An Artificial Intelligence named A.R.T. has taken over the World Watch Satellite Mission and built an army of Mechanical Monsters to destroy Earth's environment for insane supercomputer reasons. Luckily, his Evil Plan is about to be countered by the Earthquest team, consisting of Zack, Jess, Uncle Eli, and their Heroic Dog Roswell.
You start every mission at Earthquest headquarters, where you select a Hot Spot on the Mission Locator Map and then decide whether you want to be Zack or Jess for the duration of this mission. Whoever you chose gets into a pod and flies off to the place you selected, where you have to stop A.R.T.'s Mooks from causing destruction. The mission lasts until either you decide to return to headquarters, your pod is damaged beyond repair, or you advance far enough to capture the King Mook. Once you've captured the King Mook behind all six Hot Spots, you have enough information to locate the space station and capture A.R.T. himself.
This game provides examples of:
- 2-D Space: You locate the space station by plotting points on a two-dimensional grid.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Be careful, your space station's onboard computer might turn out to have a thing for global conquest!
- Alphabet Soup Cans: Really blatant, even by JumpStart standards. Most of this game consists of glorified multiple-choice tests.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Roswell is blue.
- Ambiguously Related: Zack and Jess. At least Uncle Eli seems to be uncle to both of them.
- Apes in Space: The space station is commanded by a monkey named Enos. The trope is given a brief Hand Wave:Zack: They don't send monkeys into space anymore!
Jess: Yes, they do. Remember the astronauts were asking for too much money?
- Artistic License Geography: The Earthquest map◊ is wildly inaccurate. Most egregiously, it places Ukraine in western Kazakhstan and Egypt on about the Sudanese-Libyan border. California and the Appalachian Mountains are shown in the correct places on the map, but the longitude and latitude coordinates given are both hundreds of miles off the coastline.
- Awesome, but Temporary: You only get three pod gadgets at a time, and their effects are temporary.
- Brother-Sister Team: Zack and Jess, presumably. Again, Uncle Eli seems to be uncle to both of them. Technically, that could be possible with them being cousins, but it's a fair guess that they're meant to be siblings, possibly fraternal twins since they seem to be the same age.
- Complexity Addiction: A.R.T. comes up with ridiculously high-tech ways of destroying the environment when low-tech ways would be (and, unfortunately, are) much quicker and more efficient. For example, A.R.T. invents some kind of high-tech belt to stop trees from growing when an axe could not only stop the growth, but eliminate the tree entirely. Similarly, if you wanted to wipe out an endangered species (you know, if that was your thing), shooting them would obviously be more efficient than inventing robotic viruses.
- Cool Uncle: Uncle Eli surely qualifies.
- Eternal Engine: The Mini-Game "Pollution Solution" has this as its setting.
- Expy: A.R.T. is really obviously based on HAL 9000, what with him speaking in a soothing male voice and taking over a space mission.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: The premise of the "Viral Vanguard" Mini-Game, in which your pod is shrunken to the size of a cell so you can save endangered species from A.R.T.'s robotic viruses.
- Green Aesop: Taken in a very Captain Planet direction, although the villain at least has the excuse of being a computer who went insane. There are six Mini Games in which you have to correct the damage being done to the Earth and five of them involve fixing environmental damage. The other one is about restoring ancient monuments. Oddly enough, the sixth-grade game in The ClueFinders series was also rather heavy on this trope. Were Knowledge Adventures and the Learning Company comparing notes or something?
- Heroes "R" Us: Earthquest, apparently, although its entire staff seems to consist of four members, two of whom are teenagers and one of whom is a dog. It's because The Main Characters Do Everything, of course.
- Level-Up Fill-Up: Every time you get five pod points, you not only get three new pod gadgets, but you also lose any damage sustained by the pod.
- Meanwhile Scene: When a mission ends because of your pod getting too damaged, you're given a brief Cutscene of A.R.T. bossing Enos around. Note that you only get to experience these humorous scenes if you're bad at the game!
- Mechanical Monster: The term A.R.T. actually uses to describe his Mooks:A.R.T.: From that garbage, I will assemble an army of mechanical monsters to carry out my plan.
- Multiple Endings: The game has two endings, which differ only in their final scene. So far as can be determined, it's random which ending you will get.
- Nanomachines: The robotic viruses in the "Viral Vanguard" Mini-Game.
- Nearly Normal Animal: Enos mostly behaves like a real monkey, but is nevertheless intelligent enough to understand A.R.T.'s Evil Gloating and to then press the S.O.S. button in an effort to stop A.R.T. Roswell also qualifies as this trope.
- Nephewism: Zack and Jess have their Uncle Eli, but where are their parents?
- No Name Given: Zack and Jess's last name is never mentioned. Is it the same as Uncle Eli's last name? Well, we don't know his either, so that's moot anyway.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: It's not even aesthetic in this case. Zack and Jess never leave their pod during a mission, so which one you choose has no effect on your avatar, let alone gameplay. The only difference is whose voice-over you get to hear throughout the mission.
- Scary Scorpions: In "Monument Mischief," you have to avoid A.R.T.'s scorpion robots.
- Sea Mine: The sort of mine you have to disarm in the "Mine Games" Mini-Game.
- Shout-Out: Enos was a chimpanzee the U.S. sent into space in the early '60s.
- The Smurfette Principle: Jess is the only female character in the entire game. There aren't even any peripheral or background female characters. There's only Jess.
- Tricked-Out Gloves: Zack and Jess wear these. They provide the game menu, but don't seem to have any kind of useful function in-universe.
- Under the Sea: "Mine Games" takes place underwater.
- Women Are Wiser: Jess comes off as a little more sensible than the gung-ho Zack.