Animals of the World
Animals of the World has a generous amount of information, but poor organization and an unappealing presentation makes it an uninteresting experience. Arranged into vague categories (e.g., Hoppers, Fast-Moving, and Hairy), as well as clearer, simpler descriptions like Insects, Large Mammals, or Birds, the reference is meant to entice children to explore the variety of creatures populating the Earth. However, the text presentation is dry and only the most studious children will be remotely interested in reading all the material offered.
More engaging is the variety of photographs of each animal and "fun facts" that provide an unusual bit of trivia about each creature. Several short grainy movies are included that provide the barest amount of additional information, but they seem more like random excerpts from longer pieces about the species. The index provides an alphabetical listing of all topics, as well as more specialized lists that include only animal names or types, such as a list of all reptiles included in the reference, and makes navigating through the CD-ROM easy.
The "Special Topics" section provides an in-depth overview of certain animals, like whales, or a particular subject such as the Cenozoic Era. Even these suffer from the same problems that plague the rest of Animals of the World, with long, poorly presented text. Only the "Cats & Kittens" and "Dogs: Our Best Friends" areas break the mold, with a colorful layout and a variety of photographs -- cute but hardly informative.
Animals of the World isn't likely to inspire too many children to delve deeply into the material. The information is dully presented and, while the photographs are nice, they don't provide much beyond the animals' appearance. Other than as a tool for last-minute school reports, Animals of the World just doesn't provide enough of a reference source to make it worthwhile. ~ Eden Miller, All Game Guide
The photographs are colorful, bright, and of good quality. The rest of the graphics are uninteresting, considering most of the CD-ROM is text-based. Videos are grainy and muddy. ~ Eden Miller, All Game Guide
The poorly composed music is annoying. ~ Eden Miller, All Game Guide
The package is an incredibly boring reference source with no real appeal other than viewing the photographs. ~ Eden Miller, All Game Guide
Except for use in school reports, long-term usage is not likely due to the boring text material. ~ Eden Miller, All Game Guide
Fortunately, the CD-ROM is fairly self-explanatory since the documentation consists mainly of explaining how to run the program if AutoPlay doesn't work. ~ Eden Miller, All Game Guide