Amstrad Action1st December 1985
Published in Amstrad Action #3
To find good educational software you have to look fairly hard at the classified ads in some magazines or make do with what turns up on the computer store shelves (if anything). For that reason, it's good to see a high-profile company like Mirrorsoft catering for the computer users who want to help use the computer as a tool for the whole family.
No-one is pretending that Caesar's Travels is a serious educational program, but what it offers is a novel sort of storybook and reading aid that may provide both enjoyment and some learning. It comes in a very nice package along with a storybook and pictures of Caesar's adventures to colour in. The storybook is more detailed than the game and can be used on its own.
Both the book and the game take the for of a series of decisions. It starts with Caesar being thrown out of his home and he has to go and find a new one - there's always a happy ending of course. Most courses of action are decided by one of six commands which are run, walk, jump, climb, hide or wait. These are spelt out in greater detail on screen but have been condensed into single key entries.
The game features animated sequences as Caesar goes through his adventures and has some reasonable graphics. The book also has the variable storyline and action choices, achieved by turning to a particular page of the booklet depending on which action is to be taken. There are some reasonabe pieces of animation in the game, but nothing very spectacular.
Caesar gets himself into a lot of scrapes in many different surroundings. You may find him wandering around a fairground, enjoying the countryside, hiding out in the mountains, helping out firemen at a fire, stowing away on a ship and even going off to live with the Martians.
At certain points in the computer program, puzzles have to be solved. These take the form of counting objects, identifying directions and colours. There aren't very many of these tests though and I think a few more would have been good. These puzzles can be attempted until you get them right or you can go back to a previous choice and take a different storyline.
The packaging recommends the game to ages three to nine although the younger group will have trouble with the book and will be better off just using the game with an adult. Nine also seems a little high for the simplicity of the game but suitability depends on the individual child, so you'll have to judge that for yourselves.
Even though this is a game for 3-9 year olds, I rather enjoyed it. I'm not sure what that says about my taste but I'm not ashamed. Grown ups may find the gameplay a little on the easy side, and the booklet isn't exactly one of those you can't put down. But it's a very charming production that younger children should really enjoy.
P. Excellent packaging and storybook.
P. Always a happy ending.
P. Some nice educational interludes for counting, directions and colours.
N. Appeal restricted to a limited age group.
N. Animation and graphics could have been better.