Are you dying to get a fix of Hearts but all your friends are out of town? Try Hoyle Classic Games, a collection of traditional board and card games containing clever caricatures and witty writing. The program has more than great games -- it has personality.
The computer characters are quite funny and come with a short biography as well as individual skill levels. Don't let looks fool you -- Beatrice, the old woman, is an expert. The banter between computer-controlled players changes as each game progresses, as they whine when losing, gloat over wins and, if gameplay gets to slow, they'll let you know. Rules of the games are provided but it's more fun to have the game narrator berate you in the tradition of You Don't Know Jack. The sarcastic critical voice is so amusing you might find yourself making mistakes just to listen to the dialogue.
Games range in difficulty from very easy to hard and complex. Bridge and Cribbage are best enjoyed by those who already know the rules but Crazy 8's and Old Maid can be played by all ages. Some games, like Hearts, aren't too difficult to learn and can be played without much prior knowledge.
The fact that only one human can play against multiple computer-controlled characters is somewhat disheartening and seems to contradict the promising box blurb that stresses family enjoyment. However, the game might be a good way for parents to introduce their children to the card games by cooperatively helping them play their cards and learn how to bid where required.
If you've played other titles in the Hoyle series such as Hoyle Board Games or Hoyle Card Games, you'll likely find Hoyle Classic Games a welcome addition to your collection, although some duplication is inevitable.
Graphics: The caricatures are cute and the different background screens are better than the default green fairway pattern.
Sound: The unobtrusive music is thematic and includes urban, suspense and jungle varieties that fade out a few seconds after each round starts. Voices are unique and, at times, funny. The narrator is especially good.
Enjoyment: The collection is thoroughly enjoyable, especially if you like playing cards and challenging board games.
Replay Value: Ten games and eleven different characters add up to nearly infinite replay.
Hoyle Classic Games is a collection of card games (Bridge, Crazy Eights, Cribbage, Gin, Hearts, Poker, and Solitaire) and board games (Backgammon, and Checkers). There are different opponents to compete against and they can be selected from a list of business or icons pictures. Each opponent has a bio and a different skill level (beginner, average, or expert). Some games are single-player, while others are played by two or four players.
The pace and response time can be adjusted with a slider, games can be replayed, and there is a help button that explains the interface. The game keeps tracks of your score through an 'average' rating, based on the points. There is a button to explain each of the game's rules and and arrow shows who's turn it is.
People who downloaded Hoyle Classic Games have also downloaded:
Hoyle Classic Card Games, Hoyle Board Games 2001, Hoyle Poker, Hoyle Solitaire, Monopoly (1999), Hoyle Official Book of Games: Volume 3, Hoyle Childrens Collection, Hoyle Official Book of Games: Volume 1
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