GAMES FOR GIRLS - SLOW, SIMPLE AND PATRONISING
THE FIRST THREE in series of Games for Girls promised by CCS do not augur well for the rest of the line. Apart from a tenuous link with show jumping in one game, and a heroine rather than a hero in another, it is difficult to see where the special appeal for the female half of the cassette-buying public lies, unless simplicity and slowness are intended to be the main selling-point.
The intentions of CCS in producing the series may have been well-meaning but the overall quality of the games and the patronising tone of the inserts could lay the company open to charges of sexism.
Hicksted is designed as a simulation of a show jumping event but neither the graphics nor the laborious question-and-answer process which has to take place before the game can start convey any sense of excitement. The control keys are placed awkwardly and a great deal of practice is needed before the path of the horse loses its resemblance to a bull on the rampage rather than a well-trained steed.
The second side of the Tape offers a mathematical version which is a good deal more entertaining than the original, since the primitive graphics and movement do not matter so much. The object is to take the jumps by answering mathematics questions correctly; you can choose to be tested on multiplication, division, addition and subtraction, with several levels of difficulty for each. A time factor adds a challenge and the game provides an effective form of maths drill.
The insert for Diamond Quest makes the dubious claim that the colourful graphics and absence of monsters make it specially suitable for girls. In fact it is a straightforward graphics adventure, in which the object is to collect four keys and find your way to a Golden Palace where a treasure is to be found. On your way you encounter unpleasant creatures such as a hulk, some bloodthirsty bats, wild lions and swarming mosquitoes, and you can replenish your strength by eating food or booking into a hotel.
The game features simple one-character commands, a variety of locations which have little to distinguish them from each other apart from their names, and a series of battles which take the form of your enemy's energy level and your own ticking away numerically before your eyes.
There are several levels of difficulty and if you have never played an adventure game previously, the ease of movement from one scenario to another might prove an attractive introduction to the genre.
In other respects the game does not have the sophistication or mind-taxing qualities of many other adventures on the market.
Jungle Adventure features Bobo, a young African girl making her way from school to her home in the jungle. The game starts at school, where Bobo must try to win prizes such as an egg, a hamburger, a coconut or a book with which she will later bribe the creatures she meets in the jungle. The prizes are won by a Mastermind-style guessing game which, although scarcely original, is entertaining.
The second stage of the game, in which Bobo must make her way past a variety of creatures which become visible only when she bumps into them, is less successful, especially as the placing of the keys makes it extremely difficult to complete the journey. An unfortunate slip by which Bobo is referred to as he rather than she when she falls into the lake is in this context a serious fault.