Monopoly is a recreation of the classic Parker Brothers board game developed by Gremlin Interactive and published by Hasbro in 1997. This version takes the original version of Monopoly and gives it an update by adding animations, as well as some digital automation meaning that players will not have to calculate money and physically hand it over to other player.
Monopoly came out at an interesting time in gaming history because at the time in the mid to late 1990’s, there was starting to be quite a lot of board game based video games with the likes of Clue and Battleship both being made for home consoles. A couple of years after the release of Monopoly, the like of Mario Party franchise would be going strong and other franchises would experiment with making board games such as Sonic with Sonic Shuffle and Rugrats: Scavenger Hunt. So, Monopoly was one of the more internationally known board games to have a video game made after it.
Monopoly is also one of the few board games that I am aware of that had many different versions depending on where in the world you live. For example, you have the UK version, which has landmarks based upon London, whilst the original US version was based upon Atlantic City, New Jersey. Also throughout the world, there are special versions that have been made for individual cities and towns based upon the landmarks and famous sites based in either the town or region.
Since Monopoly doesn’t really have a story I will move on to how this version of the game plays. Straight off the bat, the standard rules of Monopoly are in the game, however the game lets the player customise some of the rules that perhaps were region specific like Free Parking collecting the taxes, so that when a player lands on it they get all of the tax money. All of these options are customised within the options menu and there are a lot of rules that can be customised.There are even rules for having infinite building in the bank because normally there are 32 houses and 12 hotels this restriction would be removed. There is even the classic rule which can be customised that the player has to go around the board once before buying properties.
I really like the amount of detail that went into this options menu because it is not often I mention options menus, but Monopoly is a rare case where there is so much that can be customised that the player can play Monopoly in the way they remember it or in completely new ways. I feel that these rules can offer a lot of replayability in the game where potentially the game could feel repetitive because the player is free to experiment with rules or restrictions that the player might have not experienced before.
The gameplay itself is perhaps where the game sadly starts to have quite a few issues because personally I really like this version. The first issue I have is that after the dice has been rolled, the movement of the pieces and the animations of the piece moving is way too slow. The problem is that there is no way of speeding up these animations or removing them entirely, which means that turns will take much longer compared to the physical game. The animations are nice to look at, but after a while of seeing the similar sort of animations, the player will wish that there was an option to skip these entirely.
The next issue I have is with the in game menus and overall interface because it is really awkward to control, as the player has to move a finger across to the specific things that they wish to interact with. It almost feels like this version was a port of a computer version and controlling this finger with the direction pad feels like a chore. Sometimes, the finger moves quicker than other times, meaning that the player might pick something that they didn’t intend to due to this inconsistency.
The final issue I have is with the computer players themselves because they are pretty dumb and will spend most of the game giving the player offers that would easily get rejected. What this does is slow the game down even more because after awhile of seeing the same offer over and over again, it can get frustrating because the computer players are insistent of getting a specific property from the player. However, if the player wants to negotiate with the computer, it is a completely different story because unless the player pays more than the base value of the assets that the player is trying to get from the computer, then the computer player always rejects. I just feel that the computer players are annoying and really can cause issues with the pacing of the game, as well as add unnecessary frustration.
The graphics of the game are actually pretty good and hold up nicely even to this day, mainly because the backgrounds and animations are relatively simply. However, this is not to the detriment of the game because if the backgrounds had a lot more detail to them, then I feel that the game would not have aged as well. The cinematics of the pieces moving and the places on the board however have not aged very well at all.
The music of Monopoly is actually really good because the feeling of the music of a lounge or being in a bar. The interesting thing is that the player has a choice of 4 different songs that play throughout the game and each one of these options is a winner because all of the game whilst sounding similar in terms of feel and style, all depict this feeling of being in business and meeting up with partners. It is also like a theme I would envisage in a movie as a businessman is walking through the streets in the 1930’s. I know it is a strange way to explain it, but I feel it fits the game perfectly and the sound effects are not so loud that the music gets drowned out. The only issue that I have with the music is that it does not feel like it had been mastered during the production process because there are certain instruments that feel too loud in the overall mix. The instrument I feel that does this quite a lot of the time is the piano and the drums because they pierce through the centre of the mix and the bass is a bit too powerful. If the music had of been mastered somewhat better, the music would have been much more memorable.
Monopoly for the Playstation is a decent conversion of the classic board game, but the issues with the pacing of the turns and the computer players being really dumb do affect the experience of it. This game is a perfect example of the game whilst being ok on it’s own in a single player mode, is much more fun and enjoyable with other human players because a 4 player match in this game is extremely fun. I do have quite the soft spot for this game because I have a lot of memories attached to the game, but looking back at the game now I see that there are definitely quite a few problems with the game that mean that the game is only about average.
Copyright ©2017 Liam Piper. All Images Used Under Fair Use