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‘Freddi Fish 4’ Praised

April 19, 1999 GMT

Movies gave birth to a new art form in animation. And multimedia computers have taken it further, creating characters that live beyond the current software and move on to an eagerly anticipated next ``episode.″

A good example is Humongous Entertainment, whose Putt Putt, Pajama Sam and other characters have entered childhood lore alongside Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny.

One of Humongous’ most popular characters, Freddi Fish, has a new adventure in ``Freddi Fish 4: The Case of the Hogfish Rustlers of Briny Gulch.″ This Western-themed action-learning game is aimed at 3- to 8-year-olds and is available for both Macintosh and Windows platforms.

Freddi looks like a goldfish and is twice the size of Luther, her sidekick. That’s right, Freddi is a female fish, although she doesn’t emphasize her gender.

In the story, Freddi and Luther go to Briny Gulch to visit the hogfish ranch of Freddi’s cousin Calico. There, they discover that the hogfish have been rustled. It’s up to Freddi and Luther to find the hogfish and bring them back.

They do so by interacting with 17 colorful and chatty characters, collecting clues and devising strategies to solve the puzzle. If you need educational justification for all this, Humongous says that kids will be ``learning strategic thinking skills, logical thinking and problem-solving skills, deductive and inductive reasoning, sequencing. ...″

A kid would probably just tell you that it’s fun. Among the qualities that make it a standout:

_Movie-quality art and animation, with smooth movement and attention to artistic detail.

_A wacky, kid-level sense of humor, including a family of squid named Orchid, Apricot and Periwinkle who spit appropriately colored ink into a spittoon.

_Entertaining and suitable music in the background and occasionally as main music. You have to hear the Honly-Tonk TubeWorms singing ``Hop Along Little Cephalopod.″

_Funny click-on objects and three minigames.

_A simple point-and-click user interface.

Another nice touch in these days of crammed gigabyte hard drives is that ``Freddi Fish 4″ plays directly from the CD-ROM, so no disk-cluttering installation is required. This makes it easier for younger kids to start it up themselves.

A suggested retail price of $29.95 doesn’t hurt, either.

System requirements:

_PC: At least a Pentium 90, Windows 98/95 and 16 megabytes of RAM.

_Mac: 80 megahertz Power PC, System 7.5.3 or later, 16 megabytes of RAM.

Humongous products are widely available at retail.


Humongous Web site: Phone: (800) 499-8386.


Questions and comments are welcome. E-mail via the Internet to lblasko(at), or send regular mail to Larry Blasko, AP, 50 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020.