Kids take charge of popular Rescue Heroes characters as they work through three exciting missions with multiple activities in each. One mission, "Burning Blackout", involves putting out fires, cleaning up debris, and saving people and animals after a lightning storm has knocked out power and a tornado has hit the city. Two other disaster zones that need players' attention come after a volcano has erupted and a flood has devastated a town.
Children sign in and choose either of two levels: silver or gold. Beginners should start with the silver level in order to get accustomed to the goals and controls of the game. Gold level missions are slightly more complex and contain more tasks to complete. In Burning Blackout, children move Billy Blazes through the town, either in a vehicle or by foot, tending to a number of tasks. They pick up debris and drop them in dumpsters, shoot water at fires in windows, use a helicopter to pick up people (up to four at a time) and drop them off at the helipad, turn off the gas by going underground into the sewer, and so forth. More havoc is created after a volcano erupts. In Mission Volcano Fury, mudslides and rivers of lava have trapped campers. Children help build bridges over the lava, use berries to lure deer out of danger, refill water tanks, and fix a radio antenna. A passenger is trapped on the top of the ferris wheel in the Flood Force Mission, and kids need to bring supplies to the first aid station, feed lost dolphins, and more.
Players are congratulated at the end of each mission with encouraging words like, "Mission accomplished!" and "We're thrilled to have you in command." Young players will enjoy lending a hand! Kids can use either the computer mouse or arrow keys to complete tasks. Players learn a few safety rules as they play.
The game has a pleasing air of suspense and action that is exhilirating for young players, yet never frustrates kids because the software is forgiving, provides lots of in-game instruction, and is not too difficult or frantic. There are two levels of difficulty to work through, but when children attempt the same level again, they are faced with the same tasks to complete.
Minimum system requirements are Windows 98/Me/XP/2000, Pentium II 266 MHz (Pentium II 300 MHz for XP), 64 MB RAM (128 MB for XP), and 12X CD-ROM. Mac users require a Power Mac G3 266 MHz or faster, OS 9.2.1, 10.1.5, 10.2.3 (Classic), 64 MB RAM (128 MB for 10.1.5 and up), and 16X CD-ROM.
Memory, motor skills, prediction.
Although designed as an entertaining CD-ROM, players learn a few safety rules and engage in some problem solving as they play.
The game is exciting without being frantic. Children stay on their toes as they complete their missions, but the pace is never overwhelming.
Many young players are unable to take in the initial instructions right away. However, navigation becomes very clear as they play, and helpful instructions are offered throughout the game.
Although children are able to work through two difficulty levels with different tasks in each, the missions are the same when they repeat the same level. As a result, the game may be short-lived for many players, although certainly exciting enough to repeat at least once.
This CD-ROM carries a suggested retail price of $19.99 US.
Reviewed: July 2003