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

Freddi Fish 5: The Case of The Creature of Coral Cove

Freddi Fish 5: The Case of The Creature of Coral Cove

Fall 2001 Software
Ages: 6 - 10 yrs.
Price: $19.99
Platform: PC- Windows, Mac
In Freddi's fifth and latest incarnation, she's still the same gutsy little gilled detective ready to dive into the deep end to solve another crime case. This time around, Mayor Marlin has postponed the grand opening of Coral Cave Park after a menacing sea creature began spooking anyone who swam by. To discover the mysterious monster's identity and what's at the bottom of this sea mystery, Freddi and her fishy friend Luther once again need kids' help to find clues and to solve a boatload of puzzles.

Cartoonish graphics are crisp and the animation is fluid here -- same as it has been in every Freddi episode. The games and puzzles are fun and difficult -- though not so hard that youngsters will toss in the towel before getting their feet wet. One game plays like the classic Battleship peg-board game, but instead of guessing where the enemy ships are located to blow them up, kids guess where fish are located to feed them (Parents: No violence in Freddi's watery world!). Another is a simple, standard arcade-style time-your-jump game in which Freddi needs to hop over geysers to retrieve objects. Spend a few minutes with Rollo the Clownfish and learn some riddles, puns and knock-knock jokes. While investigating the undersea caper through gameplay exercises and interaction with other colorful characters, kids flex educational skills ranging from logical thinking and problem solving to identifying colors, shapes, numbers, and letters.

Parents also will appreciate that Freddi and friends still don't flounder in providing good, courteous and upbeat role models. Among the valuable treasures subtly sunken into the story plot: Lessons such as people and things aren't always as they appear (that disruptive sea monster turned out to be a pretty nice fella) and always be polite (Freddi does good deeds throughout -- from finding the various "fin picks" for the Clyde the Barber to locating a jug for Laren the Musician).

This title even includes a bonus CD containing 11 Freddi Fish songs. About the only thing I can carp about is summed up nicely when Freddi and Luther swim into Casey's lab cave and ask "What's going on?" And he says, "Same old same old." And that's about right. Freddi Fish games are all pretty much alike.

Don Oldenburg   ©2001 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.

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