Hoyle Classic Card Games offers twelve timeless favorites in a colorful, appealing package. The interface is easy to use, and you're only a mouse click away from brushing up on the rules of play for any game you're unfamiliar with. Unfortunately, the game suffers by offering computer opponents who grate on the nerves with their repeating phrases and weak attempts at humor.
It doesn't help matters that most of the characters are flat-out goofy. Among the opponents you'll face are Langley, the snooty lawyer (who sounds suspiciously like Thurston Howell III from Gilligin's Island); Maurice the French explorer who communicates through an animal hand puppet; Gax the green alien, who morphs into the likeness of either Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe as he speaks; and Harley, the talking Grizzly Bear. While children will probably love playing with this assortment, most will want to turn down the volume after a few hands.
If you can learn to live with the oddball characters, you'll be happy to know that the computer is very challenging on the harder difficulty levels. You have to wonder, however, if the mix of games will turn off some potential buyers. A few games (Euchre, poker or bridge) will probably only appeal to serious card players, while others (solitaire, War and Old Maid) might only be appreciated by younger players. And don't you already have a solitaire game on your computer? You also have to consider that most of these games can be found at no cost over the Internet.
Hoyle Classic Card Games still remains a solid choice for those just starting to get involved in computer games (or computers in general), families with children or those who are less demanding of their games as long as they offer some fun. The variety of card games, colorful graphics, extensive options, easy interface and Internet play all make it a worthwhile choice. While it certainly is not a revolutionary game, the shelves aren't exactly loaded with titles designed to appeal to both young and old alike.
Graphics: The graphics are simple with different colored backgrounds and small cartoon portraits of the characters. The cards can be enlarged for those having trouble seeing them and there are a variety of card layouts from which to choose. Unfortunately, there aren't any 3D views of the cards or playing surface -- so don't expect anything flashy. Characters have simple animation that is amusing at first but will start to get tiresome after awhile.
Sound: Each character speaks with a distinctive voice. The problem is that the voices become repetitive after a few hands.
Enjoyment: You've probably played most of these games in the past, and now they're back for your enjoyment. Don't be surprised when you grow to hate the characters you're playing against!
Replay Value: Some card games are a bit simplistic for older players but the amount of games offered should help the replay value. The game will also keep track of your statistics (such as money earned or wins) for each card title. Internet play certainly gives this title lasting value.
The fourth (comparatively little-known) installment in Sierra On-Line's Hoyle series offers a collection of eight popular card games: Bridge, Euchre, Old Maid, Gin Rummy, Hearts, Cribbage, Crazy Eights, and Klondike.
In addition to reading the basic rules for each individual game, players can now access an interface tutorial and a glossary of game-specific terms, as well as customize a range of options.
Hoyle Classic Card Games is apparently the last volume in the series to feature animated characters from other Sierra titles.
People who downloaded Hoyle Classic Card Games have also downloaded:
Hoyle Official Book of Games: Volume 3, Hoyle Official Book of Games: Volume 1, Hoyle Official Book of Games: Volume 2, Stratego, Battleship: The Classic Naval Warfare Game, Hoyle Casino Empire, Grand Slam Bridge II, Monopoly (1999)
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