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Hoyle Casino Empire - PC - Review

Gw

Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 8.4 Great

Your cousin has a problem. He is in big-time debt with mob boss Al Guccini, and that isn’t a good thing. But Buddy is your cousin. All he has to barter with is a broken-down casino that is costing him more money than it is worth.

So he turns to you, the brains of the family. If you can make the casino profitable, then he can pay off Guccini, and you can make a reputation in the business. All you have to do is show a profit of $25,000 and build the casino to Level II status in two years. Yep, you have some cash to start with, and an empty casino. Time to get busy.

Any resemblance that Hoyle Casino Empire bears to the stalwart line of Hoyle games that Sierra Entertainment have in its library ends after you hit the install button.

Fans of those tycoon games may have some inkling what this game entails. You get a casino, build it up and then either continue on there or progress up the line for more challenges at other casinos. You start at Buddy’s little spot on the Vegas strip. If you are successful, you move up to The Egyptian, where the challenge more than doubles. At The Egyptian, your goals are to earn $200,000, Build to Level III and get a 250 Casino Rating. The problem is that you have a huge facility with nothing in it aside from some pit bosses.

So you begin by dropping in some slot machines, both the single and two-sided variety. Add a few video poker machines for good measure. Don’t forget to put in a cashier’s window ­ patrons need some place to convert those paychecks into chips and coins for the slots. Oh, and you’ll need restrooms, and security offices. All that means you’ll need to hire staff, and you can put in a security camera system.

Select a location for a host of blackjack and craps tables. Then, when the cash is available, you can add baccarat, and Pai Gow poker tables, just to class up the joint. But you don’t want to get it too classy. That’s where the décor comes into play. You can add fountains, silly statues and trees to make it a comfortable or ostentatious setting.

When you really get the casino going, you can add headline acts with exterior signs promoting your casino’s temptations. If you get too big, the competition is likely to spy and try a little sabotage. Marketing is a factor, and if you wish, you can even rig the games for a bigger payoff for the casino.

This game has taken many different angles and compiled them into a smooth, glitzy program.

Zero in on your customers to get their thoughts and comments. Boost the cost of drinks or hand out complimentary beverages to keep the patrons drunk and the money flowing.

The control system used in this game is of the drag-and-drop variety. You can place gaming tables and machines just about anywhere, or rotate them before placing them. For things like the cashier’s booth or the security offices, you need a blank section of wall. The icon of the object you are trying to place will turn red if it can’t be located where you want it to be. This is a game that is extremely player friendly.

As for the sound of the game ­ this is one of the few ‘tycoon’ class games that seems to have paid as much attention to the sound quality as to the graphical quality. The game has some of the lame patron comments, but the music and general effects of a bustling (hopefully bustling) casino are excellent. As for the graphics … You can’t rotate the casino, but you can rotate objects, and the camera does allow for zooming in to watch. This is a brightly colored game, but then it had to be. Sierra was dealing with the glamour and bright lights of Las Vegas. The game had to have that feel, and it does a superb job of emulating it.

The game does have two modes of play, the progressive storyline and a casual sandbox mode.

Casino Empire has depth of play, and a non-linear gaming mode. The goals are in front of you; it doesn’t matter how you achieve them, only that you do.

Casino Empire has tossed in the ante in the ‘tycoon’ class of games, and it is a sure bet that it will hold its own at that gaming table. The game looks great, plays well, has a solid soundtrack, is user-friendly, and is enjoyable. What more could you ask for?

This game is rated Teen.

 

Gameplay: 8.3
From the moment you launch a scenario, the only interruptions are to track opinions, build or hire personnel. This game moves along at a nice pace and seems stable.

Graphics: 8.3
This game sports a two-dimensional look, but is bright and colorful. The animations are well done. The game does have elements common to the genre, such as patrons with icons above their heads to show their mind-set.

Sound: 8.7
Featuring a rich soundtrack and the ambient noises one would expect, this aspect of the game really shines.

Difficulty: Medium
There are many factors to consider when playing this game ­ such as marketing, to cheat or not to cheat and the design of your casino. This is a game that features a user-friendly interface, then backs it up with challenging game play.

Concept: 8.5
The genre has explored many different aspects of the management concept, but this is a fresh entry into that format.

Overall: 8.4
From playing in high-stakes tourneys to designing and marketing your casino’s attributes, this is a well-rounded program that will entertain and challenge. The name of Hoyle guarantees the quality of the game, and Sierra has dotted amusing features throughout to continue to surprise and delight game players.

 

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