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spacer all reviews > > > science software

StarWars Episode 1 The Gungan Frontier

Lucas Learning

Ages 9 and up

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

StarWars Episode 1 The Gungan Frontier Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Created to accompany and complement the long awaited "StarWars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace", The Gungan Frontier invites kids to create and control their own Star Wars fantasy ecosystem. This system not only contains many outlandish organisms recognized from Star Wars movies past and present, but creatures invented by the user as well. The only catch is that the program provides a real-world simulation, therefore adherence to ecological principles is required.

The Gungan Frontier begins with an explanation of the mission. The Gungans wish to create a new city on a barren moon. The user is directed to load a spaceship with plants and animals that must be methodically released in an attempt to create a stable environment for the Gungans to inhabit -- a system that will include everything needed for isolated survival. To accomplish this, users must plan, observe and react, harvesting plants, controlling creature populations and continually fine-tuning their growing system.

Educational Value
As they attempt to build an inhabitable system for the Gungans, users learn about basic ecological principles. They experience first-hand the interconnectedness of all organisms within a bio-system. Food webs and life cycles must be studied and manipulated to establish a thriving system, natural disasters throw the system into disarray, toxic clouds initiate lingering annihilation.

Gungan Frontier offers three modes of play: Beginner, Advanced, and Mission. In the first two modes, the game is open ended. Barring disaster, the system continues to endlessly evolve. These two modes differ, for the most part, in the amount of control the user has over the system (which creatures will be stocked, what landing site chosen). The Mission option is directed at the goal-oriented user. Twelve scenarios offer specific situations that must be resolved, and time limitations exist.

Throughout the game, text messages offer problem-solving support and suggestions, as do sidekicks R2-D2 and JarJar. Charts and graphs can be accessed illustrating applicable food webs, current population levels, terrain considerations, etc. A glossary of ecology terms further extends the program’s educational benefits.

Kid Appeal
As with other simulation programs, kids enjoy the opportunity to create and control a world of their own. Awesome graphics and familiar movie characters add to the allure of this impressive program. Additional appeal is provided by a landscaping droid who can transform terrain, and a Create-a-Critter mode for designing unique and personalizable plants and animals.

Ease of Use / Install
The Gungan Frontier installed without difficulty in our test machines. The program offers an onscreen training mode that should not be skipped -- it's fun, and essential to learning the program's objectives and many tools.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
In addition to appealing to Star Wars enthusiasts, The Gungan Frontier is sure to challenge and delight budding ecologists and population biologists.

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

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95 or 98, Pentium 166 or faster cpu, 80 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, Direct X compatible PCI graphics card, 4X IDE or SCSI CD-ROM, Direct X compatible 16 bit sound card.

Mac: System 7.5.6 or higher, 160 MHz Power PC, 80 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, 13” or larger display, 4X or faster CD-ROM.

Reviewed on:

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