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spacer all reviews > > > problem solving software

Rugrats Movie Activity Challenge

Broderbund

Ages 6 to 12

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
3.5
Kid Appeal
3.9
Ease of Use
4.8

Rugrats Movie Activity Challenge Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Loosely based on the Nickolodeon charmers, and their feature length film scheduled for release in November 1998, Rugrats Movie Activity Challenge consists of six arcade-like games requiring some problem solving skill and plenty of hand/eye dexterity.

The program initially introduces the young adventurers in an Indiana Jones setting. This accomplished, a main screen appears with 6 activities from which to chose. Four of these activities are purely fast-twitch type games, requiring the user to rescue Dil Pickle (a baby, not an appetizer) from the clutches of circus monkeys, assist the Godzilla-like ‘Reptar’ as he demolishes famous cities, and move the ‘Reptar wagon’ through rush-hour traffic. Points are accumulated throughout each activity as well as with successful completion of the assigned task.

The remaining activities require a bit more critical thinking. In "Stu’s Workshop" Angelica is trapped in her uncle’s wacko invention the ‘Gravitron 2000’. To release her, the user builds a mouse-trap utilizing mini-inventions that Stu has left lying about his workshop. Here, the child must formulate a plan, experiment, re-evaluate the situation, and adapt accordingly.

The final activity places the tykes in a wagon on an interrupted set of tracks that is divided into sections, with one section missing. To reach the other side, the tracks must be moved into place like pieces of a contained puzzle, an effort that is not nearly as easy as it sounds.

Educational Value
Aside from the latter two activities described above, this program contains little that is purely educational. It does, however, expose the user to keyboarding skills, mouse manipulation, and general computer familiarity.

Kid Appeal
Despite the draw of the popular Rugrats characters, this program received unenthusiastic responses from our parent and child testers. Activities were felt to be tedious and the accompanying music cloying. Avid arcade gamers recognized a few of the activities as being loosely disguised adaptations of their favorites, and although they said this wasn’t a major detraction, they preferred the more original activities.

Parents complained about the insipid characters, with their annoying baby-talk and shrill voices. Comments like ". . .we’re babies, not rocker scientists!" fell flat with parent and kid testers alike who agreed that they are unoriginal and overly contrived. One 13 year-old who played the game while babysitting younger charges was concerned about the messages being conveyed in the program. "I didn’t like the fact that if you hit Angelica with a piece of toast (in the Stu’s Workshop activity) you get bonus points," she noted. "I don’t think that’s setting a good example for kids."

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Rugrat fans and arcade-game lovers will enjoy this nicely animated program. Those desiring an educational tool, however, may want to look elsewhere.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other problem solving software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95 or Windows 98, 100MHz Pentium(R) or faster, Minimum 25MB hard disk space, 16 MB RAM, 640x480 display, 256 colors; High and True Color supported display, Quad-speed CD-ROM drive or faster, Windows compatible sound device.

Mac: System 7.5 or higher, 100 MHz or faster cpu, 25 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 640 x 480, 256 color display, Quad-speed or faster CD-ROM.

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
  • Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD
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