Review by tidhros

Reviewed: 01/12/18

Educational game

A fun, educational game. Has a fishing mini-game, where you try to harpoon fish for food, then decide whether you want to keep or release the fish (hint: release the electric eels and the piranhas); if the fishing mini-game is too hard, you can manually adjust the setting on how long you can fish. Also has a mini-game where you find animals and plants hidden in the jungle, catch them with a snapshot, then identify them to record in your exploration log book. Yes, there are snakes -- you're shown and explained the difference between an anaconda (constrictor-type snake) and a bushmaster (pit viper, kills with venom), etc. There are different birds, insects, plants, mammals, and fungus -- each with their own picture & info entry (e.g. play a recording of how they sound). The music and sound effects are pretty good, makes you feel like you're actually in the Amazon. The game also explains a bit of the history of the Amazon if you care to know it (you can skip it all if you want), how it was affected by European colonization, and how quinine was discovered as the first cure for malaria (which, by the way, subsequently allowed Europeans to colonize Africa without dying from malaria). For cons, I found navigating the river to be tedious at times (have to dodge driftwood, find the correct river to travel down), and unfortunately the graphics have not aged well. I do like how much emphasis they place on audio, which ages much better than the graphics.

You are allowed to save and reload to your heart's content. To load a game after suffering a catastrophic event, hit Esc and click on Restart. From the main menu, you can then select to Load from a previously game, and you should get in the habit of saving often. You have a random chance of acquiring various diseases during your long journey down the Amazon River. It helps to have First Aid Kits to combat those diseases. If you thought dying of dysentery was fun, then you'll have a blast with all the different diseases you can encounter in the rain forest. And you can get stung by electric eels, bitten by piranhas, catch bubonic plague, and other interesting things. The good news is that you will rarely die from those calamities in this game, as long as you rest at the first sign of trouble.

Rating: 8

Product Release: The Amazon Trail (US, 12/31/96)

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