Hot line to learning
In Hotline Quiz you must use your knowledge to save the world.
The hotline telephone link between the super powers must be kept open to maintain peace, but the line is broken and the world is on the brink of disaster.
You must repair 25 sections of the hotline between the White House and the Kremlin by answering up to 20 quiz questions.
The correct answer is chosen from four possibilities presented in a multiple choice format. Incorrect responses do not automatically mean failure, as some answers carry hidden bonuses.
Nine sets of 25 questions are provided on disc, graded from 1 star (easy) to 6 star (genius) and Chalksoft claim there is something for all ages.
The start menu offers three options - play the current set of questions, load a new set or access the special menu which offers many useful facilities.
You can specify the number of questions in each round (from 5 to 20), add new questions to the set in memory, create new sets, overwrite existing questions and save them.
Colourful and attractive animated graphics are used effectively in the Title and Reward sections. Questions are shuffled for each quiz and answer entry is single key.
Correct responses are rewarded with a "thumbs up" logo. Unfortunately the program exhibits a serious weakness when new sets of questions are created. The software can only cope with maximum string lengths of 203 characters for questions and 35 for answers, and the input routines are not error-trapped.
You can enter null strings or strings of 255 characters. Both cause fatal crashes when you try to save and use the quiz, or the screen display is ruined as long answer strings overwrite each other.
My initial impression was that the software was simply an aid to learning facts but on closer examination I realised that it has much more to offer.
It does help children to learn basic facts about any subject area, but it also develops useful skills when they devise and collate their own quiz because their questions must satisfy specific criteria if they are to be acceptable.
This program will prove very useful at home and in the classroom once it has been properly error-trapped and made more user-friendly.