Hasbro Interactive made a killing in the 90s, bringing popular television game shows and classic board games to the PC. They had tremendous success converting such titles as Clue, Monopoly, Scrabble, The Game of Life, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and so many more. The tradition continued in 1999 with Super Scattergories.
For those of you who might not be familiar with the board game Scattergories, let me quickly run it down for you. Scattergories is best described as a category game. Players use a letter, picked at random, to come up with words that fit under certain categories. For example, if the letter 'R' was selected and the category was "Superheroes", players must come up with a name of a Superhero that begins with the letter 'R'. One might put Robin, from Batman and Robin. Players get points for the number of categories they're able to come up with words for. The object of the game is to outscore your opponent.
Super Scattergories offers four modes of play: Solo Mode, Network, Head-to-Head, and Quick Hit. The Quick Hit mode is simply a one round game of Scattergories, where a single letter is picked and you have to use that letter to come up with words in 12 different categories in a 60 second time frame. It's very much like a practice round, where you can hone your Scattergories' skills. Head-to-Head mode allows you to play against a friend on the same computer. Players take turns coming up with words in the time frame provided. The player that comes up with the most words, wins. Network play is fairly self-explanatory, it allows you to play against opponents over the Internet. Solo mode is also self-explanatory. In this mode however, you progress through five different types of games. Here's a list of the games involved:
This is your board game conversion of Scattergories, where you try to come up with words starting with a specified letter in a variety of familiar but challenging categories. There are 12 categories in total and you get points for each category you successfully complete.
In this game, a picture is shown on the screen and a letter is selected at random. The goal is to look at the picture and find as many objects that begin with the selected letter. You receive points for each object you identity starting with the specified letter.
In this game, the object is to match pairs of solutions that share a category or given letter.
The object of Scatter Brain is to quickly respond to questions with words that begin with the same letter. For example, if the letter is 'L', the question might be something like "All five are great, but one is Superior". The answer would then be a 'Lake'. Like the other games, there are 12 questions in total for this round.
Knockout is a game where you must find an answer to each topic using any of 12 letters that you're given. The catch with this game is that you can't use the same letter twice. If you use one letter to come up with a word, that letter is taken away.
As you can see, Super Scattergories is a collection of challenging mind games, rather than just a game of regular Scattergories. The only real resemblance to it's board game equivalent is the Classic Scattergories game. In that particular game however, the letter is chosen at random and the categories appear one by one, but you need only enter the first three letters of the word you wish to choose. Based on the first three letters you enter, the computer will determine whether those three letters form the beginning of one of the words it will accept as a correct response. In this PC conversion, the categories are catered to the letter chosen, so the good news is there's an answer for every category, it's your job to figure out what that one word is. I suppose in a sense, these two features make it easier to play due to the fact that 1) you don't have to type in the full word, just the first three letters, and 2) there will never be a category with no possible answers to it.
Just touching briefly on graphics and sound in Super Scattergories, the overall presentation of Super Scattergories is very smooth for its time. It's bright, colorful, and gets the job done. Obviously the emphasis in a game like this isn't on graphics, but rather gameplay and fun factor. Being a game oriented for younger gamers and families, Super Scattergories gets the thumbs up. The audio adds to the game nicely as well. While the music is a little cheesy, it is original and the added lyrics and speech in the game is a nice touch as well. The menus are easy to use and you shouldn't have any problems at all getting right into the action. Another nice touch is the addition of hints, which will certainly help those younger gamers get through some of the tougher categories.
So what's the verdict? It's a Hasbro Interactive product through and through, that's for sure. It's upbeat, colorful and should provide hours of fun for the whole family.