gamers (100%) found this review helpful
I came into this one with high expectations, having fond memories of hours in the elementary school computer lab, playing Oregon Trail on MS-DOS. Unfortunately, the game hasn't aged well.
For those new to the game, you play as the leader of a group traveling from Independence, MO, to Oregon City, OR, in a covered wagon in the mid-19th century. You have some money to buy supplies along the way, but you'll also need to do some hunting, as well as stopping and resting when your party members inevitably come down with broken bones, cholera, and dysentery, or when your wagon falls apart. Through all this, you need to make it to Oregon City by the end of October.
For people who remember the ancient version, well, obviously the graphics are better by leaps and bounds. Otherwise, the most glaring change is that you now need to steer your wagon around obstacles in the trail (the whole way, not just when you're floating down the Columbia), and there are some scattered goodies you can pick up along the way. In addition to hunting (where you can now expect far more rabbits and birds, and far fewer buffalo), you can now fish for food, which consists of throwing a bobber in the vicinity of a fish, waiting for it to go under the water, then reeling the fish in. Yes, it's every bit as thrilling as it sounds.
Even as someone who had fond memories of this game, I was ready for it to be over well before I got to Oregon (which I failed to do by "winter", i.e., the end of October, which results in a Game Over). Two major annoyances: 1) Ridiculously long load times. 2) The progress meter on the screen has green, yellow, and red sections, telling you how you're doing relative to the necessary pace. Unfortunately, I didn't find out until game over that you have to get out of the yellow area, into the green, to avoid said game over. Intuitively, I'd have thought yellow = caution; red = problem. Apparently not.
Verdict: If you're feeling nostalgic, rent it. If not, skip it.
gamers (100%) found this review helpful
I agree with Steve's review, and memories of being in the computer lab. I remember sitting in front of the old Apple II, and the basic 'set it and watch the oxen trudge along' gameplay. That would have been MUCH better compared to this bit of nostalgia gone wrong. The worst part of this whole thing is the need to steer the entire trip, and appearently America was a horrible place at this time with rocks jutting out all over the trails and boulders that blow by in the wind. The same wind that is appearently responsible for the green house effect today, since just about every tree on the trail is blown down by said wind into your pathway. Every time you hit something, which will be every five or so seconds, it subtracts from the health of your oxen or wagon which is incredibly frustrating,. made worse with the constant fires, raids, and extremely poor hunting and fishing,
Speaking of, the hunting is just awful, you use the stylus to move your target across the screen and push the L button to fire. Unfortunately, unless they are RIGHT in front of you, chances are you're going to miss with the awful weapon you get to start and can't trade up with until you reach higher 'level missions' which consist of different storylines and times of history. For example, your starting mission is very early in the trail history, so the Native tribes are much friendlier and won't bother you, but later on they'll be gunning for you along your route. However, there will be more settlements to rest at, which doesn't mean much since most places don't have traders who will sell you things, just trade IF you got something they want, and it's usually a bad trade for you.
They have a clock with red, green, and yellow. Green is on schedule. Anything less is 'Game Over' when you get to the end, and if you basically get into the red, you'll never make it without whipping your oxen to death and driving everyone to exhaustion, and you'll probably still fail. All in all, NOT a good game. Skip it