In 1998 something was spawned, something that at the time no one could have predicted it’s popularity, even I fell under it’s spell and spent many an evening watching it with my family. 13 years later and that horse you hear still being flogged is “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”.
With it’s rights sold a number to many different countries, it was only a matter of time before a computer game would be expressed from the powerful teat of the franchise. The first came in 2000 for the Playstation, and to be perfectly honest what’s changed?
The premise, for those in the few countries that doesn’t have their own version, is simple. You answer 15 multiple choice questions in a row correctly, and dependent on your currency, you’re either now loaded or a little disappointed. To help you along you have “lifelines”, these are; 50-50, where you get rid of two wrong answers – Phone a friend, where you can…phone a friend – or Ask the audience, where you can….ask the audience.
At this stage me explaining the rules to you is redundant, everyone knows the rules. For those of a certain age, this will have been a must watch in it’s first few months of being broadcast, however, it fell out of favour. Lets be honest here, when was the last time you said to yourself “I really must catch Who Wants To Be A Millionaire tonight…”. I remember there was that posh lady who was the first in the UK to win a million pounds, but since then, I have no idea who else has hit jackpot. My point is that when was this game last in the public consciousness? And why bring out a licensed game now?
To bring this game up to a more relevant and interesting area all the questions in this latest release are based around South Park, everything else is the same as the vanilla version. You start the game with a short clip from South Park, this is one of two clips, either way at first you’re slightly impressed and hope to see more clips, but alas, this is it. You then get to choose your character, you have a choice from four nondescript designs, no creation or recognition. There are no actual characters from the show either as an avatar or in the audience, the closest you come to a bit of familiarity is when you Call a friend, I had Mr Hankey a couple of times, and then a dragon of some sort.
As my last sentence may point out, I have watched South Park, I in fact class myself as a fan, I haven’t seen every episode however and this is my largest issue with this game. These questions aren’t for people who have a passing interest in the series, you need to be as much of a fan as Rain man was of Jeopardy, you also need his memory. You don’t have a time limit with this game, and if you felt this way inclined you could technically look up the answers on a well known search engine…or not as the case may be. To show how hard some of the later questions are I’ll point out that I looked up what the name of a waitress’ name was in a particular episode, quite simply I couldn’t find any reference on the internet, even once I knew the answer.
Graphically the game for some reason uses the Unreal Engine but could have got away with a couple of still shots of the studio. The host is a nondescript smug Englishman with massive hands that looks kind of like a butch, suave and slightly beefcake Philip Schofield. The animations on the players avatars react to nerves and getting answers right or wrong and the audience bounces up and down all of which does add to the game. Something that should jar but somehow works well is the mixture of 3D characters and studio with 2D avatars and audience, it all produces something that works well with the South Park brand.
South Park is all about humour and pushing the envelope, this game brings to the table neither. To be honest the review of this game could be summed up with five words “It is what it is…”. Simply put this game is not broken or bad in any way at all, there just isn’t much to it. If you’re a South Park fan and want to prove to people how much of a fan you are then by all means pick this up, if you’re looking for a good party quiz game on PS3 however, get Buzz.
Avatar’s look good
Questions are challenging
No Chris Tarrant
Repeating sound effects