The Hardy Boys: The Hidden Theft review

As opposed to the open, honest theft

GamesRadar+ Verdict


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    It's the good ol' Hardy Boys!

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    Sterile environments

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    Deathly boring story

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    arbitrary item collection

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You’re a tough police chief working the Bayport area. You’ve spent years on the force, honing your investigative skills and enforcing the law. Imagine your delight when a couple of motorbike riding, spoiled rich kids decide to ‘help out’ on your latest case. You’d probably wish they stuck to stuffing their noses with coke and running over hobos.

Frank and Joe Hardy might be 80 years old in print, but here they’re slappably young Abercrombie and Fitch models with a taste for meddling. They lurch from one creepily bland room to another, trying to solve the theft of some bearer bonds (exciting!) from an old mansion. It’s all pointing and clicking, collecting endless crap with the promise that it will become vital later on: blank paper, a hubcap, an exotic pet bird that doubles as a tape recorder. The items don’t appear in any logical order, so you’ll just wander around with them, occasionally trying to douse the parrot in that hydrogen peroxide you found just to pass the time. Talking to anyone isn’t much better: you just click through the lists of dialogue at random until someone burbles something vaguely sensible.

And when you get to the puzzles they’re about as meaty as Keira Knightley. Today even eight-year-olds are watching The Wire and CSI, so no one is going to get excited about investigating the local costume shop or reconstructing the chemical composition of aspirin. Sure, the boys try and lure you in with a little bit of gore, a dab of blood on a rag to investigate, but it’s not the same as a man that’s been choked to death on his own eyeballs is it?

Worryingly, they take the bloody cloth to a friend at school to test it. Maybe our school was particularly badly funded, but we don’t remember any forensic equipment for analyzing body fluids. When a game can make blood boring, you know you’re on to a loser. The only real mystery here is who would ever buy this.

Jan 8, 2009

More info

DescriptionAs boringly old-fashioned and lame as the main characters, Hidden Theft is stupidly simple.
US censor rating"Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+"
UK censor rating"Rating Pending","Rating Pending"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)