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Elmo's Letter Adventure

Rated EC for Early Childhood

Platform:

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Publisher:

NewKidCo

Developer:

Realtime Associates

Released:

November 1999

ROM Size:

64 megabits

Players:

One

Genre:

3D Edutainment

Save:

None

Optional:

None

 

 

> Final Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

Introduction

Sesame Street has been a part of childhood development for over 30 years. With the advancement of interactive technologies, CTW (Children's Television Workshop) has brought its education learning experiences to a new medium. Elmo's Letter Adventure, just like Elmo's Number Journey, is a port of the PlayStation version that was released a year prior.

Gameplay & Control

The goal of Elmo's Letter Adventure is to help children ages 3-6 with letter recognition and basic spelling skills. Three game levels, with one bonus world, and three difficulty levels comprise the game.

 

First off, Elmo asks the child to choose the easy, medium, or hard difficulty level. On the easy level, upper-case letters are the target, 12 correct letters will take the child to the bonus world, and 6 incorrect letters are allowed. With the medium level, upper- and lower-case letters are involved and 16 letters with a maximum of 4 mistakes is the goal. The hard level increases the difficulty by asking for the opposite case of the target letters and by needing 20 correct letters with a maximum of 2 incorrect ones.

 

Three game worlds featuring Sesame Street friends are in the game: Big Bird has a farm, Grover has outer space, and Ernie has underwater. In each world, the host character explains the objective. Then the focus is on linear exploration, basic movement, and letter recognition. The child must take Elmo throughout the level and touch the required number of letters. If the two levels within each world are completed successfully, the child will be taken to a bonus world. In the bonus world, the first letter of a three- or four-letter, one-syllable word is missing. The child must spell three words correctly before going back to Sesame Street.

 

As expected, control is very simple to use. Only movement and the press of a button to collect a letter are needed. The A and B buttons and any of the C group are action buttons. For movement, either the Control Pad or the Control Stick can be used. Elmo's Letter Adventure does make use of the Control Stick's analog movement, so it will be easier for the child to use the Control Pad first and work up to the more precise Control Stick.

Graphics & Sound

Graphically, Elmo's Letter Adventure will appear alive to children, with free-moving 3D worlds, vibrant colors, and realistic models of their favorite characters. To a more critical eye, the worlds are too static and the backgrounds are too fake. Character models are good, but animation is limited. And there is a problem with character pop-up—letters often mysteriously appear out of thin air.

 

Sound is an especially impressive aspect of Elmo's Letter Adventure. By licensing Factor 5's voice compression technology, developer Realtime Associates has included tons of high-quality speech on a cartridge. Plus, the game features the actual voice talent from Sesame Street. The Sesame Street theme and well-composed stereo background music are included, too.

Conclusion

Elmo's Letter Adventure, and even Elmo's Number Journey, is a high-quality, well-presented action/adventure edutainment product. It's a good complement to any parent's game library. On the other hand, the two Elmo games should have been packaged as one. As such, Elmo's Letter Adventure is not worth the full price of admission. It would, however, be a good bargain-priced pickup for the toddler in your family.

 

Graphics:

3.3

Sound:

3.8

Control:

3.4

Gameplay:

3.0

Lastability

2.2

OVERALL:

3.0

 

DOWN THE ROAD

Not available.

 

Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: February 25, 2000

Appendix Added: N/A

 

 

 

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