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Wheel of Fortune

Rated KA for Kids to Adults

Platform:

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Publisher:

Gametek (Distributed by Take 2)

Developer:

Gametek

Released:

November 1997

ROM Size:

32 megabits

Players:

One to Three Simultaneous

Genre:

Game Show

Save:

None

Optional:

Rumble Pak

 

 

> Final Rating: 3.8 out of 5.0

Introduction

Gametek has been developing Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! titles on different gaming platforms for over a decade now. Now both of the titles are available on the "high-risk" cartridge platform known as Nintendo 64. And you know what? Despite some other critics lambasting the game, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed Wheel of Fortune for what it is—Wheel of Fortune.

Gameplay & Control

The most intuitive part of the N64 version of Wheel of Fortune is the control. You spin the wheel by moving the analog Control Stick from left to right. Move it just a little bit and the wheel won't spin that fast. But if you snap that baby, you can really get the wheel moving. However, that's not all. Wheel of Fortune supports the Rumble Pak and supports it pretty well. It rumbles when the wheel is spinning or when you guess a wrong letter. It's actually pretty cool.

 

The N64 version of Wheel of Fortune contains three levels of difficulty, six different contestants to choose from, and the ability to play abbreviated games. The computer is quite good on the upper levels of difficulty, so don't play it on them unless you're a true "Wheel Watcher." When it comes to the actual game, you probably know how Wheel of Fortune works. But how does it work in a video game? After you spin the wheel, which looks pretty cool, you'll have an opportunity to choose a letter. All 26 letters are written at the bottom of the screen. If a letter was already picked, it will be darkened. So you just move the Control Stick over the letter you want and press A. It's pretty simple.

 

Wheel of Fortune on the Nintendo 64 is one of the most faithful versions around. Of course, a few questions must be raised. First, there are over 4,000 puzzles in the game, but will that be enough? With game shows, it seems like there are never enough questions. Also, the puzzles can repeat if the power is turned off. Second, does the high price tag (up to $69.99 in some places) warrant a purchase?

Graphics & Sound

Wheel of Fortune is far more impressive on the Nintendo 64 than it ever was on the 8- and 16-bit systems. Vanna White is featured in all her glory, but Pat Sajak is missing. Oh well. The most impressive thing is that Gametek recreated multiple sets by using polygons. This means there can be camera pans and zooms, and the effect definitely makes the game seem more true to life.

 

On the other hand, there is an ugly side to the graphics. For whatever reason, Gametek opted to use digitized pictures of the contestants that look like cardboard cut-outs. Furthermore, when Vanna is walking along, she doesn't look all that hot, and she doesn't have animation to turn the letters. But on the plus side, there are multiple full-motion video clips of Vanna that pop-up in a little box. It's pretty impressive, especially for a 32 megabit cartridge game.

 

Sound in the game is very true to the show, but it can get repetitive and it is in mono. You'll hear the theme song at the title screen, you'll hear the crowd clapping while the wheel is spinning, and you'll hear the contestants squawk out comments at various times, which can get slightly annoying.

Conclusion

Wheel of Fortune is just plain ol' fun. If you like the real game show, you should love this video game rendition. It's not graphically or aurally impressive, but it is challenging and is a great time for up to three players. If you don't mind the price, or if you can get it cheap some day, then Wheel of Fortune is a great way to break the monotony of lots of similar video games.

 

Graphics:

3.4

Sound:

3.2

Control:

3.9

Gameplay:

3.9

Lastability

3.8

OVERALL:

3.8

 

DOWN THE ROAD

Upon giving Wheel of Fortune another rental, I realized just how much fun the game is and how faithful it is to the TV show. Although I refuse to pay $50 or $60 for a video game version of a game show, I can't wait until the price drops. I will definitely add this (and even Jeopardy!) to my N64 collection before the next Nintendo system comes out.

 

Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: March 7, 1998

Appendix Added: May 19, 1998

 

 

 

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