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JumpStart Adventures 4th Grade: Sapphire Falls is a personal computer game released by Knowledge Adventure in 2000 to replace their earlier JumpStart Adventures 4th Grade: Haunted Island released in 1996. Despite the name being the same, this product contains no characters or storyline elements in the Haunted Island edition. However, it does contain a couple of games which bear a strong resemblance to their 1996 cousins.
In the game, a hairy, bipedal creature invades an old, abandoned mine in the town of Sapphire Falls. Scaring away tourists, the creature succeeds in stealing a mysterious treasure map that no one has ever been able to read. Two aspiring fourth-grade reporters named Sally and T.J. along with their pint-sized dog Gizmo travel to the mine to solve the mystery.
- Sally - Sally Chu (spelling of last name uncertain) is skeptical of the creature's existence. Based on her last name and her vaguely Asian appearance, she is probably of Chinese descent. Sally is also featured in Adventure Challenge (also called Far-Out Field Trips, Ultimate Field Trips, and Extreme Field Trips), JumpStart SpyMasters: Unmask the Prankster and JumpStart SpyMasters: Max Strikes Back.
- T.J. - Thomas James Adams (spelling of last name uncertain) is convinced the creature is real and wants to photograph it as proof. He has sandy blond hair and carries a flash camera around his neck. Like Sally, he also appears in JumpStart Adventure Challenge, JumpStart SpyMasters: Unmask the Prankster and JumpStart SpyMasters: Max Strikes Back.
- Gizmo - Sally and T.J.'s semi-anthropomorphic pet dog, who can usually be seen on Sally's shoulder
- Ranger Addy Wise - the local ranger; her name is given in the "Tutor Times"
- Samual Branon Jr. - the mayor of Sapphire Falls, who wants to be president of the "U.S. of A."
- Gillian Gonzales - a geologist and a "real" fedora-wearing adventurer, who wants to keep tourists and miners away from the mine
- Jedidiah "Jed" Mason - a former miner, who wants to buy the mine and put himself back to work
Progression of the game
Location: Sapphire Falls
Entering the mine
At the start of the game, Sally, T.J. and Gizmo arrive at the mine and ask Ranger Addy Wise for permission to go inside so they can take a photograph or two. She allows them to enter for this purpose, but they apparently decide to start hunting for the creature instead. In the first room, they meet Samual Branon Jr., who the user can make them converse with by selecting comments that appear on the screen. After the conversation ends, Sally, T.J. and Gizmo journey deeper into the mine.
Before any new tunnel can be entered, the lights must be turned on. This is done by guiding Sally over the scaffolding to reach the lever with the correct answer to a math problem that appears at the top of the screen. Once this done, the lights usually stay on, but they do go out on occasion, requiring the user to play the "Platform Problems" activity again.
Opening the secret passage
After the first "Platform Problems" activity is completed, Sally, T.J. and Gizmo discover a secret passage that can only be unlocked by placing gems in indentations shaped like each of the three different gems available. There are three activities that the user can play to collect gems, but "Platform Problems" must be played before each of them.
In the main room with the secret doorway, the user encounters two more characters, Jilian Godszolus and Jed Mason, who can be conversed with in the same way as Samual Branon.
This is a spelling game, where the user is presented with a few different words, only one of which is correctly spelled. This word must be boxed in by a laser, which starts at the center of the screen. Naturally, there is something to stop the user: a robot which cuts through the laser, making it restart at the area where it was cut.So, don't forget to be careful because you have to restart it again and you will lose some points.
This game is nearly identical to the "pirate ship" activity from the 1996 version of this game, even using an almost identical map of the world. The biggest differences are that, instead of a galleon on a parchment map, the user controls a mine car over a map engraved into a rock wall. Also, the enemy pirate ships are swapped for "steam clouds," the "food and supplies" for deposits of coal needed to keep the mine car running and the treasures for gems. This version begins with a "wide view" of the entire map, the user having to "zoom in" to the "close-up view" to uncover the gems, whereas in original there was only the close-up view of the map.
This is essentially the same game as the mummy's tomb activity in the original version of JumpStart 4th Grade. It even uses tablets the same shape and size although here, of course, the user is uncovering gems instead of Egyptian mummies. The only differences related to gameplay are that this version teaches science as well as history and that, instead of resetting the puzzle when no move is possible, the user is given a new puzzle.
Looking for clues
Once the door is opened, Sally, T.J. and Gizmo fall into a canyon, which conveniently has an abandoned hot air balloon for them to use as transport. They also discover the monster, and Gizmo tries to capture it, but fails. A bit of its fur remains in the canine's jaws, and it actually bears a label, revealing that the creature is actually a fake. After traveling through caves and gathering enough clues, they move on to Crystal Keys and then Race Chase.
The player builds a pipeline by selecting the word that is the correct part of speech.
This is essentially the "clock tower" activity from the previous version of JumpStart 4th Grade.
The faux monster jumps into a minecart and TJ, Sally and Gizmo jump into a different one in turn. Gizmo, angry at the crook in costume, unwisely attacks him, which leads to his capture. Desperate to rescue their friend, TJ and Sally attempt to catch up with the creature. Thus, the user plays a game in which the duo's minecart is navigated left and right in order to grab cans marked with "T" and "F" to answer true and false questions. Correct answers speed the cart up, while incorrect ones slow it down. This game is a review game, and players must answer questions that relate to different subjects they covered eariler in the software product. Once it is played 3 times, Costume Capers is played.
A critical thinking game, players use their clues to determine who was once supposed to be a monster.