reviews\ Dec 2, 2002 at 7:00 pm

The Powerpuff Girls Mojo Jojo's Clone Zone - PC - Review

The Powerpuff girls are bored, bored, bored! They do the same thing every day, and they're tired of the same old routine. But just in time, Mojo Jojo creates some excitement by cloning himself all over town, so the Powerpuff girls fly into action to take out those clones and save Townsville!

Thus begins the adventure of the Powerpuff Girls as brought to you by The Learning Company, oddly enough. However, this partnership works pretty well and there is plenty of learning going on with those intrepid supergirls.

After the cartoon introduction, gameplay begins in the living room, which serves as a hub for all the activities. Via a TV screen, four of the activities can be reached, with the final game-ending activity becoming available as a shortcut later. In the beginning, players will need to play the three main games: Letterbugs, a spelling game which involves catching letters being thrown by Mojo Jojo and his henchmen before the garbage they're also throwing piles up too high; Skycraper Chaser, a math equation game that combines choosing the right numbers with trying to trap Mojo Jojo on a single number block; and Zap the Map, a directional grid activity with directional clues. Circuit chips (points) are earned for each of these games; players must have points in each game to play the Code Breaker activity later. The fourth activity, From Here to Lair, which leads to the Code Breaker game, is an arcade style game that requires choosing the correct shapes as requested by the directions of the machine. Once this game has been played twice, a shortcut to the Code Breaker game will appear on the main TV hub in the living room. The Code Breaker game involves placing words into machines, which change the words by a special function. These changed words will then be placed in a series of five humorous stories which reveal embarrassing facts about Mojo Jojo, which causes his force field to break down under the stress.

The interface menu can be displayed on the bottom of the screen, or hidden. Buttons include a helpful link to the Professor, who is full of advice (he also gives a useful tutorial for each activity when first playing), printables, an exit button, and a movie demo of each activity. There are five difficulty levels for each game, which can be set to auto-level or can be changed manually directly from each activity. Hopping back and forth from activities can also be accomplished by changing levels, as this screen allows players to change activities and also access the Code Breaker without going first through the Here to Lair shape game.

Each of these games is just the right mix of Powerpuff Girls bravado and educational fun, which is always the desired outcome of any good edutainment game. While most of the games involve basic drills, there are also logical thinking skills required in choosing a certain answer, as in Skycraper Chaser, which might have the same number more than once, but players will want to pick the number that encloses Mojo Jojo in a corner. The map activity is an excellent exercise in critical thinking skills, as kids will have to use plenty of thinking ahead to map out those tricky directions in the harder levels. The Letterbug game is a lot of fun, and provides plenty of spelling practice, and the geometry activity is also good practice for identifying shapes.

The Code Breaker activity is also a thoughtful language arts game, presented with a great educational focus on synonyms, antonyms, ending sounds, and critical thinking skills in the higher levels, due to the hidden language function, which has to be surmised by educated guessing and trial and error. However, there is a problem with this one activity: there is no randomization - the same exact words and stories appear for each level. This decreases the replayability for this one activity, which leaves four that can be enjoyed over and over again. This considerably shortens the game content and also detracts from the main goal of the game, which is to reach the Code Breaker activity.

While this is a fun game with good educational content which will please Powerpuff Girls fans, parents may not be as thrilled to part with $20 for a game that only has a few activities, one of which is the same one every time. Best for ages six-ten.

Gameplay: 8
Playing these cute activities is a lot of fun, and educational, too! The difficulty levels are graduated nicely, and several different ages will be able to play.

Graphics: 8 
Everything looks very much like the cartoon.

Sound: 7
The music is thoroughly average.

Difficulty: Medium
There are five difficulty levels, which basically run the gamut from 1st-4th grades.

Concept: 7.5 
It's a good idea to mix educational activities with the popular PowerPuff girls, and these are nicely done for the most part.

Multiplayer: No

Overall: 7.3
A good edutainment game which will appeal to boys and girls ages 6-10, but one that could have used a few more activities and a reworking of the end-game activity, the Code Breaker, to include a mix of different words and stories.


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