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     " Prepare to drive a broken cocktail stick into your ear ..."

      Title: Microsoft Casino by MacintoshÖNo, wait! Microsoft!

      Format: PC Gambling

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: Too cheap to go to Vegas? Visit it on your computer instead (hmmÖdoes anyone else think that sounds as lame as a quadriplegic show girl?)! Or at least see the casinos and lose all your virtual money. I should also point out, before your eyes glaze over and you stop listening, I just got back from Vegas a few days before Iím writing this reviewÖSo my comparisons should be fairly on.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: The big attraction to playing this particular Vegas game is the presence of "real" casinos. As you gamble your way through digital oblivion you can visit the Mirage, Bellagio, and Treasure Island. But, really, all that means is that you see a pretty graphic of it before you start, get snips of things youíll never afford when they show you your comps, and have the limits change. Once you get past that, however, youíre doomed to be incredibly unimpressed with the overall look and feel. The tables are scratchy and pixalized, the movement is shaky and awkward, and the player icons look like someone hacked them out in a half hour. They did it so they could keep the system requirements low, but still, couldnít they have added multiple graphics levels so I donít feel like an idiot playing on my K7? Not impressive in any way, shape, or form. 2 out of 5

      Sound: Cards flip, chips clink, and wheels spin. Unfortunately, people also talkÖin some of the most annoying ways possible. Prepare to drive a broken cocktail stick into your ear drums to avoid idiotic resounds of "I hate to lose" and "boy, Iím lucky today" over and over and over and over and over and over and over. It will drive you mad. Mad I say! MAD! 1 out of 5

      Game Play: Really, as far as gambling games go, itís not that bad. Play all your favorites- blackjack, craps, roulette, pai gow, stud, etc., until your sick of playing them. Game play exists in two modes- standard and tournament. Standard is just you at the table burning through your money while tournaments give you limits and maximums. Thatís it. Pretty standard. The only two annoyances are that, when playing standard, you can withdraw as much money from the cash machine as you wantÖso thereís really no incentive to do anything intelligently (Cornelius lost 47 million dollars playing last night). And, far more irritating than it should be, there are a half dozen too many confirmation clicks you have to do at any given time, so youíll be frustrated by how long it takes you to get through a game. 3.5 out of 5

      Level and Environment Designs: The casinoís are themed to match their real life counterparts and the little images change based on which hotel youíre inÖbut thatís about it. Otherwise, itís a craps table, itís a blackjack table, etc., which, as Iíve said, are pretty nastily rendered. 3 out of 5

      Multiplayer: None, and I am not going to dock them for it. If you have more than one person around, play the games for real. Idiots. Though, I do think net play could have been fun...However, there are enough free net sites that let you play these games to not worry about it.

      Replayability: Bah. As often as you feel like sitting down and pretending youíre gambling, youíll play this game. Iíll play it a lot, but I donít know if you will. 3 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: None. There are some perks and show snips, but itís not enough to constitute a story (or even make you give a shit). Want my opinion? Someone should take a little bit longer to develop it, make it a bit more expensive, and put a STORY in the next gambling game. Tangle with the mob, get robbed by a hooker, or if youíre me, buy some smuggled Cuban cigars from a menís room attendant (if you ever run into me and ask Iíll tell you the story)ÖEither way, have some fun with it! It is Vegas, after all. Do something entertaining with the city of sin. .5 out of 5

      Instructions and Learning Curve: If you know how to play the games, itíll take you 10 minutes to figure out whatís going on- and thatís just because of all the annoying confirmation clicks. If you donít know how to play the games, itíll teach you. 5 out of 5

      Installation and Real System Requirements: Well, hereís the pay off for the crappy looks and movement- it will run on a 166! Still if you have a 166, save the $35 bucks this will cost you and upgrade. Weíre not in the frickiní 80's anymore. Though you can keep your Mr T. hair cut...That never goes out of style. 5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       A fun gambling game weighed down too much by all the crap Microsoft failed to do. They wanted it to run on every machine out there, but theyíre still charging 35 bucks for it. The result is that itís disappointing in almost every way for anyone with an even half way descent computer and way more pricey than the game play equivalent though graphically inferior $5 games out there. I just canít recommend it.

      The Good: Just about every type of game you want to play is in here.

      The Bad: Pretty much anything that isnít the question of, "game types included?"

      The Overall Ugly: If I had a lower end machine, I would go buy something much cheaper and faster running. If I had a higher end machine I would expect a whole helluva lot more for my bananas.

      What it's Worth: Maybe $10

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