an adventure game for children. What would expect me?
One day I received a maxi letter. I tored it eagerly open - suspecting the contents - and put the CD, that was in it, into the appropriate device of my home computer. To cut a long story short: The Treasure of Venice is not really a rare piece, but at least a somewhat rare obscurity, and no uninteresting one.
Graphics + puzzles
Who perhaps acquires the game, should play it in a different light. The graphics are clearly first and foremost suitable for children. It reminds me a bit of "Mr. Rossi is looking for Luck", even if the game is in any case independent. I loved this psychedelic child TV serial, running in the 70s, as a child without really having understood it at that time. I also heard that the series was actually conceived for adults, but because of the big success was taken up into the child programme too. They speak of cut out sequences. Rumors...
However, the graphics of "The Treasure of Venice" thus remind me from the atmosphere a little of mentioned, legendary child series, but comes along with quite independent graphics and design. It is likewise simple and very coloured.
Despite the graphics the author nevertheless succeeds in including the one or other adult player too. And so there is a somewhat more hidden, quite anarchistic humor apart from the obvious humor for children.
There are some for kids adventures typical hotspots, where something ridiculous, unreasonable happens if you click on them. That is exciting for the small ones, for whom the game was conceived, but a bit ebarrassing for the adult player, but we must - like it or not - stand it!
Really hard puzzles are of course no such luck. Nevertheless the puzzles aren't that simple too. But that isn't necessarily at the beginning caused by the puzzles themselves, but because of the somewhat unusual controls. Because straight at the beginning the controls need getting used to, if you for example have to grab an object and pull it through a door into another room. While you're doing this, the perspective might downright change from 3rd-person to ego-view. But one gets accustomed fast and if you know all about it, the puzzles' degree of difficulty rises slowly. In addition, concerning the gameflow, it has something to offer. Because one actually is after certain objects the whole time. And if you found them, the item goes usually lost again. This speeds up the game. There are also some timed sequences and here the degree of difficulty increases too in the course of the game.
Sometime there are also small action sequences. So you must go through e.g. a boat race or must fly up a building with a few hair-dryer-operated balloons.
A sequence that I can remember, I missed while playing the game for the second time, and so I assume that "The Treasure of Venice" isn't linear. Leo himself confirms this at the end of the game, by unobtrusively pointing out, that we yet haven't seen everything and a second playing would be worthwhile.
The game has the curious making sub-title "Leo's Quest for the Secret of the Templars". Also for adults the story is interesting, even if it's told very descriptive and suitable for children not only in the quite long intro but also in the further game process:
We play Leo Leoni and study history. Leo's father as well as his friend professor Pannelotti worked on the Templars. One day Pannelotti finds behind a shelf in a library a small box with a pergament and a strange piece of soap. The next day (!) Pannelotti dies under mysterious circumstances. Besides our friend, the professor's daughter, is kidnapped.
And other people too seem to be interested in the pergament. A trace leads to Venice and Leo tries to release the kidnapped friend of course and thereby encounters the secret of the Templars.
So far in brief. The story is exitingly told and besides we also get some information about the Templars. Therefore it got the rightful rating of 5 Mice from Ratgeber Kindersoftware.
Straight at the beginning the lively title song resounds. Afterwards you hear again and again catchy instrumental tracks in typical Italian Easy Listening style. During the game there are many varied sounds and melodies matching the situation.
Unfortunately there are no sub-titles. I actually find sub-titles always very important for adventure games. On the one hand there can always be problems with speech output, on the other hand I would like to point out, that ther might be hearing-impaired gamers, who remain prevented from playing then. And exactly adventure games could actually be a marvelous medium for this target group.
Anything else to report?
Not much to write about it other than that. Except that "The Treasure of Venice" is finished in a few hours corresponding to the simple puzzles. Oh, and that author Daniele Panebarco is probably to some extent well-known in his homeland Italy, according to the short bio in the manual, because he has 1996 won the Andersen-award (after the fairy tale author?). And beyond that: As the game was made for children, it's accordingly without reservation recommendable, since it doesn't contain really nasty or brutal scenes.
Well, and how should I rate the game yet? Children are probably enthusiastical about it and so I would like to rate it for the appropriate age group with 85%.
The adult player should apply however a certain tolerance in relation to child programmes. Stamping is not everything, but surely it wouldn't be bad at all, if you were influenced as a child for example by "Mr. Rossi" or "Barbapapa" and are even today not blushing while watching the "Sendung mit der Maus" (German kid's TV series). So it will probably remain a matter of opinion whether the game pleases.
I enjoyed this small, but entertaining game because of the amazing good story and the partly hidden, sarcastic kind of humor. It offers some beautiful surprises and dynamics, and therefore I can imagine that "The Treasure of Venice" might spread its own charm also with people who are no nostalgics thanks to the endearing graphics. Those who are not yet deterred, should make a grab for a few Euro.
My personal rating in any case:73 %
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements PC:
- Windows 3.1 or higher
- 486/DX2 with 66 MHz processor
- 8 MB RAM
- 2x CDROM-drive
- Sound Blaster compatible soundcard
- 256 colours, SVGA graphic card
Minimal system requirements MAC:
- System 7.0 or higher
- 14" monitor with 256 colours
- 8 MB RAM
- 2x CDROM-drive
- Win 98
- Pentium III
- 64 MB Ram
- Soundblaster Pro
- 40x CDROM-drive