Exploring Ancient Cities, 2nd Edition

Article excerpt

Company: Sumeria, 329 Bryant Street, Suite 3D, San Francisco, CA 94107; Phone: 415/904-0800; Fax: 415/9040888; Web: http://www.sumeria.com

Price: $50-hybrid Mac/Win, single copy; $179-five-user lab pack; $59925-user site license.

Audience: 6th grade-high school.

Format: CD-ROM: text, graphics, video, and sound.

System Requirements: Macintosh12 MB RAM, System 8.0, 13-inch monitor (thousands of colors), and 4x CD-ROM drive. IBM-compatible 100 MHz or higher, 16 MB RAM, Windows 95 or 98, high color (16-bit) display, sound card, 4x CD-ROM drive.

Description: Exploring Ancient Cities, 2nd Edition, is a multimedia CD-ROM that provides an in-depth examination of the archeology and history of four ancient cities: Pompeii, Petra, Minoan Crete, and TeotihuacAn. The program includes photos, videos, maps, narrated text, and articles on the four civilizations.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: I installed the CD-ROM on a Gateway 2000, Pentium 200 MHz processor with 32 MB RAM, 12x/16x CD-ROM drive, running Windows 95. The installation was very easy QuickTime 3.0, which is required, is available on the CD-ROM. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: The disc is an update of the 1994 title originally published by Sumeria in association with Scientific American magazine. The redesigned new edition takes advantage of advances in computer and video performance technology to present a large collection of crisp photos, interactive maps, articles, and videos of the excavated sites of the four ancient cities.

The information on the disc can be accessed by selecting a specific city or by examining the program's four sections: Timeline, Maps, Visual Overview, and Help.

The TImeline displays a visual chronology of events that occurred in ancient world history from 3000 B.C. to 1000 AD. The information on the timeline relates to the cities, their nations, and the rest of the world.

The Maps section offers an examination of the cities in both relative and absolute location, beginning with a world map that can become more narrowly focused to a regional, continental, country, or city map.

With a click of the mouse, the interactive city maps can be accessed with or without place name labels; map locations are hot-linked to captioned photos of the actual locations. The maps provide a thorough examination of the layout of each city, leading to a general understanding of city life and the opportunity to compare the city plans.

The Visual Overview area provides a 20-to 35-minute narrated Grand Tour of each city. The area also includes slide shows that more closely examine each civilization's architecture, painting, and sculpture. The architecture slide show, for example, includes the temples and pyramids of Teotihuacan, the palace of Knossos at Crete, and the tomb facades of Petra. Running times for the Grand Tours and slide shows appear on the section's opening screens.

The CD-ROM has an easy-to-understand Help area that was definitely created for visual learners. …