Hansel & Gretel and the Enchanted Castle
For the younger set, Hansel & Gretel and the Enchanted Castle (Terraglyph) is an odd combination of a very Grimm fairy tale and a Disney-ish interactive storybook replete with happy animals liable to burst into song at any moment. As a result, there are some jarring changes in tone. The children are abandoned in the forest by their evil stepmother – so a friendly buzzard flies down and they all sing about it. The wicked witch does intend to eat the children, but when your helpful Imp-friend demands that you play hide-and-seek with him before he’ll show you the way out of the castle, it’s meant to make him cute, not an accomplice to murder. Strange as this might seem to adults, it makes sense to kids; the threat is real, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun as you struggle to survive – it’s only a game, after all. And once you get down to it, there’s a lot of fun to be had. Hansel & Gretel runs more smoothly, with more happening at once, than just about any other interactive storybook we’ve seen. This means that a child can click all around the screen as fast as possible, and the place goes absolutely, incontrovertibly nuts. A clicking spree executes so many simultaneous sound effects, creepy ghouls, slithering snakes, splatting splats, spooky mirrors, etc. that one really can describe each room as ‘coming alive’ with interaction. We know that’s a common sentiment in press releases, but how often is it actually true? A few other nice touches, like the fact that you can speak one language and have your Imp-friend speak another, elevate this above the common interactive storybook, even if the subject matter is not appropriate for the easily nightmare-prone.
– February 1996, Literature