March 2001

Cyber News and Reviews is a monthly column published for parents, teachers & business owners featuring kids educational software reviews, business software reviews (small business & home business), games and entertainment articles, a free resource since 1995.


Code Head:  X-Treme Culture from Knowledge Adventure and Disney's Dinosaur Activity Center from Disney Interactive

Code Head:  X-Treme Culture from Knowledge Adventure

Okay, kids, are you ready for an intellectual face off with your computer or friends?  Well, if you have what it takes to win, then you'll want to try Code Head: X-Treme Culture from Knowledge adventure, for kids ages 10 and up.   Picture yourself in a match with other smart kids on a quiz show to test your knowledge on any subject.  You'll have the opportunity to prove yourself a worthy opponent against the computer, your friends, or even other kids on the Internet while answering many questions about everything you know, or should know with backgrounds constantly changing, animation, music  and sound effects.  And don't miss the introduction screen.   You'll see two cartoon kids' pictures divide into four smaller photos.  They continue splitting with 16 faces displayed, then 256 pictures, until thousands of tiny cartoon faces fill the display.  Not that it has any educational value, but it's neat to watch, and a great effect.

From the main menu, select the type of game you'll play: either you against the computer, you against a friend or the Internet challenge (we tried player against computer).  Next, you'll sign in with your initials and then pick a face for your character on the screen choosing hair, eyes, mouth and body.  You'll see some wacky and surrealistic images as you choose, like caricatures of cartoon kids with faces warped and wild looking.  If you watch Nickelodeon, it may remind you of Angela Anaconda, a character in their show, KaBlam!

The round of questions begin with a bell ringing on screen, followed by a list of topics and a moderator telling you to select one.  You'd better be quick, otherwise he'll select a topic for you and then make fun of your slowness.  Questions asked cover history, geography and language arts.  After you've selected a topic,  get ready.  The moderator will ask a question as it appears on the screen.  Using your mouse, you have about 15 seconds to click on the correct answer displayed.  It may remind you of the show Jeopardy, since you  receive points for a correct response and lose points if you're wrong.  Expect to be entertained with animated screens between questions, jokes, funny accents and sound effects.

Code Head: X-Treme Culture  sells for a street price of $19.99 and will run on any multimedia PC, Pentium 166 MHz or faster, 32 MB RAM running Windows 98/95/2000 and the Macintosh Power PC, 180 MHz or faster with 16 MB RAM.  Both computers require a 12x CD-ROM drive. 

Disney's Dinosaur Activity Center from Disney Interactive

If you (and your kids) liked the Disney movie, Dinosaur, then you won't want to miss this CD from Disney Interactive.  Enter the world of Dinosaurs and have some fun with activities based the movie, for kids ages 5 and up.  You'll find great graphics, animation, music and sound effects, everything you'd expect from a Disney production.  Their arcade-style games will keep any kid (into Disney) occupied for hours.

From the main menu you have access to five activity areas: Lemur Love Match, Iguanodon Pond-a-thon, Line O'Dinos Puzzle Maker, Styracosaurus Spelunker and Colossal Fossil Face Off.  Lemur Love Match is a fun matching game where you must click on the matched pairs of flowers as they appear on the screen.  You'd better be quick, otherwise you won't make the match.  Your goal is to match all the flower pairs to match up a pair of Lemur Island inhabitants.

In Iguanodon Pond-a-thon you'll help the dinosaurs find water to drink.  You move your dinosaur from dot to dot, until you form a square, which turns into a water hole and gets you points.   Make as many squares as you can until the sun clock runs out.   Your goal is to get the most points so you can win.  The game can be played against the computer, or with a friend. 

Line O'Dinos Puzzle Maker is a fun activity with several options. Create a puzzle by selecting the background scene, then build a dinosaur by mixing and matching dinosaur parts.  Now you're ready to add the roar of a dinosaur to your puzzle by selecting one out of 25 simulated dinosaur sounds.  If you want, you can use your microphone to record your own sound and add it.  When you're done, you can print the puzzle and even e-mail it to a friend.

In Styracosaurus Spelunker you help free Aladar and friends from a cave by breaking a wall of rocks so they can reach the nesting grounds.  And finally, Colossal Fossil Face Off is a board game with herbivores against carnivores.  The object of the game is to find the egg stolen by the carnivores while protecting your remaining eggs.

Becky, my 6-year-old daughter, really enjoyed Line O'Dinos Puzzle Maker because she had fun making her own dinosaur sounds.  She also said she liked making puzzles because she could print them out and put them together.

Disney's Dinosaur Activity Center sells for a street price of $14.95 and will run on any multimedia PC, Pentium 166 MHz or faster running Windows 98/95 and the iMAC or G3 processor, 233 MHz or faster.   Both computers require an 8x CD-ROM drive and 32 MB RAM. 

Howard Berenbon

Software Companies Mentioned

Disney Interactive
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-8139
Phone: 1-800-900-9234

Knowledge Adventure, Inc.
19840 Pioneer Avenue
Torrance, CA 90503
Phone: 1-800-545-7677