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ZX Spectrum 48K

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Rosetta McLeod
Chris Bourne

There are four programs In this package each involving geographical skills, 'Treasure Hunt' contains three games based on map reading, use of compass directions, and estimation of distances. In game one, you are left stranded somewhere on the map and you have to reach the Youth Hostel safely. The second game involves collecting treasure, while in the third game you have, to explore the map In order to find the hidden treasure. Each game is played on one of eight maps which use standard ordnance survey symbols, arid you can choose to enter his commands using either bearings (from 000 to 360 degrees) or points of the compass. It is also possible to choose between single keyword entry for commands (w for walk, h for heading) or typing each command in full. A very useful feature of this game is that the computer will actually teach you the map symbols if required, and there is an optional quiz to test your understanding.

Around Britain in 48 Hours is an excellent game for improving a child's knowledge of the geography of the United Kingdom. The object of the game is to find the hidden name of a city or town by travelling round the country by road, rail or air, to collect the various letters. At the start of the game, you have £300 and a time limit of 48 hours in which to find the hidden word. You have to remember that travelling by road will be much cheaper, but much slower, than going by plane, and that by road and rail a larger number of places are available to visit. A map of the country is displayed on the screen, and the computer shows you the possible routes you can take from your position.

This is a very well constructed game, which will do a lot to improve a child's knowledge of his country, although I don't quite understand why it is impossible to fly from certain places which do have airports! In comparison, I found the simulation Spread of Disease in Woodland rather boring. The aim is to show how a disease such as Dutch Elm can spread from month to month, with the screen graphics displaying the numbers of healthy, immune, and diseased trees.

The wood is represented by a grid, and you have to start the model by putting in healthy and diseased trees, with spaces between to stop the spread of disease. You can also change the probability factors which control the spread of the disease, the chance of an infected tree surviving, and the number of months the disease will last in a tree before killing it or leaving it immune.

Although the program has an important message, the simulation is lacking in any element of fun, and I found that children failed to be interested by it.

The final program, 'Countries of the World', is a database containing information about the area, population and capital city of the major countries of the world. The menu provides four options, you can find all details about a country list all of the countries, search for a particular piece of information, or call up the help page. The program is useful for showing children what a database is and giving them practice in finding out pieces of information.

All in all, this package provides a good balance of content and activity. The accompanying booklet gives a detailed description of each game, together with ideas for other activities.


Control keys: clearly described both on the screen and in the booklet
Keyboard play: good
Graphics: very good
Use of colour: bright and attractive
General Rating: Good value for money.

Not Rated