Software review: Lion King II
By DAVE SCHEIBER
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 7, 1998
o, your kids have seen and committed to memory all the animal antics in Simba's Pride, the straight-to-video sequel to The Lion King. But now, watching the video just doesn't cut it for them, and they've already viewed the original enough times that you know all the lines by heart, too. Not to worry. Disney has come up with two extra ways for young Lion King faithful to commune with the characters of Pride ROM, er, Rock.
Not surprisingly, both Active Play (ages 3-7) and Gamebreak (5 and up) for Windows 95 are filled with dazzling graphics, cool sound and music, and entertaining interactive activities that properly lionize the landmark Disney movie franchise.
Active Play showcases sage and sociable primate Rafiki as a master of ceremonies of sorts. Imprinted on his tree are the images of animals, which can be clicked on to lead little cubs Kovu and Kiara -- along with your little one -- through an array of memory games and mild challenges.
One of the highlights is "Jungle Jam," in which you make your own music by feeding a gathering of hungry giraffes. If your computer has a microphone, this activity also will allow you to record an eight-second sample of your voice to weave into the action. There is a neat art element to Active Play as well, allowing kids to color and customize the animals and to print their creations as trading cards, stickers, masks, etc. Full Prideland scenes can be created in another segment -- either from scratch or by using dozens of character poses and backgrounds, with the option of adding text to go with the art.
Each game sequence offers its own introductory sing-along song, with scrolling lyrics so kids who know how to read can follow. The goal of Active Play is to reach Pride Rock by playing all the games and passing a little quiz. The reward is hearing a special song to celebrate with and getting access to a new menu of games that can be printed out.
Gamebreak, featuring four gently competitive games, is for a slightly older set. One tip: Should your game not install properly and a sound-card error message appear, go to your settings option in the start-up menu, then to the control panel, then select the multimedia function. Once there, you should be able to change your preferred audio selection option to Game Device. That should solve the problem; if not, call the tech support line contained in the brochure. (You may have to switch back to the original audio setting to get other non-Disney games to work, however.)
The three levels of difficulty for each contest in Gamebreak increase the potential for holding children's interest a little longer. Of course, it will be only a matter of time before they'll start itching for the next Disney animated movie and resulting line of CD-ROM games. Can you say A Bug's Life?
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: Gamebreak and Active Play
Company: Disney Interactive