This was an all-around quality port of one of America's favorite board games!
Monopoly is the type of game that must be FUN in order to remain interesting. Usually that "fun" element is provided by playing with a group of good friends or family members, providing a rich, social atmosphere. If you take the fun away, Monopoly becomes nothing more than a four hour exercise in monotonous repetition.
When you move such a board game to the computer, the possibility of tedious game play is even greater. Therefore, I am happy to say that "Monopoly Deluxe" successfully delivers many kinds of FUN that makes this computer rendition a lot of fun to play. In fact, I have played it more often than any other version of computerized Monopoly.These are the elements that I enjoy:
- A fantastic musical score was written, and themed for the early 1930's when Parker Brothers first released their historic board game.
- An intuitive setup application provides support for a wide range of sound card manufacturers, allowing the majority of people to enjoy the sound and music of the game.
- The graphics are well-rendered in 256 colors, and has a cute appearance to them. It will appeal to people of all ages.
- Clever animation and sound affects of the game pieces... they actually trot, jump, hop, and skip along the game board when the dice is rolled! For instance, the horse trots, the dog barks, the iron hisses, and the canon fires a shot before it moves along the Monopoly board.
- Highly customizable options... all of your favorite house rules are there! Want to double the amount received when a player lands on Start? You can increase it as large as you like How about building a sizable windfall for when you are the lucky soul to land on free parking? In addition, any or all of the animations and sound affects can be completely customized... checkbox only those sounds and animations that you want to occur. This especially comes in handy for slower machines, or practically-minded people who would rather not sit through such "fluff."
- Multiple versions of game play are included so that if you are in the mood for a quick game, you can have all the properties divided out at the beginning of the game. Or, play Monopoly the traditional way, without any house rules at all.
- A great deal of thought has been put into all of the graphical options to make game play easier and more intuitive. For instance, a small pair of dice appears to the lower left of the player whose turn it is. All of your properties and assets are displayed clearly when it is your turn. And if you get sick of the lengthy animations, you can shorten them, click the mouse button to skip them, or turn them off altogether.
- You can have as many human vs. computer players as you wish... and you can "transform" a player into a computer if your brother or sister gets sick of playing.
- If you don't want your opponents to see the amount of money you currently have, you can "hide" it from view.
I have very little negativity to complain about when I used to play this game 13 years ago. And I still find it an extremely enjoyable game, even compared to modern-day games. However, I do have a few complaints to lay forth:
- When I first played the game, I had decided to do the unwise, yet human nature, approach of trying to play the game without first reading the manual. Therefore, I was sorely confused when I couldn't figure out how to start the game. After experimenting around, I finally discovered it was necessary to use the RIGHT-Click button of the mouse to bring up the menu system, which closely resembles the top-down interface of an Apple Macintosh computer.
- You loose complete control of the game while other things are happening, especially if you have set the computer to make its moves automatically. Be careful to not set the computer to fully automatic with ALL players set to computer... you may have to CTRL-ALT-DEL to get out of the game... or go have lunch and watch a movie while the computer plays to completion.
- Other than that, I have no other glaring problems with the game. You really can't find fault with such a great port!
The Bottom Line
Previous releases of Monopoly for IBM-PC's and clones running DOS varied in quality, but were unfortunately often poorly designed and implemented. Even considering the limited computing power of the times in which each of the many versions of Monopoly were released, I believe most of them could have been done better.
That is why I feel that this version of Monopoly stands well above the others. The game was very well designed, and included unexpected surprise elements that kept the game fun. A fantastic musical score was written, and themed for the early 1930's when Parker Brothers first released their historic board game. Monopoly Deluxe creates a user-friendly environment that is easy to use (once you figure out some of the less-intuitive features and commands), and which displays both the board AND the player information clearly and aesthetically. Most importantly, it's a lot of fun to play!