字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 [educational saxophone music] Greetings and welcome to an LGR Edutainment Thing! This time we've got what is considered by some as one of the best: Super Solvers Gizmos & Gadgets! Released by The Learning Company for Macintosh, DOS, and Windows PCs in 1993. Well, originally at least. Gizmos & Gadgets is one of those evergreen learning games that was continually repackaged, rereleased, and revamped for the better part of a decade post-launch. Shoutout to LGR viewer Zack for donating this boxed copy of the original MS-DOS release, I only had a loose Windows 3.1 CD edition before this. And beyond its superior packaging to later releases, I prefer the OG G&G for DOS because it's the way I first experienced it back in the day. A childhood friend had it installed on their Compaq Presario, a computer I lusted after for its Sound Blaster sound card and double speed CD-ROM drive. And good ol' Gizmos & Gadgets garnered great attention, easily becoming my favorite of the Super Solvers games next to Spellbound. Sure I was like eight years old but whatever, this was a game that let me play with physical science, fast cars, and evil robot chimpanzees. Doesn't get much better than that when it comes to mid-90s edutainment, and I'm excited to revisit it after all these years. As with other Learning Company products back then, removing the outer sleeve reveals a nice cardboard box emblazoned with the company logo. And inside there is a whole pile of paper and plastic goodies, along with a sheet of their trademark blue foam. Why? Because The Learning Company used to be pure class, that's why. Hmm let's see, “Do you want your child's education to be fun and rewardin--” NOPE! I just want floppy disks, of which you receive two 3.5-inch high density lovelies in this version 1.01 release. Next up is a ready reference card, folding out to reveal some useful gameplay tips and all the game's keyboard controls. My favorites being “throw a banana” and “throw a banana farther.” Lastly is the user's guide, a substantial 52 pages of instructions going over each section of the game and how to succeed, along with some installation and troubleshooting tips because DOS is DOS and DOS breaks. I also appreciate these line art illustrations of the main cast of characters and enemies. Anyone else think this would make a good tattoo? Asking for a friend. Gizmos & Gadgets begins with a gadgety gizmotic introduction [thud!] slapping the logo on-screen while pleasant AdLib music plays. [cheery FM synth tunes] You're then presented the story so far, kicking off with the infamous Morty Maxwell the Master of Mischief being back with his usual shenanigans. This time he aims to take over Shady Glen's Technology Center as the new head scientist and... yeah, that's it! Not exactly the most threatening evil plan I've ever heard, nor is it that visually engaging just being a text box slideshow. But then this is the DOS floppy disk release. The later Windows CD-ROM version added a number of things, including a longer intro with new music, animation, and voice acting. “Listen up, you barrel of mechanical monkeys!” “We are now floating over the Shady Glen Technology Center” “ready to begin more mischief-making!” “I am preparing to take over as head scientist here” “so I can be in charge of all the research about science that goes on.” “I don't want anyone getting any smarter than me!” Regardless of your selected version, the goal remains the same: stop Morty Maxwell and his army of robo chimps from ruining Shady Glen's already dodgy reputation. This is accomplished by winning 15 races among three different categories of transportation: automotive, alternative energy, and aircraft. Sign into the technology center and enter your name to take control of the Super Solver: the faceless, voiceless, hat-wearing hero of the Super Solvers series. At this point you can choose your difficulty by saying whether you wanna play with chimps or without chimps, a fantastic choice to have that honestly more games should include, I think we can all agree. Choose which of the three transportation buildings to tackle first, with automotive being my personal preference. You can play in any order you like though, since no matter what you're tasked with assembling one speedy vehicle after another capable of beating Mr. Maxwell to the finish line. There are five blueprints to construct inside each building, with each successive design intensifying in both performance and mechanical complexity. Clicking a part presents a description of what'll work best against the Master of Mischief, with things like tire size, engine horsepower, gear ratios, wing length, body shape, wheel bearings, windshield design, and much more making the difference between success and failure. There are also standard parts and optional components that don't affect performance, like brakes, fuel tanks, decals, and paint. So long as you have the minimum number of parts assembled, you can challenge Morty to a race and attempt to prove yourself to be the better, stronger, faster scientist. Of course, it's likely to go horribly wrong the first time you try. [car engine noises] [disheartening song of failure] But we'll return to racing in a bit. Cuz right now, it's off to the warehouse! This is where the vast majority of Gizmos & Gadgets occurs, taking the form of a 2D platformer with parts to collect, chimps to avoid, and puzzles to solve. Over 200 puzzles, according to the back of the box. But yeah, in order to build yourself a racing machine you need to collect the parts shown on the current blueprint. These parts are found in yellow boxes scattered throughout the warehouse, with the contents and placement of them randomized on each playthrough. Collecting one of every required part is only the bare minimum though, since parts all have their own unique specifications affecting vehicle performance. Chances are the first set of items you grab won't be good enough to beat Morty Maxwell as you saw earlier, and you'll have to either pick up more or drop unwanted items in the recycle bin, which pop up again later on as red boxes. There are also multiple sections in each warehouse with even more parts to choose from, and that's where all those doors come into play. Each door leads to another side of the warehouse, either to the left or right, or behind the wall, mirroring the doors of the front side. These other areas are zoomed in quite a bit as well, so it's often easier to get hit by a chimpanzee robot if you're not careful or are straight up unlucky. And yeah, getting in your way are those mischievous robo-chimps, which'll knock you down and steal one of your collected parts should you come into contact with 'em. Thankfully you've got an arsenal of bananas to pick up and toss at your discretion, something robots find irresistible as we all know. So if you see a chimp headed towards you, throw a banana or throw a banana farther, and the chimp will promptly eat it and fall asleep for a minute. You're then free to continue wandering the warehouse, navigating the maze of doors and hallways in search of loot. The puzzle-solving aspect only pops up whenever you need to unlock a door, which is about every 10 steps, so all the dang time. Entering a puzzle room pauses the outside action and gives you a physical science-y conundrum to solve. Objectives are listed in the bottom left and it's up to the player to determine how to solve it using the mouse. Magnet puzzles involve replicating a pattern using different-shaped magnets and matching their opposing poles. Electrical puzzles task players with completing an electrical circuit by wiring up batteries, switches, and light bulbs. Force puzzles are all about hitting an object into a certain hole by messing around with gravity, friction, and potential energy. Balance puzzles provide a scale where you have to place weights on one side so things are perfectly balanced, as all things should be. Energy puzzles are a straightforward matching game where you need to draw a line from the type of energy to the pictures demonstrating that energy in action. Gears puzzles require the player to place down gears so that their interlocking teeth work together with a crank to press all the buttons at once. And then there are picture puzzles, with one type having you click and drag objects to identify simple machine components and the other type being a kind of jigsaw puzzle, asking you to assemble an everyday machine from a box of scraps. However, even though there's 200+ individual puzzles throughout the game, those eight types of them are all you get, meaning there's some severe repetition going on before long. By far the most common puzzles are balance, gears, electricity, and force. There's around 40 of each of them showing up repeatedly throughout Gizmos & Gadgets, with the entire selection looping back on itself every few hours, so I hope ya like solving the exact same puzzles dozens upon dozens of times. Anyway, once you do solve a puzzle, it's back to the warehouse exploration: wandering around collecting random parts, and walking back and forth between the different sections of the facility. Sloooooowly. This cumbersome movement is another aspect that was addressed in the Windows CD-ROM, where the entire warehouse section of the game moves a bit faster than the floppy version. I ran both on the exact same hardware too, it's not a CPU speed thing, the movement's just been redone overall on Windows. However, for my playthrough here I stuck with the DOS version for two reasons: one, because I prefer the way it looks. Windows Gizmos plays in a maximized frame no matter what, with this off-putting border around everything even at 640x480 resolution. And the graphics are overall a bit disjointed, with some sections benefitting from the higher res, like the puzzles and text pop-ups. But the remainder of the game's original graphics are badly scaled and appear uneven and jagged as a result. I also prefer the DOS game's soundtrack to the Windows version. Both feature a lot of the same MIDI tracks, but on Windows there's less variety in the number of songs and arrangements between warehouses compared to the DOS release. So the question is, is it worth sacrificing the music and gratification for better playability? Yeah maybe, it kinda depends on what you grew up with I guess. Ah whatever though, once you've gathered enough high-quality parts and stuck 'em all together, it's time to race the Master of Mischief and hope for the best! [upbeat music, engine sounds] [song of success] There's absolutely no way to influence the outcome of a race once it begins, it really is down to the parts you had at your disposal and chose to put together. Each of the fifteen blueprints have their own top-tier parts to find that, when combined, will utterly destroy Morty every time. But more often than not, you're probably gonna have one or two parts that aren't quite the very best, so the outcome is less predictable. It can be something as small as a set of tires an inch too narrow, wheels that don't have ball bearings, an engine that's 10 horsepower too low, or even a windshield that's flat instead of curved. Any one of those can make the difference between winning and losing under specific circumstances, so it's worth spending the extra time looking for the best parts you can. And naturally, that means playing an absolute ton of those physical science puzzles. Over. And over. And over. This is not a short game by any means man, I'd forgotten just how long it takes to complete. Consider that it took me anywhere between 25 and 45 minutes to find the right parts for each race, and multiply that by fifteen? Yeah this is easily a 10+ hour game, unusually lengthy for an edutainment title. And unfortunately, the vast majority of that is mind-numbingly boring after you're about halfway through the game. It's the same puzzles, the same chimps, the same puzzles, the same warehouses, the same puzzles, the same parts. Did I mention the same puzzles? It's not just that are there only 8 types of puzzles, but after completing 6 or 7 vehicles, the puzzles ran out and started over from the beginning several times over by the end. It's not a great loop and made me feel like I was going just a little nuts by the time I started seeing the same exact puzzles again for the third time around. However, it's worth noting I was playing through this for multiple hours at a time in order to capture gameplay footage, so. Y'know, not the circumstances Gizmos & Gadgets was designed for by any means. Back in the day we weren't bothered by the repetition at all, and in fact my friends and I excitedly gathered around the computer over the course of a month or two to beat this thing since we could only play for an hour or so on weekends. Precisely the way it's meant to be experienced, because doing it all at once is a recipe for madness. Besides, it's not like the ending is that much of a payoff. The final race is just another race like any other, followed by a podium finish like any other. Except this time Mr. Maxwell tries to steal your trophy, but instead hooks his own blimp and pierces it, sending him flying off over the horizon. The end. [chuckles] Yeah whatever, Gizmos & Gadgets! It's still a lotta fun decades later, at least when played in short bursts as intended. The platforming isn't great and it could do with some more puzzle variety, but yeah, there's good reason it received so many rereleases and outspoken fans over the years. The Super Solvers games are all worth playing in their own ways, but Gizmos & Gadgets deservedly earned its place among the top entries in the series. With its charming graphics and sound, hundreds of puzzles, multiple forms of racing, and potassium-enriched robo-chimps. All around solid stuff from a golden era in edutainment. And if you enjoyed this LGR edutainment episode, check out the video I did on Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego! Or any of the others I've covered for that matter, with new videos showing up weekly right here on LGR. And as always, thank you very much for watching!