Written by  :  Joey Zamingo (82)
Written on  :  Aug 19, 2005
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars

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Don't know why everyone keeps calling this a 'kid's game'...

The Good

I've always had a soft spot for this game. It's really silly, but not goofy, know what I mean? The graphics are nice, the music is nice, and the storyline is very engaging and fun. Finally, a game where you can piss off the principal and act like a complete brat, all from the comfort of your PC! The music got stuck in my head for long after I finished playing this game, and that's saying something since most of the music in games, even games this old, are pretty forgettable. If you're lucky enough to own the talkie version, the voice acting is great...not as great as some of the LucasArts games, but still better than most stuff made today, even.

The Bad

It's too damn hard. I guess it follows in the Sierra adventure game tradition in that death is possible and quite easy to attain. It's way too easy to fail in this game, and some parts are so tricky the only way you'll get through them is to save at every screen. This game is full of the reasons the LucasAdventures were so successful- you couldn't die in them. The save button should be used as a tool, not a part of the gameplay (to paraphrase Ron Gilbert), and this game is simply too difficult to be played without a walkthrough by anyone but the most seasoned adventure gamer.

As if it wasn't enough that some parts are maddeningly hard, but some parts are actually buggy too! That's right....get ready to part with the hair on your scalp as well as some of the things sitting on your desk as you crush them in frustration!

Also, the quality of the voices in the talkie version is quite bad. Thankfully, it's not as bad as the Sega CD version, and you can turn on the regular text to use as subtitles (in fact, the talkie uses that setup by default). Also, in the talkie version, there's only one or two "poses" per character, like in the Sega CD and unlike the floppy disk version. But still, it can be forgiven for the great voices.

The Bottom Line

Don't let the big icons and colorful graphics fool you- this ain't a kid's game. The suggestive frog's name, the school nurse, and the occasional cuss word are also helpful clues to support that theory. If you're not a person who knows every Sierra adventure game inside out and probably most of the LucasArts ones too, find a walkthrough, 'cause you'll sure as hell need it. But once you overcome the frustration, the game is actually really, really fun. There aren't too many accurate simulators of a schoolkid's life (though the upcoming game Bully may fill that void nicely) and it's a great play all the way through. Definitely play it if you can; you can find copies on eBay all the time, and it's also on many abandonware sites. Or even better, get the talkie version; it's damn hard to find, but snap it up if you find it.