April 21, 2019
Archives  Reviews  Monopoly (2002)  



Publisher: MacSoft    Genre: Board & Card
Min OS X: Not Supported    CPU: Any CPU @ 225 MHz    RAM: 64 MB    Hard Disk: 5 MB    2x CD-ROM    Graphics: 800x600 @ 16-bit

Monopoly (2002)
May 8, 2001 | Richard Hallas

Click to enlarge

Sound and music
To enhance your enjoyment, there’s a choice of background tunes, including the twee but amusing 20s-style Monopoly Song (“Come on, let’s play Monopoly / Cash fun and glitzy prop-ur-dee…”), and voices for the game tokens and Mr Monopoly. Mr Monopoly (the guy in the logo) reads out the Chance and Community Chest cards, announces properties when you land on them and comments incessantly on other game events. The tokens themselves make various ‘humorous’ remarks on their turn.

This might sound appealing but, in common with many other similar kinds of game, these voiceovers become unbelievably irritating very quickly indeed. The voices are silly enough in themselves (Mickey Mouse on Prozac would sound sober by comparison), but when a token makes the same ‘amusing’ remark for the 57th consecutive turn, you feel like throwing your Mac through the nearest window. Luckily you can turn the stupid voices off (and the music too, which is OK but repeats ad nauseam throughout the game). Unfortunately the game doesn’t remember your choices between sessions, so you have to do this every time.

3D or not 3D? That is the question
Now, considering the good points, the basic board graphics are very attractive indeed, and the ten special ‘city’ boards all have nice photos on each property square. They all look great, and in the predefined city variations, all the title deed cards and Mr Monopoly’s voiceovers have been updated with the various new names. (I did notice a few mismatches and spelling mistakes in some of the city boards, which was a pity, but that’s a minor point.) So, that’s all good, and if you live in one of those US cities you’ll enjoy this edition of the game a lot.

However, in one respect I was quite disappointed with the board graphics. Extremely attractive though they are, they are all pre-rendered using a limited number of camera angles; there’s just a few static views of the board, and the counters move over them. However, I had been expecting a genuinely 3D board which would be plotted in real time as the counters moved.

Now, before you start accusing me of being unreasonable in my demands, read the following extract from the online documentation that comes with the game: “Click on the gameboard and move your mouse to rotate the board.” Yes! That’s exactly the sort of thing I want! Shame it can’t be done… Presumably this was the way they originally intended to implement the game, but sadly it isn’t the way it’s ended up. (You can click a button to view the board for a moment at a different camera angle, but that’s all.)

It does make me wonder why so much emphasis was placed on the use of OpenGL; the only genuinely animated 3D things on the screen are the silver tokens. Yes, the graphics are highly attractive and the menu buttons fly around in an impressive way; they’re just not quite what I was expecting, or what the documentation seemed to promise. The static views are fine in themselves, but a board that was plotted in real-time would have been quite an improvement because it would have avoided a disorientation problem. With the static views, the camera has to switch perspective constantly, and you can easily lose track of which side of the board you’re seeing as the view changes; and occasionally a counter will vanish briefly off the side of the screen, too.


Archives  Reviews  Monopoly (2002)