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System Requirements Windows 98/Me/2000/XP 800MHz CPU 256MB RAM 64MB 3D graphics 300MB HDD Space Rated E Every girl wants to be a veterinarian right? The sequel to a very girly game is here. Instead of healing your common pets, you get to care for wild African animals. Did I mention that you can hire a cute guy to be your helper? With all of the girly stuff aside, this game is pretty fun and reminds me a lot of The Sims.

Story

If you play through the scenarios, the basic storyline is that you’re given a great opportunity to work in Africa. You have a limited amount of start up money, so I recommend buying instruments with it to aid in diagnosing problems. You’ll start off healing meerkats, and then aardvarks, and zebras; later on you’ll work your way up to leopards, lions, and finally elephants. You’ll start getting different animals after you build enclosures for them. You can upgrade and accessorize animal pens, your hospital, and your house. You can read books with details about each species you plan on treating. Once you have read all five per species, you’ll be awarded a certificate.

Game Play

This game is similar to The Sims in many ways (Though not nearly as detailed). Not only are you caring for animals, but you also have to take care of your needs as well. Eating maintains your energy level and your fitness level increases with resting or sleeping. You have to purchase instruments and animal feed. You are also provided with a handy cell phone/PDA device that lets you know if animals are really hungry, if you’re low on food, if an animal is being picked up, or if one needs a follow up examination that day. When animals come in for a check up you can look them over using your various instruments. As you collect clues, you can make a better diagnosis. You’re instruments and diagnoses’ are pre-selected. It’s just a process of elimination. Although it may seem pretty easy, but there are some challenging ones that you need a specific instrument to diagnose properly. There are three levels of difficulty (easy, medium, and hard) as well as two game modes. You can either play Scenario or Free Play mode.

Hired Help

You can hire a cute guy named John to be your assistant for $100 a day. He can be helpful, but he’s mostly useless. You can assign him a specific chore to do (cleaning, petting, playing, or feeding) or assign him to a particular animal pen. You can also spend money to train him so he’ll be more comfortable with the more exotic animals. You have to baby-sit him quite a bit, because most of the time he’ll either eat or sleep.

Graphics

The graphics are decent in this game. The animal models look good and the interface is really easy to use. You can add more detail to your home/hospital by buying accessories to make your “world” prettier.

Sound

The background music is peppy in this game but it repeats often. The voice acting is better than the original but it’s still not perfect. They have a male, a female, and a boy’s voice, which sound good. What confused me is that the helper John (who is a grown man) has the little boy’s voice.

Appropriateness

This game is pretty clean and I recommend it for girls of all ages. I didn’t notice any graphic pictures in the books this time.

Final Thoughts

This is a fun game, but it’s a lot of babysitting. I think anyone who likes The Sims would enjoy this title too. I’m sure many girls will love it. It does have some rough edges and it did crash on me many times.

Final Score

Game Play 16/20 Graphics 7/10 Sound 5/10 Interface 5/5 Stability 2/5 Appropriateness 50/50

Total 85%

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Brethren Entertainment’s latest offering is "Light Rangers: Mending the Maniac Madness." This time around, the game takes on an anime feel filled with playful, arcade action. You control one of three children (Amos, AJ, or Angel) on your quest to free Angeltown of some nasty villains. These villains each have some sinful behavior affecting the kids of Angeltown. In your quest to rid the town of these baddies, you will find yourself sifting through various levels of jumping, searching, and zapping your way through arcade memories, with many new twists.

Gameplay

The game takes you through 5 separate parts of Angeltown where Maniac Brainiac and his horde of villains are causing children to take on sinful behavior. Each villain has their own unique sinful behavior and each is associated with their own set of levels. Your objective is to rid the town of all the sinful behaviors. You will find vanity, selfishness, kids shouting "NOOOOO", impatience and more. The controls are quite easy and are all accessed from the keyboard. There are just a few buttons to remember for moving, jumping, and zapping. This arrangement is beneficial for co-operative play. My daughter and I have switched back and forth between one of us moving/jumping and the other zapping. The game levels take on very familiar gaming styles.

Each level has coins you can collect to buy power ups and other enhancements. For example, one level has you hopping and jumping along platforms as you collect coins to let you through to the next level. Another level has you trying to find and zap robots. Other levels will remind you of Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and other huge hits from the past. My personal favorite is Dr. NoNo. You fly through the air zapping the virus coming your way. Some of the viruses turn into coins which are key to the game. Coins are actually scattered among many of the levels, and getting a complete coin set for a level gives you higher points. I found the higher difficulty made the Dr. NoNo level even more enjoyable. My 4 year old\'s favorite is the selfish level with Mimi Me and Me Too. The selfish level has you walking, climbing and jumping around trying to save all the stolen stuffed bears. You are on a quest to find all the keys to unlock these bears. Being a rather long level, though, and with no saves, I rarely have time to finish the whole thing. It is probably a good 45 minutes or so. This one level detracts from the other, more reasonable length levels. As you get hit by objects, you slowly lose health. When your health level is critically low, it is time to rejuvenate. This takes you to a second part of the gameplay. You gain back your health by answering Bible trivia; each correct answer restoring a little bit more health until you are completely restored. Although I never felt frustrated with the controls, I did find times where I thought I should have landed my jump on a platform, only to find myself falling to the ground.

Graphics

The graphics appear to use Flash animations, giving the game a cute appearance. It\'s perfect for the kids this game is marketed to. The graphics are simple and colorful. As you begin each level, you get a anime-like cut scene featuring all three kids and an overview of the situation from Dr. Goodman. These cut scenes are interesting, and have some humorous moments at times. I enjoyed watching the blinking eyes, moving mouths, and other minor animations which showed an extra level of attention to details. You can tell the developers spent time actually thinking about these cut scenes and what humorous look to use. At times, you actually feel like you are playing in a real-time anime show. In fact they are making an anime series out of this game according to their website.

Sound

Brethren has done it right! The voices and sounds in the cut scenes are perfect. The actors did a terrific job with each distinct voice relating perfectly to their respective character. My favorite is the comical Dr. NoNo with his wild, over the top crazy voice. Musically it\'s nice, but is a bit repetitive.

Stability

On a few occasions, I received a script error when leaving a level. I believe this happens when you accidentally click on the Windows key on the keyboard. I must say that I was disappointed that some of the Bible Trivia answers are wrong. Although you can edit the trivia questions, you can’t correct the errors that come with the game’s default questions.

Christian Content

The game does attempt to teach some valuable lessons such as selflessness and contentment, for example. I felt the game took a rather simple approach to these lessons, but my 4 year old understood what was being taught. Simpler, is often better, especially when approaching young children. The trivia section is certainly a great way to see how much you know about the Bible. You can also create your own questions with answers and even swap them with friends.

Conclusion

Light Rangers provides a fun and enjoyable experience for both young and old. The target age is debatable, I would think that school age kids would enjoy it. The game play is a bit short you can beat the game in a few hours but there are different difficulty levels to add more challenges. I was sad to see the game shipping with incorrect trivia answers. I wonder how many other people would even notice this. With that said I would still recommend this game for kids who like arcade classics or even anime.

Final Ratings

Game Play: 15/20 Graphics: 8/10 Sound: 7/10 Stability: 4/5 Controls: 4/5 Appropriateness: 48/50 Cartoon Type Silly, Non-Deadly Violence (-2 pts)

Final Score 86%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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