JumpStart Adventures 4th Grade: Haunted Island is a JumpStart game that was made by Knowledge Adventure in December 2, 1996. It was later re-released on November 24, 1997 with Map Scroll and Ms. Grunkle's Hat level indicator added. As the title suggests, the game is intended to teach a fourth grade curriculum. It was later replaced by JumpStart Adventures 4th Grade: Sapphire Falls in 1999.
In its original release, it contained KnowledgeLand as a bonus disc.
Story and Gameplay
In this game, the player is a fourth-grade student who was absent from school one day. On that day, the rest of the player's class had a substitute teacher who turned out to be a witch named Ms. Grunkle. She transformed the player's classmates into monsters, whisked them away to her Haunted Island, and locked them up in the attic of her house.
After the player is transported to Haunted Island, they meet a bat named Flap, who becomes the player's friend and guide, and a fortune teller named Madame Pomreeda, who can restore the player's classmates, if the player can collect each student's most prized possessions by completing quests around the island. Madame Pomreeda will give the player Challenge Cards that each require the player to complete two activities somewhere on the island. When both activities have been completed, one of the student's prized possessions will appear. Each classmate has four prized possessions, and when all four are obtained, Madame Pomreeda will be able to transform the classmate back to normal by reciting a special spell.
The player has a limited amount of health, which is indicated by a candle in the upper left hand corner of the screen. While navigating the island, the player may be confronted by Ms. Grunkle's ghostly minion, Repsac, whose riddles must be answered correctly to avoid losing health. Each time the player loses some health, the candle burns down more, and if the candle burns out, the player is cast into the island's labyrinth, which they must then navigate their way out of. The labyrinth also contains a "fountain of health" that will allow the player to restore their health if they can answer some riddles correctly.
The player earns points during activities by correctly solving problems at the various locations around the island. For every five thousand points earned, the player receives one of 25 keys to Ms. Grunkle's house. Ms. Grunkle's house has five rooms, each with a door covered by five locks, thus requiring five keys to open. Whenever a room is entered for the first time, Ms. Grunkle will appear and cast the player into the labyrinth. Once the player advances all the way through her house and makes it into her attic, where the rest of the class is locked up, the game is completed. However, if some of the kids are still monsters when the player reaches that attic, Flap informs the player they will have to be changed back before the attic can be entered.
At the beginning of the opening, the schoolhouse is shown. The atmosphere is pleasant, and two bluebirds fly around the school. Suddenly, lightning flashes. The schoolhouse and the fence take on a twisted shape, and the bluebirds turn into bats.
Inside the schoolhouse, the substitute teacher named Ms. Grunkle, who is really a witch, casts a spell on all of the frightened fourth grade students, turning them all into monsters. Then Ms. Grunkle flies away on her broomstick back to her house at the Haunted Island. Along the way, she drops the skeleton keys to her home and her magic wand by Madame Pomreeda's carriage.
Once the player enters the attic, Ms. Grunkle attempts to transform all the students back into monsters, along with the player.
However, the player produces Ms. Grunkle's magic wand, which protects the kids from the spell. Ms. Grunkle is temporarily shocked that the user has acquired her wand, but then realizes that Madame Pomreeda must be responsible.
With that, Ms. Grunkle acknowledges defeat and flies out the window on her broom. A piece of paper she leaves behind on the floor reveals the schoolhouse being restored to its original state.
- Main article: The Kids
These are the player's thirteen classmates who were transformed into ghastly monsters when Ms. Grunkle cast spells on them. They return into human form once the player solves the riddles and challenges which then break the previous spells. The yearbook has pictures of each student in either their monster or human form, depending on whether the player has freed them from their spell yet.
- Graveyard Ghost - The glowing soul who is released from his grave every time the player fills the Mad Libs style inscriptions that appears on his tombstone, which he then narrates.
- Grim Reaper - The unseen character who is mentioned a lot by the graveyard ghost. If the player doesn't complete the tombstone in time to save three souls as Madame Pomreeda requests, he'll be on his way to invade the cemetery.
- Frog/Red-Headed Prince - A prince who has been turned into a frog by Ms. Grunkle. At the Enchanted Forest, the player has to make a potion to save him, or else Ms. Grunkle will make the situation worse. When the potion is completed three times, the frog transforms back into a prince.
- Bugs - These critters appear in The Spider Web, and are controlled by Ms. Grunkle. The player gets to spell a word by guiding a spider through each part of the web one by one using the arrow keys on the keyboard to control its movement. Apparently Madame Pomreeda thinks of these bugs as cute, which the bugs themselves disagree with.
- Semimoto - A monster who lives in the Clock Tower. He plays an organ, but has difficulty doing so with all of the bats in the belfry.
- Other Jumpstart characters - Several characters from other JumpStart games make cameo appearances in the woods. They can't be interacted with. These characters include:
Locations and Activities
Note: Bolded names indicate activities.
- The JumpStart Adventures 4th Grade Schoolhouse
- The Spider's Web - The player must spell words by using bugs in a spiderweb.
- The Toad Well - The player must help feed hungry toads by finding bugs that solve math problems.
- The Mutant Swamp - The player must experiment with different settings in the greenhouse to see what will result in most plant growth.
- The Clock Tower - The player must help the hunchback Semimoto play songs with the clock tower organ.
- The Cemetery - The player must choose words to complete the inscriptions on tombstones for ghosts.
- The Mummy's Tomb - The player must uncover mummies by matching tablets that depict the same historic person, place or event to clear them.
- The Vampire Maze - The player must guide a vampire to his coffin by solving division problems.
- The Woods
- The Labyrinth - The player will find themselves here if Ms. Grunkle casts them out of her house, or if the player's candle burns out. Once inside the Labyrinth, the player must find their way out.
- Ms. Grunkle's House
- Information Gravestones
- Madame Pomreeda's Cart
- Fractions and Decimals
- Addition and Subtraction
- Multiplication and Division
- Long Division
- Famous People
- Parts of Speech
The JumpStart Summer Vacation Activity Book for 4th Grade is inspired by this game, and uses artwork from it.
- Players must complete a minimum of 104 activities in order to win the game, as a minimum of two different activities must be played for each of the fifty-two cards.
- This is a rare example of a JumpStart game having its toolbar feature updated in later releases. Subsequent to the original release, two icons were added to the toolbar, one for adjusting the difficulty level of the current activity, and one for viewing a map. The leveling option was included in the original release of the game, but could only be accessed by holding the Control and L keys.
- The opening cutscene contains a mistake where one of the kids, Joe, turns into a Frankenstein-like monster. In the rest of the game, this is the monster that another student named Stanley turns into, while Joe is transformed into a gorilla-like beast.
- Ms. Grunkle is sometimes referred to as "Mrs. Grunkle" in brief portions of the game and in promotional material, prompting some to speculate if she had a husband and what might've become of him. In her living room is a skeleton who sits around watching the television while holding a remote, which some fans have speculated may have been her husband at one point.
- There are some pre-release images for the game, which appeared on the Knowledge Adventure website around the time of the game's release, as well as in a promotional slideshow from KnowledgeLand. These pre-release images contain some differences from the final release of the game, as listed below:
- One image depicts Ms. Grunkle standing in front of the gate near Madame Pomreeda's cart. This image uses 2D artwork for Ms. Grunkle which never appears in the final game, and depicts her with small gold Pince-nez glasses at the end of her nose, a detail which is absent from her final design. In addition to this, Ms. Grunkle never appears at this location in the final release, since she can only be encountered outside of activity locations, or at her house.
- One image appears to depict the player encountering Repsac in the woods, but features a different design for him. The pre-release design has a lighter body, yellow eyes, and a slightly longer, pointier nose, as well as other minor differences.
- One image depicts one of the kids, Albert Brayne, in the yearbook. The final release uses colored outlines for the kids' appearances, but the pre-release image uses black outlines. Albert's name is also displayed below his picture, while none of the kids' names appear in the yearbook in the final release.
- An image of the Vampire Maze activity contains a normal-looking mouse cursor, while the final release uses a unique stylized mouse cursor instead.
- Some of the aforementioned images have a white number at the top center of the screen, which is absent from the final release. Since the pre-release images depict the player's score in the top right corner of the screen, just as it appears in the final release, it can be assumed this number was meant to represent something else, but its purpose isn't clear.