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Problem Solving Software Reviews

Hades Challenge
from Disney

For Ages 7 to 12

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Problem Solving software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of PC and Mac versions.


Reviewed on:
Hades Challenge Screen Shot PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
Pentium166 with 48MB and 12XCD

Description
A follow-up to Disney's film Hercules, Hades Challenge takes us on a journey to ancient Greece to learn about its history and mythology, and dabble in the dark Underworld of the evil god Hades. Never satisfied playing second-fiddle to the chief deity Zeus, Hades is busy stirring up trouble once again. Hercules, off battling the Giants, is unavailable to save the day. A new hero or heroine needs to step forward to combat the unsavory god and his notorious sidekicks, Pain and Panic. And so, the user sets sail to the Greek isles on a series of quests to gain the super-hero powers of strength, stealth and wisdom, and attempt to anihilate Hades and his henchmen and prevent the fall of ancient Greece.

Along the way historical sites and infamous characters are encountered. The user meets Daedalus, the master inventor, and aids in his plans to trap a carnivorous minotaur; delivers an important message to the lovely Helen, bringing about an end to the Trojan War; assists brave Perseus as he slays the monstrous Medusa while avoiding her stony stare; and finally, travels to the Underworld to battle Hades and complete the ultimate challenge.

Educational Value
For the most part, the educational value of this program lies in its encouragement of problem-solving and strategic thinking skills. Cleverness, persistence and clear-thinking are required to outwit the program's many villans, solve its unique puzzles and succeed at its four engaging quests.

Hades Challenge also provides an introduction to the fascinating study of Greek Mythology. Each of the many abundantly populated scenes in the program includes statues of notorious Greek gods and goddesses. When clicked, they briefly introduce themselves, and describe their lineage and historical significance. After each quest the user's knowledge of these deities is tested, so careful attention must be payed to the information they impart.

Kid Appeal
Incredible graphics and animation absorb young users, immersing them in an adventure of the kind Disney is famous for providing. Activities are fresh and new, if a bit on the shoot-em-up side. Although the mythology was enjoyed by reviewers of both sexes, some of the gory details and arcade-like activities were viewed with less enthusiasm by our female testers. For example, when a sword slashes the snake that has imprisoned Perseus, it falls in bloody pieces, resembling a newly sliced roast. "Most girls wouldn’t like this," was a frequent comment.

Ease of Install / Use
Hades Challenge installed easily on our review PC, however installation of DirectX 5.0 was required, and an error message suggested (but did not recommend) the further installation of an alternative DirectX Driver. We chose not to install the new driver, and didn't experience any difficulties running the program.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
A look at the darker side of Greek history and mythology, this adventure tests the strength, wisdom, and skill of the erstwhile young hero or heroine, with rewarding results.

Education 4.0/5.0 Kid Appeal 4.4/5.0 Ease of Use 4.9/5.0
5=Excellent, 4=Good, 3=OK, 2=Weak

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Problem Solving software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of PC and Mac versions.



Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 95 System 7.5 or later
CPU Type and Speed 90MHz or faster PowerPC 100MHz or faster
Hard Drive Space 10MB 10MB
Memory (RAM) 16MB 24MB
Graphics 256 color VESA,PCI or other local bus video 256 color video display
CD-ROM Speed 4X 4X
Audio 16-bit sound card n/a
Other Needs Microsoft compatible mouse

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