The Amazon Trail is an educational computer game created by MECC, which was later bought by The Learning Company. It was inspired by the popularity of The Oregon Trail, featuring the areas surrounding the Amazon River and some of its tributaries. The player is asked to set out on a quest for the Incas, and along the way, learn about the people who live and use the river for their survival. There are two sequels, Amazon Trail II and Amazon Trail 3rd Edition. It was released in 1996.
The player is told in a dream that the Inca people are endangered by malaria and European explorers, and he or she will be taken back in time in order to search for cinchona. The player then has the option of choosing one of two native guides, who offer advice over the course of the game. While on the quest, players find themselves meeting various people along the river (both friendly and unfriendly), taking photographs of the flora and fauna of the area, fishing, and trying to avoid capsizing their canoes. Players must navigate the treacherous waters of the Amazon to avoid hitting other boats, logs, and wildlife or paddling up the wrong tributary, travel through the forest in seach of exotic plants and animals to photograph and identify, use harpoons to fish in the river and then identify whether the catch is edible, and trade with the individuals encountered at the various stops along the river. Capsizing could lead to loss of supplies and injury, while attempting to bring an electric eel or stingray into the boat led to a loss of health. In order to aid in identification, each time a picture is taken or fish caught, the player has the option of checking the guide, which lists all of the species in the game except for the "new species."
When they reach the hidden city in which the Inca are living, players are graded on various aspects of the game, including the amount of activity on the journey, the number of plants and animals correctly identified in the rain forest, health of the player, whether or not they acquired additional gifts for the Inca King, the amount of time taken, and, depending on the version of the game, the completion of mini-quests. Based on these factors, the player is awarded a shield covered designs. Each task completed translates to an additional gem on the shield.
The Amazon Trail is known for being significantly more difficult than its predecessors in the franchise, such as The Oregon Trail.
Amazon Trail II is the sequel to The Amazon Trail; the bulk of new content is added in the sequel to this game, The Amazon Trail 3rd Edition: Rainforest Adventures.
In Amazon Trail 3rd Edition: Rainforest Adventures, the player has to continue the journey on the Amazon river as an explorer via canoe. The player stops at many different sites along the river, and travels back in time before visiting each site, just as in the first game. This allows for the player to experience many famous historical events and places along the Amazon, rather than only those in a narrow timeframe. They pass many famous sites such as Henry Ford's campsite where he is trying to start a rubber plantation for his tires, and can speak with other notable figures such as Theodore Roosevelt, who went on an expedition to South America in 1913 and 1914. Many more plants, animals, and fish were added. The third version also allowed players to search for food such as plantains in the forest.