Written by  :  Lawnmower Man (145)
Written on  :  Jun 04, 2008
Platform  :  SNES
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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What Happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

The Good

Vegas Stakes is pretty unique among casino games in that it has somewhat of a story. You and 4 other friends are headed out to Vegas for one thing and one thing only (and no, its not to see Wayne Newton in concert)-- to win money. The game has you going to various casinos with one of your 4 friends who you choose before you go out gambling.

The games are what you expect from typical casino emulator games. You have Black Jack, Poker, Slots, Roulette, and craps-- all of which are easy to play and are addictive enough to keep you trying at them until you realize just how much you've spent at them.

The most interesting part of the game is the random encounters you have with people. As you play the various casino games, people will walk up to you and ask you in one way or another to give them money (like buying a watch from them, giving them money to give their daughter an operation. Or sometimes just letting someone wipe your shirt or helping them to the emergency room). After you choose weather or not to help the person you are either paid back for you kindness or you end up getting conned by scam artist. The whole spin on this situation is that you never know what option will lead to what outcome and you just have to take a guess as to what will happen. This adds an element of uncertainty to the game and makes it much more fun then playing typical cut and dry casino games.

The Bad

While Vegas Stakes boasts over 5 different casinos, 4 different supporting characters, 5 different casino games, and the ability to save you data under a custom name, it still can't really hide the fact that its just a gambling simulator where you win money that means absolutely nothing (like winning rocks instead of tickets from Chuck E. Cheese).

While winning more money moves you up to higher class casinos and a larger hotel room, it doesn't extend beyond that. You never have to buy drinks, you don't pay for your hotel room, you just don't do anything with your cold hard cash. While no one would want to pay for a hotel room in a video game, it would have been a nice addition to actually be able to use the money you earned in some way.

Although the random encounters with people do make the game more unpredictable, when you start to become frustrated with the game (like when you're losing money) you kind of just don't want to bother with it, no matter how good the potential reward maybe. You're just so mad at the game that you turn away everybody who comes along. And although the game is pretty fair most of the time, like any casino it is designed solely for profiting off a person's inability to quit while they're ahead and at times you start to feel like you are in a real casino where the odds are always stacked in the house's favor.

The Bottom Line

Vegas Stakes puts an interesting spin on conventional casino games with random encounters and a plot that prevents it from being just a simple 5 mini game collection. The title didn't have much to live up to but it has surprisingly been able to be some fun even today.

This game was designed with multiple people in mind and several games are multiplayer compatible (not Poker because you are constantly looking at your hand). So if you and your friends just want to play a few simple mini games and are to paranoid that someone fixes the games, this makes a pretty decent game.

The game shouldn't be taken for more then what it is. It's a collection of 5 mini games stretched out over a whole game and although it can get away with it most of the time, sometimes you catch yourself wondering why you are betting virtual money when you could be jumping on koopas or shooting aliens.