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problem solving software
Equipped with half a map and loads of zeal, Moop and Dreadly set off for Bing Bong Island in search of the long, lost Golden Glockenspiel. Moop and Dreadly need help from players to locate and use various inventory items (fish snacks, pile of laundry, rope, ukulele, jack and pulley, to name a few) to overcome obstacles they encounter during their search for the treasure. Players meet several crazy characters along the way, including Chief Earwig, Mrs. Hornswoggle, Jack Tick, Henchmen Mort and Wart and Princess Connie. This animated program, from the creators of Freddi Fish, is divided into six sequential chapters, each one beginning with a brief cartoon-like recap of the previous chapter’s events.
Moop & Dreadly in the Treasure on Bing Bong Island is essentially a task in observation and problem solving. Players must remember where they have seen particular items during their journey and determine how to use these articles to overcome the difficulties they encounter during the game. For example, Dreadly’s pile of laundry can be sewn together to repair a torn sail on their ship; the sail is then attached to Mrs. Hornswoggle’s balloon to lift gigantic Boulder #2, allowing Moop and Dreadly to satisfy the “Traditional Tribal Test of Strength”.
The educational value, in fact, seems minimal as many of the tools and tasks are not terribly practical or logical. Additionally, the animated scenes are so numerous and lengthy that players spend as much time just watching the monitor as they do trying to solve problems. The targeted user age of five seems appropriate; kids much older may not be engaged by this program that simply requires them to click around the screen.
Plaid Banana Entertainment certainly knows how to do animation. The cartoon-quality images and carousel-like music are a big hit with young users. Another clever feature is the brief summary of previous events that begins each of the six chapters of the game. They are presented in an old black and white film reel style, narrated by a very dramatic voice similar to that of the live-action Batman television series of the 60’s (“Will Batman be able to save Gotham City?”).
Players seem to enjoy the zany cast of characters as well as some of the off-the-wall challenges encountered during the quest. The quest, however, is lengthy and involves a lot of backtracking, which irritated some users. Players are not always allowed to pick up items the first time they are encountered but must come back for them later, a source of frustration for the more efficient players. Parents looking to entertain their kids for a while might find this program useful; but because of the lack of educational content, it certainly doesn’t warrant use in the classroom.
The software is very easy to install and to uninstall. Since program navigation consists simply of clicking around on the screen, adult supervision is necessary mainly for determining what the next challenge might be, which is sometimes unclear. The on-CD manual includes technical information as well as hints for progressing through the quest. Plaid Banana Entertainment did include a very handy feature for those kids/parents who tire of the lengthy animated segments: the ESC key. This will allow the user to skip to the next interactive portion of the program.
Moop & Dreadly in the Treasure on Bing Bong Island is best suited to home use by young users (5-6) with persistence; it’s a long quest. The program might be appreciated by parents looking for a step up for their kids from cartoons or a video.
PC: Windows 95 or better, Pentium 233 MHz processor, 32MB of RAM, 16-bit color, Direct-X compatible video card, 16-bit Direct-X compatible sound card, CD-ROM, 150MB hard disk space .return to top of page
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