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Jeopardy! (NES) artwork

Jeopardy! (NES) review

"Everyone knows of the long-running trivia game, Jeopardy!. I remember even watching it in the fourth grade. Well back in the late eighties, the game was already popular. Thus, video game versions of the show were made. Even an NES version. But was this version as good as the game show? Well, to make a long story short, no. I’ll tell you why. "

Everyone knows of the long-running trivia game, Jeopardy!. I remember even watching it in the fourth grade. Well back in the late eighties, the game was already popular. Thus, video game versions of the show were made. Even an NES version. But was this version as good as the game show? Well, to make a long story short, no. I’ll tell you why.

First of all, the entire premise of the game show is to answer a wide range of trivia questions correctly. Answer a question right, and you’ll win the amount of money corresponding to the question. But if you answer a question wrong, you’ll lose that amount of money. Out of the three contestants, the player with the highest total at the end of the game wins his sum of money that he accumulated throughout the show, while the other two leave with nothing.

The show is divided into three sections: Jeopardy, Double Jeopardy, and Final Jeopardy. The first round, Jeopardy, takes place with an entire grid of questions. The columns are separated into different categories, with each question in that category having to do with the topic. These categories can range anywhere from European Cities to Pop Culture. As you go down each column, the prize money increases, from $100 up to $500. But of course, the harder questions lie behind the $500 cash prizes. A final twist is that behind one of the dollar amounts lies the Daily Double. A Daily Double is a question in which the contestant who uncovered it can wager any portion of his current total, and he is the only person who may attempt to answer. This is the entire premise behind the first round of Jeopardy!. The second round, Double Jeopardy, is almost exactly the same as the first round, except all of the dollar amounts are doubled, and there are now two Daily Doubles hidden among the gird of questions.

After these two rounds, Final Jeopardy takes place. In this round, all contestants with a positive amount of winnings are able to participate. The contestants are given s subject, which is going to be the main theme of the upcoming question. The players then enter the amount of money they wish to wager based on their knowledge of the subject given. Then, the question is revealed, and the players have 30 seconds to come up with an answer. All right answers add the amounts to the players’ totals, while wrong answers subtract the amount wagered from their winnings. After this round, the winner is chosen, and he (or she) is the new Jeopardy! champion! So, how well did this game execute the extremely popular and classic game show? Lets find out.

At the out start of the game, you’re prompted to enter your name, and choose a character. Entering your name is done by choosing letters on an alphabet grid, so it isn’t really anything worth mentioning. There are eight characters total you can choose, four men and four women. They range from the nerdy to the manly for the men, and from the brainy to the fashionable for the females. They also come in several different color schemes, even though they all look simply wacky. The character designs are not very original or creative. They’re just your plain, old, generic characters.

After this, you’re finally able to answer some questions. Topics are randomly put up on the large blue grid, and then the first player chooses a question. The questions follow the notorious “answer-question” pattern, where all answers must be put in the form of a question. After the answer is unveiled, all three players are given 10 seconds to buzz in and attempt the problem. Buzzing in is done by a simple press of the Up button.

After buzzing in, you’re then able to input your answer. To do this, you move the on-screen cursor over an alphabet grid. The A button is used to select each letter, and you’re given ample time to enter your answer; about a minute of time is given. The disadvantage about this method however, is that misspellings often occur, and you’re given very little leniency as well. Plus, some of these answers are very long and difficult to spell, so entering those answers may seem more like a chore than an opportunity. This is actually a pretty major flaw of the game. It turned me off many times, and just made the game tedious and dull.

The questions themselves are pretty varied. They can cover any and every subject imaginable, just like the TV show. They also prove to be a tough challenge to even the most seasoned trivia masters. Unfortunately, being that the game was made in 1989, several questions are out-dated and don’t apply any longer to today’s world. This can also displease several players, as a majority of the categories have to do with current events. But this isn’t so much the game’s fault as it is the fact that it’s just an older game for an older console.

The graphics themselves are nothing extraordinary. The characters themselves are brightly colored, even though they may be a little quirky. The rest of the game is nicely and accurately colored, staying true to the show. This being said, overall the game still looks fairly bland. A little more creativeness could’ve helped wonders for this department.

The audio of the game also could’ve been much better. The main theme song is catchy and even a little fun. However, you only hear this song at the title screen, and not during actual gameplay. The music that is played during gameplay is absolutely annoying. Some may not even consider it music at all. Plus, the game’s music and the sound effects are often played at the same time, creating a garbled mess of ugly sounds and jingles. The sound effects by themselves are few and dull, but can also become annoying and distracting. Some examples would be the constant beeping of the seconds off the ten-second timer, and the jingle of someone buzzing in. These sounds do not help the game out though; in fact, they only hurt it. An endless mute would be better than the audio this game offers.

The replay value is actually pretty high, if you’re a fan of trivia like me. There are plenty of questions, and you most likely won’t see a repeated questioned for a couple weeks, at least. But if the entire aspect and idea of answering nothing but trivia questions non-stop seems dreary and monotonous, then you probably won’t like this game for very long, if at all.

Overall, Jeopardy!, the video game, is good entertainment and a nice, playable version of the highly popular TV show. However, several flaws within the game can turn off many people. Plus, the monotonous gameplay can become boring quickly. It’s fun at first, but after noticing the garbled imperfections and the lack of lasting appeal, this game falls short of becoming anything great.

Gameplay: 6/10
Graphics: 6/10
Audio: 2/10
Replay Value: 4/10

cdbavg400's avatar
Community review by cdbavg400 (November 15, 2004)

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