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Developer Point of View, Inc. Options
Distributer Virgin Interactive 1 player
Game Type Gambling Simulation Mem. Card
Review Date January 1998  
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Setting the Scene
Well here we are just sitting around the office on a rainy Friday morning. We had absolutely nothing to do, so we decided to play a few hands of poker. All of a sudden Newman arrives at the door with the mail which contained a few packages! Oh boy, perhaps a new game to review? A big stack of bills perhaps?? Actually it turned out to one of the first casino games to be released for the Playstation. A little gambling simulation title known as "Golden Nugget" by Virgin Interactive. I eagerly grabbed the package, threw Newman a Drakes coffee cake and ran to my favorite gaming machine!

Now, just to set the story straight...we really weren't just sitting around playing cards with nothing to do...we are actually way, way too busy playing video games until all hours of the night to be able to sit around and play cards. Oh, and our postal carriers name really isn't Newman...I just thought I'd get you going a bit.

Anyway, Golden Nugget was my first crack at a gambling simulation since the old Caesar's game I used to play on my Phillips CDi machine. So get out that money stash and dust off that lucky ole rabbits's off to the Nugget we go!
Golden Nugget is a Las Vegas style casino gambling simulation. As you would expect, it contains a variety of games from poker to roulette.
Golden Nugget contains a variety of graphic styles. Ample FMV is used in a wonderfully original little sub-game, while stills of the actual Golden Nugget casino are adopted to present the various games that you can elect to play. The polished 3-D graphics do a nice job creating the casino atmosphere, right down to the authentic tables, card and chips used at the real Nugget. The sprites used for the cards, roulette wheel and slots themselves are decent but a bit difficult to see at times. The numbers on the roulette wheel for instance are impossible to read.

The actual FMV is a bit grainy but certainly acceptable. Heck, it even stars Adam West from the old Batman television series!

Everything's laid out quite nicely and is about as detailed as you would like to see for a casino sim.

Jeez, there really isn't much more to say...I mean I could nit-pick a bit I suppose. The roulette wheel isn't really incredibly well done. Yes, you can tell it's a roulette wheel, but it's just kind of blah and doesn't have that chrome and high gloss paint luster that the real ones have. I mention this because I have a habit of getting a bit hypnotized by those shiny little wheels spinning around and tend to plunk down a fair share of money before one of my buddies shakes some sense into me! Anyway, there is nothing earth shattering here in the way of cutting edge graphics...just a very nicely depicted casino and the games that are offered therein.
Sounds and Effects
Ever been inside a real life casino before? Remember how noisy and crowded it was? People talking everywhere, shuffling and milling about. Well, the Golden Nugget game is quite a bit more sedate. Yes, there are various sounds of people talking, glasses clinking and machines being's just not like being there though. I will say that the sounds included though, do a rather nice job of trying to set up a casino "feeling". I guess without the challenge of pushing people out the way or getting shoved about myself, it just didn't seem the same...sigh.

The digitized sounds of the slot machines, cards, marble and chips though are really nice. I just love the sound of coins as they spill out of the slots...ah, money, money, money.

The dealers voice is also nice and clear as well as the other computer players.
Well I must admit, I have never been to Las Vegas before, but I do happen to live very close to Atlantic City in New Jersey so I have had my fair share of casino experience. I know the thrills of victory and am all too familiar with the agony of defeat. I figured this would be a nice way to gamble a bit and not lose all my real money again!

Golden Nugget offers the gamer twelve different types of games to play with five different slot machines for a total of 16 ways to lose your computer generated bucks. The games include several variations of poker: 7- card stud, Texas hold-em, video poker and one that I had never heard of - Pai Gow poker. You also have the Big Six wheel of fortune, Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Keno, slots and Baccarat to choose from. All of the games are nicely represented in play and the booklet gives instructions on how to play each game if you are unfamiliar with it. As you play each game you can bring up a little purse tray that displays your assets in accordance to the type of game you are playing. For instance; for slots and video poker, assets are shown as silver coins, in Roulette assets are displayed as the unique Roulette chips. As you leave each table you are presented with a statistic screen that gives you information on the game you just played. This includes your starting bankroll, winnings, average wager, number of games or hands played, total money wagered and your ending bankroll. This is all a nice touch and shows the games attention to detail.

The game really tries to do a nice job in creating the overall mood of a casino visit. It starts out with a sweat little FMV of a limo slicing through Nevada at night with Las Vegas shimmering in the distance. The limo pulls up in front of the Golden Nugget and the door opens, luring you to enter. Once in, you are standing in the lobby with a choice of going straight into the casino, exiting the game or going to the registration desk. Once at the desk you will be asked to enter your name and are then given $1,000 and 9 markers, each valued at $1,000. You now have a choice of going to the casino or participating in a clever little side game call Chaos Mystery.

I was really taken by surprise by the inclusion of this sub-game which is basically an interactive mystery game that takes the gamer on a little adventure to help solve the case of the stolen Chaos Chip! The game unravels via a lot of FMV clips (which now explains the games two CD's!) that really bring the story alive. The reason for this game is simple - it involves you in going to the casino to play the games in order to win enough money to participate in the Invitational Poker Tournament. This tournament just happens to be where all of the suspects are. Once entered into the tournament, you will play 12 hands of 7-Card Stud. In between the breaks in the action you are presented with FMV clips that help you to unravel the mystery. I thought this was a great way to give the game some uniqueness instead of just blindly wondering around a casino. The story is actually quite good to boot!

Golden Nugget also entices you with a goal that will keep you trying to win more cash. The goal is to reach the high stakes rooms or more formally known as the VIP Club. To become a member you will need to have a total of $50,000 in your pocket. You are given a VIP card and allowed to enter the High Limit Games and High Limit Slots where the sky's pretty much the limit!

Overall I found the whole experience to be rather pleasant in a relaxing sort of way. It was a real change of pace from the normal action or driving games that I pop into my Playstation and to be honest, it certainly won't replace them...but it was a nice diversion none the less.

The only real fault I could find with this title was that it only supported one player. Go figure....
Value for Money
If you like playing casino games, this one is hard to beat. It offers the gamer over 16 games to play, a little mystery game thrown in for good measure and some real goals to attain to boot.

These kind of games hardly ever grow stale as there are so many random elements involved. Of course if you don't like gambling or have any interest in this sort of thing, this game will do little to sway you.
GRAPHICS: Average The best casino gambling game available at this time for the Playstation. The game doesn't actually take itself too seriously, yet manages to deliver a tough challange...especially in poker!

I really liked the idea of then mini mystery game and how it was carefully weaved into this title. It was really a brilliant idea on the designers part.

To be sure, there is nothing groundbreaking here but if you like casino style games this one really offers up the goods. It's a pleasant enough diversion and should keep you entertained for some time.
SOUND: Average
VALUE: Very Good

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