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Mirrorsoft Ltd
1985
Educational
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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92
Rosetta McLeod
Chris Bourne

Caesar's Travels is, according to Mirrorsoft's publicity handout, 'a unique combination of animated story program and complete 64 page illustrated storybook. It's the first of a new generation of story corner bedtime story resources that is equally useful in the classroom or at home'.

The format of the book might best be described as being a cross between a traditional story and an adventure program. After each section of narrative, the child is faced with various options, for instance after Caesar the cat is thrown out into the yard by his owner, an unfriendly-looking dog appears. The question is posed: 'What will you do now Caesar? Jump over the wall.... go to page 2. Climb the fence.. go to page 3.' The child can, therefore, follow many of the story routes leading to one of 18 endings, and each of these 38 different routes is a complete story in itself.

The computer game is a condensed version of the book, and features quite excellent animation of the chosen route, together with some very realistic sound effects. Many teachers and parents today fear that the growing fascination for compote, q:,ines pan l drive children away from the pleasures of reading, but this package is an excellent example of how the two activities can be related. Indeed, if used correctly, the computer may do much to positively encourage reading.

The game itself is very simple for a young child to play. A key card is supplied which, when placed above keys 1 to 6 at the top of the Spectrum keyboard, shows The choices available it the player wants Caesar to RUN, he presses the number key below the word on the key card. The pre-reading children who tried out the game for me had no trouble at all in learning to recognise the words on the card, and thoroughly enjoyed the program.

The book and the game are extremely useful for encouraging young children to make decisions, either on their own. or after discussion with others, and are great fun to use.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Control keys: key card supplied so that the input of commands such as RUN, WALK, JUMP etc is executed by the use of a number key. ENTER to go back or answer key for puzzles. SPACE to continue, move arrows or start a new game.
Keyboard play: fast
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: young children will love the animated cat
General Rating: Highly recommended. A value-for-money package which is both enjoyable and educational.

Not Rated