Buster and the Beanstalk
TerraGlyph interactive storybooks have something that no other interactive storybooks have, which is the ability to fire all of their animations simultaneously without slowing your computer down to a crawl. In other words, click around quickly on any given screen and things go absolutely nuts. The latest CD-ROM to showcase this technology is Buster and the Beanstalk (ages 3-10), a hybrid of several fairy tales and the cast of Tiny Toons. Your goal is to retrieve three keys to a castle, so you can recover the goose that lays the golden egg and other treasures. To find the keys you’ll need to explore nine different screens thoroughly. Each screen takes a fairy tale, including the Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks, and Humpty Dumpty, and puts a Tiny Toons twist on it – the wolf in the Three Little Pigs moans that he needs an agent so he can get better gigs, and Mary’s lost little lamb is actually Shorn Lock Holmes. It’s all fairly clever, and it seems even cleverer to the recommended audience, but when you get right down to it there’s not much to do except point and click over and over again while looking for different things. TerraGlyph’s best disc, Hansel and Gretel and the Enchanted Castle, has a stronger game element than this one, and even more short animations that could fire simultaneously. Still, things could be worse. Buster and the Beanstalk stands out from the competition, if only because it has so much going on at once.