|ESRB: Kids to Adults
| Retail Barcode:
0 52145 88009 2
1 or 2 Blocks
Point of View
| Sony ID:
October 17, 1997
Experience Real Las Vegas Style Casino Gaming with All the Amenities
Immerse yourself in the Golden Nugget and you’ll enjoy Las Vegas style casino gaming in a four-star casino paradise with 16 games of chance to challenge and thrill you. This is virtual nonstop casino action with all the authenticity and splendor of the real thing.
- 16 classic casino games, including Pai Gow Poker, 7 Card Stud, Blackjack, Texas Hold-em, Mini Baccarat, Craps, Roulette, Big Six, Keno, Slot Machines and Video Poker.
- Realistic Las Vegas-style gaming down to the odds, pay-offs, and rules
- Polished 3-D graphics bring you inside this legendary casino – complete with cards and chips.
- More than 30 minutes of live action video starring Adam West (Batman) filmed on location at the GOLDEN NUGGET
A small disclaimer; I have never been to a casino. The thought of walking into an establishment with money in my pocket knowing I may walk out with nothing and nothing to show for it has never intrigued me. I don’t get the ‘thrill’ of a casino. So when it comes to gambling games, I know I’m not the target audience, but running a PlayStation site requires me to play and review gambling games with the same honesty and curiosity I would give a role-playing game or action title.
That said, I went into Golden Nugget as if I were actually walking into a casino for the first time. Knowing full well there was a chance to run into Adam West greatly helped the situation.
Yes, that Adam West. Golden Nugget is split into 2 games – “free play” in the casino, or entry into the Tournament Story Mode. The former is self-explanatory, and the latter is just as bizarre and mind-boggling as you think it is. Playing a character called Steven Killsbourg, you’re called in by a lovely lady named Dr. Harkness who has lost a microchip that can decipher random occurrences. In the realm of the Golden Nugget, that means knowing when to bet and when to fold, thus literally and figuratively allowing one to hold all the cards.
With millions of dollars in the balance, the gamer is there to help get the chip back. The problem is that Adam West’s character just happened to observe and lip read Dr. Harkness’ phone call to Steven in the casino lobby. Allowing himself the privilege to figure out the riddles and clues from a sheet of paper she dropped, he now scours the casino for clues while the player keep an eye on the other players in the tournament.
Here’s where the story mode takes a confusing, somewhat poorly explained turn. The mode is essentially a weird video take on the board game Clue, just without needing to know the room or murder weapon. The player starts with $10,000 and must work their way up to $20,000 to enter the first of three tournaments. This is done by simply playing in the casino, using wits and poker chips among 16 different games of chance. If we were to look at this from a role-playing game angle, this is the part where the player grinds and grinds until they have enough experience points to tackle the higher level monster. Only here, the monsters are the actual games of chance and rival players, while the levels of experience are the bankrolls.
Which means the ability to see the mystery through to the end relies solely on luck, and lots of it. This mechanic is flipped on its head when during the actual card tournament, nothing matters. One can fold every hand and still progress the story. Which means the entire mode is grind, intentionally lose or not, repeat three times, and then guess the culprit. The ‘clues’ aren’t what one would expect them to be; in fact, most of the time there’s no actual admission of what validates a clue. There are so many characters and onscreen antics thrown at the player that most of it is forgotten while the actual card game is going on. Once the final answer is given, most of the clues are then explained and then you’re sent back to the regular casino game. I wouldn’t say I felt cheated by the whole experience, but there was so much confusion as to what was going on that I honestly can’t imagine playing it again. I mean, I already know the answer to a one question quiz, so why bother?
This is a crime against Adam West, as he is at his cheesiest best. The rest of the cast is fun and full of obvious stereotypes, but you can tell the entire crew is on the joke. Much of the actual Golden Nugget casino is used as backdrop, which at least adds authenticity to the whole production.
With all of that aside, the rest of the review comes down to the actual casino play. Well, it’s a casino, and one can play. Of the 16 games, the main focus is on various poker games, roulette, Big Six, Keno, Craps, and a whole lot of slot machine variants.
Having spent a few hours with the discs, it’s clear that Texas Hold’em seems to be my game, and that anything else is equal to me just burning my money. As I mentioned, this really isn’t my gig. After a few goes here and there, I was content with never needing to play it again. I used a GameShark to quickly amass the needed money for the story mode, finished it, and went about my day. For those into this kind of environment, Virgin did an admirable job with in-game variety and making it feel like the player is at the casino. Decent ambient white noise, little touches like the cards animated as if they were actually being flipped over, and clean table graphics provide real gamblers with a competent gaming (literally) experience. For those players like me, the thrills are found elsewhere.
For how inexpensive and forgotten the game has become all these years later, it’s worth the couple of bucks it runs just to watch Adam West dance around the screen making fun of you.
At least then, there’s something to show when there’s no money in one’s pocket.
There are no videos associated with this game yet.
There are no Ads for this game yet.
- There are no known Variants for this game.
- If you play the Story Mode first, and successfully guess the thief, you’ll be rewarded $500,000 in-game currency to play with in the standard mode.
- A gutted port of the game was redeveloped and published on the Nintendo 64 by Electronic Arts. The box uses updated art assets from the PlayStation version.
- The Golden Nugget makes various appearances in movies and TV shows, but it also was the background for Balrog in the original Street Fighter 2 games.
- Late in Disc 2, upon realizing something, Adam West delivers the line, “Quick! To the elevators!” in the same way his Bruce Wayne delivered the line, “Quick, to the Bat Cave!”
- Adam West’s character discusses “This game within a game,” essentially revealing that he knows he’s a computer game character inside said game’s mini-game.
- In Adam West’s final scene, as he is walking out of the casino, the game’s soundtrack sneaks in a few notes of the 1960’s Batman theme into itself, a cute little in-joke.
- An interesting observation; the shortcut menu does not allow you to Save before exiting; you must walk back to the in-game lobby and save at the registration desk. By forcing you to re-walk through the casino to get to the exit and save, they’re hoping you’ll stay a bit longer and spend more money – like a real casino.
- The game is 2 discs to support the full-motion video in story mode, meaning you can access the standard casino mode on both discs. However, once story mode is complete, you’ll be forced to toss in disc 1 on next boot-up.
- The story mode’s plot line is similar to the movie Pi; a microchip / computer that has the ability to predict random occurrences. In game, it’s figuring out casino game odds, in Pi it’s the stock market.
- In the Story Mode, during the FMV card tournaments, the outcomes of the games played have no impact on the storyline. The player can simply fold every round to advance the story.
- Listen closely to the ambient noise – every so often there is a deep voiced man saying something. While one can’t make out what he’s actually saying, he sounds exactly like Rocky Balboa going “Hey, yeah.”
- The Story Mode uses the same engine as the regular casino game, which means the in-game voice overs do not match the real life actor voices.
- The manual, despite being fairly thick in page count, has some of the tiniest print seen in an instruction booklet.