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     " Why no one listens to my requests to put an alternate 'Crazy Horse, Too' level in Iíll never understand. "

      Title: Hoyle Casino by Sierra

      Format: PC Gambling Set

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: GambleÖOn your pc! Well, noÖnot really. But pretend like you do! Bone up for that trip to Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City, or your local Bowling Alley/Indian Casino. Or, put on a Hawaiian shirt, pour yourself a big watered down Bloody Mary, put up a poster of a cocktail waitress in a skimpy outfit, and pretend you made it and are a high roller! HeyÖbeats just another lonely night at home, right?

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Like a lot of casino games, Hoyle is designed around a low end system (P-133 in this case) so is no great graphical achievement. And, rest assured, you will not have to run out and grab the latest Athlon to get all it has to offer. Fortunately, however (and unlike most of the other genre games), they took a really cartoony feel to things and so you donít actually feel like youíre completely robbed graphically. Itís still not Unreal Tournament, but itís better than just another 2D broken animation set. Oh, and it also has a face makerÖso you can build your own you (I apparently wear bad wigs, a fake mustache, and eye make up when I gamble). 2.5 out of 5

      Sound: When this game came in, I had only recently returned from Vegas and was jonesiní for some serious casino ambianceÖAnd Hoyle didnít do a bad job of delivering. Cards flip, dice roll, wheels spin and click, and so forth. All completely satisfactory. Nicer though is the presence of selectors to determine how chatty the people around you are. Set it low and play in silence, turn it all the way up so you can here all the trite "Iím on a roll today" phrases, or put it some where in between to get just the right mix of the annoying Florida retiree to your left and blessed silence at the black jack table. 3 out of 5

      Game Play: Well, itís a casino gameÖso I guess you could say that game play is fairly predictable. On the plus side, itís actually all designed really well. Get the tutorials or skip them easily. Bet the amount you want without excessive struggle. Only an appropriate amount of confirmation clicks (always a hassle in these games). And so on. It also has all the games you want in all the variations you want them. Very nice indeed. 4 out of 5

      Level and Environment Designs: OkayÖI donít want to give anything away about game play, but the level isÖA BIG CASINO! No, really! How clever is that? On the plus side, thoughÖThe casino is actually laid out really well and finding the games you want is easy and logical. Why no one listens to my requests to put an alternate "Crazy Horse, Too" level in Iíll never understand. 3 out of 5

      Multiplayer: None. But, as Iíve said before, if you have more than just you hanging around, you can play the damned games for real. Plus, as far as net play goes, thereís enough free sites up that let you do all of this that thereíd be no point in running the servers.

      Replayability: If you like to gamble (or at least pretend to), youíll get a whole heckova lot of love out of this game. If you donít, then why the hell are you looking at a casino game anyway? Freak. 4 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: Now, hereís a huge bone of contention for me. Vegas is one of the most exciting, dynamic, and dramatic places on earth. Every year hundreds of movies are made in it, about it, and for it. Why, then, are there never stories to these things? Pisses me off. 0 out of 5

      Instructions and Learning Curve: Okay, dig this. Not only does it have an instruction book. Not only does it also have an on board tutorial that is great. It also comes with an honest to god cheat sheet you could take with you if you ever decided to lose money for real. Keen! 5 out of 5

      Installation and Real System Requirements: Hell, it runs on a P-133, so what do you think? Whatís more, it also has a CD-less laptop install. Sweet. 5 out of 5

      The Verdict:


       It may not be the ultimate apex of the virtual casino games, but itís the best one Iíve seen so far. Smooth, easy, and fun. Itís the one I keep going back to.

      The Good: Great games, good interface, excellent tutorials, and a face maker.

      The Bad: No story and it is designed to run on real low-end machines.

      The Overall Ugly: Despite any flaws, still a great gambling game for all you bastards too cheap to spend real cash on real bar girls who will really never go out with you.

      What it's Worth: Market.

Buy it direct from Amazon.com

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