March 2002

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.


Scooby-Doo! Jinx at the Sphinx from The Learning Company

If you or your kids are wild about that famous Cartoon Network character, Scooby-Doo (created 30 years ago by cartoonists Hanna & Barbera), now seen, daily, by millions of cable TV kids, you'll be excited to learn that The Learning Company has a series of 'edutainment' adventure CDs by the same name.  The newest Scooby-Doo CD is Scooby-Doo! Jinx at the Sphinx, for kids ages 5 to 10.  The game has good graphics, but it's not 3D.  It's more like an interactive cartoon with animation and sound effects.  The software is supplied on a single CD, but a second CD is included for the first 100,000 who buy this title, which offers 3 extra puzzles.  Although it's not really an educational title, it does have some education value.  Kids will solve puzzles using logic and deductive reasoning.

After a quick installation from CD 1, and an introduction video, you and your kids will arrive in a virtual Egypt, the backdrop, the Great Pyramid in Giza.  This is where you'll begin your adventures.   Your goal is to help Scooby-Doo and his friends find Velma's cousin, Thelma (an Egyptologist) who has mysteriously disappeared.  You'll also help stop the Mummy who's frightening tourists away.  As you investigate, you'll meet suspects, collect clues and solve puzzles.

The game offers three levels:  Spooky, easy, for kids ages 5 - 6, Spookier, medium, for ages 7 - 8 and Spooktacular, hard, for ages 9 - 10.  Each time a new game is played, you'll find a different adventure with new clues and new villains.

After you sign in and select the level, you'll see a video showing Thelma's kidnapping as it happened in the Great Pyramid.  Next, you'll see Scooby-Doo and his gang arriving in Giza at the Great Pyramid, discussing this exciting trip and how they plan to meet Thelma.  Near the end of this animated introduction, they realize Thelma is missing, and the adventure begins.  You then direct Scooby-Doo and friends into action searching the area for clues to the mysterious disappearance.  Kids will get a bit of history as they play, because they'll hear facts about the pyramids and other historical landmarks as they progress through the game.

This is a fun children's game, and both my kids (Sarah is 10 years old and Becky is 7) really enjoyed the adventure.   Sarah said she liked it because it was funny, and Becky said she liked it because it was mysterious.  Unfortunately, the graphics weren't as impressive as some other educational games I've reviewed, but that didn't bother my kids.  They said that it was like watching a cartoon, and "it's the game play that's important," not the necessarily the graphics.  That was a direct quote from Sarah.  In fact, when they were first testing the game I heard lots of laughter.  That has to be a good sign.  It kept their interest on a number of levels.

Scooby-Doo! Jinx at the Sphinx sells for $19.99 and will run on any multimedia PC, Pentium 166 MHz or faster, 64 MB RAM with Windows 95/98/Me/2000 /XP and an 8x CD-ROM drive. 

Howard Berenbon

Software Companies Mentioned

The Learning Company
6401 Kaiser Drive
Fremont, CA 94555
Phone: 510-792-2101