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spacer all reviews > > > problem solving software

Lego Rock Raiders

Lego Media

Ages 8 and up

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

Lego Rock Raiders Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Although based on the Lego System play theme of the same name, Lego Rock Raiders more closely resembles an interactive sci-fi movie than the Lego Building Sets of old. The program begins with a lengthy video in which the crew of the LMS Explorer is stranded in orbit around an uncharted planet. Users join the Rock Raiders team as they explore the mysteries hidden beneath the planet's surface and participate in dozens of underground missions that will eventually re-energize their ship's engines and allow them to return home.

Educational Value
Although this program is not overtly educational, it is quite complex, and involves the use of high-level thinking skills. Each mission requires students to survey a novel situation and problem solve its resolution. A number of unique toolbars must be accessed and used as appropriate. Kids employ a wide variety of tools to manipulate the on-screen environment, and, although these tools do not necessarily transfer to other programs, successful use of computer tools gives kids the confidence needed to approach all such tools with ease.

Kid Appeal
Most kids who are still young enough to enjoy building with Legos will find this program too difficult to use. It is not for the casual young computer user, and definitely not for children with short attention spans or those lacking patience. Learning to use the program is an extended process. Users must discover how to move the Rock Raiders, how, when and where to construct buildings, how to access and use vehicles, how to drill, how to use explosives, how to evade monsters and more.

Those with the desire and ability to master the program will be rewarded with plenty of action and outstanding 3D graphics. And once one mission is successfully achieved, the desire to tackle another grows.

Ease of Use / Install
This program installs without difficulty. It requires DirectX 6.0, which is can be installed from the CD.

Rock Raiders is definitely not the kind of program that can be instantly played with expertise. It requires over an hour of 'training' and even then missions require intense exploration and experimentation. Our testers who lacked commitment and patience quickly became bored with the program and moved on to other endeavors. Those who persisted noted that each new mission is a learning adventure. "I stumbled and bluffed my way through most of my early missions," commented one 14 year old tester.

Help with this complicated program comes from three sources. The included Instruction Manual provides plenty of information about the program's many nuances, but it is quite long, and not easy reading, especially for the younger (8 year-old) user. The program itself offers a thorough training series taking the user through all of the basics. Unfortunately, however, training sessions are almost too controlled. Trainees get very little undirected practice. Finally, on-screen advice is furnished throughout each mission.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This complex program requires patience, commitment and fairly high level problem solving ability. We don't recommend it for young, inexperienced computer users or those with short attention spans.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other problem solving software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only program.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98, Pentium 200 MHz MMX or faster cpu, 200 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, Game resolution 800x600 high color 16 bit, Quad-speed or faster CD-ROM, 4MB PCI or AGP DirectX 6.0 compatible 3D accelerator card, DirectX 6.0 (included on disc), DirectSound compatible soundcard.

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium550 with 128MB and 12XCD
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