How the mighty have fallen. Once the choice of the caravanning community and the housebound, board games ruled the roost come holidays, Christmas or a rainy afternoon. However with the advent of the PC and then the console you're more likely to find kids up and down the country playing the latest incarnation of Need for Speed rather than Risk or Monopoly.
One company perhaps seeing the death of the board game, or maybe even the chance to educate the young on how we used to entertain ourselves, has released a collection of classic board games for the PlayStation2.
You can choose Snakes and Ladders, Dominoes, Battleships, Ludo and Dice for your £10. The graphics are nothing more than ordinary, but stand up to the job and are given a 3D feel.
As the target audience is at the youngest end of the demographic (4-8 years), the cutesy house and home location frames are a good idea, but poorly executed, such as the Battleships game set in the bathtub- reminiscent of the Micro Machines games of old.
The bad news is that the games are disappointing. Sure, they always were a little dull, but Snakes and Ladders just doesn't suit a computer game format. This is probably the worst of the pack, with atrocious camera angles complicating a simplistic format.
Dominoes, likewise, looks cutesy, but the markings on the backs of ladybird pieces are almost impossible to see clearly. The point of Dominoes here seems to be to look long and hard at ugly sprites and then count them.
Battleships is closer to the spirit of the original, but the fundamental flaw is that you don't receive a notification of sinking a ship. Perhaps the worst oversight in the entire package. The result is a mindless square-by-square bombing of the playing area, until you know each and every spot has been shelled. Oh dear. Ludo is the best of the bunch, with as close to the original concept as any of the games you'll find here.
The dice game seems to work well, graphics are clear, but it's too boring to sustain any attention. The benefit for Dad's out there is it's probably the most suitable of the selection for some impromptu gambling with chums. For the young ones, it should help with basic arithmetic.
Unfortunately there is nothing new here, save poor conversions. The multi-player option is spoilt by the automatic inclusion of a computer player, which can't be disabled. All the games are available on other compilations, so there is nothing much to draw in the punters either. The good news is the price, which for the sake of the Ludo, is probably worth it if you've got nothing else to spend your money on at the moment. It's strange though, that turn based arcade games like Worms for kids or Close Combat for adults have maintained the board game atmosphere on our shiny new games systems, making this one for the retro nuts if they ever get bored of emulating arcade machines.
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