Reading Quest with Aladdin takes the user back to Agrabah, the setting for Disney’s feature-length film "Aladdin" and its sequels, as well as the 1997 math program Math Quest with Aladdin.
Reading Quest commences as Aladdin and three stooges explore The Cave of Wonders. The evil Jafar uses his cunning to impersonate Genie, tricking Aladdin into releasing him from the cave in which he has been imprisoned. In retaliation for his incarceration, Jafar captures Aladdin. The only way to free Aladdin and recapture Jafar, is to piece together an ancient inscription whose pieces have been scattered about the town. Each successfully completed activity or game earns another piece of the inscription page, and brings Jasmine and her crew another step closer to rescuing Aladdin.
Reading Quest is a fully animated quest-like adventure, a large part of which unfolds unbidden in video-like form. In order to progress through the adventure the user must, at times, complete a reading or spelling game, drill or activity. Most of these activities require prior reading and spelling knowledge, and provide practice with word sounds, word recognition and vocabulary skills. A few activities actually attempt to teach spelling and/or phonics by leading the child through the process of sounding out words and combining word sounds. This is especially true in the 'Letter Runner' activity, where correct short and long vowel sounds must be selected to appropriately complete identified words.
As activities are completed, a page of text is added to the ever accessible 'Book of Destiny,' which also holds accumulated pieces of the required inscription page. These story pages incorporate the child’s name into an on-going narration, commending successful activity completion and chronicling the quest as it progresses. Success at higher, more difficult levels of use earns more ornately decorated pages. Kids can choose to read or print these pages at any time. Along with other reading comprehension activities this demonstrates for the child that reading is more than just a combination of words on a page.
Chance is a variable throughout many of the activities, giving the program a bit of a gaming quality. Some of our testers were frustrated by this, while others mentioned that it provided the incentive needed to enjoy what they felt were school-like activities. As one would expect from Disney, program graphics and animation are exceptional, and characters are likeable and unique. Younger users were disappointed by the fact that Aladdin himself is mostly absent from the program, and the loss of Robin Williams in the role of the Genie is noticeable, but not a major detraction.
Ease of Use / Install
Reading Quest with Aladdin can be easily installed from the CD-ROM, by following the on-screen prompts and responding appropriately. Options allow the user to turn music on or off and control the volume level, a definite plus for already noisy homes and schools. Program progress can be tracked through the 'Book of Destiny' which makes note of completed activities, displays inscription pieces earned, and allows the user to go back to favorite scenes and activities with a click.
Best for... / Bottom-Line
This entertaining program provides amusing word games, and reading and spelling drills for remedial learners or budding lexicologists.