[Editor's Note: John Corwhurst, our usual games correspondent who would normally be writing this review is temporarily resting at Prairie Sun Homes, a clinic for the temporarily insane and violent. The person who is actually writing the reviews, knows nothing about games.]

Mathacre, Chemisery and Snoop Doggy-Dogs Killa' Ebonics from Borland Educational Software. Wow, I have to be honest, stating that this reviewer has always found the very idea of educational software anathema to childhood. Things have changed, that's for sure. These three new titles from struggling former heavy hitter Borland propose a whole new twist on so-called "Edutainment." In fact, rumors floating around on craiglist.com suggest that the Redmond giant Microsoft is putting together an emergency team of game designers to combat this new market threat.

MATHACRE

First up is Mathacre, where players are forced to solve math problems before being alowed to slaughter the bad guys. It comes with several levels of play, starting from simple multiplication tables on level one, to differential equations on the highest setting. Not only do you have to solve mathematical equations to begin the game, the qicker you solve them and the more complex the problems, the greater your access to weapons and "life force" points. But what makes this game particularly intriguing and difficult is that each level of play requires that you achieve a certain amount of "hit" points within a specified time before you can advance. On the first level, you have to acquire exactly 100 points within five minutes. The various thugs and opponents range anywhere from 1 to 6 points each and innocent bystanders and nontarget items carry a minus 1-3 point penalty. The overzealous player will quickly find themselves ringing up over 150 points within the first minute, only to find that they must seek out bystanders and and nontarget items to reduce the total backdown to the required 100. In the higher levels opponents have can possess fractions, negative numbers and even squared properties.Obviously, blood thirsty youth are going to clamor to not only finish, but understand their homework assignements in order to satisfy their bloodlust. As far as gameplay goes, it is very similar to DOOM first player shoot 'em ups with the added twist of the player not being able to unleash hell until the problems are solved. I predict that within three years time, American students will be scoring higher on standardized tests then their Czech and Japanese competitors. Hats off to Borland. 5 Bloody Swords.

System Requirements: 550 MHz or faster Pentium III Microsoft Windows 9x or 2000 256 MB RAM 1.4 GB hard disk space

MATHACRE
COMPANY
- BORLAND
PRICE
-69.99
RATING
-5 Bloody Swords

CHEMISERY

Chemisery is similar in theme to Mathacre, except that in this one you are a mad scientist who must properly use chemical formulas so as not to inflict damage upon yourself. Again, the gameplay is structured so that during the easiest setting the worst you will suffer is a chemical burn. Later levels include everythihg from blindness to radiation poisoning to genetic mutations acrued from improper handling of the chemicals and scientific tools. Again, Borland scores high points with this reviewer because kids will have to actually rely on something besides hand-eye coordination in order to excel at this game. However, the "accident" scenes could have been more graphic. I mean, if I accidently release the ebola virus, I for one want to see the effects of the ebola virus. Where are the internal organs liquifying and the subsequent diareia that follows? In truth it looks as if they digitized Borris Karloff suffering when exposed to a flaming torch in the original Frankenstein. I find Chemisery to be a mixed bag. Nerds will love it for the scientific background one needs to bring to the table in order to succeed at this game, however hardcore gamers will no doubt be disappointed by the lackluster graphics. Three Bloody Swords

System Requirements: 550 MHz or faster Pentium III Microsoft Windows 9x or 2000 256 MB RAM 1.4 GB hard disk space

CHEMISERY
COMPANY
- BORLAND
PRICE
-69.99
RATING
-3 Bloody Swords

SNOOP DOGGY DOG'S KILLA' EBONICS

Finally we have Snoop Doggy-Dogs Killa' Ebonics. I really liked this game. The idea is this; The player is a "white boy" from the burbs who wants to "slang cane" in the LBC, which I think means to sell crack in Long Beach, CA. You start the game selling pot in a Venice alley to hippie college kids and speaking "white." As your dress and Ebonic phrasing improves, you move deeper and deeper into the heart of LA gangland, selling harder and harder drugs. The twist is that there are competing dealers, and the buyer will trust the one who can speak "black" better. In fact, as the game goes on, the buyers begin to accuse you of being a "cracker ass cop mothafucka." This of course has very negative effects because you can get killed, not only by the buyers, but also by other by dealers, cops and supplyers. You have to constantly be on guard, becasue you can actually get "jacked" by what in earlier levels looked like bystanders. Apparently, they like the way you are dressed. The last level pits the player against the great Snoop Doggy-Dog. Quick Tip: Let Snoop win. First of all, at this stage of the game, the buyers are more likely to be undercover cops than actual drug addicts. Second, Snoop and his Dawg-Pound posse tend to bust multiple caps in yo ass if you manage to out Ebonic Snoop. The trick here is to wait for Snoop to get busted and then home in on his turf. One really cool feature is the Vato setting, where you are forced to learn Mexican slang in order to take over East LA. Hint: "Tengo los bolas por el piso" will win over most female buyers. An excellent, intriguing game. Five Bloody Swords.

System Requirements: 550 MHz or faster Pentium III Microsoft Windows 9x or 2000 256 MB RAM 1.4 GB hard disk space

SNOOP DOGGY DOG'S KILLA' EBONICS
COMPANY
- BORLAND
PRICE
-69.99
RATING
-5 Bloody Swords


What it all means...The Pctyrant Bloody Sword Rating System

  = Don't even put it on your computer or waste your time

  = Play it on a friends computer...don't load it on yours

  = Wait for a friend to buy it then burn a copy for yourself

  = Definetely buy it but wait for a good sale

  = Get it NOW, pay full price

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