to Hoyle in a Handcart
Games on CD-ROM
By Jim Bray
Old fashioned board games are
back in digital form with Sierra Online s "Hoyle Classic Board Games"
This Windows CD-ROM comes with
ten of the games you probably played way back when, but jazzed up for
the multimedia age with good graphics and sound and with a dozen computerized
opponents thrown in who are ready to take you on. You can also tackle
whatever motley crew of cyber-players lurks on the Internet.
Classic Board Games comes with
standards like Battleship (called Battling Ships here, undoubtedly for
copyright reasons), Dominoes, Pachisi, Snakes & Ladders, Chinese Checkers,
Backgammon, "Zen Bones" (a.k.a. Mah Jong) and, of course, Chess and Checkers.
They ve actually done a pretty
neat job with this collection and been quite witty along the way. For
instance, one of the tile setups for "Zen Bones" is called "Roswell" and
looks like a "Gray" alien s head, complete with big eyes.
When I tried Backgammon, choosing
one of the virtual opponents provided, I didn t play quickly enough for
its taste and it started insulting my intelligence and motivation.
was just like playing against family members &
I was waxing the cyberdude,
too, until the very end when (I suspect with computer assistance) it suddenly
raced ahead and beat me by one checker.
Dominoes, meanwhile, saw me
thump the other guy s binary butt, eliciting a comment from him that mine
was a win "of gigantic proportions." It made me feel so good I took my
gaming bravura to Snakes & Ladders, which provided more opportunities
for silicon-based levity. One of the other players, "Robin," pointed out
that "It s Ladder Day, and I m a Saint," a legitimate groaner if you aren t
of the Mormon persuasion.
Battleship, oops, "Battling
Ships," is really cool. You lob missiles at your opponent, and vice versa,
and if your missile makes a hit, there s a most gratifying explosion
and the sound effects are excellent. Conversely, when you take a hit,
your ship starts burning most distressingly.
If you or your opponent misses,
there s an impressive splash as the missiles drop harmlessly into the
When your ship is sunk it s
enveloped in a huge explosion that ultimately clears to reveal a calm
sea where once was the pride of your naval fleet.
Perhaps because of the violence
potential (after games like Quake and Duke Nukem, you become somewhat
used to mayhem), Battling Ships was my favourite from this collection.
The "bonus pack" of card games
Sierra includes gives you playable demos of Hearts or Pyramid, neither
of which got me too excited. You can also take a quick look at Poker,
Crazy Eights, Gin Rummy, Bridge, Klondike, Cribbage, War, Old Maid, Spades
and Euchre, though you can t play them.
I d rather have seen Poker
and Euchre as the playable demos, but they didn t ask me.
Judging from the demos, Hoyle s
Classic Card Games should be as much fun as the Classic Board Games, so
it s probably a safe purchase to make if you re into such diversions.
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