Written by  :  *Katakis* (38327)
Written on  :  Apr 17, 2017
Platform  :  Windows 3.x
Rating  :  4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars
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Summary

Dr. Brain's brain has been drained, and his thoughts need to be contained

The Good

The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain is the third installment in Sierra's educational games that star the titular character. Development of the series was handed over to Bright Star Technology, who previously worked on Spelling Jungle and a couple of their own educational titles, and it is obvious to me that Dr. Brain 3 shares the same mechanics of their titles, while keeping true to the previous Dr. Brain titles.

The good doctor transferred the intelligence of his pet Rathbone to a honey bee, with the help of his young niece Elaina. Seeing as it was a success, Dr. Brain (referred to as ”the doctor” from here on out) decided to do another experiment where his own intelligence is transferred to Rathbone, his pet rat, this time performing the experiment himself. Elaina finds out about this and warns her uncle it could have disastrous consequences, but the doctor does it anyway. All of this is covered in the game's superb introduction, which shows us the puzzles that we can expect to solve, ranging from music composition to 3-D Construction.

It is up to you to restore the doctor's brain back to normal. The puzzles that you have to solve are represented by the ten sections of the brain, and each section is color-coded. The first nine sections are available to you, and the tenth one is unlocked once you complete all nine. You have to solve each puzzle more than once until you reach 100%. A neat thing about Dr. Brain 3 not found in its predecessors is the way you can jump to a different section if the current one is giving you trouble, and come back to it later. Before you begin a new puzzle, an image of Elaina, superimposed over a static background, tells you what you need to do.

The graphics are presented in the same visual style as Brøderbund's later Carmen Sandiego series, and these have good animations. The characters lip-sync well, thanks to Bright Star's excellent lip-syncing technology. I like Rathbone's different personas in each section, and these personas blend well with the theme of each section. One minute he's an Irish train conductor, and the next he's a robot with the body of a praying mantis.

The excellent music during the opening credits is accompanied by the various sound bytes that come from Rathbone's different personas. The opening and closing music for each section is also excellent. I enjoyed Sierra's rendition of the pieces from some of the world's great composers. They are worth composing yourself, even if you get it wrong.

Being a children's game, Dr. Brain 3 is also laced with humor. I thought the opening cartoon was pretty funny, as are the little speeches Rathbone makes when you decide to go on a toilet break, and I found Rathbone von Brain's snoring sound rather amusing. I also liked how, in the File Sorting area, the items that you have to store in/retrieve from file cabinets have ridiculous names such as the Dimwittie and the Flight of Fancy. By the way, I think the items in this area are taken from other games, such as the procrastinator in King's Quest VII.

The replayability in this game is quite high. Even if you have completed 100% of the puzzle, you can still continue playing. If you are in the lab, you'll notice the section will turn dark blue if you have completed all of it, but you can still click on it and solve more puzzles.

The Bad

I guess that the number of times you have to complete a puzzle is a bit harsh, even on easy difficulty. For instance, you have to complete puzzles twenty times on easy, since completing one puzzle is worth five percent. Likewise, medium is worth ten percent, and hard is worth twenty. Having said that, the developers could have added more sections to the doctor's brain and make the player complete one puzzle, because this would be on par with the other two games.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, Dr. Brain 3 is the third installment in Sierra's popular Dr. Brain series, and it shares the same mechanics as the previous two while adding new ones, most noteworthy the addition of a storyline, as well as the ability to keep playing a puzzle even when you reach a certain percentage. The game does an excellent job mixing puzzle-solving with humor. Sierra has brought this game to Nineties standards, with its colorful graphics and brilliant sound. Finally, Dr. Brain 3 makes no reference to the previous games, so anyone can pick this game up and play it without being confused.