Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Poker: Wild West gunslingers, Las Vegas showgirls naughty strip variations. Poker is glamour, yet when all’s said and done, it’s not a complicated game, the only real brain work being in remembering the combinations.
For the greenhorn, Poker’s a game usually played with five cards in a hand, although there are as many variants as Heinz varieties. The idea is to get your five cards to collate into a decent ‘hand’ using any of the ten combinations.
In real life a lot of excitement comes from keeping a ‘poker’ face when you’ve got a Full House — and winning real money. Hopefully most of you aren’t about to mortgage the family home for a few thrills, so Sega have added a few more rules to complicate gameplay. The basic idea revolves around a solitaire set-up placing cards into a grid, to make a poker combination.
Your main screen has tour rows of cards, a 5x5 grid in which to put the them, and scoring section. There are the normal 52 cards and a Joker (which is wild, very useful in the bottom corner). You pick a card and place it in the grid, where it falls to the bottom.
This continues till the grid’s filled. When a combination is made it doesn’t disappear, so you need to be careful where you place each card. This is where the puzzle factor comes in as you see only the next card at the bottom of each pile.
To finish a level accumulate enough points( displayed at the top of the screen). Any left over are taken away from the target for the next screen, leaving you less points to get. This makes the first levels easy (on one, I needed zero points to pass), but this isn’t bad, since you must accrue points that allow you to beat later levels.
If the music irritates, press start and select from seven different cute tunes.
Gameplay’s enthralling but if you don’t like poker you may not enjoy this at all. However if you have even a passing interest, Solitaire Poker makes a nice change of pace, and taxes the old grey matter.
A plus point is the number of options. The one-player enrols you in three different games each containing 15 rounds (not easy), but with infinite continues.
Choose from three displays: VIEW-1 turns up a card from the bottom of the piles; VIEW-2 turns up three cards and VIEW-3 rotates between one card, three and all the cards.
TRY-1 mode is one level only, in which you try to score the most points possible, with play four options: EASY shows one card, but you need 11,000 points to finish it; NORMAL shows 12 cards, but you need 13,000 points; HARD shows you all six cards but you need 15,000 and CASINO shows none, and you need 9,000 points (very tough).
There’s a two-option, two-player game against the clock. Type-A plays like one-player, except that each time you get a combination some time is added as well as points and the player with the most points is declared the winner. This is a best-of-five competition.
The Type-B game’s much more fun, and allows you to hide the number of cards your opponent can see, the better the combination the more cards are hidden. The gameplay is very challenging and a different variation on usual puzzle games (Tetris, Columns etc.), but the tremendous number of options lifts it into a new league. In short, splashing £25 on this pack is no gamble and is a must for all puzzle/poker fanatics.
Graphics and sonics are both excellent, and the variations endless, so you can’t get sick of the backdrop or the soundtrack. The playing cards are in unconventional shades making the game even easier to get to grips with. If you are a poker fan you’ll love it, and if you aren’t, you soon will be.
Good looking, sounding and playing! Get it now!