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The Great Waldo Search





Genre: Education – Children

Publisher: THQ

Total time played: 15 Minutes

Short review: Superior to the near unplayable Where’s Waldo but still not nearly as good as the best selling Waldo books.

Interesting links related to The Great Waldo Search


Rounding the Final Corner

The Great Waldo Search is one of the final affordable NES games I needed to complete my collection. When it showed up in the mail I spent a few minutes cleaning the cart and then playing it to make sure it worked. It worked, I got sucked in and 15 minutes later I beat it.

A Huge Step Forward

Where’s Waldo is not a good Waldo game. The images are too small, there is no variety in gameplay and sometimes when you find Waldo it is by luck because what you click on doesn’t look like Waldo.

This game is a huge step forward in graphics and gameplay but somehow has some of the worst music I’ve ever heard.


Look at the detail!


A screenshot from Where’s Waldo, where is the detail?


The goal of the game is to locate Waldo and a hidden scroll in every level before time runs out. This is achieved by moving a cursor with the D-Pad around the screen. The levels can scroll quite a ways left and right so the game screen is much larger than it first appears.

When you start the game you select either Normal or Expert mode. The only difference I could tell was that in Normal mode Waldo and the hidden scroll is always in the foreground. In Expert mode Waldo and the hidden scroll can be hiding behind a character making them slightly harder to find.

There are only about 5 levels in the game but each provides a unique detailed (by NES standards) background with many on screen characters. Sometimes you are transported to a bonus stage where, for some reason, you are a dog on a flying carpet collecting point blocks.

From what I can tell the points don’t matter other than bragging rights. After you find Waldo and the scroll in every level you win.


This makes sense…

Like the Book

The best part about the Waldo books was finding all the other hidden items on the page. The books usually came with a checklist that would say “Find the man with 3 arms”. Before the internet this is how me and my friends spent our weekends, squinting at hundreds of hand drawn characters looking for a guy holding an ice cream cone upside down.

The game features a similar feature. If you collect enough hidden clocks to fill up your time meter and then collect another clock, the screen freezes and a message appears asking you to find something on screen. It is usually pretty easy to do because the game scrolls from left to right and is zoomed in pretty far. So, when you don’t have to scroll the thing you are looking for is right in front of you.

The Final Level

Just like the book, the final level/page is comprised of nothing but Waldo and you must find the real Waldo. In the game it is the Waldo missing a shoe. I admit, it took me two playthroughs to find him but as the game is only 5 levels it didn’t take long.


Find the Waldo with the missing shoe

Final Thoughts

This game is light years better than the other Waldo game on the NES and as close to the book experience as the NES could produce. I do not fault the game designers for my 3.5 heart rating, I fault the limitations of the NES.

Great Waldo Search, The.jpg




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