Lost Secret of the Rainforest. (computer game) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Lisa Young
Vibrant graphics and sounds make Lost Secret of the Rainforest a highly entertaining product. And with the freedom to explore new worlds and develop creative solutions to problems, children should find this latest addition to the Sierra Discovery Series highly educational as well. Ecology can be fun.
As Adam Greene's adventure begins in Peru, both on-screen and manual directions help familiarize children with the program and advance them through the first stage. Adam learns that he's been chosen to save the South American rain-forest and begins searching for facts that could help stop its destruction. Your child must talk to people and animals, read their responses, and collect items that will help solve the forest's mysteries. The Ecorder, a hand-held computer, stores information about each animal and plant species, about ecological disasters that threaten the forest's existence, and about the history and way of life of South America's indigenous people. The Ecorder also allows your child to review the facts, take quizzes, and print the recorded information for reference.
Using the information collected with the Ecorder, your child finds ways to advance through each level. Because the game doesn't provide instructions for solving problems, your child must explore the area and use logic and imagination to solve the puzzles, which include saving an egg from a nest fire and getting past a swarm of insects. By encouraging creative thinking, Lost Secret of the Rainforest sets itself apart from other educational games. However, the lack of instructions can be challenging sometimes, since your child is stuck in a single setting until each problem is solved and the next path is revealed.
Lost Secret of the Rainforest uses 256-color VGA to create the detailed back-drops, which include tree canopies, caves with twisting tunnels, and a village of native people. Sierra also uses 16-bit audio to create background music, realistic voices, and the natural sounds of the rainforest. The package comes with both MS-DOS and enhanced Windows versions and can be operated using mouse, joy-stick, or keyboard.
Although the game targets children age 10 and older, young users may find some of the problems frustrating; however, the thrill of solving a difficult problem is rewarding and may encourage them to continue.
Sierra guarantees that your child will gain new information while playing Lost Secret of the Rainforest and provides a full refund if you aren't convinced of the program's learning value.