JumpStart Adventures 4th Grade: Sapphire Falls is a JumpStart game that was made by Knowledge Adventure in 2000, replacing JumpStart Adventures 4th Grade: Haunted Island. Like its 1996 cousin, as the title suggests, the game is intended to teach a fourth grade curriculum.
Unusually for an updated version of a classic game, this product contains no characters or storyline elements from the original version. It shares this trait with JumpStart Toddlers (2000). However, like most updated versions of classic games, it does contain a number of activities which bear a strong resemblance to activities in the original version.
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 & T.J. along with their pint-sized dog Gizmo travel to the mine to solve the mystery.
- Sally Chu - She is skeptical of the creature's existence. Based on her last name and her vaugely Asian appearance, she is probably of Chinese descent.
- Thomas James "TJ" Adams - He is convinced the creature is real & wants to photograph it as proof. He has sandy blond hair & carries a flash camera around his neck.
- Gizmo - Sally & 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".
- Samuel Branon Jr. - The mayor of Sapphire Falls, who wants to be president of the "U.S. of A".
- Gillian Gonzales - A geologist & a "real" fedora-wearing adventurer, who wants to keep tourists & miners away from the mine.
- Jedidiah "Jed" Mason - A former miner, who wants to buy the mine & put himself back to work.
Progression of the game
- Entering the Mine: At the start of the game, Sally, T.J. & Gizmo arrive at the mine & 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. & Gizmo journey deeper into the mine.
- Platform Problems: 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. & 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, Gillian Gonzales & Jed Mason, who can be conversed with in the same way as Samuel Branon.
- Laser Letters: 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 & you will lose some points.
- Map Madness: 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 & supplies" for deposits of coal needed to keep the mine car running & 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.
- Tablet Turnover: 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 & 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 & 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. & Gizmo fall into a canyon, which conveniently has an abandoned hot air balloon for them to use as transport. They also discover the monster, & Gizmo tries to capture it, but fails. A bit of its fur remains in the canine's jaws, & it actually bears a label, revealing that the creature is actually a fake. After traveling through caves & gathering enough clues, they move on to Crystal Keys & then Race Chase.
- Crystal Keys: This is essentially the "clock tower" activity from the previous version of JumpStart 4th Grade.
- Race Chase: The faux monster jumps into a minecart & TJ, Sally & 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 & Sally attempt to catch up with the creature. Thus, the user plays a game in which the duo's minecart is navigated left & right in order to grab cans marked with "T" & "F" to answer true & false questions. Correct answers speed the cart up, while incorrect ones slow it down. This game is a review game, & players must answer questions that relate to different subjects they covered earlier in the software product. Once it is played 3 times, Costume Capers is played.
- Costume Capers: A critical thinking game, players use their clues to determine who was once supposed to be a monster.
3 Different endings reveal the thief's motives once successful on the Costume Capers activity
- Samuel Branon Jr wants the treasure to procure enough capital for his presidential campaign.
- Jedidiah Mason wants to put himself back to work by stealing the treasure to procure enough capital to buy the mine.
- Gillian Gonzales wants to pull off a treasure hunt by keeping tourists & miners away from the mine.
The thief (exposed either as Samuel, Jedidiah or Gillian) was later taken to the authorities by Ranger Addy while the kids were rewarded the treasure for catching the thief. Sally concludes that there is no monster, but TJ claims that Gizmo wasn't sure about that (since he saw the footprints of the monster)
- Addition and Subtraction
- Multiplication and Division with Remainders
- Fractions and Decimals
- Units of Measurement
- Parts of Speech
- Story Creation
- Earth Science
- Natural Science
- Famous People
- Art History
- Musical Clefs