|Genre: Leisure||CDs: 2|
|Publisher: Virgin Interactive||Released: October 17, 1997|
|Developer: Point of View||UPC: 0 52145 88009 2|
|Sony ID: SLUS-00319, 00555||PSRM: 003980, 008020|
|Players: 1 Player||Memory: 1 to 2 Blocks|
|ESRB: Kids to Adults – Gaming|
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.
Virgin Interactive accidentally published Golden Nugget on the PlayStation with the PC developer’s logo on the discs. Point of View did the PlayStation version, who were correctly included in the manual. The game was reprinted with the correct logo on the discs. The manual and inserts appear to be the same between versions.
- There are no known misprints.
I went into Golden Nugget as if I were actually walking into a casino for the first time – because I was. I’ve never been to a casino in real life as I’m not one to toss money around with nothing to show for it. Knowing full well there was a chance to run into Adam West greatly helped the situation, so away we go.
And 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 Killsbourgh, 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 are fun and 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 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 in game variety and making it feel like the player is at the casino.
Decent ambient white noise, little touches like the cards being 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. I do have a soft spot for cheesy Full Motion Video games, and with the man himself at the helm, it’s a fine vintage cheese that tastes just a tiny bit off.
Virgin took a gamble on the subject matter, and they thankfully break even in the end.
- The Mystery Mode really is worth it just for Adam West
- Ambient and White noise help try and build the atmosphere
- There really is a lot of variety in the games.
- Very little to keep the non-gamblers around
- The Mystery Mode makes little sense in presenting clues
- Way too much luck is required to progress in Mystery Mode
Final Score: 5 / 10 – Average
Golden Nugget’s casino is open for business and worth a look for those that like the charm, but outsiders will find little solace in anything other then Adam West’s amazing cheese.
- There are currently no videos for this game.
- In the final moments of Adam West’s on-screen time, as he heads off-screen the faint opening notes of the 1960’s Batman TV show theme can be heard intertwined within the soundtrack.
- Various nods and in-jokes to Adam West’s days as Batman can be found.
- The Mystery Tournament mode really was filmed on-location at the Golden Nugget.
- Voice-overs by the film stars were not dubbed into the game’s play modes, so despite what you hear during the cinematics, the regular casino patron voices are used.