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Barbie of Swan Lake: The Enchanted Forest PC/Mac CD-ROM

Published by Vivendi Universal Games
Released: Out Now
Price: £19.99

There is no denying the fact that Barbie has been an ever popular brand over the years and continues to appeal to millions of young girls. With the ever growing presence of PCs in the home, it was always going to be a lucrative move to bring out Barbie products for young girls everywhere to enjoy. To date there have been many titles and Barbie's popularity shows no sign of declining. However are deaf children going to enjoy these Barbie software titles? Let's find out.

If you've got a young daughter of your own it's probably been bought to your attention that a DVD entitled Barbie of Swan Lake The Movie! has been released recently with subtitles. To coincide with that release we have Barbie of Swan Lake: The Enchanted Forest for both PC and Mac. Lila the unicorn is preparing a special moonlight picnic for Odette (played by Barbie), her friend. However it all goes wrong when Lila accidentally releases the magic from the forest (which causes the baby swans not to hatch, flower lanterns to loose the light and musical flowers to go all out of tune) and traps herself on an island in the middle of a Swan Lake. It's up to you to help Odette and Lila restore the forest back to normal.

There are many activities for you to do in The Enchanted Forest. You can make magic wands, solve various puzzles, paint magical pictures and make music to name just some activities. In fact all round it's definitely something any Barbie fan would enjoy. To add further appeal to the title the game looks very impressive. It looks and feels like a Barbie title should and despite being a 2D affair it still looks excellent.

Unfortunately Barbie of Swan Lake: The Enchanted Forest doesn't have any subtitles at all and I can categorically confirm that it isn't suitable for deaf children. All information is delivered via speech. This is a real disappointment although I can understand where the developers are coming from. Young hearing children don't want copious amounts of text to read but on the other hand how are deaf children meant to enjoy the game when there is no text at all to inform them of what to do or what is going on. The manual does explain the basics of each activity but you can't expect a child to read through a manual and anyway it's simply not on that a hearing child can just sit there and play and a deaf child would have to have their parents read the manual and then explain how to do everything.

Overall Game Rating: Not Rated
As a package it's impressive but it's useless for very young deaf gamers. There is no way at all for a young deaf child to understand what is going on or what to do by themselves.

Deaf Gamers comment:
Simply not suitable for deaf children, which is a huge shame.