Wheel of Fortune Review

Developer: Artech Publisher: Atari
Release Date: November 11, 2003 Also On: None

The #1 television game show has finally shipped for the PS2, but doesn’t necessarily dethrone its rival, #2 television game show Jeopardy, as the best television show-based video game. Like in previous versions of the game (at least for PC), Wheel of Fortune for the PS2 lacks Pat Sajak, the star of the hit television show that has been running for over 20 years, but then again, he might feel too important to be in a video game. The lack of Pat’s humor and the television show’s overall structure, make the game feel less compelling than the syndicated television show.

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There are a total of five game play modes, Quick Play, Normal Game, Tournament, Solo, and Contestant Exam. Quick Play is a total of three rounds and the game will automatically select one of the six available locations randomly. Normal Game gives you more choice and Solo gives one player a number of free spins to use throughout as many rounds as you select; one free spin is lost each time the player guesses incorrectly. The Contestant Exam is a sample exam like the ones used on the show; you have five minutes to complete up to 16 different puzzles and need at least 12 complete to receive a passing score.

If you aren’t familiar with the show, in Wheel of Fortune, three contestants attempt to solve a puzzle by guessing letters. Before you spin the wheel, you must decide whether to spin, in which you must choose a consonant, to buy a vowel, in which you select one of the five vowels, or solve the puzzle, in which you solve the puzzle and if it is correct, you keep the amount of money that you earned in that round. Players that earn money in a round, but do not solve the puzzle, do not take that money over to the next round.

By spinning the wheel, you will land on a money amount, in which you will earn that much money for every letter you get correct in one guess. For example, if you land on $400 and guess R, you will earn $400 for every R that there is, so if there are three R’s, you will earn $1200 and then receive another turn. Your turn ends once you guess a letter that is not in the puzzle and play moves on to the next contestant. Aside from money values, there are Bankrupt(s) and Lose a Turn spaces on the board, along with bonus prizes.

Up to three contestants can be human players, without the requirement of a multi-tap, unlike in Jeopardy! for the PS2, which requires the use of a multi-tap to play with three players. Instead of the use of a third controller, you will rotate turns with the controllers between players. Unfortunately, if playing without a human opponent, game play can be boring, since the AI is pathetic. If you are a competent human being, beating the computer AI in this game will prove to be no challenge whatsoever.

If playing Wheel of Fortune as a single-player game, you will have little fun with it, unless you are playing in Solo mode, where you do not have to deal with the frustratingly stupid AI, but as a multi-player game, Wheel of Fortune can be a joy. I recommend picking Jeopardy! up before this, whether for single or multi-player.

Graphics: 3
Sound: 4
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 6.5
Final: 4.7
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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