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************************************************************************
PC Magazine Picks the Top 100 CD-ROMs
************************************************************************

This is the complete text of PC Magazine's special feature from
the September 13, 1994 issue.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 1994 by Ziff-Davis Interactive. All rights reserved.

This file may not be reproduced in any form, or stored in a database or
retrieval system, or transmitted or distributed in any form by any
means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without the prior written permission of Ziff-Davis Interactive.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


Contents:

Introduction
How We Rated the Top 100
Bad CD-ROMs -- Dvorak's Duds
The Machrone Family's Collection
Applications on CD-ROM
PC Magazine on CD-ROM

Reviews:

Geneneral Reference
Art and Music
History
Science
Entertainment
Edutainment
Travel
Developer's Tools
Productivity



************************************************************************
Introduction
By Lance Ulanoff
************************************************************************

With 8,000 CD-ROM titles jamming store shelves, how can you tell the
best from the rest? Our guide to today's hottest disks should get you
started.

More than almost any medium that has come before them, CD-ROMs invite
users to get involved. "Take a journey," the boxes invite. Enter a
surrealistic adventure "that will become your world." Learn to speak
"Power" Japanese. Explore the private world of A (the artist formerly
known as Prince). It isn't just hype. The best CD-ROMs can surprise you,
inform you, and entertain you.

To help us zero in on the top 100 titles from the thousands available
today, we divided them into nine categories: General Reference
(dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases); Productivity (tools that help
you better yourself or your career, such as business directories, clip-
art galleries, and executive information kits); Developers' Tools; Art &
Music (music or multimedia CDs, architecture, and art history); History;
Science; Entertainment; Edutainment (educational CDs and games with
educational value, usually for kids); and Travel.

You'll notice that there are more CDs in some categories than in others.
Not surprisingly, games and children's edutainment make up the largest
portion of our list. Productivity is a category that appears to be
growing, but it offers far fewer disk titles of quality to choose from.
There's no question that CD-ROMs are powerful tools for entertaining,
enlightening, and disseminating information. But they also contain the
software most likely to test the limits of your system. Multimedia CDs,
on the other hand--including games, reference CDs, and edutainment CDs--
often require that you modify your AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS files (or
both).


Instead of offering an overall rating for each CD, we broke the ratings
down into categories (see the sidebar "How We Rated Our Top CD-ROMs").
Some CDs did well in multimedia but ran into trouble with resources;
others excelled in terms of content but didn't offer much in the way of
a user interface. The results simply prove that, on the whole, CD-ROM
technology still has room for improvement.

If that's so, why is 1994 the year of the CD-ROM? You can thank a
confluence of factors, including the arrival of triple- and quadruple-
speed CD-ROM drives, the continuing PC-price plunge, the sale of more
multimedia-ready PCs this year than ever before, and the realization of
more and more PC users that multimedia isn't some form of voodoo after
all.

According to Glenn Ochsenreiter, managing director of the Washington,
D.C.-based Multimedia PC (MPC) Marketing Council, between 5 and 6
million multimedia PCs were installed by end of 1993. The council
predicts that that number will double by the end of 1994. The CD-ROM
publishing industry must be paying attention. InfoTech, a market
research firm that covers the CD-ROM industry and is based in Woodstock,
Vermont, reports that there were over 8,000 CD-ROM titles in print as of
1993. InfoTech expects that we'll have more than 13,000 titles to choose
from by 1995.

As PC manufacturers sell systems with everything already plugged in,
they usually do the compatibility legwork as well. These multimedia-
ready PCs are usually MPC-compliant systems. To meet MPC Level 2
specifications, a system must have at least a 25-MHz 486SX processor, a
160MB hard disk, a 16-bit sound card (including eight-note synthesizer
and MIDI playback), MIDI I/O and joystick ports, and a 300-kilobyte-per-
second double-speed CD-ROM drive that uses no more than 60 percent of
the system's processing power for data transfer.

There's a good chance that if you buy an MPC2-compliant CD-ROM and pop
it into your MPC-compliant system, it will run without a hitch, but
there are other tools that can help you run your system and CD-ROMs
successfully.

* Helix Software (800-451-0551, 718-392-3100) has released Multimedia
Cloaking software that uses the technology employed in its NetRoom
memory manager product to free up lower-memory space that's clogged with
drivers for your mouse, CD-ROM drive, and disk cache.

* CD Essentials is a Windows-based utility, from Phoenix Technologies
(617-551-4000), that will automatically catalog your CD-ROMs and load a
CD as soon as you place it in the drive bay.

* From Corel Corp. (800-772-6735), CD Power Pak includes software to
catalog your CDs, speed up your CD-ROM drive, and record and edit sound
files.

* From Individual Software (800-822-3522), Professor Multimedia can
teach you about multimedia--for example, about the difference among
different types of sound cards and various video-file formats.

Perusing the number of titles available today can be daunting. In fact,
there are CDs that contain nothing but lists of all the titles currently
in print. Two that proved invaluable in our search for the best and
brightest were TFPL Publishing's The CD-ROM Directory and Mecklermedia's
indispensable CD-ROMs in Print 1994.

And as the number of titles grows almost daily, so does vendors'
understanding of the technology. By the time you read this, it's
entirely possible that there will be new CD-ROMs that better utilize
your system's resources and provide even more information and
entertainment than those available on our list.

Our Contributors: Michael J. Miller is editor-in-chief and Gayle C.
Ehrenman is an associate editor of PC Magazine. Bill Machrone is vice
president of technology at Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. Sheryl Canter,
John C. Dvorak, John R. Quain, Jim Seymour, and Barry Simon are
contributing editors of PC Magazine, and Rubin Rabinovitz and Donald B.
Trivette are frequent contributors. Lance Ulanoff was the associate
editor in charge of this story.

--------------------------

How We Rated the Top 100 CD-ROMs

To select the best CD-ROMs from a cast of thousands, we used a simple
rating system. Each review is followed by four icons representing
different areas, and each icon contains a numerical rating.

We rated the top 100 CD-ROMs on a scale of 1 to 4, where

1 = Poor
2 = Fair
3 = Good
4 = Excellent

An N/A rating indicates that the product does not have multimedia
capabilities.

Content

To fare well in this area, the CD-ROM must fulfill the mission stated on
its box. If title is "Asia Alive," for example, we expect the eastern
hemisphere to come to life. We also consider entertainment value and the
overall quality of information.

User Interface

Because of the wealth of information and media contained on CD-ROMs, the
user interfaces can be pretty complex. We examine how well an interface
guides users through the environment. Installation and setup also figure
into this rating.

Innovative Use of Multimedia

Thanks to a CD-ROM's unique storage and retrieval characteristics, users
often expect to find sound, video, animation, and hyperlinked text on
their CDs--regardless of the subject matter. Here we look at the quality
of multimedia and how intelligently it is built into the larger design.

System Resources

Here we look at how much hard disk space and memory are required to run
the given CD-ROM. Products with relatively poor ratings usually require
an inordinate amount of hard disk space and RAM--and that users rewrite
their system files.

--------------------------

Bad CD-ROMs: Dvorak's Duds

By John C. Dvorak

They asked me to list the five worst CD-ROMs, a task that turned out to
be impossible. It's like asking someone to list the five worst TV shows.
There are hundreds of dreadful CD-ROMs out there, and even among the 100
top CD-ROMs in this story, there are at least a dozen that I find
horrible. Some of these come from decent CD-ROM developers who are
trying to do their best, so it's obvious that making a great CD-ROM
isn't easy.

Poor CD-ROMs have certain characteristics. A bad CD-ROM can result from
a poorly designed or unusable, counterintuitive interface. Kathy Smith's
Fat Burning System, from Xphias, is one standout in this category. It
drives you nuts trying to figure out what to click on. Xphias, which has
acquired a lot of good content, needs to rethink its user interface as
far as I'm concerned. Can you spell focus group?

Weak content is another indicator of a bad CD-ROM. I'm thinking of any
of the COW CD-ROMs from Quanta Press, although I consider these tongue-
in-cheek releases. Quanta goes from one extreme to another in terms of
content. Its Consumer Information CD-ROM, for example, is filled with
oddball and useful stuff.

Weak can also mean annoying. The White Horse Child disk, which reads a
hokey story to entertain children, is right up there in the annoyance
category. I'm just waiting for a flood of potentially horrendous New Age
or fundamentalist-religion CDs to flood the market soon. Particularly
annoying is the tide of CD-ROM cookbooks that purport to computerize
your cooking chores. Besides offering little to interest anyone who
cooks, many of these offerings border on the ridiculous. The idea of
inputting a list of leftovers and letting the computer give you a recipe
is ludicrous; what idiot can't figure out this kind of thing for
himself?

Technical weakness is the third flaw. Video Cube: Space, from Aris
Entertainment, comes to the fore here. On start-up, it tells me that I
need 256 colors--not 16--to run the game. Exactly why the programmers
can't account for this limitation is a mystery, but my Mach32 card
running on an Insight Pentium machine was not running 16 colors as the
game assumed. It simply wouldn't recognize my hardware properly.

Then there are the spotty CD-ROMs that run only on certain systems for
reasons that are hard to explain. Even when you have a supposed MPC
machine, many CD-ROMs are flaky. The sound doesn't work at all, or it
works only half the time.

Finally, the little movies that are often part of a CD-ROM tend to be
horrific and herky-jerky. I advise some developers to take a look at
Knowledge Adventure's Bug Adventure to see how a movie should look.

My advice to anyone who wants to start a collection of useful CD-ROMs is
this: Never buy any of these disks sight unseen without a money-back
guarantee. Since it costs $1.50 to crank out a CD-ROM, anything that
costs more than $10 a disk had better be pretty good. There are too many
poor-quality disks out there for you to take any chances.

--------------------------

The Machrone Family's Collection

By Bill Machrone

It was easy to figure out which were the Machrone family's favorite CD-
ROMs. We have half a dozen CD-ROM caddies to make switching from one
title to another more convenient. The ones that were always in the
caddies were the winners.

First and foremost is Microsoft Cinemania '94. We love movies, and
Microsoft Cinemania makes them more enjoyable. Not only do we search for
titles we'd like to see, but we read reviews of movies we've seen and
follow the hypertext trail of actors and directors to other movies. The
odd, interesting facts from the plot summaries are great food for
conversation.

Second is New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. It's not as flashy as
Microsoft's Encarta, but it has the best content of all of the CD-based
encyclopedias. Grolier's has enough depth to fill in for the kids'
textbooks when they forget to bring them home the night before the big
test. It's competent in biology, geography, politics, and the physical
sciences, and it is almost as good as a biographical dictionary for
telling you about obscure historical characters. Whether you have kids
in school or are just curious about the world, this is one disk to have.

Third, surprisingly, is CorelDRAW. We have the drawing and image-
manipulation programs loaded onto the hard disk, but I'm often surprised
to come home and find the Corel library of images loaded into the CD-ROM
drive. The kids are constantly picking off graphical images for their
reports and stories, and sometimes they do so just for fun. Andrew loves
the dragons, wizards, and other fantasy characters, while Stephanie
delves into the symbols, the scenery, and countless other places. Also,
Corel supplies a breathtaking collection of typefaces with CorelDRAW. We
use 'em all.

Fourth, for the moment, is Myst. Even though it forced us to reinstall
our sound drivers and then promptly crashed--taking Windows and all the
new settings with it--we still love it. Once I sat in that dentist chair
cum time machine and the stars changed, I was hooked. I know that Myst
is the game du jour; it will be replaced in time by something even
better. But in the meantime, there's this power pole I've got to climb.
. . .

Fifth on our list is the whole Knowledge Adventure product line,
especially the 3-D titles. We're not exactly checking the keyboard for
tyrannosaurus drool, but the 3-D is a kick. We may look like jerks,
clustered around the monitor with our tacky cardboard glasses on, but
we're sharing a family experience, having fun, and learning. Science
Adventure, Bug Adventure, 3-D Body Adventure, Speed, Space Adventure;
they're in constant rotation.

Finally, there's Microsoft Bookshelf. This was the first major CD-ROM
title, and it's still the best for convenient, authoritative writing. I
just wish I could fit this one onto my laptop, since I do so much
writing on the road. Bookshelf has come a long way from the original
pop-up DOS program--and thank goodness.

--------------------------


Applications on CD-ROM

By Michael J. Miller

What can CD-ROM technology offer typical business applications? Now that
CD-ROM drives have become more prevalent on desktop PCs, that's a
question many software developers and users are asking. But while a CD-
ROM version of a software package can be more convenient, prove more
cost-effective, and contain more information than a floppy disk version,
CD versions of business applications are still few and far between.

For large applications, such as the office suites from Lotus Development
Corp., Microsoft Corp., and WordPerfect Corp., the advantages seem clear
enough. Just installing the 30-something disks that contain these
programs takes forever. Merely placing the floppy disk version onto a
CD-ROM provides a user with an immediate benefit. And for the developer,
a single CD-ROM costs less to produce than even three or four floppy
disks. If the developer passes the savings on to users, everyone
benefits.

All of the developers of office suites have promised CD versions, but
the only ones available so far are the various flavors of the Microsoft
Office product. All these vendors say they will keep their promises, but
right now most are dealing with changing their packages' installation
routines and determining what additional information, if any, should be
on the CD versions.

One business-application vendor, Corel Corp., has promoted CD-based
applications for years and put all kinds of additional material on the
CD versions of its software. For instance, the latest release of
CorelDRAW (Version 5.0) includes 825 fonts, 22,000 clip-art images, and
100 high-resolution photos on three CD-ROMs. While Corel offers a
version that includes floppy disks of the application itself, that
version is more expensive.

Providing additional fonts is one thing, but really extending the
application is another. Lotus 1-2-3, Release 4.0: Multimedia Edition is
a CD-ROM version with a far more sophisticated help engine than that
found in the standard floppy disk version. This engine includes tutors
and help screens incorporating graphics and animation, as well as extras
such as Lotus's ScreenCam utility. Microsoft Multimedia Works, CD
version, adds more help to its popular low-end integrated application.
Such efforts are few and far between, however, and most seem to
emphasize flash over substance.

CD-ROM-based applications do involve some complications and compromises.
You'll still probably want to install the main part of an application on
your hard disk because it's much faster than a CD-ROM drive. Still,
600MB is a lot of capacity for something that effectively replaces the
floppy disk in terms of software distribution.

Developers have always found something to do with extra capacity.
Extensive help systems, animated tools, and additional fonts and clip
art are just the beginning.

--------------------------

PC Magazine on CD-ROM

By Don Willmott

It would be immodest to suggest that the CD-ROM version of PC Magazine
is one of the 100 best CD-ROMs of all time, but we do know that it's a
very useful adjunct to the magazine you're holding right now, with
several multimedia features we can't deliver on paper.

From a familiar-looking table of contents, a mouse click takes you to
multimedia versions of five recent comparative reviews from PC Magazine.
In each case, we are able to deliver more information than what appears
in the print publication. For instance, you can click on the Perfect PC
and Perfect LAN illustrations to get more detail about each of the
components. With our reviews of 90-MHz Pentium systems and 100-MHz DX4
systems, you get complete benchmark test results and features tables so
you can compare your system with the ones we tested.

Perhaps most impressive are the demos that accompany our stories on
personal information managers and desktop publishing systems. These are
on-line demos, in which our reviewers walk you through the individual
programs, pointing out each product's strengths and weaknesses following
our Suitability to Task ratings. And of course, you'll find the full
text of all of the original articles.

Additionally, the CD features a special edition of Computer Select that
contains the full text of the last 12 months of PC Magazine. It's
searchable by subject, author, title, product, and keyword.

The disk also contains some PC Magazine utilities and all of PC Magazine
Labs' PC benchmark test results, as well as the benchmark tests
themselves. You can use them to test your own system and see how it
stacks up against other systems in its class.

An annual subscription (four issues) costs $59.95, and the single-copy
price is $19.95. To order, call 800-787-9677 (mention priority code
4G00) or 303-447-9330, or fax 303-443-5080.


***********************************************************************

General Reference
By Rubin Rabinovitz

***********************************************************************


* Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia

Looking for the best electronic encyclopedia? If best means the most
accurate and comprehensive, choose New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia.
This disk is based on the 21-volume Academic American Encyclopedia, many
of whose 2,300 contributors are authorities in their fields.

This disk boasts 10 million words of text--more than any other
electronic encyclopedia--along with comprehensive bibliographies,
discographies, fact boxes, and tables. Some 7,000 of its 33,000 articles
are new or have been updated for the 1994 edition.

Grolier supplements its text with 4,000 photos and illustrations; 1,000
are new, and most of these are in color. This package also includes 53
video sequences, over 300 maps, 4 hours of multimedia features, and a
good search engine. The 5,000-entry time line is linked to the
encyclopedia's text, so that clicking on a time-line item will take you
to a relevant article.

The latest edition offers 15 animated Multimedia Maps on such topics as
the growth of American railroads, the development of the women's
suffrage movement, and the progress of the Gulf War. Microsoft Encarta
Multimedia Encyclopedia may offer more dazzle, but this encyclopedia
provides the most information. $149.95; Grolier Electronic Publishing
Inc., 800-285-4534, 203-797-3530.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Microsoft Bookshelf

Connect a search engine to a bunch of reference works and let users
retrieve data from a number of these works in a single pass: That's the
inspired idea that made Microsoft Bookshelf a CD-ROM hit back in 1987.
The same idea is at the heart of Microsoft Bookshelf 1994 Edition, along
with some of the original reference works: The Concise Columbia
Encyclopedia (15,000 entries and 1,300 images), the Hammond Intermediate
World Atlas (more than 100 political and topographic maps), and the
World Almanac and Book of Facts (recently updated for 1994).

New to Bookshelf is The People's Chronology, a year-by-year survey of
historical, cultural, and scientific events. One somewhat questionable
enhancement is the substitution of the 18,000-entry Concise Columbia
Dictionary of Quotations for the classic Bartlett's Familiar Quotations,
with its 22,500 entries.

The American Heritage Dictionary now has many more entries, but its
operation has become more cumbersome. Roget's Thesaurus is also bigger,
with 250,000 synonyms, though many terms are not exact synonyms. Based
on the sheer wealth of reference material included, Microsoft Bookshelf
1994 Edition is very much a program worth getting. $99; Microsoft Corp.,
800-426-9400.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia

If you think the best CD-ROM encyclopedia is the one that's best for
kids, get Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. It's easy to use, and its
content--5,200 feature articles and 28,000 shorter articles--is designed
to be understood by children as young as six.

A unique feature in Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia is an integrated
dictionary: When young readers don't understand a word, they can simply
double-click on it for a definition. This product's multimedia amenities
include over 7,000 pictures, 800 maps, 50 minutes of audio, and 12
animations on topics such as the amoeba, how birds fly, asexual
reproduction, chemical reactions, wind carrying pollen, and nuclear
fission. It also includes 60 entertaining and informative video clips on
subjects as wide-ranging as cell division and the civil rights movement.

Though it doesn't support Boolean searches, Compton's Interactive
Encyclopedia has nine entry paths to help you find out-of-the-way
information. For example, initiating a search for the word design using
the InfoPilot retrieval utility gives references to articles on
industrial design and fashion design, along with the names of famous
designers and architects. $149.95; Compton's NewMedia, 800-862-2206.

Contents 3
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Oxford English Dictionary

The 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, is the second-
best dictionary ever compiled. The best is the Oxford English
Dictionary, Second Edition, on CD-ROM.

This disk contains the full text of the printed version: 616,500 words,
137,000 pronunciations, 249,000 etymologies, 2.4 million illustrative
quotations, and 577,000 cross-references. Data access is provided by a
powerful search engine and a query-language retrieval program that let
you gather data in ways you can't with printed dictionaries.

You can conduct wildcard searches, jump to cross-references, filter
search results by date or part of speech, and conduct Boolean searches.
For more complex searches, however, you'll need to invest some time in
learning the program's query language.

This product is a word lover's dream, but in view of the $895 price,
many word lovers won't see that dream become a reality. $895; Oxford
University Press, 800-334-4249 ext. 7390.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia N/A
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Microsoft Encarta

Searching for a CD-ROM encyclopedia with killer multimedia features?
Look no further: Microsoft Encarta Multimedia Encyclopedia is tops in
this category. No CD-ROM encyclopedia can match its numbers: over 7,300
images, 8 hours of audio, and 100 video clips and narrated animations--
plus numerous photographs, maps, charts, foreign-language samples,
instrument sounds, animal cries, and a time line. You can watch
demonstrations of how an internal combustion engine works and how bees
use dance to communicate. You can also enjoy the works of Leonardo
daVinci, Picasso, and Rembrandt, or listen to excerpts from Bach,
Beethoven, and Mozart.

Encarta's 26,000-article text never reaches the high standard set by its
multimedia features, but no other encyclopedia provides the full CD-ROM
experience offered by this disk. $139; Microsoft Corp., 800-426-9400.

Contents 3
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Global Explorer

Global Explorer covers the world from all angles. From the broadest
perspective, you see the world; at the most microscopic, you see streets
in major cities. In between, you get the best-looking, most detailed on-
line maps of the world. Global Explorer includes descriptions of 20,000
historical and geographical features, and street maps for 100 cities.
$99 (estimated street price); DeLorme Mapping, 800-452-5931.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia N/A
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Computer Select

Want to gain a reputation as a computer guru? With Computer Select,
you'll soon be spewing out specs for dozens of products and programs.
The disk brings you a year's worth of articles from 150 computer
publications, including Macworld, PC Magazine, PC Week, and PC World. It
includes nearly 75,000 articles, 12,500 computer company profiles,
70,000 hardware and software product specifications, and a spiffy search
engine. $1,250; Computer Library, 800-827-7889.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia N/A
System resources 3

-------------------------

* The Constitution Papers

No multimedia frills here. This CD is a text-only, DOS-based collection
of 44 key historical documents, including the U.S. Constitution, the
Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, and the
constitutions of the original 13 colonies. These texts have been
analyzed by WordCruncher, a concordance program that lists all the
significant words in its database. This is an invaluable research tool
for students and historians. $99; Johnston & Co., 801-756-1111.

Contents 4
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia N/A
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Columbia Granger's World of Poetry

If you love poetry, you'll love the DOS-based Columbia Granger's World
of Poetry. The disk comes with texts of 8,500 well-known poems, as well
as 3,000 quotations from 1,500 other poems. You can search for poems by
author, title, first line, subject, or keyword. Should you buy Columbia
Granger's? Only if your love of poetry can overcome $699 worth of
sticker shock. $699; Columbia University Press, 800-944-8648.


Contents 4
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia N/A
System resources 4

-------------------------

* PhoneDisc

Looking up long-distance numbers can be frustrating, but an electronic
phone-number database can make it easier. A good choice is PhoneDisc
PowerFinder, a five-disk colossus with 91 million listings. You can
retrieve phone numbers by address or type of business. PhoneDisc is just
the ticket for tracking down old classmates and sweethearts. $249;
Digital Directory Assistance Inc., 800-284-8353.

Contents 4
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia N/A
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Random House Unabridged Dictionary

If its 315,000 entries seem paltry next to the Oxford English
Dictionary's 616,500, that's because the Random House Unabridged
Dictionary, Second Edition, doesn't include obsolete terms and
expressions. For some users, Random House will be the better choice
because it's a dictionary of American English, and it's easier to use.

The definitions may be a bit terse, but Random House's operation is
intuitive, and its price is wallet-friendly. $79; Random House Reference
and Electronic Publishing, 800-733-3000.

Contents 3
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia N/A
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Street Atlas USA

This is the program to show friends who are considering a CD-ROM drive.
You can find locations by name, ZIP code, or phone number, but zooming
in is the most fun. Start with a map of the U.S.A. and then, at
magnification level 7, highway numbers will appear; at level 13, you'll
see railroads, and at 15, you'll read street names. With 12 million
street segments packed into the disk, we're talking about every street
in the country, including those in that old neighborhood you haven't
visited for years. $169; DeLorme Mapping, 800-452-5931.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia N/A
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Jets!

Could an on-line aviation encyclopedia provide any more than Jets! does?
Not unless it included action videos, engine sounds, 500 captioned
photos, the texts of two books on aviation history, statistics on some
150 jet aircraft, and 22 three-dimensional animations that let you view
aircraft from different angles. Fire up your computer and install one of
the video drivers included on the disk and you'll be cleared for
takeoff. $59.95; Medio Multimedia Inc., 800-788-3866.

Contents 3
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* The Software Toolworks World Atlas

The maps in The Software Toolworks World Atlas, Version 4.0, aren't as
detailed as Global Explorer's, but this program does include over 1,000
color photos, 270 film clips, and audio clips with country-name
pronunciations. And if all this data overwhelms you, you can look at the
flags of 200 countries while listening to each country's national
anthem. $59.95; The Software Toolworks Inc., 415-883-3000.

Contents 3
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Library of the Future

You'd need an 18-foot floor-to-ceiling bookcase for printed editions of
the 1,750 volumes in the Library of the Future, Third Edition. What
makes the program doubly useful is a search engine that lets you sift
through its many works of fiction, poetry, history, politics, science,
religion, and ethics. $149.95; World Library Inc., 800-443-0238.


***********************************************************************

Art & Music
By John R. Quain

***********************************************************************


* Microsoft Art Gallery

When it comes to art, most people subscribe to the "I don't know how to
define it, but I know it when I see it" school of thought. Microsoft Art
Gallery certainly enables you to see a lot of it--and may change how you
think about painting.

Based on the National Gallery of London's collection of 13th- to 20th-
century paintings, Microsoft Art Gallery beautifully presents the lives
of the painters, a historical atlas, and four narrated tours. It also
has practical help, such as spoken pronunciations; there's no excuse for
mispronouncing Ingres or trompe l'oeil anymore. Microsoft Art Gallery's
paintings are hyperlinked to other related works--an advantage this
medium has over typical museums. There are limitations, however.

Much of the material only scratches the surface. Microsoft Art Gallery
won't tell you about the controversy surrounding Velasquez's The Rokeby
Venus, and because it's based on a single art collection, its coverage
is limited. Also, the images don't match the detail of photographs in a
good art book. Van Gogh's brush strokes look smudged, and the point in
Seurat's pointillism is blotchy. But what this disk lacks in
completeness and detail, it makes up in its elegant yet easily navigated
presentation. $79.95; Microsoft Corp., 800-426-9400, 206-882-8080.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 1

-------------------------

* Exploring Ancient Architecture

Goethe once called architecture "frozen music." Exploring Ancient
Architecture, from Medio Multimedia, sets that music in motion with
impressive 3-D animation.

Covering four eras--the Neolithic, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman periods--
this disk uses multimedia effects to recreate architecture none of us
can ever visit. Each period is covered by an overview using slides and
models, while the narrator delivers a thumbnail sketch of the era's
crowning architectural achievements. The overviews can be tedious, but
the real gems are the building tours.

The seven building tours allow you to become a virtual tourist. In the
Neolithic period, for example, you can wander through Stonehenge, which
actual tourists are no longer allowed to do. Furthermore, buildings long
since destroyed (such as the Temple of Khons) are recreated for you to
stroll through.

Other aspects of the disk suffer from a lack of creativity. The
navigation controls are stifling, and search mechanisms are nonexistent.
In addition, the narration sounds like a sixth-grade history-class film.
As a reference tool, Exploring Ancient Architecture is merely a coffee-
table book; still, it's a great coffee-table book. $59.95; Medio
Multimedia Inc., 800-788-3866.

Contents 2
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Microsoft Multimedia Schubert

Voyager wrote the CD-ROM on how to create top-notch multimedia titles.
The company is responsible for an entire line of superlative classical
CD-ROMs (sold through Microsoft), including Multimedia Schubert: The
Trout Quintet, a disk that represents the pinnacle of Voyager's series
so far.

Schubert's lyrical quintet is a masterpiece that requires no
introduction, but this disk manages to illuminate the music without
stepping on it or boring the user. Most of the credit goes to music
critic Alan Rich, who does an excellent job bringing Schubert's music to
life.

Though other classical music CD-ROM titles often come off as dry or
disorganized, Rich's homespun eloquence strikes the right chord,
conveying his obvious enthusiasm for the quintet and instilling in the
listener a new appreciation for this subtle piece of music. The material
is well written and interspersed with lively quotes and anecdotes that
prevent it from slipping into mere pedantry.

Highlights of the disk include articles and slides that take us through
1819 Vienna and Schubert's short life. It also has an intriguing close
reading of the work, complete with a performance by Elisabeth Leonskaya
and the Alban Berg Quartet. $79.95; Microsoft Corp., 800-426-9400, 206-
882-8080.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Poetry in Motion

"Poetry's always been said to be a private hidden art, not appreciated,"
said Charles Bukowski. Poetry in Motion successfully dispels this myth
by turning poetry from something read alone at home or in a library into
something heard and seen on a PC.

Filmed by Ron Mann, Poetry in Motion contains 24 contemporary poets
reading from their work. Additional interviews are included for most of
the authors. Although the video plays in tiny windows, the readings
bring the works alive, revealing intonations a solitary reader might not
otherwise notice. The poets range from the famous (Allen Ginsberg) to
the relatively unknown (Chris Dewdney) to those more widely known for
their music (Tom Waits and the late John Cage).

Voyager has made the user controls on this disk as unobtrusive and
flexible as possible, with sound-level and playback buttons neatly
hidden behind the words and images. $29.95; The Voyager Co., 800-446-
2001.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Prince Interactive

Beyond guessing how to pronounce Prince's new legal name--P--this disk
will leave you wondering: Is it a game? Is it an aural puzzle? Or is it
a musical experience? The answer is that it's all of these and more.

Decked out in lush graphics, P Interactive takes you into P's imaginary
boudoir, library, music studio, and private club. Throughout, you pick
up clues to play videos and collect pieces of the P symbol. The disk
contains four full-length music videos, including two new songs:
"Interactive" and "Endorphin Machine." The sound quality doesn't match
that of a standard audio CD, but this music exemplifies his playfulness
and ingenuity.

The music studio has a karaoke version of "Kiss," and in the private
club Eric Clapton, Little Richard, George Clinton, and Miles Davis opine
about the Symbol Man. Even if you think P's music has never been on the
cutting edge, this CD-ROM opens new doors for popular music and
multimedia. $59.95; The Graphix Zone, 800-828-3838.

Contents 2
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Microsoft Multimedia Stravinsky

Not all symphonic music has a calming effect. Stravinsky's The Rite of
Spring, for example, caused a riot when it was first performed in 1913.
Ever since then, audiences have found this seminal composition
interesting but often difficult. On Microsoft Multimedia Stravinsky: The
Rite of Spring, UCLA music professor Robert Winter manages to make The
Rite of Spring much more accessible.

Employing an array of multimedia techniques, Winter offers insights and
brings a cohesion to Stravinsky's famous work that listeners might not
otherwise discover. There's an aural tour of the orchestra, notes on
Nijinsky's ballet, a biographical sketch of the composer, and even a
game.

Relatively sophisticated classical music buffs will appreciate Winter's
close analysis, which takes you through Charles Dutoit's Montreal
Symphony Orchestra performance note by note and instrument by
instrument. $79.95; Microsoft Corp., 800-426-9400, 206-882-8080.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 2

-------------------------

* A Hard Day's Night

Little did Richard Lester realize in 1964 when he began filming A Hard
Day's Night that it would influence rock videos 30 years later. In case
you haven't seen the Fab Four's movie in a while, this Voyager disk
shows what an impact the movie and the band have had on subsequent
generations. Furthermore, this full-length digitized version of the
Beatles movie is an excellent history lesson for kids who think Pearl
Jam invented rock and roll.

Coupled with the movie, which plays best in a small, 2- by 2.75-inch
window, are Beatles biographies, a lengthy commentary, a photo library,
and the original script. Extras include the movie's original trailer
(replete with screaming prepubescent girls), two of Lester's early films
(a short and a clip from a feature), and, of course, all the movie's
songs. $39.95; The Voyager Company, 800-446-2001.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

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* Beethoven's 5th

Perhaps no music is more recognizable than the opening strains of
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, but this exploration will enhance your
appreciation of its grandeur. Beethoven's 5th: The Multimedia Symphony
includes video clips of musicians, a section on the instruments, and the
entire score, with a performance by the Zagreb Philharmonic under
Richard Erdlinger. This well-rounded disk should pique your interest in
the Fifth beyond da-da-da-dum. $59.95; Interactive Publishing Corp.,
800-472-8777.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

-------------------------

* I Photograph to Remember

I Photograph to Remember is Latin American photographer Pedro Meyer's
exquisite black-and-white homage to his parents. Told in his own images
and narration, this work brings into the home on a single disk what many
museums can't achieve in an entire exhibit--more personalized contact
with the artist. $39.95; The Voyager Co., 800-446-2001.

Contents 4
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* World Beat

World Beat is a musical sojourn around the world. It's packed with music
and video clips, articles, and interviews. The graphics are lively, and
the music's never dull. There are three narrated guides and a
discography with nearly 2,000 listings. From Afoxe to Zydeco, World Beat
covers over 150 musical styles, explaining the history of each form and
its influence on contemporary genres. $59.95; Medio Multimedia Inc.,
800-788-3866.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4



***********************************************************************

History
By Rubin Rabinovitz

***********************************************************************


* The Haldeman Diaries

Okay, H.R. Haldeman may not be at the top of your most-admired list.
Nevertheless, The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House gives a
compelling, behind-the-scenes view of the Nixon administration from its
times of triumph through the Watergate events.

As White House chief of staff, Haldeman was in a position to record
numerous historical and personal details that are essential reading for
anyone studying the Nixon presidency. Along with the full text of
Haldeman's 1,521-entry, 2,200-page diary, the disk includes Richard
Nixon's presidential logbook and 2,000 pages of related documents. Other
items of interest are a 120-page letter Haldeman wrote to Jim Neal--the
attorney who prosecuted him--proclaiming his innocence (the letter was
never mailed) and a prefatory note by H.R. Haldeman's wife, Jo,
describing how the diary came to be written.

The program's textual material, accessible through a search engine and
hyperlinks, is supplemented by 850 photographs and more than an hour of
Haldeman's own White House home movies, edited down from more than 27
hours of footage. This program is a great example of how a CD-ROM can be
more fun and more useful than a book. $69.95; Sony Imagesoft, 800-922-
7669.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* JFK Assassination

JFK Assassination: A Visual Investigation is more than a good history
program; it's a model for how such programs should be put together. The
written material includes the full text of two books on the Kennedy
assassination--Crossfire, by Jim Marrs (the basis of Oliver Stone's film
JFK), and The John F. Kennedy Assassination: A Complete Book of Facts--
as well as the Warren Commission Report.

All of the text is easily accessible: You can use an index, a retrieval
engine, or a copious array of hyperlinks to find material on the events
of November 22, 1963. There's a lot of material here; for example, a
search on Parkland leads to 137 references to Parkland Memorial
Hospital.

JFK Assassination comes with 30 minutes of full-motion, full-screen
video clips documenting the assassination, including the Zapruder film
and other assassination eyewitness films. There are 22 computer-animated
depictions of key events, showing such details as bullet angles, and an
indexed photo library. Different portions of the program present
biographical facts about President Kennedy, the events in Dallas,
conspiracy theories, and the aftermath of the assassination. Regardless
of your theories about the Kennedy assassination, this disk will inform
and entertain you. $59.95; Medio Multimedia Inc., 800-788-3866.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Time Almanac of the 20th Century

There's no time like the present. Time Almanac of the 20th Century's
2,000 articles, 500 photos, and 40 minutes of video--all of good
quality--provide a colorful decade-by-decade introduction to recent
history. Narrated photo essays such as "Russia, the Death of the Dream"
compare the U.S.S.R. of the 1930s to the disintegrating Soviet Union of
the 1990s.

Time Almanac of the 20th century also contains maps, graphs, a time
line, statistical tables, 12 photo essays on key 20th-century figures,
and extensive coverage of all presidential elections since 1924.
Additional material includes Time "Man of the Year" stories and original
cover art since 1927, and Newsquest--a game to test your knowledge of
20th-century history. There's a great deal of essential information here
for those interested in recent history. $69.95; Compact Publishing Inc.,
800-964-1518, 202-244-4770.

Contents 3
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4

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* The Anglo-Saxons

Recent discoveries have helped us learn more about life in early
Britain. The Anglo-Saxons, developed in cooperation with the British
Museum, conveys this information in a most attractive way. You can
listen to Anglo-Saxon music, tackle Anglo-Saxon riddles, look at
pictures of imaginary beasts, learn about the lives of British kings,
find out about life in the monasteries, and get suggestions for places
to visit if you're planning a trip to England.

You'll find fascinating illustrations of relevant artifacts, weapons,
and manuscripts from the British Museum's extensive Anglo-Saxon
Collection and other collections. The Anglo-Saxons also features quizzes
based on the included material. Anyone studying medieval history, art,
and architecture will not only learn a great deal from this program but
will enjoy using it. $59.95; Cambrix Publishing, 800-992-8781.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Microsoft Ancient Lands

Microsoft Ancient Lands provides a multimedia introduction to the glory
that was Greece, the grandeur that was Rome, and the wonder that was
Egypt. The disk contains over 5 hours of narration, music, and sound
effects and 21 animation and video sequences. Microsoft Ancient Lands is
informative enough for adults and entertaining enough for kids. $79.95;
Microsoft Corp., 800-426-9400.

Contents 3
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3


***********************************************************************

Science
By Barry Simon

***********************************************************************


* Isaac Asimov Science Adventure II

Isaac Asimov Science Adventure II is noteworthy for its spectacular
computer graphics and the high quality of its articles, which are based
on Isaac Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery. Although coverage
of the material is not very deep, the disk embraces a wide range of
topics and includes a myriad of slick animation demos, from roller-
coaster acceleration to planetary orbits to a pulley demonstration. It
also features several games.

The central mode of the program is its reference screen, where text
panels, pictures, a time line, and a globe are displayed. With a click
of a button, you can switch the text panel from adult to child mode,
which contains less information and an easier vocabulary. All areas are
hyperlinked to other topics.

Isaac Asimov Science Adventure II has a highly graphical interface,
which actually is often counterproductive. The icons are very cryptic,
making user navigation difficult. The initial area, for example, is a 3-
D lobby in which all the icons are pictures hanging on the walls. It's
attractive but not very intuitive. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful
program for introducing children to the world of science. Their parents
can learn a lot as well. $69.95; Knowledge Adventure Inc., 800-542-4240,
818-542-4200.

Contents 3
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 2

-------------------------

* Beyond Planet Earth

As its name implies, Beyond Planet Earth focuses on astronomy and, more
specifically, the solar system. The opening screen branches to four
areas: The Planetary Theatre, The Solar Gallery, Space Experts, and
Mission to Mars.

The first area has five short videos culled from The Discovery Channel
on fascinating topics such as "what happened to the dinosaurs," which
explains the currently fashionable theory that their extinction was due
to a cosmic collision. The most extensive and impressive component of
the disk is The Solar Gallery, which includes a very educational series
of stills from space shuttle flights and snapshots of the solar system.

One of the best features of the Gallery is a series of slide shows about
each of the planets using photographs taken by NASA. Also included here
is a discussion of moons and an introduction to astronomy beyond the
solar system. There's even a discussion with four astronomers about a
possible mission to Mars in the next century.

As reference material, Beyond Planet Earth is not the best CD-ROM you
can find. But if you and your children want to learn about the solar
system in a most engrossing way, then Beyond Planet Earth is certainly
worth your while. $49.95; The Discovery Channel, 301-986-0444 ext. 5880.

Contents 3
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Bodyworks

The Windows-based Bodyworks, Version 3.0, is a superbly designed,
comprehensive anatomy reference with wonderful supporting multimedia.
From a button bar or menu you choose one of the top-level body systems:
skeletal, muscular, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive,
sensory, lymphatic, endocrine, or genitourinary. The window then shows
the appropriate diagram; you can focus on individual organs by clicking
either on the diagram or on an adjacent scrolling list.

Click on the mouth in the skeleton, for example, and a close-up view of
an open mouth appears, complete with teeth, tongue, and epiglottis.
There is a text description with hyperlinks to other articles and a
glossary. The clear color diagrams (over 140) are supplemented by 14 3-D
models and 37 videos and animations.

The 3-D area has a couple of nice surprises. The models can be shown as
wireframe, smooth, or angular. All can be rotated, even the simple 3-D
models which are redrawn in real time as you move them. Among the
multimedia movies included on the CD-ROM are the brief "A Firing
Synapse," the mildly disgusting "Chewing and Swallowing," and the
inspiring and surprisingly complete "Childbirth."

Lessons and tests are also included. This is an ideal program for high-
school students and others who are interested in anatomy. $69.95;
Software Marketing Corp., 800-364-5451.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* McGraw-Hill Multimedia Encyclopedia of Science & Technology

The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology has become a
standard reference source for everyone from college students to
professional scientists. The disk version is filled with the same
quality information written by distinguished scientists, and its
powerful search engine will make you wonder why you ever had to bother
searching through the massive tome for particular words or subjects.

The best part about this disk is the ability to browse with hyperlinks;
the product uses a multiwindowed interface that keeps prior articles in
view. It also includes 39 animations and about 500 illustrations that
enhance the product but are not outstanding. The biographic list is
noted for its glaring omissions (for example, Pierre Curie, Richard
Feynman, and David Hilbert are missing), but the glossary is very good.

This disk won't dazzle you with multimedia pyrotechnics, but you'll love
the ability to conduct hyperlink searches through such an important
reference. $900 through October, $1,300 thereafter; McGraw-Hill Inc.,
800-233-1128, ext. 235.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Simple Machines

Simple Machines' subject matter--the inclined plane, lever, screw,
pulley, and wheel--is rather prosaic compared with many other disks in
this review, but it conveys a real understanding of the material rather
than the trivia-contest information so common in many educational
titles.

Unlike the material, the presentation is anything but dry. Simple
Machines' underlying metaphor is of children traveling across the globe
to learn about machinery, and it features colorful animations,
enlightening demos, and insightful quizzes.

It's hard to imagine making a discussion of how machines work fun and
fascinating, but Science for Kids pulls it off. $199 (teacher's edition,
$289); Science for Kids, 800-572-4362.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Expert Astronomer

Expert Astronomer is a cornucopia of delights for the astronomy fan. It
includes a planetarium that lets you see how any part of the night sky
looks and over 500MB of stunning pictures and engrossing information,
with 40 minutes of entertaining videos. For astronomy buffs, this is the
CD to buy. $49.95; Expert Software Inc., 800-759-2562.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Mayo Clinic Family Health Book

Mayo Clinic Family Health Book includes several dozen animations, 500
illustrations, and 90 minutes of narration, but the most important element is the superb 1,400-page book. The pop-up dictionary, hyperlinks between articles, and text-search capabilities take this work far beyond
a printed text. The disk also includes a color atlas of human anatomy.
$69.95; IVI Publishing Inc., 800-754-1484.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

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* PharmAssist

PharmAssist is like having your own personal pharmacist. You'll find
useful information on just about any aspect of prescription medicine,
such as how to handle missed doses. PharmAssist also contains a section
on commonly abused drugs and lists the phone numbers of substance-abuse
agencies across the country. $69.95; Software Marketing Corp., 602-893-
3377.

Contents 3
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4

-------------------------

* 3-D Body Adventure

3-D Body Adventure is intended to provide an entertaining way to turn
young students on to anatomy. Its spectacular multimedia demos include
3-D wireframe views and fly-throughs of the heart and other body parts.
Two pairs of 3-D glasses that bring the animations to life are included.
This is an ideal program for kids of 7 to 12. $69.95; Knowledge
Adventure Inc., 800-542-4240, 818-542-4200.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 2

-------------------------

* The Discoverers

The Discoverers is based on the IMAX movie, which in turn is based on
Daniel J. Boorstin's book about great scientific discoveries. Included
is the full 30-minute movie, which looks better than any other you're
likely to see on a PC. Children aged 8 to 14 will get the most out of
this fascinating CD. $39.95; Knowledge Adventure Inc., 818-542-4200.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 2


***********************************************************************

Entertainment
By Donald B. Trivette

***********************************************************************


* Sim-City CD-ROM

Whether you're a man, woman, or child, how can you resist being the
Mayor of Sim-City? You plan, build, manage, and maintain a city from the
ground up. If you do well, your city will prosper; if not, you'll end up
with Sim-Slum.

In Sim-City you build houses, industrial areas, power plants, and roads.
As the population grows, you need more utilities, a seaport, a stadium,
new commercial districts, a park or two, and, of course, higher taxes. A
cantankerous collection of city dwellers are always beating on your
office door demanding more police officers, fire stations, and
affordable housing. To keep you on your toes, the simulator throws in a
few surprises--a fire here, a tornado there. Before you know it, the
budget is shot and you need money to build a new power plant.

Construction is easy: Click an icon and drag it to the city map. The
accompanying sound effects of jackhammers and bulldozers add to the
realism. When disaster strikes, a video window opens and you are there.
Meanwhile, the audio help feature is constantly nagging: "Put commercial
zones near the residential areas. . . .Build more affordable housing."
Sounds a lot like a city council.

Sim-City is the Lincoln Logs and Lego blocks of the computer generation
and splendid entertainment for the whole family. $50 (estimated price);
Interplay Productions Inc., 714-553-6655.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 2

-------------------------

* King's Quest VI

King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow continues the saga of the
Graham family, as young Alexander seeks the hand of the fair princess
Cassima. Though darker and more ominous than earlier quests, the action
and production values nevertheless demonstrate how good multimedia
adventure games have become.

A 50MB animated cartoon introduces the quest and ends with Alexander
shipwrecked on one of the Green Islands. He quickly learns that Cassima
is not only on this very island but betrothed to the wicked Vizier. Of
course, adventure and mishap follow as Alex searches for a way to rescue
his true love.

The story is full of the witty and bizarre characters that are hallmarks
of King's Quest games. There's a participle dangling from a tree, a
barking dogwood, a head of iceberg lettuce (you need it to cool a
steaming pond), and a delightful group of five animated gnomes, each of
which specializes in one of the five senses.

Sierra has developed a truly friendly user interface. There is nothing
to read and nothing to type in the CD-ROM version; all dialog is spoken
by professional actors. And by using the point-and-click interface, even
a 6-year-old can move through the program with ease. $79.95; Sierra On-
Line, 800-326-6654.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Microsoft Golf

Can't get to the golf course this evening? Tee up with Microsoft Golf
and hook, slice, drive, and putt your way around 18 holes. It won't do
much for your waistline, but it's sure a lot of fun.

The holes are spectacular. No artist's renderings of make-believe links
here; instead, the disk offers digitized images of the real thing--
either Torrey Pines in San Diego or Number Two at Pinehurst in North
Carolina. SVGA graphics clearly show the undulations of the fairways and
the textures of the trees with a photographic realism not found in other
golf simulations.

The whoosh of a long drive, the clunk of a ball in the cup, and the
splash of water are a few of the authentic sound effects. But the full-
motion video is what really distinguishes this multimedia version from
other golf games. Every hole has a full-motion fly-over to give you a
bird's-eye view of the lay and location of the fairway, bunkers, traps,
and green. More video is available in the pull-down window, where a pro
gives tips on how each hole is best played. Access Links courses are
compatible with Microsoft Golf, but you won't have the fly-overs and pro
tips. $64.95; Microsoft Corp., 800-426-9400.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

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* Microsoft Cinemania

Microsoft Cinemania '94 is a film buff's dream. With still shots, sound
bites, cinema history, biographies, 20 full-motion video clips, and
reviews of 20,000 films, it's like munching hot buttered popcorn with
Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael, and Leonard Maltin. Video clips last from 30
to 90 seconds and are among the smoothest to be found on CD-ROM. About
150 audio clips and 900 movie stills round out the multimedia material.

The software uses a graphical interface in the guise of a remote
control. Push the contents button to get a list of films from 99 Women
to Zuma Beach. Double-click a title to see its MPAA rating, running
time, awards, and media format.

Every film has a corresponding review, and the more important films
feature reviews by several critics as well as complete cast lists. The
contents screen lets you filter films by 11 categories, including genre,
actor, director, date, and awards.

Hyperlinks abound. While scanning a review of A River Runs Through It,
for example, you can click on Brad Pitt's name to call up the actor's
photograph and biography. The biography mentions Johnny Suede; click on
that and you get a review of the 1991 sleeper. Almost everything in
Cinemania is interconnected. If you love movies, you'll love Microsoft
Cinemania. $79.95; Microsoft Corp., 800-426-9400.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

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* Myst

Thousands of strangely beautiful 3-D scenes, video clips, eerie music,
and authentic sound effects combine to make up a sensual if frustrating
experience on the Island of Myst. It's frustrating because you are never
sure of the plot or what you are seeking; about all you do know is that
something has gone horribly wrong on the island and the inhabitants have
vanished.

In a kind of sequential slide show, you visit one scene after another to
investigate the planetarium, the space ship, the misty forest, the
secret tunnels, and the strange mechanisms that dot the landscape.
Eventually the rocky little island will give up its secrets and you'll
solve the mystery.

If you like a neat plot with defined goals, you will be disappointed.
But if you are looking for an original and groundbreaking game, you need
look no further than Myst. $60; Brderbund Software Inc., 800-521-6263.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 2

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* Aegis: Guardian of the Fleet

For the latest in naval warfare, check out Aegis: Guardian of the Fleet.
In it, you take command of the newest class of Guided Missile Cruiser
and engage the enemy in a variety of military situations. With three
skill levels and over 100 missions, there's work enough to keep you in
command for months.

The layout of the ship, Combat Information Center, weapons systems, and
radar is as accurate and realistic as security allows. A closed-circuit
TV screen in the Combat Information Center shows missiles being
launched, and several animated radar screens track hits, misses, and
kills. The sound effects and dialog could be more plentiful, but the
graphics are right on. $69.99; Time Warner Interactive, 800-482-3766.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 2

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* Dragon's Lair

You are Dirk the Daring in Don Bluth's classic animation action game
Dragon's Lair. You fight your way from the drawbridge through the snake
room, past the Lizard King and other monsters, to the ultimate goal--the
Dragon's Lair. Only then can you slay the beast and rescue the fair
princess, Daphne.

The CD-ROM incorporates the same laserdisk scenes and sounds that made
the original arcade version a megahit more than a decade ago. To
guarantee great performance on home systems, the software can fine-tune
itself to your video/sound/CD-ROM components, storing information in a
small file on the hard disk about how much of each scene to prebuffer
during playback. But be prepared: This process can take a while.

Dragon's Lair is a CD-ROM for those who love the challenge of truly
fast-paced arcade action. $69.95; ReadySoft Inc., 905-475-4801.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Star Trek: 25th Anniversary

Star Trek: 25th Anniversary CD-ROM places you aboard the USS Enterprise
in the role of Captain James T. Kirk with the crew of the original TV
series. Your missions alternate between solving intergalactic puzzles
and doing battle with Romulans and Klingons. The disk features the
voices of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. It's a great sequel to the
TV show. $50 (estimated price); Interplay Productions Inc., 714-553-
6655.

Contents 3
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Dracula Unleashed

Dracula is stalking blood donors in turn-of-the-century London, and you,
as the brother of a victim, must try to stop him. More than 90 minutes
of video and 50 minutes of sound lead you from one clue to another. Are
you smart enough to put all the pieces of this dazzling multimedia
puzzle together before it's too late? $70; Viacom New Media, 800-877-
4266.

Contents 3
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Iron Helix

In Iron Helix, you control a robot aboard a crewless spacecraft on a
collision course with a populated planet. Aboard is Iron Helix, the
ultimate Doomsday weapon. Your objective is to find the DNA of an
officer with high enough rank to allow you to fool the defender robots
and reprogram the spaceship's course. Iron Helix contains about an hour
of detailed animation. $72.99 (estimated street price); Spectrum
HoloByte, 800-695-4263.

Contents 3
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3

-------------------------

* The Software Toolworks' Star Wars Chess

This is not your father's chessboard. In The Software Toolworks' Star
Wars Chess, Luke Skywalker matches wits with the Emperor as a host of
other characters--including R2D2, Yoda, and Darth Vader (as a queen)--
play supporting roles. Each capture has its own animated wipeout
accompanied by sound and music from the Star Wars films. $69.95; The
Software Toolworks, 800-283-8499.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 2

-------------------------

* Return to Zork

Return to Zork combines an unusually friendly mouse interface with a
host of live actors to draw you effortlessly into the action. You
quickly forget that you are out to save yet another world (the
Underground Empire of Zork) from yet another villain (the IT&L Corp.)
and begin to enjoy Return to Zork for what it is: a first-class
cinematic adventure. $79.95; Activision Inc., 800-477-3650.

Contents 3
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Sam & Max Hit the Road

Sam & Max Hit the Road is a witty trip through the tourist traps of
America with the laid-back Sam and the thrill-seeking Max as they search
for Bruno the Bigfoot and Trixie the Giraffe-Necked Lady. The offbeat
humor and sarcastic one-liners are a refreshing change from usual
adventure game fare. $55.95 (estimated street price); LucasArts
Entertainment Co., 800-782-7927, 415-721-3300.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 2

-------------------------

* Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Volume III, is the latest in the
popular series that pits Holmes and Watson against the criminals of
London. Use the hour of interactive video--sometimes comically
overacted--to interview suspects and witnesses. Listen to the Baker
Street Irregulars and scan The Times for clues. Once you're sure of your
facts, present them to the judge. The disk contains three unrelated
mysteries, all of which should satisfy any mystery buff. $70; Viacom New
Media, 800-877-4266.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Rebel Assault

Punctuated with video and original music from the Star Wars trilogy,
Rebel Assault is an arcader's delight. Pilot your skyhopper from
training missions in Beggar's Canyon to an encounter with the Death
Star. There's no better blend of action, music, sound effects, and
dialog--but you may need some hardware tweaking to get it to work.
$63.95 (estimated street price); LucasArts Entertainment Co., 415-721-
3300.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Comanche CD

Comanche CD is an excellent simulation of the Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66
helicopter gunship. The terrain representation and rich visual detail
put Microsoft Flight Simulator to shame. $74.95; Novalogic Inc., 800-
245-4525.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 2

-------------------------

* The Exotic Garden

The Exotic Garden is a fascinating catalog of common and exotic plants
and flowers. Information includes Latin names, growing requirements,
pests and diseases, propagation, and more than 500 full-color
photographs. Nevertheless, this gardener yearns for more photos and more
entries. The Exotic Garden includes an interesting time-lapse video
called "Why Plants Flower." $49.95; VT Productions, 408-464-1552.

Contents 3
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3


***********************************************************************

Edutainment
By Gayle C. Ehrenman

***********************************************************************


* Lenny's MusicToons

Lenny may seem like just another penguin to you, but to your kids, he'll
seem like a musical genius. After all, Lenny is no ordinary penguin;
he's the bird who can take kids aged 4 and up through the land of
MusicToons, where just about anything can happen.

This musical cartoon adventure helps children learn musical skills and
concepts through exciting animations, interactive exercises, and fun
arcade games. The graphics are vivid, the music pulsing, and the
learning deftly hidden beneath the fun.

But your kids won't care about any of that. All they'll care about is
staging their own concerts to debut in Lenny's Theatre and producing
their own music videos for PTV (Penguin Television). While they're
choosing the stars, and types of music for their videos, kids will also
be learning about tempo and composing. They can even record their video
productions and play them back for their adoring parents.

For more musical fun, kids can try their hands at Pitch Attack--a shoot-
'em-up game in which hitting the right key on the keyboard saves the
world--or Lenny's Puzzle Book--where unscrambling a musical puzzle saves
Lenny's cat from Gonzo Gorilla, a simian gone wrong.

After Lenny, your kids may even want to practice the piano. $49.95;
Paramount Interactive, 415-813-8040.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Arthur's Teacher Trouble

Third grade can be hell--especially if you have the toughest teacher in
school. Thus begins the school year for our hero, Arthur, who discovers
not only that he has "The Rat" for a teacher, but that he must represent
his class in the schoolwide spelling bee as well.

Kids aged 6 through 10 will quickly become involved in the traumas and
triumphs of this animated aardvark as he wends his way through an
engaging interactive tale, the second in the Living Books series. Like
its predecessor, Just Grandma and Me, Arthur's Teacher Trouble offers
kids a chance to explore while they read. There are singing and dancing
characters to enjoy, sound effects, original music, lots of humor to
giggle over, and plenty of beautiful animations that can be launched
with a single mouse click.

While they're exploring, kids will be building their reading skills, and
they can hear individual words or whole sentences pronounced in either
English or Spanish. There's even a printed copy of the book included for
times when no computer is handy.

Marc Brown's story is truly delightful, as are the animations used in
its telling. This isn't just another storybook in digital format; it's a
whole new way for kids to play and learn. $39.95; Living Books, 800-521-
6263.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Bug Adventure

You knew they were creepy and disgusting, but did you also know that
aphids are the sweetest-tasting bugs and cockroaches the fastest? You
would if you spent some time with Bug Adventure. This latest offering in
the Knowledge Adventure line takes kids aged 3 through 8 into the
flitting, flying world of bugs--without bringing the critters into your
world.

Kids have six multimedia activities to choose from: the Bug Storybook,
where they can read along with a bug tale; the Honeycomb Theatre, where
they can watch bug movies with an animated insect audience; the Bug
Reference, the heart of the program and where the study material is

housed; the identification games Can You Find Me? and Who Am I?; and the
3-D Bug Basement, where they can don silly glasses to view full-screen
bug images.

Each of these areas is just a mouse click away, thanks to an amusing and
intuitive graphical interface. (One of the highlights is a flyswatter
used for returning to the main menu.) There's lots of learning to be had
here, but kids will just think they're having fun.

You may be repulsed by the videos and 3-D pictures, but chances are good
that there's a budding entomologist in your midst who would really
benefit from a Bug Adventure. $69.95; Knowledge Adventure Inc., 818-542-
4200.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon

Sometimes sequels are every bit as good as the originals. Such is the
case with this latest adventure for Putt-Putt, the talking purple car
who made his debut in Putt-Putt Joins the Parade.

As the latest title suggests, our pal Putt-Putt winds up on the moon--
thanks to a freak accident at a fireworks factory. His little friend,
Rover (an abandoned lunar-terrain vehicle), and their adventures
together will keep kids aged 3 through 8 clicking and laughing from
start to finish.

Like the first package in the series, this is an animated adventure game
that encourages kids to click every object they come across. Some clicks
will activate witty animations, such as a rocket launching, while others
will help kids acquire the pieces they need to build the rocket that
will transport Putt-Putt and Rover back to Earth. Along the way, your
kids will be treated to beautiful animations, fun sound effects, and
talking characters--including some two-headed ice cream peddlers and
assorted other Moon People.

This may seem like just a game, but while kids are pointing and
clicking, they are developing motor skills, as well as problem-solving
abilities. They're also learning about tolerance and cooperation, but
you don't have to tell them that. $49.95; Humongous Entertainment Inc.,
206-485-1212.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Prehistoria

Dinosaurs may get all the glory, but they weren't the only creatures
roaming prehistoric Earth. This disk, devoted to all forms of early
life, provides a multimedia look at everything from flying lizards with
wing spans wider than World War II fighter planes to dinosaurs no larger
than chickens.

The package provides more than 60 minutes of multimedia content spanning
500 million years of natural history. The material is arranged in five
easy-to-access areas: the Gallery, the Creature Show, the Time Tracker,
Classifications, and the Grolier Museum. The Gallery offers groupings of
similar prehistoric creatures, while the Creature Show lets you zero in
on your favorites through full-color illustrations and detailed text
describing the characteristics of each animal. The Time Tracker allows
you to search for particular types of creatures in any of 11 geological
eras, while the Grolier Museum is where you'll find narrated videos and
audiovisual essays on paleontology, prehistoric life, and more. To make
it even easier to find that certain Diprotodon (a rhinoceros-size
marsupial resembling a wombat), there's also a classification list.

Kids aged 10 and up will find that researching has never been easier--or
more attractive. $69.95; Grolier Electronic Publishing Inc., 800-285-
4534, 203-797-3530.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* TuneLand

For a musical adventure that will delight kids aged 3 through 12, pay a
visit to TuneLand. In this fully animated game of hide-and-seek, your
goal is to locate Li'l Howie (the cartoon alter ego of Howie Mandel),
who will carry you to the next of eight farm scenes. Along the way,
you'll be entertained by familiar children's characters, such as Jack
and Jill, who perform song-and-dance routines, tell jokes, and make you
laugh out loud.

Everything here is kid-friendly, from the multitude of hot-spot
animations to the more than 40 fully orchestrated children's songs you
find with a click. There's even spoken help for young players who can't
figure out what to do next. In addition, there's the TuneLand Jukebox
for playing all the game's songs, which include such popular favorites
as "This Old Man" and "Bingo."

Charming animations, high-quality music, and a sense of humor make this
one a treat for kids of all ages. $49.95 (estimated street price); 7th
Level Inc., 214-437-4858.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Microsoft Dinosaurs

It seems as though everywhere you look there's a dinosaur CD, but few
are as attractive as this one. Behind Microsoft Dinosaurs' stone-carved
interface is some of the best-organized, most accessible prehistoric
trivia around.

The disk is arranged into four main areas: Atlas, Families, Timeline,
and Index, any of which can be used for tracking down the dinosaur of
your dreams. In addition, you can take a guided tour or watch a dinosaur
movie; both provide a good means of getting your feet wet.

What makes this disk such a winner, though, is its extensive use of
hypertext linking. Almost everything you click on is a hot spot; some
clicks will take you to related topics, while others will launch spoken
pronunciations of tricky names. And for the trading-card fanatics, there
are Fact Cards that present statistics on dinosaurs instead of
designated hitters. About the only thing missing is a full-text search
engine. $79.95; Microsoft Corp., 800-426-9400, 206-882-8080.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Kid Works 2

Buy your children Kid Works 2 and they'll have no excuse for not being
creative. Combining a paint package with a word processor and text-to-
speech capabilities, Kid Works provides the perfect environment for kids
aged 3 and up to try their hands at writing and illustrating their own
stories.

Kids compose text in Story Writer, a simple word processor with a couple
of unique capabilities: It uses a simple kiddie font for display, and it
can substitute icons for many words. Story Illustrator is the next stop
on the creativity train; it's here that kids create the pictures to
accompany their words, or they can use the paint tools to color in an
electronic book. When they're done creating, Story Player will read the
masterpiece aloud.

Kids will love the power this package provides, but they may need a
little help figuring out how everything works. $59.95; Davidson &
Associates Inc., 800-545-7677.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Macmillan Dictionary for Children

This dictionary is a study in simplicity; scroll through the word list
or click on "Go To" to find what you need quickly. Each of the 12,000 words has a definition and an audio pronunciation, and each is hot-linked to other words. Kids can make up their own word lists, too, and
then print them or use them to play one of three games. There's not much
multimedia glitz, but kids aged 7 through 12 will find this
indispensable at homework time. $29.95 (estimated street price); Simon &
Schuster Interactive, 800-983-5333.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3

-------------------------

* 3-D Dinosaur Adventure

Another dino disk--but with a 3-D twist. Don your cardboard glasses and
you'll feel as though you're a tyrannosaurus tidbit. The multimedia
special effects are sparkling but sparingly used. The Dino Encyclopedia
is a good reference tool, and the theme-park atmosphere is easy to
settle into. Kids aged 3 and up will love the 3-D Museum, where they can
roam among the Deinonychus and Apatosaurus, and the Create-A-Saurus
module, which lets them create wild new creatures. $79.95; Knowledge
Adventure Inc., 800-542-4240.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Twain's World

Buy this one for the text--not the multimedia effects. Twain's World
contains the complete works of Mark Twain, including his essays,
speeches, and letters, all of which are indexed for searching. The
Timeline is a powerful tool for tracking the author's life, and the
quizzes are good study tools. There are few video clips, though, and
some of the cartoonish animations are downright offensive. $79.95;
Bureau of Electronic Publishing Inc., 201-808-2700.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3

-------------------------

* The Berenstain Bears Learning at Home, Volume 2

These favorite bears are back in a fully interactive journey through
their tree house. Here, kids aged 2 through 7 can learn life lessons in
home safety, manners, and skills such as reading and number recognition.
They may need help navigating through the colorful animations and games,
though; guide the youngest to keep them from becoming frustrated.
$39.95; Compton's NewMedia, 619-929-2500.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Operation Neptune

If you can decipher the percentage of unhealthy barnacles in a given
area, you may be able to save the world's oceans. This underwater
adventure builds pre-algebra math skills as it transports you 20,000
leagues under the sea in a challenging and engaging search-and-rescue
mission. There is also some arcade action, so while the going may be
tough, it's never boring. $59.95; The Learning Co., 800-852-2255.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Math Blaster

The math fun continues with the latest adventures of the Blasternaut and
his sidekick, Spot. In Math Blaster: In Search of Spot, Spot has been
captured, and players must solve a series of math problems to free him.
There are six difficulty levels and thousands of problems to keep kids
aged 6 through 10 busy. The story line is so engaging and the graphics
so attractive, solving problems will seem like fun. $59.95; Davidson &
Associates Inc., 800-545-7677.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?

Kiddiedom's favorite villain is stealing the world's most famous
landmarks and treasures. In this deluxe edition, it's up to you and the
Acme Detective Agency to decipher geography, history, and culture clues
and put an end to the thievery. There are lots of impressive photos,
videos, and audio clips to help you out, but you must first figure out
the high-tech interface. $60; Broderbund Software Inc., 415-382-4400.

Contents 4
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 2

-------------------------

* The New Kid on the Block

Another winner in the Living Books series, this disk explores not a
single story but a collection of poems from noted children's writer Jack
Prelutsky. Readers click on words to launch some wickedly inspired
animations. The poems and animations are so funny, readers aged 6
through 12 won't be able to help but laugh their way through this joyous
introduction to poetry. $39.95; Living Books, 800-521-6263, 415-382-
4600.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Rodney's Wonder Window

Beautiful but bizarre is the best way to describe these 24 unique
animations, which offer varying degrees of interactivity. There's
nothing educational about poking the sleeping animals at the Probe and
Poke Pet Shop, or putting various objects up the giant nose, but the
interface is a study in simplicity and blowing out the birthday candles
will keep little ones busy for hours. $39.95; The Voyager Co., 800-446-
2001.

Contents 2
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Just Grandma and Me

Age becomes Grandma. This Mercer Mayer tale, the first in the Living
Books series, is as popular with the 3-through-8 set today as it was
when it made its 1992 debut. It's already a CD-ROM classic.

Little ones can't get enough of Little Critter and his grandma, or the
scores of animations that launch with a click. Older kids will enjoy
reading along in English, Spanish, or Japanese; one disk includes all
three versions. $39.95; Living Books, 800-521-6263, 415-382-4600.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

-------------------------

* The San Diego Zoo Presents. . .The Animals!

You may not be able to smell the animals, but you'll be able to learn
far more about them from this disk than you would on a trip to the zoo.
Text, photos, and videos combine to present a wealth of information on
animals and their habits and habitats. The videos are not of the highest
quality, but the interface is fairly intuitive, and there's a spoken
help section. $59.95; The Software Toolworks, 415-883-3000.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Microsoft Complete Baseball

Baseball season may be winding down, but the thrill can last all winter
thanks to this multimedia reference. Microsoft Complete Baseball has a
full history of the game, player biographies, and an almanac laden with
statistics, as well as multimedia clips. Fantasy-league aficionados can
subscribe to Microsoft Baseball Daily ($1.25 an issue), a baseball
newspaper delivered via modem. $79.95; Microsoft Corp., 206-882-8080.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

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* The Software Toolworks Presents Capitol Hill

Don't just write your congressman; be him with this political simulation
game. Video, animations, and illustrations help users play
congressperson while they choose a staff and learn everything from how a
bill becomes a law to how to balance a budget. $49.95. The Software
Toolworks; 800-234-3088, 415-883-3000.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Busytown

Kids aged 3 through 7 will feel at home in this familiar world, based on
characters created by children's author Richard Scarry. All their
favorite characters are here, encouraging them to participate in
learning activities that range from pumping gas to controlling the wind.
There are three levels of play to choose from, lots of delightful
animations to explore, and an original musical score. If you don't have
fun in Busytown, you just don't know how to have fun. $49.95; Paramount
Interactive, 415-813-8040.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

-------------------------

* It's a Bird's Life

In Shelley Duvall's It's a Bird's Life, a group of exotic birds journeys
from Los Angeles to the Amazon rain forest and back in a digital
storybook that is ambitious in scope and modest in animation. The
illustrations are beautiful and the story and games engaging for kids
aged 3 and up. $39.95; Sanctuary Woods Multimedia Corp., 415-578-6340.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3


***********************************************************************

Travel
By Donald B. Trivette

***********************************************************************


* Adventures

Adventures will help you plan a vacation even if you initially don't
know what you want to do or where you want to do it. Search its database
of 1,160 activities until you find something exciting. Pick a state,
province, or country and use the pull-down list to scan the attractions.
You can also query by activity, selecting from 30 categories--which
include aerial sports, biking, economy vacations, and snow sports. Or
you can use the custom-search feature to find some of the activities,
festivals, and events occurring in a particular month.

You can also use the search feature to generate a list of specialized
activities. Select those adventures classified as "difficult" and you'll
get a list of nine excruciating vacations, including climbing Mount
McKinley, trekking at nosebleed altitudes in Nepal, and rafting the
Futaleuf River in Patagonia. If those are too tame, touring Hungary on
horseback might get your blood flowing.

The disk contains about 2,500 color photographs and 40 minutes of video
supplied by state travel departments. For each adventure, there's a
written description along with dates, cost, and contact information.
About 60 percent of the adventures are outside of the U.S., so this is
an ideal CD if you plan on traveling abroad. $49.95; Deep River
Publishing Inc., 207-871-1684.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Astonishing Asia

Astonishing Asia is part documentary, part travel guide, and part
Ripley's Believe It or Not. This is not a guidebook; it is, rather, a
strange trip for the armchair traveler.

You access the adventures by country or by any of nine themes. Some of
the themes--death rites, stimulants, rituals, and medicine--conjure up
images of the mysterious East, while others--such as sports, religion,
and festivals--are more conventional fare. Lengthy video clips of the
Monkey God Festival in Hong Kong and the cremation ritual in Nepal are
two of the more offbeat attractions.

Astonishing Asia has 30 minutes of digital video and 600 color photos
set to appropriate music. Some of the topics use slide-show
presentations instead of video. Astonishing Asia may not be for
everyone, but those interested in Asia with a taste for the occult will
be quite--well, astonished. $49.95; InterOptica Publishing, 800-708-
7827.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* From Alice to Ocean

From Alice to Ocean documents Robyn Davidson's extraordinary camel
journey from Alice Springs, Australia, across the expanse of the outback
to the Indian Ocean. Directly addressing the viewer, Davidson describes
the hardships and dangers of her yearlong journey. The armchair traveler
can interrupt at any time to view maps or photographs, or to select
questions from an interactive menu.

Although the trip took place 15 years ago, the chronicle CD of
Davidson's journey first appeared two years ago when it was bundled with
500,000 Apple CD-ROM computers and became a best-seller; the
multiplatform disk was released last November.

The CD-ROM is bundled with a beautiful 200-page book filled with color
photographs. The disk, however, contains many more photos than the book,
all of which are of great quality. This is a fascinating chronicle of a
remarkable journey. $69; Claris Clear Choice, 800-325-2747.

Contents 3
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Asia Alive

Asia Alive is a multimedia guide to Australia, China, Hong Kong,
Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines,
Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The disk includes
37 maps, 30 videos with regional music, and 500 color photos that cover
countries, cities, sights, activities, and customs. It's the content,
not the multimedia, that makes this disk worthwhile. $49; MediAlive,
408-752-8500.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 2

-------------------------

* Europe Alive

Europe Alive, the European travel-guide companion to Asia Alive, covers
Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, the
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Scandinavia. Though there
are plenty of video clips of these locales, you'll get much more
satisfaction from the information provided. $49; MediAlive, 408-752-
8500.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 2

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* Everywhere USA Travel Guide

Everywhere USA Travel Guide uses an interface similar to Adventures'
interface, but it has a database that is more than twice as large. Two
CD-ROMs--one for the East and one for the West--feature more than 3,000
U.S. attractions captured in 6,000 color photos and 80 minutes of
promotional videos. There's a playlist for the videos and a state-by-
state slide show to pique your interest. $59.95; Deep River Publishing
Inc., 207-871-1684.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
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-------------------------

* New York, NY

This is an entertaining collection of 100 color photographs--each with a
short caption--that can be displayed on-screen in either large or small
formats. In addition, there are 25 10-second video clips of landmarks
like the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Rockefeller Center.
It's a video picture book, ideal for those who prefer to experience New
York from the safety of their own homes. $29.95; Aris Entertainment
Inc., 310-821-0234.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3


***********************************************************************

Developer's Tools
By Sheryl Canter

***********************************************************************


Microsoft Corp.

* Microsoft Developer Network, Level 2

If you're interested in developing for Microsoft operating systems--
nontrivial stuff like DOS and Windows--then you'll want to subscribe to
the Microsoft Developer Network, Level 2, a comprehensive resource from
Microsoft that consists of two pieces. The Development Library, Disk 7,
is a collection of books, technical notes, white papers, product
documentation, sample code, and other useful information. The
Development Platform, April 1994, adds the Microsoft Software
Development Kits for Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), Open Database
Connectivity (ODBC), Win32, and other products; it also includes
prerelease versions of Microsoft operating systems such as Windows NT,
Version 3.5.

This program offers quality information, and navigation is made easy via
the Microsoft Multimedia Viewer. Topics can be printed, copied, and
annotated. Annotations appear as little red paper clips in the upper-
left-hand corner; click on a paper clip to view an annotation. You can
search for keywords within a topic, and there is also a powerful engine
for searching through the entire library. Cross-topic searching supports
full Boolean logic, and retrieval is very fast. Bookmarks let you jump
quickly back to topics of interest. Finally, the on-line help system is
as comprehensive as the library itself. $495 per year; Microsoft Corp.,
800-759-5474.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 3

-------------------------

* The Developer Connection for OS/2

The Developer Connection for OS/2, Volume 3, is a subscription service
for OS/2 developers that includes three components: the User's Guide,
the Catalog, and the Browser. The User's Guide takes advantage of the
OS/2 book format for easy navigation.

The Catalog contains a large collection of programs from IBM and third
parties: communication tools, databases, development tools, service
packs for OS/2 and other IBM products, and utilities of all kinds. An
option allows most installed programs to be automatically placed in a
special folder for easy access.

The Browser is a collection of folders containing manuals, technical
references, magazine articles, and white papers. All but the white
papers and articles are stored in OS/2 book format, which has a built-in
hypertext and a search engine. This is the disk to get if you're an OS/2
developer. $199 per year; IBM Corp., 800-633-8266.

Contents 4
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4

-------------------------

* HP Support Assistant

Updated quarterly, HP Support Assistant is a subscription service
offered by Hewlett-Packard Co. for HP support technicians. We looked at
the May 1994 issue. You can access manuals, technical diagrams, usage
instructions, and other information for HP products through the user-
friendly Microsoft Multimedia Viewer. If you rely on HP products, this
is the disk to have. $395 per year; Hewlett-Packard Co., 800-457-1762,
317-364-8882.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Micro House Technical Library

Micro House Technical Library offers CD-ROM versions of three
publications from Micro House: The Encyclopedia of Main Boards, The
Encyclopedia of Hard Drives, and The Network Interface Technical Guide.
The books describe the technologies and list specifications and
manufacturer information for thousands of devices--essential reference
material for technology junkies. $349; Micro House International, 800-
926-8299, 303-443-3388.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 4
System resources 4


***********************************************************************

Productivity
By Jim Seymour

***********************************************************************


* CD-MOM

There aren't many good Windows books, but Woody Leonhard and Barry
Simon's CD-MOM: The Mother of All Windows Books, CD-ROM Version, would
have stood out even in a field of stellar entries. Witty, idiosyncratic,
sometimes cranky, and often corny, the book captures the feeling of a
Windows expert sitting at your elbow, chatting away, listening to your
complaints, agreeing, offering solutions.

The accompanying CD has more than 240MB of useful stuff. (Many CD-ROMs
tucked inside the back covers of books have one-tenth that much content
and use only a small fraction of the disk's capacity.) And though there
are 20 program demos of questionable value, there's also a complete copy
of Dariana's WinSleuth Gold, WinCIM, and the usual CompuServe free-time
sign-up offer, plus 5,000 icons, 100 pretty good shareware fonts, and
100 "hand-selected" shareware programs--selected, one assumes, by
shareware expert Simon, because this is an A+ list.

The one thing missing is the text of the book itself. It would have been
a big job to move the book's thumbnail sketches and funny kvetches into
the digital domain, but it would have been a pleasure to use CD-ROM's
search capabilities. (If you want a CD-ROM with the full text of a good
Windows book, take a look at Fred Davis's excellent Windows Bible CD-
ROM, which also has shareware, fonts, icons, and more.) $49.95; Addison-
Wesley Publishing Co., 617-944-3700.

Contents 3
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia 1
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Corel Gallery

There's a huge pile of clip art out there, but much of it is primitive,
ugly, out of date, and badly organized. And clip art on floppy disks is
tough to use: Either you fill up your hard disk with megabytes of art,
most of which you'll never use, or you do the floppy shuffle every time
you want to use an image.

CD-ROMs and clip art were made for each other: everything in one place,
indexed, and instantly available. Corel Gallery lives up to that promise
with 10,000 very nice clips--most in color--with a printed, color
directory of all the images. (Those publishers that don't include
complete printed references with their clip-art packages ought to be
roasted on a spit.)

Corel Gallery includes flags and maps galore, famous people, great
borders and page corners, international symbols, and much more. Though
its images are duplicates of those found in CorelDRAW, you'll want Corel
Gallery, too, because its images are immediately usable in all your
apps, without translation from CorelDRAW's .CDR format.

Corel Gallery also offers easy (if slow) installation, a thumbnail
viewer, keyword searching, and quick and easy drag-and-drop; moreover,
it's an OLE 2.0 server. At a list price of $49, Corel Gallery is a
screaming bargain. $49; Corel Corp., 800-836-3729, 613-728-3733.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Power Japanese

This program may be impressive on floppy disks, but it's awesome on CD-
ROM. A genuinely graphical, even playful approach to learning to read
and speak Japanese, Power Japanese for Windows, Version 2.0, shows how
multimedia can liven up a dry subject.

You begin with the basic syllables of Japanese. Not only do you hear the
language spoken idiomatically by native speakers, you can also record
your own efforts and compare them with the native speakers'. The disk
offers zillions of tips and tricks, well-designed animated screens, a
two-way (Japanese-to-English, English-to-Japanese) dictionary, essays on
Japanese culture, and even a simplified word processor using kana
characters.

This isn't just one of the 100 best CD-ROMs; it's one of the 10 best.
Only one question: Why wasn't language lab like this when I was in
college? $389; BayWare Inc., 800-538-8867.

Contents 4
User Interface 4
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 4

-------------------------

* Allegro PC Library

How can I not recommend a disk that includes those two seminal works,
Jim Seymour's PC Productivity Bible and Jim Seymour's On the Road? Even
aside from those, this is an important disk for PC users. It includes
Winn Rosch's wonderful PC Upgrade Bible and Hardware Bible; ten 10-
Minute Guides to popular PC apps; a series of inside guides to NetWare,
Windows for Workgroups, and LANtastic; Peter Norton's guide to DOS 6.0;
and lots more--32 titles in all.

For what you lose in ink-on-paper browsability (did you really plan to
relax by a gurgling brook with Stan Schatt's Understanding Local Area
Networks, Third Edition?), you gain in the powerful CD-ROM benefit of
searchability. And you can save your own notes and annotations to the
texts. $99.95; Allegro New Media, 201-808-1992.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Allegro Business Library

With a dozen business texts and three business videos, Allegro's
Business Library, Volume 1, delivers a lot of value. Even if you never
look at most of these books--and most buyers will skip many of them--
you'll still get more than your $59.95 worth out of the package.

Among the books is the classic what-does-all-this-mean title for the
financially challenged, Finance and Accounting for Nonfinancial
Managers. Most of the other books--and all three of the videos--lean
toward marketing and selling; the videos include Bob Stone's 30 Timeless
Direct Marketing Principles and George Gruenwald's New Product
Development, also classics.

This is a solid investment for marketers in almost any field and a good
bet for other businesspeople as well. $59.95; Allegro New Media, 201-
808-1992.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 3
System resources 3

-------------------------

* PR Handbook

Compton's Public Relations Handbook is a useful introduction to the
world of corporate public relations. The content is not exactly hot off
the presses: This is the 1987 revised third edition of Dilenschneider
and Forrestal's classic Public Relations Handbook. But despite the
absence of multimedia touches, this is a broad introduction to the ideas
behind big-company public relations. The disk also includes a Merriam-
Webster dictionary and thesaurus. $49.95; Compton's NewMedia, 619-929-
2500.

Contents 2
User Interface 2
Innovative use of multimedia 1
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Your Personal Trainer

The right combination of pep talks, drills, test-taking strategies, and
actual SAT-like printed materials, Your Personal Trainer for the SAT,
Version 2.0, is a good warm-up for the Big Day. Best of all, the program
has been rewritten to reflect the new-style Scholastic Aptitude Tests
that went into effect in March of this year. A bright, effective
interface makes it fun to use, too. $59.95; Davidson & Associates Inc.,
800-545-7677.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 4

-------------------------

* 1,000 of the World's Greatest Sound Effects

1,000 of the World's Greatest Sound Effects is the best and most
affordable collection of 8-bit and 16-bit sound effects found yet. Well
organized, easy to use, and of good to excellent quality, the effects
offered by this product can brighten up your presentations, irritate
your coworkers, and startle your family. The package also includes
Multimedia Sound Studio, one of the best stereo rack-like CD-ROM
playback utilities. $39.95; Interactive Publishing Corp., 914-426-0400.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3

-------------------------

* Job Power Source

In the decade of "re-careering," this disk can be an important tool for
those facing a midcareer or midlife job search. A good Windows interface
(despite an icon toolbar called a toolbelt) and surprisingly good (but
still choppy) video clips augment solid texts that you can highlight and
annotate. Job Power Source is a wise investment for the adult job
hunter. $49.95; InfoBusiness Inc., 801-221-1100, 800-657-5300.

Contents 3
User Interface 3
Innovative use of multimedia 2
System resources 3


*** End of Text ***



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