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Software Review:    Disney/Pixar Monsters, Inc. Scream Team Training

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Cleverly humorous and graphically dazzling, this activity center software program based on the hit movie Monsters Inc. has much going for it. For one--and unlike many Disney Interactive activity centers based on movies--this title contains a tremendous number of activities. For another, many of them are quite fun. Best of all, kids need to draw upon logical and strategic thinking skills in order to succeed at them. Another "plus" to be said for the game is its format--kids need to work through each activity for a pre-determined amount of time before opening the next in line. This gives kids a sense of purpose, and ensures that each activity will be given a fair shot. Of course, kids can return to any "open" activities whenever they want. Difficulty levels increase automatically, but can be changed manually as well. 

The setting for the game is Monsters, Inc. Players become employees of the company and start, naturally, in the mail room ("All trainees start in the mailroom," players are told). Opportunities for advancement at this company, where "We Scare Because We Care" is the motto, are plentiful. In fact, if kids have "what it takes", they can work through all the departments, earning key cards one by one, and moving up the ranks. 

In the mailroom, kids sort mail according to color, shape, and stamp class. As levels advance, the variables added make sorting the mail more challenging. Once mastered, kids move on to the Door Vault, where they must direct Sullivan through doors in an attempt to find the giggling, teasing little girl. Then it's on to the map room, where kids match flags on a map of the world to the correct countries, and, as levels advance, to a country's language. In the monster day care, they must quiet and appease monster babies with toys, spiked soothers, and (ick!) diaper changes. 

A favorite activity is found in the Tryout Room--trainees attempt to be "Master Scarers" by navigating through a dark room towards a mechanical child. The goal, of course, is to scare the kid. The challenge? To get to the bed where the mechanical kid is sleeping, trainees must navigate in near darkness, avoiding such obstacles as squeaky toys, musical instruments, and cats. Each time players mistakenly step on a square with one of these items, they must start all over again, but before they do, they get to peek at the room's layout with the lights on. Gradually, kids figure out a strategy to make it all the way. 

Other activities include filing paperwork into folders, serving up made-to-order lunches for the monsters in the cafeteria, and parking monsters' cars in the lot. 

Kids should enjoy the characters, graphics, and humor of the game. They don't need to do too much in order to advance through the activities. The downside? What to do, at times, can be confusing for younger users (the game is designed for children ages 5 and up). Characters do offer instructions, but kids have to wait to hear them--a help icon would have come in handy.

  • Moderately educational activities--children need to strategize and draw on logical thinking skills
  • Plenty of activities 
  • Pleasing graphics, musical soundtrack, and characters.
  • Cute premise


  • Confusing at times.
  • The box says ages 5-up, but 7-9 is probably more appropriate.



For Win/Mac By: Disney Interactive   Ages 6-10 Published: 2001




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 Reviewed November 2001                                                                                                 Comments? Email us.

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