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Video Game / The ClueFinders Math Adventures Ages 9–12: Mystery in the Himalayas

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1998 title screen (above) and 1999 title screen (below)
The ClueFinders Math Adventures Ages 9–12: Mystery in the Himalayas is an entry in The ClueFinders series of Edutainment Games.

When priceless treasures are stolen from a small Himalayan village, the ClueFinders come to investigate. Playing as Joni, Santiago, and LapTrap, your task is to recover the treasures one by one. To find a treasure, you need to identify the object that was stolen, the person who stole it, and the place where it's hidden. By playing the math-themed Mini-Games in the village, you're awarded with clues that help to narrow the range of possibilities. If you successfully pare it down to the correct combination, the treasure is recovered, and you begin work on the next one. As more and more treasures are found, the various culprits begin to insist that they were not truly responsible for the thefts. They speak instead of having been forced to do it by the mysterious yeti!

The game was originally released in 1998, then re-released in 1999 with an overhaul to many graphics, redone cutscenes, and some storyline alterations. This remains the only game in the series to receive this sort of treatment.

This game provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Mundanity: The 1999 version removes some of the more fantastical elements of the original 1998 version. LapTrap is no longer zapped with the power of the ancients, and the yeti is no longer revealed to be real during the ending cutscene.
  • Adults Are Useless: None of the villagers, the majority of whom are adults, offer any real assistance in solving the case. Somewhat justified in that they are actually all the culprits.
  • Art Evolution: The ClueFinders series had a distinct change in art style in 1999. This is most evident when comparing the original release of this game with the re-release; the original release uses the old art style (From 3rd grade) while the re-release uses the updated art style.
  • The Artifact: Despite the elimination of other supernatural elements, the 1999 version still features the treasures mystically flying into the arms of the elder when they're found. And even though LapTrap is no longer zapped with the power of the ancients, he still senses whether an area has more clues.
  • Alphabet Soup Cans: Unsurprising given that it's an edutainment game. One of the more egregious examples involves the photographer, whose minigame has you sorting falling rocks... apparently, she has nothing better to photograph.'
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The 1999 version allows you to make up to two times - the first version however requires you to get it right on the first try. Additionally, the elder (or the suspect) will tell you if everything but one is right.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Thought to be the villain who stole the treasures. Turns out it was actually the village elder's apprentice in disguise.
  • Blatant Lies: The villagers' excuses when confronted about the stolen treasures early on in the game are this. Leslie even calls them out as flimsy.
  • Breaking Out: When the bricks are hit, they spawn numbers, and you have to zap the one that correctly fills in the equation at the top of the screen. Reading Adventures features a similar version of this, in which you have to shoot the correct words instead of the correct numbers.
  • City with No Name: The Himalayan village that the game is set in is never named.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: There's a joke about LapTrap being unable to play handball because he doesn't have any hands. In later games, he has robotic arms that can extend out of his body.
  • Everybody Did It: Because of the randomised "Who took what and hid it where?" aspect, technically everyone will have stolen at least one object.
  • Fetch Quest: And for once, the requisite fetch quest in a ClueFinders game involves finding actual clues.
  • Foreshadowing: During the opening cutscene, the apprentice is the only one to insist that the yeti must have stolen the treasures. In the original release, he also frequently voices doubts towards the village elder's attempts to solve the problem, and when the ClueFinders are forming their plan to solve the mystery, he tries to object to no avail. When he's revealed to be the true culprit, it becomes clear that these were his attempts to cover up his crime.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Weirdly averted. Out of the eight possible suspects, three are male and five are female.
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed for Your Protection: A variation. Math Adventures is obviously set in Tibet, but the game insists on describing the setting as "high in the Himalayas".
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Like in The ClueFinders 3rd Grade Adventures, the game mainly focuses on Joni and Santiago exploring and meeting people, while Owen and Leslie stay behind, for seemingly no real reason. At least in the 1999 version, Owen and Leslie are gathering intel off-screen, which they then share with Joni and Santiago during the tent cutscenes. In the 1998 version, all the intel comes from LapTrap's visions.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the other ClueFinders games, this one has much lower stakes (most of the other games start off with someone getting kidnapped), and the setting is much more colorful and laid-back.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Present when Joni and Santiago make an accusation about where an item was hidden by who with notable pauses. Sometimes, it can end up with them alternating.
    Joni: "According to our clues, we learned that the [suspect]..."
    Santiago: "Took the [item]."
    Joni: "And hid it in the [location]."
  • Nameless Narrative: Aside from the ClueFinders themselves, no one has a name. Instead, the village residents are identified as "the guide," "the photographer," "the tailor," etc.
  • Not Me This Time: Considering that Everybody Did It, wrongly accused suspects will say they're not the guilty party.
  • Oddball in the Series: It's either this one or 4th Grade Adventures. Unlike every other game in the series, Math Adventures takes place in only one zone and has the ClueFinders actually collecting clues to solve mysteries. Additionally, this game has a much more bare-bones plot with much lower stakes. It's telling that this is the only game in the series in which no one gets kidnapped at any point. It's also the only time besides 4th Grade that the ClueFinders don't wear their regular outfits, even if their Math Adventures outfits are basically just winterized versions of said regular outfits.
  • Palette Swap: Between the 1998 and 1999 versions, several characters kept the overall same design but with some color changes.
  • Real After All: In the original release, the yeti is revealed to be real at the end. This is completely averted in the updated re-release.
  • Red Herring: The original release sets up several possible motives for stealing the treasures for the writer, the photographer, and the guide. In the end, none of these characters have anything to do with the crime.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: In the ending cutscene, the ClueFinders do literally nothing to defeat the villain. He just shows up and then happens to get wiped out by a convenient avalanche.
  • Updated Re-release: The 1999 re-release reworks various graphics, adds additional background music to some scenes that previously had none, and even alters some plotlines. Specific changes include:
    • The newer version cuts a subplot in which LapTrap is zapped with the wisdom of the ancients. Receiving clues is thus changed from LapTrap getting zapped again to the villagers simply offering to share information. The tent cutscenes are also consequently rewritten, with the kids theorizing on their own instead of receiving magical visions from LapTrap.
    • In the 1998 version, you need to recover all twenty-four treasures. In the 1999 version, you only need to find sixteen treasures, and the remaining eight are found in the yeti's cave during the ending cutscene.
    • In the 1998 version, you get only one chance to get the object, suspect, and location correct. The 1999 version gives you two chances.
  • We Will Meet Again: In the re-release, the last cutscene ends with the apprentice saying "You can't stop me, you meddling ClueFinders!" after surviving the avalanche. Averted in the original release, where he is instead pulled under the snow by the yeti, only letting out a scream as it happens.
  • You Meddling Kids: Invoked by the apprentice at the end of the game.