Remember the lazy summer days when you would get out the battered Monopoly box, with its little green houses and red hotels (real wooden ones mind), and spend long afternoons trying to make a fortune in pretend money. You don't? Well here's your chance to experience it on your Amstrad who will do all the hard work, leaving you to enjoy the game and get a tan.
This computer version faithfully recreates the board game, and allows up to six players to take part, each with their own playing piece. All your old favourites are here: the iron, boat, dog, car, boot and hat. For real authenticity there should have been one missing and a large dent in the boot, but no conversion is perfect after all! Players can take control of all these pieces, or they can be left for the computer to control. It will even play all six in a demo game.
The screen has a picture of the whole board occupying the top of the display, but this lacks detail and merely serves to show the position of the pieces on the board. Below is a window in which most of the action takes place, including close-up pictures of sections of the board.
If you haven't played the board game then full instructions are included with the game, but here's a quick summary of what it's all about. Players travel around a square board made up of a number of colour coded sets of property, and some other special single squares. A site can be bought, and when a player has a full set he can build houses and hotels on the land. If another player lands on one of your sites you can charge him rent. This goes on with players acquiring assets until a set time limit or all but one of the players has been bankrupted.
The computer rolls the dice automatically for each player and moves the piece along the board. The computer will offer you one of several options depending on which square you land on. After completing this the player can also select one of several other actions. He can mortgage or unmortgage properties, buy or sell houses, try to trade properties with another player and claim rent when another player lands on your property.
All the special features are included like going to jail, chance and community chest cards, tax spaces and free parking. Because it's a game of chance the computer plays a good game, but obviously it's more fun to play against other people. The graphics are fairly basic but adequate and there's little sound. The game proceeds fairly slowly through some sections and it can become tiresome.
A faithful but uninspiring version of the game that only lacks the atmosphere of little painted wooden houses with knots in them, dented metal playing pieces and a box and board worn with use.
I'm not really too sure what the point of computerised Monopoly is. The computer opponents are all very well, but they're no substitute for human beings. In every other respect the real, cardboard thing is at least as good and a whole lot more fun.
P. Faithful conversion of the board game.
P. Up to six players can play and there's a good computer opponent.
P. The computer takes care of the calculations, movement and other automatic functions.
N. Graphics and sound aren't used as fully as they could be.
N. The action is very slow in places.
N. It will never have the same atmosphere and nostalgia of an ageing board set.
Everything's visible, but the real-life board is a lot more colourful.