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One day, we will get to the age of totally interactive television gameshows. Until then, we can play the home versions of our favorites. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is almost an exact duplicate of the highly rated ABC show. Same graphics are used, the same music, and you even have a digital Regis Philbin in the intro. The set, which duplicates the one from the show, sans the audience and a contestant and host in the chairs, is highly detailed. The music is played during your game to add to the tension.
The game"s only stumbling point might be its apparent paucity of questions. The packaging refuses to reveal how many there are, stating only that there are "hundreds" (which probably means under a thousand; far less than a typical You Don"t Know Jack). It would be great if users could download new questions, but Disney, knowing a hit when it sees one, is more likely to milk this property with sequels and expansion packs. Still, for a meager $19.99, this is ideal party-game fodder, and since it's probably the closest you'll ever come to sitting in the hotseat, it comes recommended.
Since Who Wants To Be A Millionaire has absolutely demolished television ratings for the past few months, it comes as no surprise that a PC game would follow. It is surprising that the game has actually arrived this soon. Disney either pulled the trigger early on in converting the bizarro game, or Jellyvision is exceedingly fast. Millionaire has proven to be a surprisingly watchable show, and the game manages to pack the absorbing drama into the PC for a budget price. We're not putting this one on the same level as Half-Life or Unreal Tournament, but it is fun for short rounds of "Damn, I should know this!" trivia.
So were they able to recreate the atmosphere to along with the mechanics? Unfortunately, not one bit. For those of you who’ve watched the show, you’re probably well aware that once an individual gets over the $32,000 safeway, the decision to continue answering questions is a significant one. If you answer a question incorrectly past that point, you’ll only leave with $32,000. If you had $125,000 and you didn’t know the answer to the $250,000 question, you’d take the money and run, rather than risk $100,000 on a bad answer. That’s a lot of money to risk. In the PC game, there’s no risk at all. There’s no real money involved and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make a guess. In that respect, the dramatic atmosphere is completely absent. (aside from the nerve racking music that continues to play in the background).
(Dec 13, 1999)
In the end, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is a fantastic game that will entertain the hell out of the entire family for about four hours. If it's worth the purchase price to you to get the whole family gathered around for a quick break during the holidays, then by all means, go out and pick up this excellent product. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a title that will keep you entertained for more than a handful of play sessions, wait for the next version of You Don't Know Jack instead.
As a PC quiz, WWTBAM is not as funny as You Don't Know Jack, and to be honest, despite all the multimedia dribblings that come on the CD you're probably better off finding a cheapo copy of the paperback that was a bestseller last Christmas. Even better, phone the number that flashes up at the end of the TV program. Why play it on your PC when you can play it for real cash? Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Celador does. A million times over.
The questions are numerous and rarely return. These are in the language of Bill Gates and cover the (sub) American culture (" What is the mascot Proutz Denver? ") but are more general then (" Which of these colors did not match not an iMac? "). A good game to revise his English. " Yes, it's my last word, Jean-Pierre! "
A well-presented and nicely-executed trivia game is little more than a temporary diversion if it lacks a respectable amount of questions, which is most definitely the case with Who Wants to be a Millionaire. With a dishearteningly low number of available questions, the title's playability stretches to an hour at most, after which it spirals into nothing more than endless repetition. In recent years, Jellyvision has proved to the gaming public that it can do wonders, given the right material. The fact that Who Wants to be a Millionaire looks, sounds and plays so well while having such an extremely short gaming life makes it feel as though it was created for the sole purpose of capitalizing on the TV show's abundant success. The past has shown us that Jellyvision can do so much better, and thus Who Wants to be a Millionaire comes off as nothing more than unfulfilled potential: impressive at first, but ultimately disappointing.