THE OREGON TRAIL: ADVENTURES ALONG THE OREGON TRAIL, 5TH ED., Learning Co.
Old West adventure/survival game.
After all the twists and turns this pioneering educational software title has taken since the 1980s, it's disappointing to see that OT5 is little more than a remake of the technologically dated but once innovative second edition released by MECC in 1995. None of this matters to anyone who hasn't been down this trail before, but to longtime loyalists who've come to expect some tech tweaking and new features, this update looks like a d
j view. Its flat graphics and stiff animation are throwbacks, lacking even the movie-quality segments the third Oregon Trail release.
The basic plot remains the same: Players start by taking charge of a wagon-train party preparing to cross the Wild West from Independence, Mo. How well they buy supplies -- from wagon-pulling oxen to sacks of biscuit flour to rifle ammunition -- affects the outcome. Peril waits at nearly every bend -- raging rivers, cholera, dust storms, snakebites, wintry conditions, thieves and hunger. Party members get sick, injured, even die. Strangers offer good and bad advice and trades, and fun arcade-style mini-games let players supplement food rations by hunting, fishing and gathering edible plants.
The few changes from OT2 are mostly cosmetic, including a daily pioneer diary and Capt. Jed Freedman's animated campfire tales to help players grasp what lies ahead. This program's central lesson, however, is timeless: Every decision has consequences.
Not a pioneering game design, but still a good trip.
Windows 95 or newer/Win 2000 or newer/Mac OS 8.6 or newer, $25; ages 9 and up.
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