ALTHOUGH THE OLDEST STATESMAN OF THE CRASH TEAM, ALAN GREEN HAS THE MIND OF A YOUNG CHILD. INDEED HE'S THE IDEAL CHOICE TO LOOK AT THIS FUN-FILLED EDUCATIONAL RELEASE FROM GREMLIN. SO PUT ON YOUR KINKY BOOTS AND WALK THIS WAY...
We at CRASH are usually far too busy to pop home for Childrens BBC (more's the pity). But whenever I get the chance to escape, there's nothing I like more than to settle down in front of The Shoe People.
This delightful cartoon for younger children (and regressive adults such as myself) stars a whole community of footwear. There's all kinds of boots and shoes bizzying around the place, from Sid Slipper to PC Boot, and all the favourite characters have survived computerisation in this educational collection of games for the 4-6 age group.
PUT THE BOOT IN
The five games are watched over by PC Boot, who tells you if you're right or wrong and helps out in various ways. The first stars that scruffy old boot, Trampy.
It's a lovely day and he fancies visiting his pals. However, as he saunters along the lane, he finds some fool's scattered objects all over the place. Apparently they've fallen off the back of a lorry (officer). Unsurprisingly, PC Boot has a few questions to ask.
Identifying objects, spelling and counting are all part of the fun, and there's an easy/hard option for different ages. If you and Trampy get all the questions right (clever cloggs - hew haw!), Trampy'll see his friend in a cute graphic sequence. If he gets some wrong then his pal will probably have gone out by the time he turns up (altogether now, ehhh!).
The next activity involves Sgt-Major Boot. He's a bit cheesed off because Baby Bootee has knocked everything off his cupboard shelves. The good old Boot decides to make a game of it, though, and asks the little chap to sort out the mess. You select and match colours, shapes, patterns etc.
The Great Alphabet Robbery stars dastardly tea-leaf Sneaker, who's been stealing words. Fortunately, PC Boot nicks him. But when the words come out the SWAG bag, they're all mixed up! You've got to descramble the anagram to get Sneaker locked up.
Wellington Goes To The Park is a mathematical game, and consequently proved itself a serious challenge to the CRASH team. It's basically a case of balancing numbers on a see-saw.
Finally, Charlie's Big Day stars Charlie the clown (no, not the CRASH arty person!) who's putting on a show for all of Shoe Town. You've got to watch his repealing sequence of circus tricks closely then predict which one he'll perform next.
All the First Class challenges are very pretty and the characters look just like their TV counterparts. Each activity's intelligently put together to make learning easy. You usually only have to use two keys and the speed's about right for younger children.
The screen's never dull, the shoes are super cute and the reward sequences when a game's completed are impressive (and funny). Each activity becomes progressively difficult, ensuring a continued challenge for older children.
And if you flip the disk/cassette over, there's Margot's Magic Colouring Book to add yet further fun! It's a very simple but enjoyable painting and drawing program, in the same clear and pretty style.
This collection's extremely well put together. Parents and teachers will find their kids love it - and learn from it.
ALAN … 91%
'There weren't shoes plodding around on TV when I was a nipper, but then I had such classics as Mr Ben and Roobarb and Custard to take their place! Having seen a couple of Shoe People episodes on video, I can see what I was missing out on! The characters are great, with silly expressions and, oddly, all made out of shoes! Gremlin have made a great job of the computer version. Educational software has been around on the Spectrum for years, but it's appealing characters like the ones in First Class that keep the nippers interested. The programmers have hit the nail on the head with lots of brilliant graphics and animation, and even a simple graphic editor for the kids to have a bash at drawing themselves! I was born too soon!'
NICK … 75%
The perfect purchase for the youngsters. Educational and fun to play.
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