Recently I sat down in front of the TV with my nine-year-old daughter with two interactive DVDs from Brighter Minds Media, Jurassic Park Explorer and Marvel Heroes Breakout. Each game comes with a game board, a six-sided die, four player pieces, a deck of dinosaur/villain reward cards and an interactive DVD that plays in any DVD player. One game is obviously about dinosaurs while the other is about Super Heroes; other than that, the gameplay is exactly the same in both. And that’s not exactly a good thing in either case.
Much like playing Scene It or other interactive-DVD games, you can play both Jurassic Park Explorer and Marvel Heroes Breakout with up to four individual players or play as teams. You can also choose from three different skill levels for each player (a very nice feature for playing with kids) and select a short, medium or long game. After setting up the game board — presumably on the coffee table or floor — you start the interactive DVD on your TV and select the number of players participating in the game. Player One will roll the die and move his or her game piece that number of spaces on the board. The spaces on the board are marked with different activities or areas such as the Jungle, Museum, Laboratory etc., you then choose the area or activity that you landed on from the menu on the DVD. You will then have to successfully complete the activity on the DVD to win a reward card, and whoever wins the set amount of reward cards first wins the game.
Let’s say you roll a five, which would land you on the Screening Room space on the Jurassic Park game board. You would then choose the Screening Room from the DVD menu, which then shows a movie clip from one of the Jurassic Park films. The game will then ask a multiple-choice question about the film clip you had just watched. If you are playing the Marvel Heroes game, you would watch a clip from many Marvel Super Hero TV shows, as well as all-new animations made just for the game.
Some activities are as simple as “press the select button at the right moment to jump over the cavern,” while others are much more challenging, such as “be the first to correctly call out the name of this dinosaur/villain before the fog clears from the screen.” The trivia questions can only be answered by people who are very familiar with the material. For example, I have no clue what a Homalocephale or a Charcharadontosaurus looks like. I also had no clue who the villains Abomination and Annihilus were, and neither did my daughter. Consequently, she lost interest in both games after 10 or 15 minutes. I lost interest after five. I’m confident that if we wanted to learn all the names of the Marvel Super Heroes or Dinosaurs, these games would teach them. But I’m just not that interested, and neither is my daughter.
It states on the box that there are more than 300 questions to test your knowledge. That may be true, but within minutes you’ll encounter several question repeats. Another small annoyance is that it was a little awkward playing the game with the DVD remote, and we would sometimes accidentally select the wrong activity or answer. It’s worth noting, however, that this could just be a problem with my remote. Either game would be great for someone who is really into knowing all the dinosaurs’ names, or someone who is a huge Marvel comic-book fan, but they’re both incredibly dull for those who aren’t already somewhat knowledgeable about the subjects.
In spite of these complaints, if you have children who are crazy about dinosaurs or Super Heroes and want to learn all about them, I would recommend these games to you. If your child isn’t very interested in either subject, though, they will most likely lose interest in less time than it took you to buy the games in the first place.
- Score: 6
- Fun for fans of the subject material or those who want to learn more about the subject. Not very fun for everyone else.
— Randie Kilgore