The Price is Right - video game review
by Danny Gallagher, posted Feb 12th 2009 7:03PM
It's more than a little ironic (or tragic, depending on how much you give a rat's ass) that the most successful game show in the history of American television has never had a truly worthy home game. One worthy enough to give to loser contestants so they can win against their own friends and family at home because God is a cruel comedian.
Seriously, God should get his own Mark Twain Prize.
Now after more than 35 years on the air, there is such a game: The Price is Right video game. And it's so well done and fun that it could crush the soul of a 300-pound linebacker from Obetz, Ohio who lost out on his chance to be the only guy in town who owns a Chrysler Crossfire.
The game works because it nails the idiosyncrasies of the show with sniper-like accuracy, while cutting out all the junk that makes the show slow and impatient; namely, the smarmy host. Instead, announcer Rich Fields takes over the show's main duties. He introduces the games, describes the prizes, and screams "A new caaaaar!!!" His presence takes out a lot of the abrupt cuts that most game show games are cluttered with just so they can justify the cost of their host's two-hour teeth-bleaching session.
The game has two modes: a "Three Strikes" mode where three losses at "Contestant's Row" or the "Showcase Showdown" equals game over, and a "Classic" mode where five losses at anything ends the game. It also offers a party mode for up to four players. The game play stays true to the show without sacrificing time or interest and if you don't know how the show works, then you have never taken a sick day from work or school. It's nearly impossible to replicate on a video game. So they've done the next best thing.
The detail of each set looks like they modeled them after the actual pieces used on the show. The only downside to the graphics are the distracting crowd in the "Contestant's Row" round. There's only about three or four models and each of them are cloned, so they look like they belong in rival cults with their identical hairstyles and non-threatening fashion.
The pricing games are the most enjoyable part. Bidding can get a little tedious when you don't know how much a bubble shaped chair costs, but they are worth the wait to play the "Money Game," "3 Strikes" and, of course, the almighty "Plinko," a game so popular that it will be the name of my punk cover band someday.
It has a huge curve for replay ability, even if you spot a prize once or twice in your first few games. All of them come with their own challenges that reward players with video clips of funny moments from the show, including my personal favorite: heavy and old people falling down while spinning the Big Wheel. It's the most evil game show prop ever. Well, until someone gets sucked into the centrifugal force of the Wheel of Fortune and impaled on the turning spokes, that is.