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Review CornerSoftware
Rescue Heroes Hurricane Havoc
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
Kids will have a grand time blasting roadblocks, rescuing people and pets, putting out fires, and a whole lot more. This program has excellent entertainment value.
 
Ages: 4-7  Subject: Adventure  Brand: The Learning Company
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
image Product Overview
Based on the Fisher Price action-figure collection as well as the new CBS TV show, Hurricane Havoc is an action adventure that involves racing to save people, animals, and buildings after a hurricane has hit the city. Billy Blazes, the leader, invites kids to become rescue heroes. A training camp is set up for the heroes-in-training, and kids can learn all about tropical storms, then a tropical storm simulation is set in motion. At the Control Panel, there are 5 activities (emergency scenes):
  • Building Breakthrough involves rescuing objects at Metro Bay Museum. The electricity is out so the elevators don't work, and the stairway is blocked by debris. Kids must use a jackhammer to break through all 5 levels of the museum, stopping to collect items from the museum collection.
  • Flood Runner has kids rescuing people stranded by flood waters by steering boats in this arcade-style activity.
  • In Helicopter Heroics, kids join Wendy in the fire 'copter to put out the scattered fires and save the people. They must click on arrow keys to steer the helicopter over the fires and people.
  • In Roadblock Buster, piles of debris are blocking streets and rescue vehicles can't get through. Players' jobs are to navigate a motorcycle through the streets and bust up road blocks. Kids will refer to an overhead map and click on the arrow keys to move the motorcycle around.
  • Save the Pets involves putting out the fire at Metro Bay Animal Hospital, then retrieving all the animals (some of which are scared and hiding) from the building.

Kids also get to design their own custom printable Rescue Heroes Gear, and they can print out stickers to make their monitor look like the Control Panel.

Although the music is exciting and there is much drama, kids are assured from the get-go that these missions are only simulations, and that no one is in any real danger. The music is very peppy and pulls kids into the spirit of rescuing and heroism. Arcade activities are extremely forgiving, making it easy for young kids to be successful and to feel confident.

This program plays like an adventure. Each emergency scene needs to be completed before receiving the title of Rescue Hero. After each activity is successfully completed, kids earn a badge that can be printed. Once the entire mission is finished, children have the option to play the game again in mission mode, or to simply re-play the activities with the added bonus of trying to beat their times.

Testers loved this program to no end. The music, sound effects, and game play were very exciting to them. Jackhammering sound effects and roadblock busting were especially satisfying. The whole mission, however, is rather short. Kids within the suggested age range will likely finish the game in less than an hour. Once the adventure was complete, kid testers were rather annoyed by the excessive prompts/questions to "play the activities again" after they answered "yes" the first time, but that didn't stop them.

Although this title may be a game we would expect to be most appealing to little boys, the most ardent fan in the test group was a 3 year old girl who simply couldn't get enough of these activities.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98, a 486/66, 16 Mb RAM, and 4X CD ROM drive. Mac users require a Power PC, 16MB Ram, System 7.5.1 and a 4X CD ROM. Both require 17 Mb of hard disk space.

The graphics are excellent — they are colorful and crisp — and the audio is clear.

Skills Covered
safety, respect for the environment, creative thinking, introduction to early science concepts, imagination and role-playing, navigational skills

Educational Value
Although basic safety and early science concepts are introduced, this program is designed more to be fun than educational.

Entertainment Value
Satisfying sound effects, cool 3-D graphics, action-packed activities, and exciting music all combine to make this an extremely fun game for preschoolers and early elementary children.

Design
For the most part, kids were able to play the game independently, although they complained of having to answer the question "play activities again?" too frequently.

Replayability
The adventure itself is rather short, but the mission is replayable.

Dollar Value
The suggested retail price of $20 US is probably right on target for the amount of content and entertainment value of this title.

Released: 1999