Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Zoo Vet: Endangered Animals

Zoo Vet: Endangered Animals

Spring 2008 Software
Ages: 10 & Up
Price: $19.95
School Use Price: $19.95
Platform: Windows/MAC
Loaded with learning and hands-on doctoring at a virtual zoo, this veterinary sim is sure to mesmerize any animal-loving child-especially those fascinated with endangered species. Starting inside the veterinarian office, players check the Zoo Map to find which of the zoo's 20 different endangered animals require care or treatment. Three difficulty levels determine just how complicated injuries and illnesses get, and zoo staffers describe the animal's symptoms at the start of each scenario. Our first case was a Galapagos Tortoise that needed nutrition and a dose of pain meds for a mending broken bone. What to feed tortoises? Leafy greens according to the animal files in the office that contain info on all of the creatures at the zoo.

Next case was a sick baby chimpanzee whose illness required a full-blown exam using the magnifying glass, stethoscope, rectal thermometer, portable x-ray machine plus a series of tests. Turns out the chimp had rickets and needed more calcium. We treated a lethargic Orinoco crocodile for anemia and an infection with an IV of meds and fluid, helped a Giant Panda suffering hair loss due to a mite infection, and tested a short-of-breath lowland gorilla to find he had heart disease.

The game challenges problem-solving skills with 30 such scenarios, all requiring diagnosing the problem using any of the 41 medical tools and tests available, then deciding on the right treatment. Hints and notes keep kids from getting stuck. Wrong decisions get verbal nudges in the right direction.

The game provides a wealth of other learning opps and a good grounding in conservation issues beyond treating the animals--including eight mini-movies of creatures in the wild, a glossary of veterinary terms, the info-packed animal files, a career section, photo albums, and fun mini-games (animal photo matching, trivia, jigsaw puzzles, etc.). Graphics and animation are nice-if not totally smooth at times. What really works in this reasonably priced game is practicing a little compassion and problem-solving thinking to help sick creatures.

Don Oldenburg   ©2008 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers
Legacy Interactive

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