IGN Review of Deal or No Deal
Certain game shows make for decent video games. Merv Griffin's classics like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune are multiplayer experiences that are different every time you play, and require players to use their brains. On the other hand, shows like Deal or no Deal, which are largely based on pure luck, tend to be limited in what it offers the player. Sure it's a super popular show, but that doesn't mean that the formula works for the living room. Plus it doesn't help that the one of the biggest draws of the show, getting to interact with 26 pretty ladies, is ruined by freaktacular character design.
I should point out that this is the American version of Deal or No Deal, with Howie Mandel. It seems like every country's version of the show is different in some major way. The main part of the game is an accurate translation of the TV show. Players pick one of 26 cases, then proceed to open the remaining cases, revealing varying dollar amounts. Every open case is money the player won't be getting, and the idea is to try and open the low cases, because after each round the Banker calls up and offers the player a certain amount of money to walk away.
Deal or No Deal is one of the rare third party games that actually offers Mii support. Players select one of their Miis for their profile and the little digital person becomes the game show contestant. All the in-game characters have been designed in Mii-like fashions, so Howie is a big-headed elf and the case carrying ladies are an army of Stepford Wives/Bratz Dolls. Howie's work looks. It's a little weird, but it's humorous. Unfortunately the girls are all completely identical, except for different hairstyles. Likewise, the crowd is also very similar looking. And on top of that, not only are the character designs for Howie, the ladies, and the crowd totally different, none of them look like a Mii at all, so your character sticks out like a sore thumb too.
As anyone that has seen the show can attest, most of the time is spent deliberating about the Banker's offers, or talking to supporting family members. The game show will spend multiple minutes talking to the contestant's sister or mom, who will tell the contestant how much they need the money, the convince them to turn it down keep gambling. The videogame thankfully has none of that. Howie Mandel, or rather his bobblehead looking video game counterpart, does all of his shtick, and the game has all the same dramatic music and slow reveal of the cases. It's all the same overdramatic stuff that makes the game show fun to watch and it's done pretty well with full voice work from Howie.
What is lacking is a sense of excitement from the contestants, audience, and ladies. Everyone smiles and there are clapping noises, but you don't get those reactions and moments of triumph and defeat that makes the show engrossing. And once those things get tiresome (and they do pretty quickly because Howie only has a couple lines) player can just hit the A button repeatedly to speed through the cut scenes. Of course this makes the entire game show last all of two minutes.
You only need to play the game once to get the entire experience. As annoying as those banker girls are, or the bonus games the contestants would play, at least that mixed the experience up and made each episode different. The developers did add in a custom game mode, which allows you to play some of the special episodes like the Million Dollar Mission and Double or Nothing. There are also challenge modes that have players go through multiple rounds of the game to win larger amounts of money, but ultimately you're still just doing the same thing, and it's just not all that exciting when you're not on TV and not really winning anything.
Deal or No Deal is a single player game show, which makes the multiplayer mode in the Wii game completely worthless. One player acts as the contestant, and the other is the banker. So if you're the banker, you just sit there while your friend plays the game, then the game tells you what you should offer and you click OK. Sure you can raise or lower the amount, but that doesn't make the experience even remotely fun...or even accurate to the game show.
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