This is one program in a range of educational software packages from Scisoft, and it contains four programs. Bug is a type of adventure game where the object is to find the hidden box in Mystery Mansion. The box contains the necessary requirements to keep a rare South American bug alive, and as the insect moves around the rooms, the player must ensure that the temperature does not rise above 40 degrees centigrade or fall below 30 degrees the bug dies if the temperature moves out of this range.
As in most adventure games, a number of objects are scattered around the locations for use at appropriate times. The adventure game format is a useful way of providing a context for learning, but I feel that in this program the idea does not fully succeed. The instructions in the accompanying booklet are certainly not easy to follow, and though the game can be played over and over again with the box being hidden in a different place each time, I did not find the game enjoyable enough to stand repetition.
Plant follows a similar format to Bug using the same Mystery Mansion graphics, but this time a rare South African plant has to be pollinated. If the plant flowers before pollination, then the resulting seeds are sterile and the species dies out. The player has to use scientific skill and knowledge to get the conditions for pollination absolutely right.
Elements and Organism are both database programs which may encourage children to improve their skills of information retrieval. Elements, for instance, begin with a menu allowing the following options: find all details about an element; list all elements; search for an element's number, symbol, atomic weight, group or form; or ask for help. The search option allows the user to search for an element by name, symbol, atomic weight, group, form or number. The booklet contains activity sheets so that the user is given practice in accessing the information.
Organism, too, is menu-driven and provides data on vertebrates and invertebrates. It is possible to list all the animals, or find out details about a particular animal. Again, activity sheets are included.
This is a very comprehensive package, which will help children put their scientific knowledge to practical use, as well as introducing them to the skills of information retrieval.
: clearly described. In the database programs, both upper and lower commands are acceptedKeyboard play
: responsiveUse of colour
: clearGeneral Rating:
Good value for money.