Amiga Power1st August 1991
Published in Amiga Power #4
"An interactive, educational space adventure." That's the only clue I was given that this, the latest in Amiga Power's hate campaign against me, is (please, no) a game for the younger player. How much younger isn't specified, and neither is the exact nature of the education promised to the lucky infant.
At the heart of Discovery is a walk-around-collecting-things game. The idea is that you're aboard a spaceship which has run into trouble, and you've got to salvage it by collecting fuel crystals which are scattered around its decks. And then there's the 'education'. Every so often you'll come up against a security door. To get through it, a question needs to be answered, the type of which is selected from a menu at the start of the game.
There are questions on spelling and maths of varying degrees of difficulty, and, erm, flags. Get the answer right and the door will open. Get it wrong and you'll be given the answer and the chance to try again.
There are three main problems, as I see it. Firstly, although the process of walking from left to right and going up and down ladders sounds simple enough, I couldn't get to grips with the control method and kept falling down holes and dropping off ladders. If I can't do it it's hard to see how this 'younger player' is going to fare much better.
Secondly, the program makes extensive use of the Amiga's built-in speech synthesiser. That's right, the one supplied on your Workbench disk which you probably loaded up briefly on Day One and immediately wrote off as a useless curiosity. The result is that our prospective student is likely to be asked such questions as "Speeeeell Wwphthstlmph".
And thirdly, and perhaps most fundamentally, this whole business of asking questions and marking them right or wrong hardly marks the latest advance in educational techniques. There's more to educational software than quiz show-style questions and answers.
The Bottom Line
An unimaginative crack at the tricky educational market. Someone, somewhere must be coming up with better ideas than this.