The Game: You know the routine! You and one other player (in this age of the Playstation multi-tap, why not a bunch of players?) compete to see who can give Regis the fastest finger (he’s a New Yorker, I’m sure he’s well accustomed to it by now). Whoever comes out on top earns the right to blast through sixteen increasingly frustrating trivia questions, aided only by two helpful lifelines and one marginally useless one. As the game progresses, gravity begins to fail with alarming regularity in the studio, as demonstrated by your repeatedly flying out of your own chair into the floor, ceiling, and all points in between. (Sony Computer Entertainment, 2000)
Memories: I admit, my summary of the long-awaited Playstation version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? may be a little sarcastic, but I actually expected more – and less – from this game.
I expected more questions, for one thing. We’ve owned this game for a little over a month, and we haven’t even played the thing that much. Already, it’s not uncommon to play a round in which something like half of the questions have turned up before. Not in the same round, mind you, but suffice to say, if you played maybe 4-8 rounds per night for a week, your odds of playing a game comprised entirely of questions you’d seen over the past few nights look pretty good.
At first, I had high hopes – unlike the Playstation version of Jeopardy, another staple of the Green household’s video game diet, there is not audio for every question contained on the Millionaire CD-ROM. If Regis hasn’t recorded audio for every question, it means there’s more memory for more questions, right? Au contraire, fellow virtual game show contestants. In fact, there are huge honking gobs of audio for each question. Lest ye forget, every question has a telephone lifeline. And this is where things get really annoying.
Supposedly, our telephone lifelines are friends of Regis who know it all (or not). They’re various annoying folks, including a doctor, a psychic hotline wanna-be, and a few others. Sometimes they’re right…but it’s annoying having to sit through their schtick, to say nothing of how painful it is to think how many more questions could have occupied the same amount of space as that audio. The online version of Millionaire solved this problem much more gracefully. Oh well.
And speaking of things that took up space that could’ve been occupied by a wider variety of questions…what’s up with the gravity in the studio? Once you hit the halfway point on your journey to a million bucks, you start flying around the set between questions! Below the floor, about twenty feet above your seat, suddenly gliding off to one side…I mean, they’re nice animations, but come on, guys! If I wanted to get dizzy, I’d play Xena.
I’m sure a lot of people have snatched this title up already…but as for whether or not it’s really worth it, the jury’s still out. I like the game. I like the basic concept. But the Playstation edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? is a case where the bells and whistles have outstripped the game itself…and that’s something I have to take issue with.