In the ethnically diverse adventure game The Pink Panther's Passport to Peril, the still-sleuthing fuchsia feline must protect an international gaggle of children at a summer camp from an assortment of baddies, leading to a series of nutball escapades. Players pick up clues - and learn about other cultures - with the pink cat while sniffing out spies who threaten world peace. The humor is strictly borscht belt, and the narrative somewhat convoluted, but the bright, lively animation is a delight, making this a Passport to fun.
Passport to Peril by Simon and Schuster is a Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego style game that is meant to increase a child's knowledge of other cultures in other lands thru the eye of an overly sarcastic ethnocentric panther (oops, sorry, that slipped out).
The main plot revolves around the children at Camp Chilly-WaWa; these are not your everyday run of the mill children, but the children of politicians, diplomats, activists, environmentalists and so on. If they get upset, then they will upset their powerful parents and therefore destroy world peace. In short, babysitting; no, better -- babysitting spoiled, badly written, stereotyped children.
The game only plays in a 640x480 window on your desktop. The graphics are bad Saturday morning cartoons. You know, the ones where the head moves, the body stays still and the lips move like the cartoon was originally in a language that has 12 words for hello and uses all at once. The opening was amusing to a point. The jokes were set up and followed thru with clockwork precision and were, like a clock, predictable.
It's odd, but a percentage of the wordplay seems to be for the parents of the children playing the game. Case in point: at one juncture of the game Pink finds a tool box and picks up one of the tools: "Saucey Wrench". Our Hero Quips, "Saucey Wench"?? I defy most children to get that joke and most parents to not be offended by it.
The interface is simple and easy to use. The cursor is context sensitive (to a degree). If Pink can interact with it, it turns to a pointing finger with a "star" at the tip of the finger.
Where it is something to pick up, someone to talk to or something to do, that cursor will show the way. If something is loading, it will show a hand with a wristwatch, and if nothing can happen, a hand raised in the "stop" position. Moving from one area to another is accomplished via a large arrow cursor.
Getting to other parts of the world entails getting on the appropriate jet and the parachuting from the plane. Due to the limited nature of the program, as soon as the plane takes off you can use the parachute and find yourself in the country of your choosing.
So that is the complete and total sum of your interaction with the world. A simplistic single point and click. This means every scene is a pixel hunt for the active spots.
Click on a person and listen, click on an object and get an action or pick it up. If you move your cursor to the top of the window, you can access the main game menu. From here you can save games, look at the PDA (Pink's handy dandy encyclopaedia on the go). Here's another oddity: the PDA is available through the main menu from the moment you start the game, however you are not "given" the PDA in the game until about 20 minutes in.
The save game feature is a laugh. When you save a game, you have to tell the game where to save the file. There is no 'saved games' directory -- every time you save, you automatically overwrite the previous saved game.
To be honest, I could go on for pages pointing out all the different ways this game is bad, but I will spare you the tirade. This game is amusing only in the fact that it has missed the mark by such a horrible margin. It is neither fun nor funny. Go look for Pyjama Sam or Freddie the Fish and get a game that will actually entertain your child.
People who downloaded Pink Panther, The: Passport to Peril have also downloaded:
Pink Panther, The: Hokus Pokus Pink, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? CD-ROM, Sheila Rae the Brave, Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time, Slater & Charlie Go Camping, Where in The USA is Carmen Sandiego? Deluxe Edition, Pink Panther: Pinkadelic Pursuit, Stay Tooned!
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