In the 1960s a German car company built the Amphicar, a vehicle that combined the road mobility of a car with the water mobility of a boat. While on the surface this seems like a fantastic idea, in actual practice you ended up with a car that drove like a boat and a boat that didn’t drive like much at all.
I mention this because it’s a lot like early attempts to combine “education” and “video game”. Most early “edutainment” games ended up being digital flashcards followed up by an almost unrelated and unentertaining “arcade type” game. But, hey, you were playing videogames at school so it was worth the sacrifice.
Midnight Rescue was one of the first educational games I remember playing that I didn’t immediately roll my eyes at. First of all, Midnight Rescue looked good. Next, while the “action” (such as it was) stopped for the educational parts, many of the stories you were reading actually related to the game you were playing, so it never felt like you left the game.
Midnight Rescue is a reading themed educational game for ages 7-14. In Midnight Rescue you take the role of a Super Solver, an intrepid investigator, who is trying to stop the evil Mortimer Maxwell, the Master of Mischief, from turning his old stomping grounds invisible. Morty has turned 5 paintbrushes into robots and hid himself in one of them. By reading and answering questions scattered around the school on marked cards (blue with a triangle) you gain details about the robot Mortimer is hiding in. As you explore the school you may run into the paintbrush robots as they go about their nefarious task. By taking pictures of the robots you can see and analyze the details you’ve collected. When you think you’ve figured it out make your accusation. If you’re right you gain points that will move you towards the Super Solver trophy! You can refill your film at the machine, but there’s only film when you answer questions. But be aware that you’re on the clock. If the time reaches midnight the school with be forever erased.
The game itself has an extensive help system that will tell you everything to need to play the game and the story behind it. Midnight Rescue established elements that would find themselves into future games making Midnight Rescue the first what would become the Super Solvers series.
This game was remade in 1995 for windows with enhanced graphics and sound if you can find it.
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