:: Sonic's Schoolhouse ::
Last update: 11/15/06
:: Quick Jump ::
Gameplay Info |
Lost in Translation |
Behind the Screens |
:: Gameplay Info ::
You know an actor's career is over the first time he appears in a made-for-TV Disney Channel movie. Likewise, there's a certain point of
no return that a videogame mascot crosses when he visits the wayward realm of edutainment software, a field defined by its own pretentiousness. Sonic's
entry in the province is par for the course: a highly generic and astoundingly boring series of excercises with a superficial Sonic paint job. Most
cognizant kids would just as soon do homework.
Sonic's efforts to engage children in academic pursuits takes place in a simplistic virtual schoolhouse. Players use the arrow keys to
navigate the Wolfenstein-esque environment and enter "rooms" to solve problems pertaining to math, reading, or spelling. At the outset, kids choose
one of 10 different animals to serve as their on-screen avatar: elephant, crocodile, bull, pig, hippo, rabbit, kangaroo, polar bear, zebra, or monkey. (Note
that the avatars don't actually appear in the game proper, but sit on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen, which saps all the fun right out of being a
monkey in a schoolhouse.) Difficulty settings run the gamut from kindergarten to 4th grade.
From the main hall, players can enter any of 4 doors, 2 of which lead to math excercises and 1 each to reading and spelling. The
excercises appear on blackboards while "answers" (numbers and letters) float aimlessly around each room: click on an answer and drag it to the blackboard to
complete the equation. (Keep an eye open for Dr. Robotnik who would rather steal your answers than snatch his own.) Each room has a total of 10 problems to
solve: 4 are right out in the open while 6 are hidden away in secret alcoves. Studious little children who go out of their way to solve extra problems can
unlock "treats": playground passes and field trip passes, represented by Sonic and school bus icons, respectively. (Indolent children can find the same
goodies by locating hidden keys.)
The field trip takes place aboard the school bus (with Sonic at the wheel). Click on any one of the animals on the bus to watch a brief
video clip detailing the creature's diet, habitat, and similar nonsense. Playground passes access one of 2 minigames: 3D Concentration or Ring Hunt. In 3D
Concentration, players match statues featuring such recognizable Sonic imagery as Tails, Knuckles, palmtrees, etc. In Ring Hunt, players navigate a 3D
schoolyard filled with Rings and classic robot enemies. The object is to collect the assigned quota of Rings while avoiding Motora, Beeton, and Robotnik -
touch a baddie and you'll lose all your collected Rings. Take damage with no Rings on-hand and you get booted back to class.
A gumball is awarded for each successfully solved problem or completed minigame. Amass enough gumballs and you can have a certificate
printed out to document your achievement.
No "smoke in the bathroom" option? What a crock.
It's an English teacher's wet dream.
The schoolyard bullies here are high-tech. Note that special messages appear based on the date.
Sonic drives like a maniac through what looks like rural Nebraska.
This one had me stumped for a while.
What, no loop-de-loops?
Actually, it's supposed to be "Point Marker" but let's not split hairs.
Alot of work for a meager reward. JUST LIKE ADULTHOOD.
In addition to the normal 1-player game, there's a split screen mode in which two players can work together or go head-to-head to race for
answers. In versus mode, players have the ability to steal answers from their opponent, because it's never too early to begin developing plagiarism skills.
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