What: Sword and sorcery adventure. Details: The main character here is a scantily-clad warrior-princess type, but this title is more than just another pretty face. Drakan combines Tomb Raider-style action and puzzles with Panzer Dragoon dragon-flight combat (anybody remember that Sega Saturn title?). Played from a behind-the-back perspective, Rynn, our heroine, is out to save her little brother, who's been kidnapped by a gaggle of bad guys. At her disposal in both ground and aerial combat are more than 50 weapons, magical spells and the aforementioned dragon. The single-player mode is fun enough, but the (less-than-stable) Internet multiplayer options will keep people returning to the game. This should appeal not just to the fantasy crowd but also to mainstream gamers -- well, those with the required 3-D accelerator card. Bottom line: Move over Lara Croft; there's a new heroine in town. -- John Gaudiosi

Win 95-98, $45


What: Coloring book for kids. Details: The fun here (as in its predecessor, the popular Magic 3D Coloring Book) lies in the 3-D shading that spreads over pictures as mouse-adept kids use different coloring utensils -- crayon, paint can, spray can -- on them. Favorite Places offers more colors and images than its predecessor, allowing a fairly rudimentary artist like my 5-year-old daughter Rachel to come up with some snazzy illustrations of mermaids or castles, using different colors, textures and glitter crayons. Other test subjects (our 4-year-old neighbor Alex and my 2-year-old Sara) took less ambitious approaches but still thoroughly enjoyed the program. Kids can also try letter and number recognition in color-by-number and connect-the-dots activities (another new addition), create their own designs from scratch on the scribble pad or print out black-and-white copies of scenes to fill in with real crayons. This isn't a revolutionary advance over analog coloring books, but children more comfortable pointing and clicking than actually drawing with a mouse will like it. I share some educators' worry that children who "color" perfectly on a computer will neglect paper, but the handmade work from Sara and Rachel that covers my refrigerator belies that concern. Bottom line: Color us pleased. -- Elizabeth Chang

Win 95-98, $20, ages 3 to 7


Look for a new, expanded, improved FFWD, starting on the front of next Friday's Business section. More info. Same low price!