Science & Nature
Origins of Mankind
Origins of Mankind (Maris Multimedia) explores a fascinating subject; if the creators of this disc had possessed a unique multimedia slant on the topic, this might have been a fascinating CD-ROM. Instead, it is just another disc that never had to be. The maps, text, and pictures contained in the program could have been presented just as effectively on paper. The few multimedia extras – short, mediocre animations depicting certain animals in 3D habitats, and morph movies depicting various stages of human development – have the feeling of high-tech window dressing. Is it really scientific to watch artists’ conceptions of progressively more advanced apes morphing into each other? Or is it just showing off? Scientific data is available, but it’s presented in the form of brief text blurbs or voice-over narration. Most of the different options available from the main title screen are so skimpy as to be almost worthless. The Time Spiral is a single picture, the section on evolution theory offers a few sentences on each scientist, and the Archaeological Dig game is downright silly. The fact that related topics are available with a mouse click is a plus, but it’s a scant one. We expect more from the publishers of the extremely good RedShift.
– September 1996
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