reviews\ Oct 7, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Monopoly 3 - PC - Review

Ah, money, property, power! Monopoly speaks to all these desires of ours in a true escapist form, which considering the state of the stock markets and other financial bad news lately, we all deserve. Monopoly has been released many, many times for various gaming platforms in many forms, the latest a strategy type game Monopoly Tycoon. Infogrames has now brought Monopoly back to the basic board edition with a few new features, mostly in the animation style of the game.

As in previous multimedia editions, the basic essence of the board game is unchanged: Buy as much property as possible while traveling around the board, paying and collecting money from chance cards, community chest cards, rents and penalty spaces. The differences of being on a video platform lies in the addition of animations, the look of the board and Internet play. In this edition, players can choose either a classic board design, or from one of many boards based on large cities, like Boston and Atlanta. On the last version of Monopoly, there was an editor mode for the boards that allowed users to design their own names for properties, this feature is not present in this edition. As before, the rules can either be official, or customized.

The animation of the game itself is very different, in that instead of being displayed as a separate movie that played in the middle of the board, now the action takes place on the board itself, with the pieces moving around the board as it rotates in view. The dice also rolls on the board. The cards are animated, too, in a really cute way that keeps the original charm of the drawings. The number of players and Internet play is still the same, up to 6 players that can be real or computer generated. GameSpy is the online play agent.

Unfortunately, the annoying voices of the host and pieces are still present, but thankfully they can be turned off.

The interface is one of the most accessible and easy to use that I've seen. The menu can be accessed at any time during the game, to fiddle with the options or to quit. Options include turning off the voices (yeah!), the amount of animations present, and several other items. For some strange reason, the options don't stick in a saved game, but instead have to be chosen again during gameplay, a minor annoyance. The computer opponents can be set at different difficulty levels, which makes for more challenging play, as the computer AI is pretty decent at the highest level.

Our family has almost every board game known to man in our house. We love to play games! As the kids have grown, however, and branched out into sports and other activities, it's hard to get enough people together to play a traditional game. This is where the computer comes in handy, as players are always available there. This edition of Monopoly is very well done and the animation style is superior to any other previous edition, and looks much more like actually playing a board game. I didn't try out the online play feature, as the registration process was too invasive and time-consuming; it asked for birthdates, address, etc., which I didn't feel was necessary to play online, and also had all these screens where mailing lists and offers had to be checked off, so I can't relate to others in this review how well that feature works.

A definite good addition to any collection of software, and one that has universal appeal across age, gender and nationality. The price is right, too.

Gameplay: 8
A good rendition of Monopoly that sticks to the basic gameplay elements that make it all so much fun!

Graphics: 8 
The animations are very well done and make the board look truly interactive.

Sound: 7
The music is average, not annoying but not memorable, either.

Difficulty: Easy
It's Monopoly, everyone knows how to play and the rules are simple.

Concept: 7 
Nothing unique here, but still a good presentation of an old classic.

Multiplayer: Yes
The multiplayer means there are unlimited opportunities for opponents, if one can get past the laborious and invasive registration process at GameSpy.

Overall: 8
A great game for everyone in the family that has been updated nicely!


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