Wheel of Fortune
System: Nintendo 64
Publisher & Developer: Gametek
Capabilities: Rumble Pak Compatible
Gametek brings over one of the most popular game shows ever home on your N64. With Vanna White as your host for the game, youll be reliving those moments of guessing what the puzzles were in no time. Will it deliver the same experience as it does watching the television show? Lets get onto the review and find out.
Damn, Gametek sure did impress me on how good the graphics department was with just a tiny 32 megabit cart. 32 megabits is the smallest size of a game on the N64, and about only 3 or 4 games of the N64 library or 200-300 only have this small size of space. Any ways, the studios in full 3-D, and it looks great and you get a few different backgrounds behind the players like palm trees, mountains, etc. The board and wheel look exactly the way they do on the television show. All the game info is conveniently laid out on the bottom of the screen with the each players score, and the choice of letters at the bottom of the screen with the options of spinning, buying a vowel, solving the puzzle, and free spin as your options.
Gametek should especially be commended with the amount of FMV footage they fit in the game of Vanna White. Especially considering that most N64 games dont even have FMVs. Theres about a minute or 2 of Vanna White footage where she introduces you to the game, introduces the round, says if you lose a turn, and a congratulation message. Really nice. The only bad part about the graphics, is that the contestants and Vanna White on screen look like cheap polygonal cardboard cutouts and were only animated when they clapped at the beginning of the game or if they won the round. But pretty nice job on the graphics overall.
Again, another part of the game well done. Vanna White provides you with excellent voice over commentary that I mentioned earlier. Also each contestant shots each letter they guess and the options of buying vowels and solving puzzles, to give it a televised type feel. The sound effects are great too, the spinning of the wheel and letters popping up on the game board sounds exactly as they do on tv.
For the few of you who dont know what Wheel of Fortune is, Ill explain it to you what it is. This game is based off a hit game tv show, a blank menu board appears with usually around 5-40 blank characters, where you spin a wheel and a certain dollar amount is given, you guess a letter and get the dollar amount that the wheel popped up for, but vowels cost you and you have to pay $250 to buy one, also theres certain spaces on the wheel where you go bankrupt, lose a turn, and so on. You usually play 3-5 puzzles, with the 3rd round being the Jackpot Round where a kitty of $5,000 is at the beginning of that round and builds up over the course of that round and if you land on that space and solve the puzzle on that turn, you get whats all in the Jackpot. Also after each round theres one big money space on the wheel that goes up from $2500, to $3500, to $5000. And theres also one tiny $10,000 space on the wheel. Then the player with the highest amount of cash at the end of the game goes to a final round where they take a shot at another puzzle for $25,000. The only thing they dont have here from the tv show is the prizes,(I believe they had them in the old NES versions of Wheel of Fortune) but its understandable, why would winning a virtual car big such a big deal in the game?
The game runs a long just smoothly, along the rate of the tv show actually, taking about 30 minutes to complete the game. The computer will give you a run for your money, even on the easiest difficulty. Like all Gametek quiz show games, you gotta spell out your answers, no big deal(Im trying to imagine voice recognition with the N64 microphone coming out soon in order to solve the puzzles, that wouldve been nice, although it was impossible at the time.) Up to 3 people can play the game, alternating, with just 1 to 3 controllers. One feature which really wouldve seemed appropriate for the game would be a controller pak or battery save option where you can save the highest scores, but it wasnt here unfortunately.
Even though the game doesnt make use of the controller pak, it somehow manages to be compatible with the Rumble Pak, where you can feel the wheel as it spins. Really kind of weird at first, but a nice little extra. Theres around 2,000 puzzles in the game, and I only ran into a repeated puzzle only on a couple of occasions of the many hours I clocked in this game. And with up to 3 people playing, the fun should never end.
+: Loads of puzzles, Nice use of FMVs, also great use of the Rumble Pak
-: Contestants look odd graphics wise, no save feature
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 9.4
Replay Value: 9.6
Rounded to fit GameFAQs score: 10
I still play this game every week or two. This is probably the N64 game I played the most of my whole collection surprisingly. But the reason for that is that whenever Im all tired out after playing death matches from Perfect Dark or Quake 2, or getting tired playing some other game, a couple rounds of this makes relieves a lot of frustration from me, kind of like a cigarette for people whore going through withdrawal. Any ways, itll be hard to find a copy of this game, since Gametek went out of business several months after its release, but your best bet is at a pawn shop/used game store or off the net somewhere, and you really should get this game too, because not only is it a great multi player game, but a great stress reliever too!