Content Test 3

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Ultimate Board Game Collection
Graphics: 5
Gameplay: 7
Sound: 3
Control: 10
Replay Value: 5
Rating: 5
Publisher: Valcon Games
Developer: Mere Mortals Ltd
Number Of Players: 1-6
Ultimate Board Game Collection packages 20 different "classic" board and dice games together on a single PlayStation 2 disc.

The roster includes Chess, Quatro (aka Connect Four), Checkers, Enigma, Backgammon, Reversi, Snakes & Ladders (aka Chutes & Ladders), Naval Battle, Parcheesi, Dice, Dominoes, Go, Chinese Checkers, Word Cubes, Mahjong Solitaire, Anagrams, Concentration, 3D Tic-Tac-Toe, Mancala, and Jigsaws.

And... ummm... yeah, that's about it.

All of the games are faithfully reproduced, but the whole product reeks of its "low budget" pedigree.

To put it politely, the graphics and audio are baseline. If not for the ability to rotate the camera viewpoint, you'd never know that they used 3-D polygons to draw everything. Some games have animated pieces; some don't. What's up with that?! We also haven't seen textures this bland or muddy since the early N64 days. As for the audio, you can pick from rock, pop, and classical soundtracks, but the joke's on you, because they all sound like elevator music.

CPU A.I. is adjustable and challenging, but the best way to enjoy most of these games is with other human beings present. Depending on the game, anywhere from two up to six players can compete by passing around a single controller. Unfortunately, there's no online mode.

High scores aren't recorded either.

Oh well. While the use of the word "ultimate" in the title is wholly disingenuous, Ultimate Board Game Collection does live up to its promise. For roughly fifteen dollars, you get 20 board games on a single blue-backed disc. That's a great value, assuming you're into board games and have a couple friends nearby.

7/17/2006   Frank Provo