Freddi Fish 4: The Case of The Hogfish Rustlers of Briny Gulch

Developer/Publisher:  Humongous Interactive Entertainment
Year Released:  1999

Review by Rosemary Young (April, 1999)
ff4.jpgThis latest Freddi Fish Adventure from Humongous is set in the aquatic Wild West town of Briny Gulch, and, as with all Wild West towns, there's trouble a-brewing when Freddi and her good friend, Luther, arrive to spend a holiday helping Cousin Calico Catfish on her Hogfish ranch. Much to their dismay, they learn that poor Calico has lost all her precious Hogfish to some pesky rustlers.

It's time once more for our finned friends to sharpen their sleuthing skills as they take on the tricky tasks of finding the rustler's hideout, rescuing the Hogfish and catching the law breakers.

Join in the hunt
Once again this is an engaging children's adventure which, as well as serving up a heap of fun, involves some entertaining problem-solving to put matters right. In this episode the pivotal task is to acquire an appropriate disguise to gain entrance to the rustler's hideout. It might be a blue 10- gallon hat, or an orange, or purple one, together with a bow tie or bandana, and the required belt-buckle must be engraved with a particular letter.

Of course, learning about the disguise is only the beginning for young players, then discovering and gathering the various items is an exercise in some careful detection and a lot of good deeds. Here the game introduces more variations with different puzzles requiring different strategies to solve them, so that alternative pathways open up and the game is slightly different each time it is played. Naming the culprit at the end of play also adds another dimension to this adventure. Here there is a vital clue in the closing scene that points the finger at the culprit. However, if children miss the preceding clues there's no reprimand for getting it wrong. The unjustly accused character will simply plead innocence and give the player another chance of success.

There's a host of engaging characters to chat with on this journey and plenty of guidance at hand for young players who look and listen carefully. There's also a detailed hints file on the CD accessible from within the game and all the gameplay is simple point and click.

Colourful and captivating
Like other games in the Humongous Junior Adventure Series Freddi Fish 4 is aimed at children 3 to 8. Parents will have to offer considerable help to the lower end of this age group, but there are plenty of clickable hotspots to entertain younger players and some particularly amusing puzzles to solve such as getting a bloated puff-fish to sneeze. Both the colourful graphics, and voice acting are wonderfully captivating and there are the usual bonuses tucked away such as the Oysteriods game which involves bursting bubbles and the opportunity to design a crazy Wanted Poster.

Freddie fish has maintained her reputation in this adventure, she's just as lovable as ever. Although I'm obliged to report that without subtitles it is off-limits to young hearing-impaired players, I'm first in line for thanking Humongous for preparing the next generation of adventure game players. Even though it has a Wild West theme I'm also pleased to report that there's not a gun to be seen. rating:  

Copyright © Rosemary Young 1999. All rights reserved.

System requirements:
Windows: IBM PC or 100% Pentium compatible (P90 or higher recommended), Windows 95/98 or higher with 16 MB RAM
Macintosh: Power PC (80 MHz recommended), System 7.5.3 or higher with 16 MB RAM