PC (DOS) Game Review (Posted on 10-06-2015)
This is another one of those DOS games I couldn't stop playing as a kid. Being that this simple game of Wheel of Fortune
couldn't bare much goodness at how nicely, yet simply, this was programmed, it's only a matter of time someone talked about this.
Back then, my parents, namely my father, obtained all three individual versions of this game (see pictures above, but I lost my Second Edition box). This very copy I obtained is a "Collector's Pak" featured all three editions in one package, but all still retains the same goodness from the individual editions released. With that said, let's dive in:
Yes, it's a DOS game so don't expect high-strung graphics emulating that of the Nintendo 64 and/or the Sony PlayStation during those days. The music is as classic as you can get, using the exact same musical tune from the actual TV show via "DOS tunes." Programmers sure got this right, considering this game's NES counterparts
. The track played after you solved a puzzle correctly sounds like something you'd hear from a sports computer game, namely a game related to the Olympics. Anyway, the game boots up as a normal as the "hostess" presents the letters featuring the title of the game. Right away this "hostess," who you know is Vanna White, sports red curly hair, a robotic bodily motion (no kidding), unveiling the letters with no arm-swerving and wears the same color dress all throughout. Yeah I understand the coding of getting a much better motion to get Vanna to look like she's really turning the letters around would have been considered, but I'm guessing that either the code was hard to figure out and write, or the machine compatibility didn't have enough power to support it. It's a strange feature but you eventually don't mind much about it.
After pressing any key, you'll find that you make your choices using the F-keys, and if you have a QWERTY keyboard, they are located above your number keys. If you're running this game via DOSBox on a laptop, you have to press the function key—fn
—in order to have the F-keys work. (The CPU speed I strongly encourage is 211.) Information entering is very simple: how many players are playing (choose 1 if you're the only one playing, and it'll input 2 computer opponents), if you're a returning champion, and if not, you have to enter your name. After that, stand by, and you're ready to play some Wheel of Fortune!
With the wheel being initialized, it's time to play. The choices are easy to read: F1 to spin, F3 to buy a vowel and F5 to solve the puzzle. The wheel design is very simplistic but very cool. Since there is no strength meter to indicate the speed at which you like to spin the wheel, I sort of found that pressing the F1 key albeit softly makes it spin stronger. Then again, the strength of spinning the wheel is randomized, and there are times when the wheel spins the same way you spun previously which could be a blessing or a curse. For example, if you landed on a $5,000 space, it's a luxury; If you landed on a "Lose A Turn," you'd grind your teeth. With that said, when you spin the wheel, especially at the height of a competition when you need to beat your opponent's high score, you can only hope that the wheel plays nicely in your favor. It may sound spine-tingling on paper, but trust me, I've had these moments, and you will too.
As for the opponents, the computer opponents are indicated by an asterisk (*) and sport different names. The name I often see a lot is a contestant named "BRIAN," and sometimes "FELICIA." These names don't show much in terms of who is the more witty opponent, but what you don't want to do is give them an ample opportunity to have them solve the puzzle. If there are about 5 empty letter spaces left, or if vowels are all that's left in the puzzle, more than likely, the computer opponent will solve the puzzle....and they're always right in solving them. If you're like me always watching your score, making sure you have enough so you won't get beaten, if all else fails, just solve the puzzle if you know it. Don't make the mistake I ran into: get suckered into spinning the wheel hoping to land on a big denomination space when you found that you landed on the "BANKRUPT" space (something that's happened on the actual TV show). The least amount I have won going into the Bonus Round was $600. Damn.
Just a little tidbit about the wheel: after Round One, the wheel design stays the same which is very disappointing. That black-striped red space, indicating "BANKRUPT" would represent a $600 space, and only once correctly indicated as such on Round Three. Having mentioned this, if you've played the game enough times, you'll get used to what the spaces represent, but to someone new to this series will easily get thrown off. Worse of all, the Second and Third Editions never fixed this!
Onto the bonus round, you play for four prizes that very much stay the same throughout the three editions:
- LUXURY BEDROOM SET $8,000.00
- AMERICAN SPORTS CAR $10,500.00
- 17 FOOT FISHING BOAT $9,750.00
- DREAM VACATION $11,200.00
For the sake of high scoring, I usually play for the "AMERICAN SPORTS CAR" and the "DREAM VACATION." Weird how the decimals are added, considering it has no value included with the prize's worth.
Before aiming to solve the puzzle, you have to select 4 consonants and 1 vowel. Sticking with the usual, I always choose R S T L N
. There are times when I choose A
and on rare occasions, the vowel I
. Once you solve the final puzzle correctly, the price of the prize you played for gets added to your current score you won with, and your name gets add on the "CHAMPS" list. After that, you have the option to play again or not.
Of course I will!
For people with very little patience would find this game very tedious. Besides the confusion of the wheel, everything is very simple to follow and play. On the Third Edition, two-rowed puzzles are now presented on the very top row of the puzzle. Not that it means anything but I wonder why it was done this way, including one-rowed puzzles are presented at the absolute top (see the "NIGHTCLUB" puzzle above). As for the Bonus Round puzzles, some of them are too difficult for someone even with "above average knowledge" to attempt and solve. The category "PHRASE" are fun to solve and know, but "PERSON" is a category I find difficult. Although I will always recall Pat Sajak on the show, remind contestants that "PERSON" does not always mean proper name, the puzzles featuring a proper name are names I've never heard of, and question why should I even know what worldly contribution they have brought to humanity (I'm not saying that a no-named person doesn't mean much for what they've done, but gosh, these are names I never even learned about in school). Also on the Third Edition, the category "GROUP" often shows up, which could be names of a government agency group to a famous musical group.
Other than the flaws mentioned, it's a great game with some replay value. Give this game a shot! However, if I were to pick one, the Second Edition would be viable (sliding by a hair from selecting the Third Edition).
Yes I do!
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© 2008-2017 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
PC (DOS) Game Ratings
PC (DOS) Credits
Wheel of Fortune®
Based on the TV program produced by Merv Griffin Enterprises, a Unit of Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc.
℗© 1987, 1990, Califon Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Merv Griffin Enterprises did not write any of this computer program material and makes no representation as to its contents.
℗© 1987, 1990, I.J.E., Inc.
All Rights Reserved.