The Amstrad User
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Jara-Tava is an adventure game that takes place on a mythical tropical island. Actually tropical islands is more accurate, for while the adventure begins on an island named Jara-Mau, the adventurer must travel to Jara-Tava, the infamous Isle of Fire, to be successful.

According to the teacher's guide accompanying the program, Jara-Tava has been as much of an odyssey for the authors as it will be for players. Though it now bears little resemblance, Jara-Tava began as "Treasure Island" or "Treasure Isle", a public domain and Path-weaver adventure available for some time in South Australia. During this time it established itself as something of a standard for middle primary children or with those new to adventure games. When the authors began considering options for an illustrated adventure for the middle primary school it was decided to capitalise on the success of Treasure Island and to extract the full potential of a "proven winner". But fear not! While the basic premise and some locations remain unchanged, there is a great deal that is new.

Three specific aims were decided upon. Firstly, the adventure game had to be reasonably challenging for children aged 9-10 years old, as well as being enjoyable and of good quality. Secondly, it was accepted that the program would be developed for incorporation into the greater theme of pirates. Thirdly, the game should incorporate a number of smaller elements which should stimulate the children's thinking on the various themes presented in the program.

The general aims expressed in the teacher's guide speak of something greater than simply an adventure game. These aims arc too many to list, but point to something more akin to a major class project incorporating Jara-Tava. This adventure game is therefore only a small part of the greater project as proposed by Angle Park. In fact, included with the program is a resource disc which includes many hours worth of additional material for use by children in the classroom.

This leads to one important point. Although the educational software reviewed in The Amstrad User is generally for use in the home, and under parental supervision, an exception to some extent must be made in the case of Jara-Tava. Clearly, it would be too much to ask of most parents to create something which truly exploits the full potential of Jara-Tava. As the teacher's guide explains "[Jara-Tava] requires the skilled hand of an enlightened and caring teacher to capitalise on the possibilities provided." This said, with no greater effort than would be normally expected of parents, the adventure game itself can be played with great enjoyment by the child.


Quite a leap forward for the authors and the students who haven't played many adventure programs before, Jara-Tava incorporates full colour graphics and an intelligent parser that allows the children to enter full sentences (no more stilted two-word phrases!). The adventure is loosely based around the system developed in "Twist-a-Plot" books where the child makes a number of decisions in the adventure which determine the direction of the game - for better or for worse, presumably.

The synopsis is simple enough. Jara-Tava, The Isle of Fire is an adventure in which the player is in search of pirate treasure on deserted tropical islands. You have been bequeathed a map of an island called Jara-Mau and the means (traveller's cheques and airline tickets) to travel to it. The adventure proper begins as a launch drops you off on a beach of Jara-Mau. Your goal is to recover the treasure of Captain Kidd hidden somewhere, you are led to believe, on the island of Jara-Mau.

To find and recover the treasure the adventurer must do three main things. Firstly, recognise that the treasure is on Jara-Tava and not on Jara-Mau; secondly, find a way of getting over from Jara-Mau to Jara-Tava; and thirdly, recover the treasure from Jara-Tava before the Volcano erupts and destroys the island.

On Jara-Mau, the adventurer wanders around under no threat. There is no clock to beat and the intention of the authors here is to challenge the child more on logic, reasoning and the other principles behind playing adventure games, rather than making it simply a race against time. A map has been given which can be referred to at any time; this gives a picture of the island and an indication of where the child must be. Since the island is rather large (over 20 different locations), this isn't really giving the game away Strewn over Jara-Mau are a number of items which may or may not be of use in solving the adventure. It's really up to the child to decide.

Don't be deceived into thinking that since this adventure is for 9-10 year olds it's going to be a walk over. In fact, I recommend parents and teachers, particularly if you haven't played a computer adventure game before, to have a go. And I mean WITHOUT reading the answer pages of the teacher's guide. Cleverly, the adventure has been designed around a number of critical decision times - four in all. These determine the fate of the adventurer and the path of the game. A number of hints are placed around the game to encourage the right answer.

Worthy of note is that there is not just one correct way to win this game. In fact, there are four ways of crossing the shark-infested channel between Jaxa-Mau and Jara-Tava, and once on Jara-Tava, three more ways to find the hidden treasure. So two children sitting next to each other can both find the treasure, but having played two totally different games! Thus the challenge to the adventurer is to make each decision on the basis of the information known to him/her. This calls for concentration, logic and thinking far enough ahead to consider consequences of actions not yet performed.

Jara-Tava is by no means a very difficult or involved adventure and it was never intended to be that. It is a good introduction to the logic and style of larger adventure games such as Level-9 and Sierra games. Where Jara-Tava wins over the rest however, is that it is tailored specifically to 9-10 year olds, in the context of their greater curriculum. This adventure is intended as a stimulant to encourage thought on pirates, sharks, submarines (yes, there is one in the game somewhere!) and other themes encountered in the game.

Now, parents may not be able to exploit the full potential of the package, particularly the recource disc with the additional database and other programs, but you will find that with only a little push, children will go a long way all on their own. Jara-Tava has been well pitched to the middle-to-upper primary age group. It's simple enough that it is immediately accessible, even to the child who's never seen a computer keyboard before, yet challenges the child's powers of reasoning and deduction Best of all, this game is fun, and making education fun while not compromising standards is a challenge Angle Park Computing Centre are well on the way to licking.



AUTHORS: Dean Hodgson , Steve Walsh for Angle Park Computing Centre


★ YEAR: 1988


Dump disk:
» Jara-Tava-The  Isle  of  Fire    ENGLISHDATE: 2012-03-28
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SIZE: 111Ko
NOTE: Extended DSK/Basic 1.1/40 Cyls

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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.