CD-ROM review: Romans Anglia Multimedia, pounds 14.99

The subtitle says this is "an interactive role playing adventure in a stunning second century virtual 3D town". It is "educational", and supports the national curriculum, which often adds up to a euphemism for unimaginative and plodding. Most users will indeed be pushed to find this exciting. You find yourself wandering through the ancient Roman town of Sapientum, talking to locals who, to judge from their accents, come from midway between the West Country and East Anglia (except the upper-class ones, who come from Rada). They each tell you about aspects of Roman life and invite you to ask more questions if you want more information.

But with graphics that comprise a series of stills with talking heads, and insufficient instructions to know where you are wandering as you click your mouse on various doorways, it's all rather confusing, especially if you are in search of a particular piece of information.

The intention is clearly one of education by stealth - give a child a game to play and they won't realise they're learning things - but the game-playing aspects are not strong enough to sustain interest. My seven- year-old spent a happy half-hour with it, but lost interest when he found himself wandering round in circles. I didn't do much better myself.

His verdict: "rubbish", modified after a little thought to "average". My verdict: well-meaning, but disappointing. The information provided is good and (apart from the silly accents) well presented, but it loses in accessibility as much as it gains from the interactive format. A dull game is worse than no game at all.

Anglia Multimedia (01603 615151)

Comments