JumpStart Adventures 3rd Grade: Mystery Mountain
|JumpStart Adventures 3rd Grade: Mystery Mountain|
Currently the oldest game in the JumpStart franchise that is still being sold, JumpStart Adventures 3rd Grade: Mystery Mountain is a rather interesting entry in the series. Bratty half-pint Polly Spark flunks a quiz after trying to get her teacher to laugh instead of doing it properly, and when she is appalled that she gets the exact grade she deserves as a result, she decides to take advantage of the secret mountain she lives in with her father, Professor Spark, and sends his numerous robots back in time to change the course of history and make her quiz answers correct. The robot who was programmed to watch after her, Botley, is none too pleased and asks the player to help out.
Often a contender for the best JumpStart game for its bizarre plot, memorable characters, and being a rare instance of an edutainment game that manages to be fun enough to keep you playing. Let's just say there's a very good reason Knowledge Adventure has gone to great lengths to keep this game alive for so long.
Figure out how to open the files and see if any unused content remains of them.
An unused background of the exterior of Mystery Mountain appears in the game's files. It depicts a different design for the mountain from what is seen in-game.
This graphic is located in the file BL001.RSC. While its intended purpose isn't clear, a similarly named file called BL001.BAL contains voice clips for the biosphere mini-game, possibly indicating a correlation.
This file, GE.mid, is never heard in-game despite being installed with the rest of the music. It was meant to be heard in the generator room, but in the finished game no music plays there at all. This was corrected in v1.2.
The MODULE.INI file details all the possible puzzles that can be found in each of the games. In the music hall section, three entries are skipped over - #6, #13, and #16. The first two still have their staves left over in the game, but no associated music files to actually hear them. Even though the last one has the timing data written in the INI file, it is missing its staves, so attempting to add it back into the game crashes it.
This one, #6, is the Bridal Chorus. Note that the music heard in this video is only a recreation and not actually in the game.
The other one, #13, is Mendelssohn's Wedding March. Again, the music in the video is only an interpretation.
Figure out how to get proper audio rips and check for more differences, especially with v1.2 onward. Also, there's probably more removed dialogue, but I've only checked the intro so far.
Six known versions of this game exist: v1.0, v1.1, v1.2, v1.4, and v1.5. Additionally, the later updated "Advanced" package oddly labels the game version as "1.1c", even though it came after v1.5.
This version came out around 1998 and made a fair amount of changes, mostly affecting the length of the game.
The most noteworthy difference is the altering of the opening. The opening in v1.0 was insanely long and had a fair amount of information needlessly repeated and almost-nonexistent user interaction. Naturally, Knowledge Adventure got a lot of complaints about this, and edited it down in all subsequent versions. Below is a list of all the removed dialogue.
|Now where could it be?||Botley||Spoken just as Botley starts to look around after initially getting up from under the desk.|
|But wait!... Nah... Well, it's worth a try...||Some random pondering that obviously didn't add too much.|
|The professor created me as a prototype companion device. You see, he was having such trouble finding sitters for Polly, 'cause she scares them all away, so he invented me. I'm also programmed to be her friend, and believe me, it's tougher than it sounds.||Some extra backstory information that the developers must have seen unworthy enough to keep. Funnily enough, despite the fact that the next line ("I'm not getting to the point, am I?") pokes fun at this tangent, they still kept it in later releases!|
|Phew! Sorry about the landing. I wasn't programmed to fly.||Botley||Spoken after Botley crash lands to the front door. Probably cut for being redundant (he says nearly the exact same thing as his first line of dialogue in the game).|
|Umm... As I was saying... This is the professor's mountain. Polly should be inside, and I just bet she's watching us now.||Spoken after Botley's rocket detaches. Later releases cut straight to Polly watching from inside the mountain. Funnily enough, even though all the dialogue was cut, his gestures connected with them were still left intact, so he briefly raises his arm to introduce the mountain quite awkwardly.|
|Oh, that was the easy part, since daddy just invented that handy-dandy time machine upstairs. Everyone should have one! I just marched those robots into the machine, pushed a few buttons, and voila! Unfortunately, there's still one more question, the extra credit question, and it's super hard. That's why I've been looking for you, Knotley.||Polly||A fair amount of arguing that was cut. They went a little overboard here, though, because the mentioning of the extra credit question sets up the ending of the game. This leads to a big plothole at the end where she demands that Botley still has to do the extra credit question, and it comes out of thin air as a result.|
|That's Botley! And I want nothing to do with your plan, Polly. Just bring those robots back! Don't you see? You could destroy us all!||Botley|
|(mimicking) 'You could destroy us all!'||Polly|
|But I'm warning you, if I don't get them all back soon, I'm sending you off to do the extra credit question.||Polly||Apparently setting things up is overrated. Pulling plot points out of thin air is the much better way to go, clearly.|
|On second thought, maybe it's safer with you.||Botley||Spoken while Botley's about to grab the utility belt.|
|I s'pose I should give you a two-cent tour of the place.||Botley||A line removed for not being very important. Thank goodness, those kids probably would have hated waiting another whole two seconds.|
|See? Everyone's impressed by the professor.||Another unnecessary line.|
|Polly, you know I've been programmed to clean up your messes, and that includes bringing back my robot pals. I know you won't tell me where they are, but how about a little hint?||Yet another unnecessary line.|
|You and your friend will have to find and collect them all. And even if you can find them all, which I highly doubt you can, you will still have to go to daddy's time machine and figure out where I sent the robot, if you expect to beat me. Oh, by the way, you know how daddy feels about amateurs going into the time machine room. It's a very sensitive piece of equipment, you know, so before a hunk of rusty bolts like you can get inside, you'll have to earn a bunch of invention points. A thousand of them should just about do it for starters.||Polly||A chunk of needless exposition that doesn't really tell you anything you need to know. If you don't know what the invention points are for anyway, you'll be told if you attempt to enter the time machine without enough.|
|Finding the clues should be a little less hopeless with my powerful sensoring device. Professor Spark cooked me up this way so I could better keep an eye on Polly. I can monitor every nook and cranny of the mountain.||Botley||An introduction to how Botley scans the area for mission clues. Obviously removed since the player can already figure it out for themselves.|
- The amount of invention points required used to gradually increase as more robots were rescued, starting at 1,000 and going up by 500 with every five robots (so the second batch would be 1,500, the third 2,000, and so on). This version locks the needed number at 1,000 through the whole game, greatly reducing the length.
- In v1.0, when completing the painting gallery, Botley would congratulate you and instruct you to pick up the clue before it appeared. In this version, the clue appears first, then Botley starts to talk.
- In v1.0, when moving onto the second ring of the generator, it would make the pumping noise even before you placed any batteries. This version alters it so it's silent until you place a battery.
- The fanfare heard when completing the robot maze was replaced with applause.
- The sound heard when rotating a piece in the virtual collection was altered.
- The sound heard when destroying a ball in the shrinking room was altered.
- The sound heard when a question disappears in the wheel of invention was removed.
Pictures, videos, sound files, oh my!
In addition to the above changes, v1.2 has a few more:
- The opening logo was updated to the then-current one of the company slogan sliding in from the right, and the figure climbing the stairs to reach the star.
- FD.mid, ironically enough, no longer plays at the front door. This seems to be the result of a programming error, though: you can briefly hear it start up before it stops, leading to a completely music-less opening. It is still played in the other areas of the game it originally played in, though, including the classroom and the time machine.
- GE.mid now correctly plays in the generator room, and one more digitized piece was added there on top of that.