Austin Powers: Operation Trivia Review

Austin Powers: Operation Trivia is a lot of fun to play, even if you’re not a fan of either of the Austin Powers films. It is a basic trivia quiz game, but it features enough questions to keep the replay value high, as long as you have some knowledge of popular culture from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.

If Austin and his diabolic counter-part Dr. Evil annoy you, though, you may want to steer clear of this game, as it’s simply steeped in the look and feel of the movies. A voice actor portrays both characters, and he does a pretty good job, although there are a few spots where his imitation falls flat. The very first question decides whether you’ll play with Austin Powers or Dr. Evil. A sample: “What is your idea of a romantic evening?” Answering “Burt Bacharach on the hi-fi–me on you, baby” puts you with Austin while answering “To hold the world hostage with someone I really care about” will cause you to wind up with Evil. This is also a great example of the kind of humor which runs through this game. Even if you haven’t seen the films, you’ve probably heard “Oh behave!” or “shagadelic.”

The look of the game is straight from the ’60s, complete with plenty of primary colors, multi-colored flowers, and the kind of curvy writing which used to grace Grateful Dead concert posters. Each question has a segue which usually contains silhouettes of girls in mini-skirts and go-go boots dancing and a swirl of colors reminiscent of a lava lamp. You progress through a series of ten questions, each one of four types, from straight question and answer to deciding which items belong in your category and which belong in your opponent’s (I did really well in “Brady Bunch versus Gilligan’s Island plots” but bombed in “Clint Eastwood movies versus condom brands”).

My first time through the game I did pretty badly, but the second time I won (if you play the one-player version you have to win more than a certain amount of money that your counterpart won earlier while answering the same questions; you can also play against each other or in teams), so the mix of questions is hard enough that you won’t get all of them right but easy enough that you won’t feel like you’re watching Jeopardy. My only complaint in this department is that there are too many questions taken directly from the Austin Powers films, and they’re usually the kind that you would only know if you were a big fan of them. Don’t penalize those of us who haven’t seen them twenty times each.

Overall, if you enjoy games of this type and aren’t annoyed by Austin Powers, you’ll have a lot of fun with this one, especially if you play it at a party with friends. It’s not as much fun playing it solo.

Graphics

Plenty of fun ’60s-inspired graphics.

Sound

Good overall, but it was too low on my machine, and the voice actor didn’t always sound like Austin Powers and Dr. Evil.

Enjoyment

Lots of fun, especially if you like the movies, but I can see this going over really well at a party.

Replay Value

The format is always the same, so I can’t see this as a game that you’ll want to play over andover again.

Documentation

Adequate.

Jumble: That Scrambled Word Game Overview

Third-i Productions, in association with Hasbro Interactive, bring the newspaper staple Jumble to the PC, offering not only the original puzzle but several variations as well. Jumble is a word puzzle in which the letters of four words are scrambled and must be sorted out to spell viable words. Certain letters in each unscrambled word appear in circles; once all words are unscrambled, arranging all the circled letters into a phrase or word forms the basis for the second part of the challenge. A cartoon that contains a clue or hint to the final answer is provided with each puzzle.

Jumble contains a Jumble for Kids version using much shorter words and themes targeted toward children. In Jumble Plus, five clues are given based on a common theme; each clue increases in length by one letter as you move down the clue list. As in Jumble, a “bonus” answer is made up of letters from the five word solutions.

Also featured is TumbleWORDS, a game in which seven clues are provided, each with two-part answers. As you work from top to bottom, the second part of each answer becomes the first part of the next clue’s answer. Finally, in Jumble Crosswords, eight scrambled clues are provided and require unscrambling to fill in the crossword puzzle. Once again, when completed, the circled letters within the crossword puzzle must be arranged to solve the riddle or phrase of a bonus puzzle.

In Jumble, scores are computed based on the amount of time spent solving each puzzle. As the clock ticks down, “completion bonus” points are reduced — the final score is based on points awarded for solving the puzzle added to remaining bonus points. An option to get hints (causes point reductions) is available along with a “give up” option. Jumble uses a point-and-click interface with the keyboard to type in letters.

Hoyle Card Games Overview

Hoyle Card Games is a collection of 14 card games and three bonus board games. Included in Hoyle Card Games are standards such as Gin Rummy, Poker, Go Fish, Hearts, Spades, Pinochle, Oh Hell!, Euchre, War, Bridge, and Cribbage. Fans of Solitaire can try to master 30 different variations, and all games have adjustable backgrounds, card sizes, and musical selections. Play alone or against an international opponent over the Internet.

Features
Includes 14 card games and three bonus board games
Gin rummy, poker, Go Fish, hearts, spades, pinochle, Oh Hell!, euchre, war, bridge, cribbage, and more
Play alone or against an international opponent over the Internet

Golden Nugget Overview

Get out the virtual ATM card and head on over to virtual Vegas in Golden Nugget for the PlayStation console system. Featuring stills from the actual Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada and some authentic-looking 3D graphics of the tables and slots. Golden Nugget offers 12 different types of games that include Poker, 7 Card Stud, Texas Hold-em, Video Poker and Pai Gow Poker. Don’t worry, if you don’t consider yourself a “high roller,” there are also five different slot machines in which to lose your digital cash. There’s even an appearance from the original TV Batman — Adam West.

Features
Sixteen different casino games including Slot Machine, Blackjack, and Video Poker
More than 45 minutes of live-action video featuring Adam West
Realistic odds, payoffs, and rules straight from Las Vegas

Monopoly CD-ROM Overview

Take a step back in time and join Uncle Pennybags, the Master of Ceremonies, as he welcomes you to Atlantic City in the 1930s. Using the Depression Era as a backdrop for the game (the period when the original board game was created), Hasbro Interactive brings the sounds of the era (ragtime music) to life and offers full 3D animations (over 800) of the properties, tokens, and dealings found within the game.

Up to six players can participate in Westwood Studios’ Monopoly CD-ROM for the Macintosh. LAN, Internet, and hot seat competitions are viable options with the added bonus of being able to customize computer opponents. The game includes a large number of pre-designed AI-controlled players as well as a chat function for online play. For international players, translations, and currency exchanges are performed in real time.

Many “house rules” are provided as customizable game options including collecting fines for Free Parking, hidden cash, auctions, jail, and turn-only transactions, immunity from rent on traded properties, unlimited houses and hotels, and more. Trading of items such as “Get Out of Jail Free Cards,” cash, immunity, and title deed cards are highlighted and tracked by the computer.

Similar Games
Monopoly Star Wars (Hasbro Interactive)

Cherry Delight Game Review

Cherry Delight is an amazingly simplistic, yet surprisingly addictive, video slots game. Similar to the video slots featured in 1990s American casinos, Cherry Delight offers more chances to win (and more chances to lose) than your typical one-armed bandit.

Cherry Delight’s graphics are fairly good for its size. The fruits and other symbols won’t take your breath away, and the spinning reels are not as realistic as they could be, but the game itself is so addictive that you might find it hard to pull away. The graphics do a sufficient job to keep you glued to your monitor.

Sound is fairly weak. The clicking of the reels stopping is unrealistic, and the cheesy wave file that plays after wining spins is somewhat annoying. Still, when combined with its fast pace, the sound quickly gets lost in your head. Plus, you can always turn off the sound or unplug your speakers.

The action in Cherry Delight is where it shines. Using the mouse to bet and then spin is almost too easy. I can understand how people lose their homes and families to machines similar to this. It’s so fast. It’s so easy. Before you know it, the 200 credits you started with are gone. Along the way, you might hit a good sized jackpot. That only serves to further addict you to the game. If Cherry Delight teaches you nothing else, it will teach you that gambling is no way to make money. It might also show you the importance of quitting while you are ahead, but I doubt it.

The only real drawback to Cherry Delight is the vast number of winning combinations there are. You are never really quite sure when you have won and must rely on the program to be honest. There is a “payout” section in the online manual, but that can be tough to memorize quickly.

Cherry Delight is a fun game that is simple to learn and hard to put down. It is a game that will take hours away from your life. That means it’s good.

Graphics

Simple, but effective.

Sound

Biggest flaw, but not horrible.

Enjoyment

Superb. Try to pull away.

Replay Value

Addiction is possible.

Documentation

Very good and thorough.

Sage Blackjack Simulator Review

Sage Blackjack Simulator is a no-frills simulation of the popular game of Blackjack. While it does not have all the bells and whistles available in other Blackjack games, it is probably one of the most realistic simulations of Blackjack ever developed.

For people who only like to play Blackjack on their computers, Sage Blackjack Simulator might not be the best game available. For those of us who enjoy casino-style gambling, however, the graphics, style, and play of Sage Blackjack Simulator cannot be beaten.

The graphics in Sage Blackjack Simulator are amazingly close to what an actual game of Blackjack looks like in a casino setting. From the shoe filled with cards, to the color of the chips, to the layout of the table, to the card backs, Sage Blackjack Simulator pays close attention to what a game of Blackjack looks like when real money is on the line. The default speed of the animation is a bit fast, but that can be manipulated for more realistic play.

Sage Blackjack Simulator has no sound. At first, I was disappointed as I was expecting to hear the shuffle of the cards, the sounds of chips changing hands, and other casino-style noises. After playing a few times, however, I did not even notice that the sound was missing. Although the developers could have made some attempt to include sound in the game, I suppose that no sound is better than bad sound.

The game play in Sage Blackjack Simulator is hyper-addictive. For anyone who loves to play Blackjack, this game will hook you and keep you from leaving the house. The deals seem fair and realistic. You win some, and you lose some. That’s the game.

I was repeatedly amazed at how quickly an eight-deck shoe dissolved. When you play with cyber-money, it’s easy to play for hours. Do not let this fool you into believing you are a card shark, however. The most Sage Blackjack Simulator can do for you is teach you when to hit and stand. It will not teach you to be a hustler.

The only real problem I had with Sage Blackjack Simulator was the constant clicking on the bet window. Ideally, the game should have a feature that allows the hands to continue, instead of stopping to have all the players confirm their bets. A “change bet” button in addition to the other radio buttons at the top would make game play smoother.

Overall, Sage Blackjack Simulator is a cool game for people who enjoy casino-style Blackjack. It’s not a strategy builder and it’s not chock full of features, but it is definitely a fun game with which you can waste several hours.

Graphics

Excellent detail

Sound

None

Enjoyment

Highly addictive

Replay Value

Very good

Documentation

Extremely thorough