Was Mattel's Barbie Magic Genie Bottle & CD-ROM more inspired by I Dream of Jeannie or Christina Aguilera? It doesn't really matter--despite the almost-identical blonde heroine and fairly kitschy premise, Barbie doesn't quite live up to those two pop classics.
The game itself is reminiscent of other adventure titles, like the Might and Magic series, with a first-person perspective (which can be wonderful or dizzying, depending on your constitution) and a floating Barbie to guide you on your journey. By capping the accompanying genie bottle, you can choose to reduce Barbie to a voice-over, which helps, since her image took up a quarter of our screen.
Using the bottle and various magic items they find, kids must look around four magical lands for puzzle pieces, all the while speaking to various townspeople. We found the process of problem solving required serious patience, since the interface of the game is often confusing and counterintuitive. Kids who enjoy methodically searching through every corner of a game will love this task, but others may find it tedious.
We were pleased with the detailed, Arabian-inspired art in the game's design. But this is a prime example of how the concept behind the CD-ROM wasn't followed through on, as there is very little to engage a young history buff, and there are no elements of Arabian culture in the dialogue that we could find. (The innkeeper could be in Abu Dhabi or Secaucus, New Jersey, for all we could tell.) It should also be noted that this game is basically entertainment--not educational--software.
The best part of the game is the bottle itself. It requires a joystick port and three AAA batteries, as well as a small flathead screwdriver to install the batteries. Parents will want to be present at installation, since we had to alter our control settlings to calibrate the new addition. Once the bottle was installed, it lit up with every touch, and added a fantastic element to our journey. (Ages 6 and older) --Jennifer Buckendorff
Amazon.com Product Description
Experience 3-D adventure with Barbie, and help save the kingdom and restore Barbie Genie's powers. Use the Magic Genie Bottle to uncover clues and solve puzzles on your quest to find the missing power gems, and ride a magic carpet through exotic lands. You can even get helpful hints and tips from Barbie Genie: just release her from the bottle, and she'll magically appear onscreen.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
System Requirements, Dec 20, 2022
Before buying, please note that this game requires a joy stick connection or game port, which some or most new systems donot have. Newer computers only have a USB port which this game is not compatiable with.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Very cool, magical game for girls with outstanding graphics!, Dec 30, 2022
I am very pleased with this game that I purchased for my two girls, both of which are into computer games. My 5 and a half year old finds it a challenge but not hopeless. My 12 and a half year old helps out and is interested in the puzzles and arcade type games. The bottle flashes in very cool complex patterns behind the plastic jewels when it is rubbed or the top is taken off (which is thoughtfully attached by a strong string.) The bottle is attached by a very long, very pink cord, which makes it easy to use without feeling like you have to be on top of the computer. The game has nice background music, and the animated characters give interesting, complex clues about the other characters in the game, building an interesting story behind it all.
One note, the support site is really..., not what is printed in the book or shown on the screen. Also you will want to setup the bottle as a 2-axis, 2-button joystick for it to work right, the service site has detailed instructions. We had trouble with the bottle initially because "rubbing the bottle" (a major function of the game) didn't work. It turned out that I didn't have it set to the right kind of joystick (it was still set-up for my old joystick.) Follow the instructions on the support website and you will be fine!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Beautiful Game, but needs some tweaking, Dec 27, 2022
Both my daughter and I love this game. She is 5 years old. I have to help her with it a bit though at times. One puzzle in particular was a little challenging. Most of the game is pretty much hide and seek. Items are hidden and you seek. Not that it is bad, my daughter enjoys it as the lands in which you explore are quite beautiful and magical. The best part of this game is of course the genie bottle. Just wave your hand in front of the pink gem and watch sparkles, hearts and stars float around or see items rise up in the air. If you take the top of the bottle off, Barbie genie appears in a cloudy pink swirl and she'll travel with you. You also have the option to fly on your own magic carpet while looking for items which is really neat! My daughter especially enjoys this. Barbie's voice is very clear and not annoying and she is very, very helpful to help play the game ... which is good because the interface is not that intuitive at first! I did want to mention that at first I thought our bottle was a dud and didn't work. It would light up no problem, but not interact with the game. There was no trouble shooting guide for this area in the manual. So check out the Readme.txt file in the game! It solved my problem and the bottle now works like it is supposed to. The bottle itself is very pretty. My daughter thinks it is magic. The dark pink gems on the bottle will light up and dance and twinkle. The bottle unfortunately is attached to a very long cord, which can't be removed. Which is a shame, because the bottle works without the computer.
The only flaws I see is navigation: instead of point and click where you want to go, you can only scroll up or down or left to right or forward or backward by moving your cursor. It would be much easier with a point and click. The other annoyance is there could be so much more to explore in each land. For example, the market place ... there are so many potentially cool places you could check out (as you would in most regular adventure games), but in Barbie Magic Genie, you can only really go into maybe 2 places.
I love playing this game with my daughter. The graphics are nice, the music is perfect for the arabian theme and game play is easy. Makes for enjoyable and unique Barbie game!
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
Don't bother!, Dec 27, 2022
Don't bother with this one. It is too complicated for my 3 1/2 year old and too easy for my 8 year old. The whole game took my 8 year old about 2 hours to finish. There are no extra puzzles to make the software useable after the "adventure" is completed. It's now the day after Christmas and the "bottle" has been removed from the computer so they can play "genie" by themselves.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
OK, Dec 26, 2022
My two daughters would give this a 5 star rating, I myself would give it about a 3, so we decided to give it a four.
As far as price, I paid $40 and after playing it was disappointed because I paid so much for it. If I could go back I would not pay more than $25 for it.
It is fun and can be a challenging game to play because they gems you must find are not always in the same place if you restart the game, so it will always be different when your kids want to play again. You can always save your game which comes in handy since there are about 5 levels you must travel through and it does get lenghtly.
The only problem that we have had so far is that when you touch the magic bottle heavy items on the screen are to pick up, but for some reason they won't so we end up pressing F5 for it to work.
As far as kids taking the bottle to play, I would not recommend that, since the parrell port stays attached to the bottle and cannot be removed.
Sound and anmimation are good.