reviews\ Nov 21, 1999 at 7:00 pm

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - PC - Review - PC - Review

Jellyvision has brought us another piece of trivia software to add to our home collections. They brought us You Don’t Know Jack, and will attempt to capture our trivial minds yet again this Christmas with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. I imagine that everyone has at least heard of this new game show that has swept across the nation with host Regis Philbin on ABC. This new PC game, expected for release at the end of November, should be a great stocking stuffer this Christmas. If you like the game show, you will be happy to know that the game plays almost exactly like it.

You can play by yourself or with as many people as you can cram around your computer. The game is loaded with hundreds of questions that progressively get harder as you come closer to the big jackpot of $1,000,000.

In multiplayer mode, you start out with a question that asks the players to identify the correct arrangement of answers from a given question. Each player picks a key A-Z as their buzzer. For example, “Put these numbers in order of value, from least to greatest.” The answers 1,5,3,7 fly by in random orders. The first person to buzz in when the correct order flashes by, goes to the hot seat. (This part of play is skipped in single player mode.)

Like the game show, you start off with a question and are given four answers. You pick the correct one, and you go on to the next question. You start out with easier questions worth $100, $200, $300, $500, and $1,000. There you reach a safe haven. So no matter what, you walk away with $1,000. Then the suspense gets more intense with each question doubling in value till you reach $1,000,000. Must not forget the dramatic pause before the answer is revealed! Once you reach $32,000, you reach the second safe haven. Getting here assures you of walking away with $32,000. Just like the game, there is a long pause after you answer before the right answer is revealed. If you let the timer run down to under 10 seconds, you hear Regis Philbin asking, “Are you sure?” That is the only time you can actually change your answer.

Now let’s get to what makes the game unique. If you are unsure of an answer, you have three lifelines to help you out.

50/50, in which the computer takes away two wrong answers, leaving you with a 50/50 chance.

Audience, which is a poll of what the audience thinks, giving you a percentage of what their response is to each answer.

Phone a friend. Unlike the TV show, where the contestant calls up a friend for some help, virtual Regis phones one of his friends to help you out. They don’t always know the right answer, so use your best judgment.

Once all your lifelines are used up, you can always walk away with the money. You can keep the money at the most completed level if you walk away, but if you guess the wrong answer, you only get your last safe haven amount.

Playing the game is almost identical to the TV show, boasting the same music, graphics, and style of play. We can’t forget Regis’ fun and sarcastic comments, which add to the game’s excitement.

Installation 6 Though fairly fast, it does not come with the required Direct X 7.0 driver that you will need to run the game; however, it can be easily downloaded from Microsoft’s web site.

Gameplay 7 Couldn’t be easier when it comes to learning how to play. No instructions are needed as the game walks you through how to play even if you haven’t seen the show. Though those dramatic pauses, and not being able to skip any intros, is kind of a drag. Matter of fact, had me yelling “ C’MON ALREADY” on more than one occasion.

Graphics 8 Just like the game show. If you have seen the show (if you haven’t, you wouldn’t be reading this), you will be impressed that it is almost exactly the same.

Sound 8 Again, just like the game show, sound effects and music are the same.

Concept 7 Though you cannot really win actual cash, the game is entertaining. Especially if you are trivia buff. Though it boasts multiplayer, it is really geared to single-player play. Except for entertaining friends, I cannot see much re-playability here.

Difficulty 6 Though the questions do get harder as you get closer to the big money, I found that repeating questions occurs quite frequently. Not in one particular game, but in repeat playing you will see recurring questions all too often. The opening questions before you get to $1,000 are harder than on the show, but this is where you most often see the repetitiveness.

Value 7 It won’t be too long before the annoyance of seeing the same question twice gets on your nerves. However, for $19.99, it will make for an awesome stocking stuffer this Christmas.

Overall 7


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