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Game reviews

By CHUCK MURPHY, Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 18, 2001

In each of these games, the user should be prepared to visit for troubleshooting or downloads to fix conflicts, or slow play.

102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue

  • System: Windows 95/98
  • Maker: Disney Interactive
  • Price: $19.99
    Dalmatian puppies Oddball and Domino must rescue their puppy family and watch out for Cruella De Vil in this complicated game from Disney. The puppies move through different game levels and game situations as challenges are thrown at them. They'll find bones to munch, gathering points toward a surprise as they dive into crates to free the other puppies. The characters are quite well drawn and the story is cute, as one might expect from Disney, but the game is balky. The program needs 50 megabytes of hard disk space and 32 MB of RAM, and it uses it all. Users also need a minimum 4 MB video card. In short, if your system is more than a couple of years old, you might think twice about this game. Additionally, a Microsoft gamepad is probably a better option for playing than using the keyboard controls.

    102 Dalmatians Activity Center

    System: Windows 95/98, Macintosh OS 8.1 through 9.X
    Maker: Disney Interactive
    Price: $19.99
    Same characters as the action game, with basically the same goal: Keeping puppies safe. Players can adopt a puppy from the shelter and go online to find other activities. Or stick with the CD and move through different activities that test keyboard, or keypad, speed; logic skills, such as feeding the dogs; or putting stickers in a pre-arranged scene. But this software is even more space-hungry than the action game. It can be installed in 55 megabytes of hard drive space but will take up to 350 MB and 32 MB of RAM if you let it. On the plus side, while it is hard to imagine a child under 7 who would be able to get through the action game, the activity center offers enough easy activities to keep a 4- or 5-year-old busy for at least a short time.

    The Emperor's New Groove Action Game

    System: Windows 95/98
    Maker: Disney Interactive
    Price: $19.99
    The emperor has been turned into a Llama and now he must get back to the palace and retake human form before he can regain his throne. But to do it, he'll first need to eat up another big chunk of hard drive space: 100 megabytes at least. But if you have the space, the game is challenging. The llama/emperor starts in a village and works his way through various misadventures. His goal is to get through eight primary levels and back to the palace. Along the way, he can pick up objects that will make him stronger or healthier for his journey. Like the other Disney games, it's clever and well drawn. Like the other Disney games, it is too complex for younger kids. It takes at least 10 different keyboard controls to maneuver through the playing area -- a little daunting for a little guy to remember.

    The Emperor's New Groove Groove Center

  • System: Windows 95/98, Macintosh OS 8.5 through 9.X
  • Maker: Disney Interactive
  • Price: $19.99
  • The llama who would be emperor is hanging by a thread above hungry crocodiles or surrounded by soldiers in a precarious spot. Either way, it is up to the player to help. These games aren't nearly as complicated as the action game and can be a little more fun. But, continuing with a theme, they also need a lot of computer power: at least 100 MB, an 8X CD-ROM drive and 32 MB of RAM to work. Kids also can raise crops in one portion of the activity center, following explicit instructions to feed the village, or create an animated tapestry. Younger kids can find something to do in the Groove Center, if their computer can handle its bulk. for troubleshooting or downloads to fix conflicts, or slow play.">

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