PC (DOS) Game Review (Posted on 10-28-2015)
I can't imagine anyone having lived life without playing a game involving cards. It's ubiquitous; It's normal; It's part of human recreation. Very much scratching the surface of old-fashioned gambling, this game show-based game Card Sharks
made a great run during its tenure. Of all the episodes I have seen, from rule changes to TV hosts, the highest I have seen someone win on the show is $29,000 on the Money Cards (bonus round). The show is a lot of fun, and so is this DOS variant.
Now as you can tell, the picture shows my copy and is labeled "Card Shark™." I'm not sure if that was to prevent copyright issues, but it even had a ™ on it. However, the title screen of the game correctly shows the actual title of the game. Certainly very odd when I first witnessed the label. Other than that, yes, this was one of those games I played constantly and grew up with. You can tell off the bat that I'm simply a big fan of TV game shows—the excitement, the lights, the energy, the risk-taking and gambling, the prizes....I love it.
The tracks on the intro and the end of the game are the only soundtracks you will ever hear. The intro track is pretty basic and okay, but when you finish the game, it plays a track that sort of feels like, "well, the game is finished and whether you won or lost, that's the end of it." I'm not a fan of it but that's what the game plays. The graphics are what you'd expect from a DOS game so nothing too much. However, there's a bunch of animation and cuts so there's a lot to see. It's pretty good, to say the least. Showing the graphic of the host is a nice touch, and judging from it, looks like Jim Perry
to me—the tallest game show host in history (so far). As for the contestants, yeah....they're the same-looking contestants from the other DOS game Classic Concentration
. Perhaps the programmers were too burned out to create new characters as contestants, which I don't like, but I can understand. Unlike the Classic Concentration
variant, these characters show more facial expressions and reactions, making them amusing to look at. Yes, the character design isn't inspiring, but with these added motions, it worked for me. For the cards, the texts and the Money Round, they are all what you'd expect from the show. A little oddity I found was, if the host resembled Jim Perry, the Money Round, let alone the title screen, emulated that from Bob Eubanks' version of Card Sharks
. Not that that was a big deal but it's very odd.
Onto the gameplay: it's very easy and very simple. Making choices using either the 1
keys, or your directional keys and the ENTER
key to make your choice. As for the survey questions, you use the UP
keys. The lowest number is 0 and the highest number is 99, when the question is assigned to you. If the question is assigned to your opponent and chooses a number, your option is to guess HIGHER
than what number they've guessed. Questions are numerically-inclined surveys, so you'll be dealing with thought-provoking questions all throughout. What I noticed, depending on the question, is your opponent automatically chooses "LOWER" if you choose a number from 51 and above; Your opponent will stick with "HIGHER" if you choose the number 50 or lower. If by chance you guess the number exactly right, you win the question either way. (On the TV show itself, if you've guessed the number correctly, you win a $100 bonus—almost a take-in from the same bonus when guessing the actual retail price of the item up for bid on the hit show The Price Is Right
. Of course, today, that bonus increased to $500.)
As for the questions, several of them have been asked on the actual TV show itself. And while we're on the questions, most of them are very relationship-related. Was the writer for this game lonely and had no luck in love? Did they pursue this computer game project during his/her break-up or during their divorce? While you can't choose your questions, I found the relationship/dating questions were overwhelming and too much.
When you've won the question, you have the option to play or pass. Choosing to play, you have the option to change the current card you have. Whether you do or not, you now play some card sharkin'! "Higher or Lower?
" Okay get this: the lowest card is a 2, and the highest is an Ace; The toughest cards to call higher or lower are usually 6s, 7s, 8s and 9s. (The 8 is the middle card.) Make the wrong call and you lose your turn; If the next card is the same, you still
lose your turn. Make your best guesses but if you feel like you're stuck in making a guess, choose to Freeze (pressing the 3 key). Next time you win a question, you continue from where you 'froze' the card going up onto the fifth card. Completing your board means you win that round! The contestant that wins two rounds goes on to play the Money Cards
Now comes my favorite part of the game: Money Cards! The procedure is the same, except you must now place bets. You start off with $200 and have the option to change the card you are given. If you choose to change, there are 3 choices to choose from. Once you've made your choice, you MUST play with that card. The lowest bet you can place is $50 and the highest is very much the amount you currently have—contestants on the TV show would say "[bet] all of it!" Do you still lose [your bet] if the next card is the same? I'll be happy to answer that with this:
Throughout the seasons of Card Sharks
starring Jim Perry, betting on a card only to find that the next card is the same [on the Money Cards round] meant that you lose, bar none. In the later seasons of Perry's version was when they changed the rule: if the next card is the same, it's a push, which means you don't win nor do you lose your bet. However, that rule change was a little too late as the show dried out. Had that rule taken place, it would've saved a lot of contestants from losing, including celebrities who played on the show for charity. When the show revived with host Bob Eubanks, then later was hosted by Bill Rafferty via syndication, the rule applied since the first day. It wasn't until later that they implemented the card-change rule restricting to only 3 cards. That part I understand because during the earlier seasons, contestants had an unlimited amount of card changes that they'd change it until they'd get a good card to call on! Not only that, you could change your card at any time. They then changed it to giving the contestant to change the card before proceeding through the line of cards.
With that little brief fun-fact talk, you now can understand the layout you see, let alone the rules. After making your way through the first line of cards, you advance to the second line. (By the way, if you lose all your bets on the first line before completing it, you move up to the second line automatically.) On the second line, whatever you currently have in your bank adds $400 having made that far. Again, you have the option to change your current card or not, then the procedure is the same. If you've bet it all and lost, the game is over. If you made it through the second line of cards, here it is: the Big Bet
! The third line featuring the Big Bet means the minimum you can wager is half of what you currently have. If you saved your 3 cards, you've got some breathing room; If you ran out by the time you got to the Big Bet, and are forced to play with a bad card, say a 6, stay calm and bet half if you're absolutely unsure....or prove your shiny armor in making a daring bet. The toughest bet I have seen was when late, great TV personality Allen Ludden (husband of Betty White) had $2,100 in his bank, and bet $2,000 with an 8 card. Result? He called "LOWER" on an 8 only to find the next card was a....6, winning $4,100. Yeah, go Allen! Finally, whatever amount you have won gets added to your score overall in the CHAMPIONS list with the option to play again.
A perfect example of a question that was used on the actual TV show itself. (The answer is 70. Shhhh!)
This game is a lot of fun, and just knowing about the questions make you think and are good to know (though I'm certain you, too, will grow tired of the dating-esque questions). Just the Money Cards part, making you sit on the hot seat making cautious bets is already exciting in it of itself. Granted, this game could use a little more and could've replaced that ending music which is terrible, but overall, you'll have a great time with Card Sharks
. I know there's a lot going on, so if you like to familiarize yourself with the rules and how the game is played, search "Card Sharks" on YouTube and you'll be just fine. Shows/Games like this held up nicely during its time before the days of Deal Or No Deal
I will wrap this review up with a collage of "interesting" questions asked throughout the game—some good, some are ehh.
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© 2008-2019 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
PC (DOS) Game Ratings
PC (DOS) Credits
Based on the television program produced by Mark Goodson Productions. Copyright 1988 The Card Sharks Company. All Rights Reserved.
This computer program was adapted, published and distributed by Sharedata, Inc., Chandler, Arizona. Copyright Sharedata, Inc. 1988. All Rights Reserved.
This computer program was developed and licensed in conjunction with Softie, Inc., Phoenix, Arizona.