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Review CornerSoftware
Disney's Mickey Saves the Day 3D Adventure
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
This 3D adventure game is graphically rich and compelling. Be prepared to help your child with this program, as it is not entirely easy even on the lowest difficulty level.
Award
Ages: 4-8  Subject: Adventure  Brand: Disney Interactive
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
image Product Overview
Who will you be — Mickey or Minnie Mouse? That’s the first of a whole bunch of exciting choices your young child will make in this interactive, 3D Disney adventure. Children are welcomed into a gorgeous world where familiar Disney characters make their home. It’s Minnie and Mickey’s hometown, and if your child has chosen to be Mickey, it’s elected-mayor Minnie’s big day, but she’s nowhere to be found!

So starts a graphically rich, 3D adventure with beloved Disney pals. Though the adventure takes kids through the hometown — the park, downtown, and more — some of these areas are not accessible right away. For example, at the outset, kids are allowed to explore Minnie’s house, Mickey’s House, the grounds of Big Bad Pete’s abode, the park, and the Professor’s lab. The path to downtown is blocked by construction work until kids have uncovered enough items and storylines in these areas. Through these initial explorations, we learn the whereabouts of the kidnapped mayor-to-be, the means to perform a rescue operation (the Professor’s flying machine), and the missing parts required to complete that invention.

Besides searching for the missing parts of the flying machine, there are recyclable items to collect along the way and mini-games to play. Some of these include a matching game that involves cleaning up garbage in the park (and since a trash collector’s job is never done, kids can play this game endlessly), a maze activity in the factory, and an arcade-style sandwich-making game at the Greasy Fork, Knife, & Spoon Restaurant downtown.

Strengths & Weaknesses:

No matter which "hero" the player selects, the game plays basically the same way. There are 2 difficulty levels to choose from, and even the "Easy" level had kid testers stumped for some time. They needed parental assistance to get them past the first hump of the game. As such, be prepared to invest some time figuring things out. (Hint: be sure you offer either Mickey’s button or Minnie’s bow — depending on the hero your child has selected — to Pluto so he can "sniff" out the whereabouts of the kidnapped character; this can be done only after you’ve helped Pluto overcome his sniffles with a perfectly made bowl of chicken soup, which in turn can only be prepared once the recipe for the soup has been deciphered!).

The 3D graphics are fun, but if game-play is sacrificed, kids will prefer animated adventures, hands down. In this case, the waits are sometimes painful, and there are fewer hotspots to uncover than many animated adventure-style programs. This title is lacking some "smart" features and contains some inconsistencies — and yes, kids notice them too. Some inconsistencies that testers observed were characters entering a new scene from the wrong direction after using the map feature, the restaurant owner remarking about the mess on the floor even when it was clean, and although our hero seems to receive the candy that the candy store cashier has handed to him/her, we never see that happen — it is simply understood!

One of the strengths of the program is the recycling theme — kids are not only encouraged to pick up recyclable items, the villain of the game Big Bad Pete is so bad, he wants to turn all of the beautiful trees into toothpicks and he doesn’t even clean up after himself! Disney Interactive can usually be counted on to sprinkle humor throughout many of their titles — things that often go over the heads of the intended audience, almost as if to entertain parents too.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Win 95/98, Pentium 233, 32 MB RAM, 8X CD-ROM, 16-bit DirectX-compatible sound card, 640x480 16-bit color DirectX-compatible video card, 100 MB of hard drive space. Be sure you have the minimum requirements for the video card — on one of our test computers, the 3D characters seemed to "float" over the 2D background. Installation is long…but it’s musical!

Skills Covered
memory, logic, spatial reasoning

Educational Value
Though some of the puzzles require kids to use their brains and employ critical thinking skills, we did notice that kid testers often resorted to mindless trial and error to solve them.

Entertainment Value
The graphics in the game are eye-popping, with 3D characters roaming the lush 2D backgrounds.

Design
Players are supposed to be able to interrupt chatter by pressing the spacebar, but our attempts to do so weren’t always successful. A map feature is a nice addition to help kids get to places quickly.

Replayability
The longevity of this game will depend very much on whether children receive adequate help when they are stuck. There’s actually a lot of interesting potential game-play here, however, for children persistent enough to discover it. Those who stick with it to the end should be satisfied with the program’s content.

Dollar Value
This CD-ROM sells for $30 Cdn/$20 US.

Released: 2000
Reviewed: November 2000