So far, our more twisted inmates have been chosen to be freed from the Collection Chamber, but today I'd like to introduce you to a more innocuous detainee; Disney's Hercules: The Animated Storybook...
I'm sure you're all familiar with the movie, one many would consider one of Disney's minor flicks after the triumphs that were Aladdin and The Lion King. It is one that the young and young at heart can truly embrace. In my opinion it is one of Disney's best, before ice-cold lesbian metaphors became all the rage.
The Animated Storybook series are strictly aimed at primary schoolers. They were mainly released to coincide with a movie's theatrical or home video release and Hercules is no different in this respect. Where it does differ is in the often wry humour that runs throughout, one that - like the movie - can transcend the age barrier.
Now, I'm not talking Monty Python levels of wit here, and most jokes do nothing for those over the age of five. What we do get is a wobbly Baccus offering 'grape juice' to the new born Hercules in front of the scorning parents, a subtly sardonic Hermes and an ever entertaining James Woods as Hades. All actors reprise their roles from the movie keeping a nice and rarely seen continuity.
But what is absolutely brilliant about these games, and one that I cannot stress enough, is that any mini people bounding around your heels will be transfixed by them. And it promotes reading too if you want them to learn and be quiet at the same time.
At its heart, it is a picture book, with the text highlighted when read out loud by the characters (a nice touch is that some words are annotated and explained in rhyme). It is then a sandbox of wacky things to interact with on each page, mini-games (including checkers) and a sing-a-long if your brave enough.
So why hasn't this series endured to include all of Disney's offerings? The last game in the series of 10 came in 1999 (based on Winnie the Pooh rather than their newest feature, Tarzan) without much since. Games like this would be perfect on modern tablet devices, yet Disney seem to be content with releasing uninspired cheap mini-games without the care and respect for the source material these had.
I believe that the novelty of Microsoft Windows and CD-based multi-media titles had worn off at the turn of the millennium. Games such as this quickly became out-of-fashion, but to its credit, this series did last longer than most.
So I present to you and the rugrats in your life, the recently reformed Hercules: A Disney Animated Storybook. Do these titles deserve a second chance or are quality kid games a thing of the past? Turn your child-like mind on, play the game and let me know your thoughts.
*The subject of today's post was brought to you by my 5-year-old nephew who goes by the gamer-tag of Hat.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Tested on Windows 7 and Windows 8.
01.07.2015 Version 2 - Improved installer
02.05.2016 Version 3 - Autoclose Windows 3.1 when exiting the game
Disney's Animated Storybook: Hercules is © Disney Interactive
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me