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Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (PC Games) ~ Disney Interactive Cover Art
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire 

  • PC Games
Current Price: $9.99
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Faster than you can say "cha-ching," Disney has released Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: a terrific realization of the wildly successful television game show. Boasting voice work by Regis Philbin himself and a game engine by the makers of the well-respected You Don''t Know Jack series, this is the perfect family title.

We originally reviewed the title for about an hour and a half before surmising its rating. By all means a good title, there''s one big problem that arises only after repeated hours of play: the questions repeat, and repeat ... and repeat. Frankly, the resurfacing of questions--there are only about 200 total--was the only way we made it to a million dollars, but we can see that not everyone sees this as an enjoyable "asset." The justification from the manufacturer is that the package is at a low price and was never meant for hard-core gamers (or people who install the game on multiple machines). But even for just twenty dollars, you''ll wind up being really sure how many stock make up the Dow 500 after five to ten hours of game play, and may walk away annoyed. People looking to purchase this game for multiplayer action also won''t be pleased, since players who have spent time with the game will be at an advantage to climb to higher dollar amounts.

The best elements of the real-life game show through: in particular, Regis and his friendly-yet-sarcastic commentary. The software even mimics the pauses Regis takes, building tension as the (virtual) dollars mount up. "You think it''s D?" he asks. With more inflection, and as if you''re nuts, he adds: "That''s your answer?" Then he bellows: "You are correct!" With touches like these, players really do feel like they''re in the hot seat. (Regis even makes fun of you when you flunk out, exhorting you not to spend your zero-dollar check in one place.)

The game begins with the same painfully simple hundred-dollar-increment questions, revolving around pop-culture topics like Pac Man, the Jeffersons, and "Who''s known as the ''Chairman of the Board''?" Just like the show, the easy questions soon dissipate into the more challenging, with topics revolving around things like the United Nations Security Council. The same lifelines are also in place, but instead of calling on your own support person--who''s most likely standing behind your shoulder, ready to play the next round--you''re saddled with Regis''s own friends. (He seems to travel in a pretty uneducated crowd, since they provided wrong answers much of the time, tripping us up.)

Another warning: this isn''t really a multiplayer game in the true sense of the word. All the parties try to buzz in on one question, ranking certain choices, for example, in numeric order. Whoever is quickest with the right answer wins the chance to see the questions through to the full million. That translates to a lot of time spent watching someone else play, but with this game, it''s somehow excusable.

With great, simple graphics influenced by the show and the same violin-and-heartbeat soundtrack, Millionaire deserves to be a runaway success. The creators worked quickly but well, creating a game that everyone can enjoy, provided you can accept its considerable glitches. For fans of the TV game, time spent with this game will have you smiling as broadly as million-dollar-winner John Carpenter--without all the tax headaches in the morning. --Jennifer Buckendorff
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