Video Game: JumpStart Adventures 4th Grade: Haunted Island
Repsac might jump out at any moment...
A discontinued though somewhat infamous entry in the Jump Start
series of Edutainment Games
. Four years after its release, it was replaced by a new version which was about mining
... or something. In any case, it was not as memorable as this one.
As its subtitle might suggest, this game is remembered for its Nightmare Fuel
, which was presumably a factor in its discontinuation. Okay, the plot: You are a fourth-grade student who has missed one day of school. While you were absent, the substitute teacher was a Wicked Witch
named Ms. Grunkle who turned all your classmates into monsters
and imprisoned them on a creepy island where everything looks like it was designed by Tim Burton
. So now It's Up to You
to rescue them, wandering through the spooky woods
of the island to find the Mini Games
which provide you with Plot Coupons
. Occasionally, an evil ghost named Repsac will pop out of nowhere and force you to answer a question. Answering a question wrong will cost you health points
and losing all your health points will land in the Labyrinth
Can be downloaded from the Internet Archive
. Essentially, it's a Defanged Horrors
version of a Survival Horror
game. You can see a Walkthrough
and a review noting its scariness here
This game provides examples of:
- Alphabet Soup Cans
- Bag of Spilling: Inverted. In the opening cutscene, Grunkel is flying with a witch's hat full of keys to her house, but she drops them all and her magic wand on the way to her house. The Player ends up picking them all up.
- Beauty to Beast: Many of the children, especially Tiffany.
- Bigger on the Inside: There's no way Ms. Grunkle's tiny little house could contain all those rooms you have to pass through. But hey, she's a witch.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Grunkle repeatedly taunts you - and why doesn't she turn you into a monster right there?
- Cat Scare: If you pair two tablets that don't match in the Mummy Tomb, a cat screeches.
- Circus of Fear: Pomreeda's cart appears to be part of this kind of place. It's easy to miss the abandoned cart next to hers reading "Cirque du Jumpstart".
- Closed Circle: It's greatly implied that no one is allowed to leave Grunkel's island.
- Defanged Horrors: You don't actually die, and the monsters won't actually hurt you... however, they try to scare you.
- Difficulty Levels
- The Dragon: Repsac with Ms. Grunkle as the Big Bad
- Evil Laugh: Repsac has an impressive one. Ms. Grunkle has one too.
- Exposition Fairy: Flap, a giant purple bat
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Haunted Island is a grab bag of anything conceivably Halloweenish. Ghosts, vampires, and witches are to be expected, but an Egyptian pyramid? In the middle of a spooky forest with gnarled trees? God knows how that got there.
- Fetch Quest: The game is mostly a series of these. You have thirteen classmates to save and four items are required to save one. You have to play three mini-games to get just one item. So in all, you have to play 156 mini-games to save all your classmates. On top of this, you have to play three rounds of all the mini-games, except for the pirate activity, to count as having played it once. So unless you get the pirate activity, you have to play nine rounds (three rounds for three mini-games) to get one item. Also, the game keeps track of which mini-games you're bad at and assigns those ones to you repeatedly. Yeah, it's a long game.
- Guide Dang It: Early releases of the game only include the island map in the user's guide. Thus, if you don't have the user's guide, you can't navigate the island effectively and are pretty much screwed. (Clever form of Copy Protection, though.) Later releases dropped the user's guide and included the map in-game.
- Healing Spring: The Fountain of Health in the Labyrinth, if you can find it.
- Hollywood Darkness: Nearly everything on Haunted Island appears black and blue. That is, until you get close to it, which somehow makes it show up in full color.
- I Resemble That Remark: The bugs in the spider spelling challenge protest this when Flap expresses doubt in Pomreeda's belief that the letter bugs are cute.
- Locked Door: Grunkel's house is linear, and the only way to progress through it is to open doors that contain five locks on each. They can only be opened with skeleton keys earned every 5000 points.
- Karma Houdini: After you've saved all your classmates, Ms. Grunkle pulls a Villain Exit Stage Left, telling you that We Will Meet Again.
- The Lost Woods
- Medium Blending: The game constantly flips between CGI animation and 2-D animation. For the most part, the main game is pre-rendered CGI while the mini games are 2-D. The main characters (Flap, Ms. Grunkle, etc.) are always CGI. Your classmates look CGI in the opening sequence, but they are 2-D animated in the yearbook and Madame Pomreeda's Crystal Ball.
- Monster Clown: Calvin becomes this.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Flap the bat sounds rather like Peter Lorre, while the friendly ghost in the speech game that thanks the player for saving his soul is based on Rodney Dangerfield (on another plane, he also sounds like W.C. Fields, with a big nose to match).
- No Swastikas: Averted. The history activity features a number of historical photographs, including one of a Nazi flag. Well, if it's educational...
- Our Vampires Are Different: They are Classical Movie Vampires who have to solve long division problems in order to make it into their coffins.
- Laura becomes a vampire, except with two heads, one of them is her normal head and the other is a purple-skinned vampire head. When she transforms back to normal, her normal head turns around and EATS the vampire head.
- Pirate Tropes: The geography activity is pirate-themed, so it includes a number of these:
- Boarding Party: Implied. If you lose one of the cannon battle mini-mini games mentioned below, your ammo and supply counts go down.
- Pirate: Type 1. The pirates in the geography game are your enemies, and if you run into one of their ships, you'll have to sink it in a cannon battle mini-mini game.
- Ghost Pirate: Possibly. You don't actually see the pirates themselves, but their ships are all white and ghostly. Oddly, your ship is too.
- Pirate Booty: You have to identity the countries with this, based on the geography clues.
- Pirate Parrot: Picking up supplies is accompanied by a parrot sound effect.
- Talk Like a Pirate: Naturally. While you don't see the pirates, a pirate voiceover gloats at you during the cannon battle mini-mini game and follows this trope.
- Oddly averted on your ship, where the only pirate you hear (presumably your first mate) speaks with a British Accent.
- Treasure Map: The game is played on a parchment-looking world map, which nevertheless has modern-day (i.e. 1990s) countries and borders.
- Punny Name: Madame Pomreeda (Palm Reader?)
- Properly Paranoid: A lot of kids would use the Warp Whistle specifically to avoid Repsac.
- Random Event
- Retro Universe: Some of the children are explicitly from the modern day while others seem to be Disco Dans and they all go to school together in an old-fashioned one-room schoolhouse. The pirate activity seems to take place during The Cavalier Years, but none of the rest of the game does. Most of the stories you create in the cemetery activity are set in the present day. And, of course, the history activity has information updated to The Nineties (the time when the game was made) even though Flap says it was "a long time ago" that anyone was in there.
- Status Cell Phone: One of Laura's items is a (now outdated looking) cell phone, which the game considers reflective of her Class Representative personality. When the game was made in the mid-1990s, prepubescent children owning cell phones was very rare indeed.
- Sdrawkcab Name: The evil ghost is named "Repsac". Yeah, "Casper" spelled backwards.
- Sinister Silhouettes: How the children are shown being changed into monsters in the opening Cutscene.
- A blink-and-you'll-miss it mistake in this sequence: the boy named Joe turns into a silhouette that doesn't match his monster form. He's supposed to become a giant angry gorilla, but transforms into Stanley's form, a Frankenstein's monster instead.
- Themed Cursor: As you can see from the screenshot, the game makes the cursor look spooky and ghostly.
- Toothy Bird: James is turned into a penguin with teeth.
- Updated Re-release: Two years after its initial release, the game was rereleased with an onscreen leveling feature (previously leveling was activated by pressing "Ctrl-L") and an in-game map (previously the island map was only included in the user's guide)
- Warp Whistle