Jeopardy!, Artechís Wheel of Fortune attempts to
translate the game show experience into a video game as
realistically as possible. Unfortunately, the structure of the game
itself results in a less than compelling video game.
Gameplay modes include Quick Play (no career stats saved), Normal
Game (saved Career stats), Tournament, Solo, and Contestant Exam.
Tournament mode is only available after the player has won at least
five games or earned over $50,000 in career winnings. Solo game
gives one player a number of free spins, and one of these is lost
each time the player guesses an incorrect letter. Contestant Exam
allows the player to try a sample exam like those used on the show.
In this mode the player has five minutes to complete as many as 16
different puzzles, and a passing score is completing at least 12 out
In Wheel of Fortune, three contestants attempt to solve
puzzles by guessing letters. After spinning the wheel and
determining the amount of money to be earned, the contestant guesses
a letter and receives that amount of money for each instance of that
letter in the puzzle. If the contestant guesses a letter that is
not in the puzzle (or lands on a Bankrupt or Lose a Turn space),
itís the next contestantís turn. Once the active contestant
believes he/she can solve the puzzle based on the letters currently
shown, he attempts it and if correct wins the total amount of money
earned in the round.
Up to three of these contestants can be human players, which is
smartly handled by having the second and third players alternating
use of the second controller instead of requiring a multitap.
Unfortunately, when playing against the computer in Normal mode the
A.I. is pathetically stupid. Itís more competent in Tournament
mode, but still makes dumb mistakes from time to time. Not only
that, but in either mode the computer lands on Lose a Turn or
Bankrupt at very convenient times for the human player. Itís like
the game tries to make it as easy as possible for the player to win,
making victories seem somewhat empty.
Not only does poor A.I. hurt the experience, but also the
alternating nature of the game results in some long wait times
between turns. When playing alone the only thing to do while the
computer spins is try to figure out the puzzle, but thatís of
limited benefit and doesnít help when the player already knows the
answer. No one expects an intense Serious Sam-esque
experience out of a game show, but even for this genre itís boring
at times. Multiplayer relieves this problem somewhat since humans
are (mostly) more intelligent and itís always fun to taunt
opponents, particularly when the spinning player is clueless and
everyone else knows the answer. Seeing a confused player spin when
you know the only consonant left is ĎXí is amusing indeed.
Graphically, Artech did just about everything they could with this
game. The game has six different sets to choose from, each of which
looks good and has several animated things. For example, the winter
sports set has a snowman with scarf waving in the wind and an
animated bear. The shiny floors also reflect quite nicely, and
spinning the wheel comes complete with an excellent blurring
effect. Vanna White appears in several FMVs (no Pat Sajak), but her
acting is bad on the ďso bad itís goodĒ scale. Prizes are
represented with excellent video/slideshow presentations, although
there arenít enough of them as they repeat often. On the plus side,
Iíve won several trips to San Francisco already.
Like Jeopardy!, the contestants speak all of their dialogue
and even throw in a few cheesy lines heard on the show for good
measure. These include phrases like ďShow me the big money!Ē and
ďAlright, Iím having some fun now!Ē. Vanna offers her condolences
after a missed guess, and tries to show enthusiasm when a player
makes a great guess. The voice acting is too cheesy to be good in
the traditional sense, but cheesy is necessary for anyone that
watches this show.
Unlike Jeopardy!, the alternating nature of the game
allows three people to play without a multitap.
The sets look good, with a nice blurring effect for spinning and
even some reflection on the floor.
Cheesy dialogue that works in this game.
Over 3,200 puzzles, and Iíve yet to encounter the same one
Apparently Pat Sajak is too good for this sort of thing, because
The nature of Wheel of Fortune results in a lot of boring
downtime between turns.
The A.I. is stupid in Normal mode, and selectively stupid (usually
when the human player benefits) in Tournament mode.
Not enough variety in prizes.
Jeopardy!, online support would help a game like this. New
puzzles to download and online play would be nice.
As a single-player game, Wheel of Fortune is barely
recommended even to fans of the show. Hardcore fans of the show
will enjoy it, but anyone else will get bored quickly. As a
multiplayer game, Wheel of Fortune is a decent family/party
game that doesnít (unlike Jeopardy!) require a multitap for
three to enjoy.