Yes, I did title this post in the cheesiest possible way.
I finally installed my Rosetta Stone Totale Spanish (Latin America) Christmas gift -- over two hours to install all 5 language levels! -- and have worked through Unit 1, Lesson 4 - Core lesson.
Best part: there is zero translation. It's all image-and-audio based. You look at pictures, you hear words, you say words (or sounds). If you're typing anything, it's in the new language. This is, of course, brilliant, from a business model perspective because they can use the same Spanish (Latin America) software to teach anyone who wants to learn, regardless of their native language. But it's also brilliant from a language acquisition perspective, a topic I know quite a bit about thanks to the state-mandated SEI training I needed for my teaching certificate.
The games (for review) are fun and range from simple (the one where you click on the picture matching the phrase you just heard) to maddening (the one where you try to get Bingo by clicking on words on a Bingo card that you hear in the native speaker's story.) The native speakers do not speak with exaggerated slowness, and great deal of time is spent on ear training, as in Wait, what did I just hear? Fortunately you can (almost) always click on a button to hear a phrase repeated.
The voice recognition software is awesome, too. It kept dinging me for saying "nosostros" when I should have been saying "nosotros" with no "s" before the "t". It's a very subtle difference, but it wouldn't let me continue until I figured it out and got it right. There is a really good balance of just repeating what the native speaker said and having to generate your own responses, too.
So far so good. The program spirals back periodically to review older, already mastered material so it doesn't fall out of your brain, the same way you would, in real life, continue to use those first simple words and phrases day to day.
High point so far: I managed to roll an "r" once yesterday. I hope if I keep practicing, I'll really be able to speak Spanish properly, not just comprehensibly.