Who wants to be a Millionaire CD-ROM 2nd Edition, by Buena Vista Software, is based on the swelteringly hot (c. 2000) television game show aired on the ABC network. The game is a faithful transition, one in which most fans of the television show will not be disappointed.
Initially, avid game players will notice the format of Who Wants to be a Millionaire CD-ROM 2nd Edition. The game is developed by the same team from Jellyvision that worked on all of the You Don't Know Jack titles. This is evident right from the beginning when you are asked to enter your name. The rest of the game follows much the same format as the You Don't Know Jack games. Specifically, gameplay moves from one question to the next with your choices shown on a black screen while the announcer, in this case Regis Philbin, reads your choices to you.
Of course, Who Wants to be a Millionaire CD-ROM 2nd Edition is not entirely the same as You Don't Know Jack. First, it has "Reege" and depending on your viewpoint, this may or may not be a good thing. I personally prefer the dry humor of You Don't Know Jack's host to Regis Philbin's insulting "wit." Other than the host, notable differences include the addition of Lifelines, playing for money, the types of questions and so forth.
The graphics are most certainly a low point. The game is as close to being text-based as a game can be without strictly being classified as such. The only graphics occur during the transitions between questions and the video of the host saying: "Who wants to be a millionaire?"
The sounds are very accurate and the music is the same as that in the television show. Although Regis Philbin is present in all of his "glory," there is not much banter from "Reege" unless you are in the middle of a "phone-a-friend" Lifeline. When he calls up a "friend" for you (actually, as he admits, just a random person), he tries to strike up conversation.
I am impressed, however, with the depth of the game as there are tons of questions and even more sound bytes. Enthusiasts of the game will be able to play for quite some time. Furthermore, adding to the fun is the leader board (to check overall or nightly standings) and multi-player options, enabling you to play a "fastest finger" game right in your own living room.
Graphics: Nearly non-existent although there are some in limited capacity.
Sound: Vast and fairly impressive. Regis Philbin must have spent a good amount of time working on the voice-overs. The music is very good and accurate to the television show.
Enjoyment: Who Wants to be a Millionaire CD-ROM 2nd Edition is a good game for fans of the television show. You really feel as if you're there under the spotlights while playing.
Replay Value: While the game is fun and full of depth, there is not much variety to it. How many times can you keep going through the same thing, even if the questions are different? Again, it's fun, but only up to a point.
Not a great deal has changed since the previous incarnation of the home computer version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and the mechanics and playing methods remain exactly the same. The interface has been given a lick of paint, and the graphics have been sharpened up to offer a much slicker presentation than before. In addition to this, all the FMV in the game has been remade to include - hold onto your seats - a studio audience. That the audience are as well animated as Morph after a day on the bottle does nothing to either improve or lessen the experience. In fact, of all the changes made since the original version, the only one that makes a notable difference is additional banter from the lovable Chris Tarrant. This time we get to listen to his adenoidal drone reading the questions to us, which helps lend a greater air of authenticity to the game, but does little to aid our already waning sanity.
As far as the questions themselves go, the difficulty of each one actually resembles the amount of money you're playing for this time. Thanks to the new Who Wants to Be a Millionaire-equivalent of AI, the game also remembers which questions Chris has asked you, so you don't get as many repeats. There are still only 1000 questions though, and after a few heavy bouts of playing you're likely to exhaust the game's entire repertoire. Naturally this is the string attached to the game - you can be sure there will be a full-priced third edition come next Christmas and there's still no way of expanding the question set. The "multiplayer" modes from the first edition remain intact, and they're still just as pointless as ever, only serving to make the questions run out faster. The only other real change of note is the vastly improved loading times, and that really is about it. Oh, I almost forgot, you get your own name written on the check at the end of the game!
The game is essentially a mission-pack for the first edition and it offers only a little more.
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