The Adventures of Pinocchio
The Adventures of Pinocchio, a four-disc extravaganza from IBM and Powerhouse Entertainment (ages 5-9), picks up where IBM’s last “Movie Game,” The Jungle Book, left off. The trend – in case you failed to spot it – seems to be to take an animated classic, make an inferior live-action movie from it, and then make a CD-ROM game based on the live-action movie. These “Movie Games” also use voice-recognition technology, which means that you can speak into a microphone and the program realizes whether you’re saying “yes” or “no.” Pinocchio – like The Jungle Book – features a lot of new footage, which forms the bulk of the game, plus some footage from the movie, which you access by clicking on a sparkle every time you see one. The game is entirely live-action, hosted by Lumina and Candlewick, a surprisingly endearing duo of young actors (Candlewick, in particular, has a real Huck Finn thing going on). Follow them through Pinocchio’s world, looking for the marionette in town, on the high seas, in a castle, and in a forest. Simple logic puzzles are strewn about, as well as common sense decisions (should you rescue the bad guys when they need help? The answer, at least the first time around, is no). The Jungle Bookwasn’t much fun; the host was irritatingly over-the-top, the movie scenes were mediocre, and the gameplay crawled along. Pinocchio is more successful, perhaps because it’s simpler. Young kids love to scream “yes” or “no” when the computer prompts them, and that’s how a lot of time is spent here (The Jungle Book required kids to learn “the language of the jungle” – Aw Kee Kow, and so on; they could also play a game of concentration instead of answering out loud). Although the presence of four discs may be a turn-off initially, they are put to good use; kids can skip from one part of the movie to another simply by returning to the main movie theater and changing discs. One good run-through will be sufficient for anybody, since the movie possesses only a limited number of scenes, but that one run-through may take a while to complete, and the kids will have a screaming good time doing it.
– December 1996