Title: Operation Neptune
Overall Rating: C+
Source: The Learning Company http://www.riverdeep.net/learningcompany/
Playing Time: Varies- Over 1 hour of material
Software Release Date: 1998
Cost: $12.95 But it now at NothingButSoftware.com
Operating System: Windows 95/98/Me or Mac
Number of Players: 1 Player
Special Equipment/Facilities Needed: None
Subject Area: Mathematics (grade 4-8)
Objectives: Explicitly stated in manual: "Operation Neptune helps players develop mathematical skills while engaging them in an action-filled undersea adventure where they confront mathematics in a meaningful way" (p. 5). "The program helps players realize that mathematics has value in the world outside the classroom. It teaches important lessons in problem solving and fosters mathematical confidence" (p. 5). "To carry out their mission, players must solve a variety of one- and two-step word problems. The problems provide an interesting and varied context for arithmetic operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing) with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages" (p. 6).
Brief Description: This software program combines an underwater game (manipulating a submarine, avoiding/killing enemies, picking up objects, and exploring five zones of the ocean floor) with mathematics (solving incoming problems with a calculator and identifying mathematical patterns). Bright colors and sound effects add to the game. Students have full control over moving the submarine; however, they have no control over the math problems. When a math problem appears on the screen, students must answer it. If they are correct, the game continues. If they are incorrect, they are penalized by using one unit of oxygen and must attempt the problem again after a hint is provided. If the second answer is incorrect, student are penalized in the same fashion and the correct answer is displayed. The game then resumes.
Entry Capabilities Required: Mouse and keyboard manipulation is a must. Also, a general math knowledge of : whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percentage, measurement/time, graphing, sequences/patterns, and calculator skills are necessary.

Rating: (1-5)

Strong Points: This software covers a variety of math skills for a broad range of students (ages 9-14). Bright colors and sound effects add to the game. Students have control over the movement of the submarine and can apply what they know about math to answer the problems. Helpful hints can guide students in the right direction.
Weak Points: This software focuses too much on the game and not on mathematics. It seems boring due to its repetative nature. Students can bypass the math problems, by quickly typing in two incorrect answers (even though they are penalized) to get back on with the game. The directions are confusing and the game does not allow for reflection. The wide range of math skills make it difficult to use in the classroom.
Reviewer: Stacey Pennock
Position: Graduate Student
Date Reviewed: January 14, 2004
Computer System Reviewed on: Macintosh G4 450, 512 mb ram.