American Girl - Julie Saves the Eagles  - Review

American Girl - Julie Saves the Eagles
Ages: Everyone 8+

A girl who looks more like the girl across the street - your girlfriend, sister, daughter, than like Barbie or anyone of the Bratz family - what a relief. THQ/Mattel have a wonderful property here. What took so long?

The game's character is Julie Albright, an attractive 9-year old in jeans who finds out about endangered species and goes on to save a family of bald eagles. Her mom's around, her dad's around - they seem to live in different parts of San Francisco though. Mom is available for hints and so is her best friend Ivy. Julie's diary keeps track of her discoveries, has a "To Do" list and offers players accompanying pages in which to make their own notes. First time I have seen that, and it is nice touch.

The kids wander around 1970 San Francisco - Chinatown, North Beach, Golden Gate Park exploring and learning about things how to rescue an owl, what "endangered species" means and learning enough Chinese to help an old man with a remedy for a bellyache. Travel is done by going to a bus stop and clicking on the European-style bus sign. Dialog is appropriate, and the characters fit right into the San Francisco milieu and the voices match the characters well. The two mini games are minimally challenging not so hard as to prove frustrating, and one must be won to proceed to the next level/location. Solutions to questions are found by going into the school library even on Saturday.

But instead of treating this product with the attention it deserves THQ has devoted limited personnel and treasure to the game. The animation is 2D - top down isometric, and while the graphic detail is good the scenes are too limited. The layout will show only two sides of an intersection, with maybe 3 or 4 buildings or stores on each corner, and streets dead end into the side of your screen just as you get going. Interesting things abound but are not clickable. With so much going for it, the game shouldn't stall on the paucity of the environment.

American Girl products, their dolls, books and stores have established credibility and respect with those who buy things for girls, and there is much to mine there. Blond California raised Julie is only one of the many American Girls, and although her best friend is Ivy, a Japanese-American, I hope THQ/Mattel brings us the whole host of their characters.

Fun Factor: Nice San Francisco explortation.
Female Factor: Julie is a wonderful realistic character.
Player Friendly: Easy saves-easy mini-games.

Reviewed by: Editor - 11/07

  • American Girl - Julie Saves the Eagles
  • © THQ/ImaginEngine
  • Platform(s): WVISTA XP
  • To Order: Win $19.99