As kids make their way through Dr. Dabble's creepy mansion, they'll build pre-algebra, logical-thinking and word problem skills.
Kids will learn to:
- Solve word problems using computation, estimation and proportions
- Compare with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, integers and rational numbers
- Apply ratios, proportions and percents
- Translate mathematical expressions
- Apply order of operations
- Manipulate positive and negative numbers
- Over 100 different word problems - all of them spoken out loud!
- Multimedia adventure includes dazzling graphics, animation, digitized sound effects, music and speech
- Three levels of math difficulty
- On-line tips for parents and record-keeping scoreboards
~ from the back of the box
With some seriously questionable math featured in the news recently (looking at you Joe Biden on 150 million-gun deaths and you Brian Williams on sharing Bloomberg’s wealth), it could be time for us all to work on our mathematics skills. Now it’s been a long time since I’ve done anything that resembles remotely difficult arithmetic, but I like to think I wouldn’t make obvious errors like those prominent figures on the world stage. However, to help future proof myself and the family from any potential embarrassment I decided to take a look at Davidson & Associates' 1994 educational title Math Blaster Mysteries: The Great Brain Robbery.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and admit that math isn’t the most riveting subject, so teaching people through a point-and-click adventure game like we have here doesn’t sound like too bad a prospect. The first I noticed was that the developers took major inspiration from Maniac Mansion only with added math problems. To which I say; "if you going to borrow liberally, best to do it from the genre’s best".
The game begins with our main character, the little alien Rave, chilling at home listening to the radio. Rave is disturbed from his R& R time by an announcement that his idol Big Brain - the rockstar mathlete - has had his brain stolen by the nefarious Dudley Dabble! Someone has to do something about this, and it might as well be you. And so, he sets a course for Spooky Mansion on a mission to foil Dudley and save the day.
With the back story established, the game proper begins. Your task is to move between various rooms in the mansion with the aim of collecting coins. These are found in the interactive environments as well as given to you by the colourful characters in each room. That is if you can correctly answer the math questions they give you. Earn enough coins and you can take on the three major math games around the Mansion. Win these and be awarded puzzle pieces to allow you to open a route to Dudley (and not-so-secretly improving your maths skills along the way).
The tests and trials you take on have several difficulty settings; Easy (2 coins), Medium (4 coins) and Hard (6 coins). I went in thinking as this game was designed for kids that I would generally stroll through even the hardest questions but no matter the setting, the old noggin will certainly get a good workout. This even culminated in me having to get a pen and paper out to write down my workings and get the answers. All these scribblings and working out problems was an interesting and - I’m reticent to say - fun throwback to my school days. Luckily, the game comes with a built-in scientific calculator found in the top menu bar. This is where you can also gain explanations on how to solve the mini-games, a map of the house and tips for parents (you don’t want to look silly in front of the ten-year-olds - at least no more so than usual).
The game is not especially long, especially if you are a whizz mathematician. As a game that aims to improve your math skills though I think it succeeds as it helped me remember the methods of long-division and multiplication. As a point and click adventure game it’s far to short with no real attempt at character development or strong narrative. Taking into account that its main aim is education, I think it would be harsh of me to focus on that. As such, I recommend giving Math Blaster Mystery: The Great Brain Robbery a go, especially if you are looking for a rewarding activity to do with the family. Then once complete pass it on to our politicians and journalists, with elections due I think they could use it.
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 10.
File Size: 118 Mb. Install Size: 242 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Math Blaster Mystery: The Great Brain Robbery is © David & Associates
Review by HeroOfAvalon
Cover Design and Installer created by me