Does new always mean improved? Or is it better not to mess with a classic? Our kid reporters - Jon B., Allison R. and Aisha T. - had a party to play and
Operation CD-ROM ($30, Hasbro Interactive) has five hospitals to visit (like Haunted Hospital and Dino Hospital), with truly interesting patients. Players operate using virtual tweezers or select a game, like when a stranded frog must be taken out of a patient's throat. Though it has more choices than the classic, the CD-ROM game gets old quickly. So it scores a B-.
The Game of Life CD-ROM ($30, Hasbro Interactive) is much better than the classic board game: no cleanup and easier instructions. As in the classic, the object is to get through life with the most money. You can play with up to five friends or against the computer. It's great, but not for those with motion sickness; your car drives pretty fast. It earns an A.
Star Wars Monopoly ($30, Parker Brothers) is OK. It has the same rules as regular Monopoly but has "Star Wars" characters and locations. Like, instead of buying a railroad, you can buy a reactor core. We thought it was too much like the old game. It's a B-.
Connections ($30, Tiger Electronics) is similar to the original, except it's electronic and has a one-player mode. Players try to light any four spots in a row. It's challenging, and the lights look cool. But you might not know when it's your turn, take too long, then lose it. Overall, most of us liked it better than the classic. It gets an A-.
Battleship Electronic Hand-Held ($15, Milton Bradley) plays off of the old idea: Position your ships and try to guess the location of your opponent's ships before your opponent sinks yours. This one doesn't have all the messy pieces, but you can only play against the computer. Still, it makes for good on-the-go fun. It's a B.
Totally Twister ($25, Milton Bradley) is very different from the old version. It is shaped like a cube, and a computerized voice calls out the body parts to place on the colored buttons. The challenge is to push the right button, no matter what contorted position you're in. Players can try Megatwist, Pass It and Turbo Pass and play alone or with friends. But sometimes you can't understand what is being said. Testers also got frustrated trying to understand how the games work. It rates a C.