Who Wants to be
The game excels with easily mastered gameplay and adds some of the design qualities of the developer's signature product, the much better You Don't Know Jack. Each aspect of the show is re-created in the computer game in some fashion. In single-player mode, you go right into the Hot Seat, where you must ascend a ladder of 15 multiple-choice trivia questions to win. Reaching the one thousand and thirty-two thousand dollar milestones guarantees you will win at least that much if you lose later.
When you feel stumped, you have three "lifelines" to use throughout the climb. The 50/50 option removes two of the three wrong answers to a question. You can ask to poll the audience, which gives you the actual results taken from a sample group for each question. The most impressive re-creation is the phone-a-friend lifeline, in which Regis calls one of his friends, who then struggles to offer a suggestion that may or may not be right.
Jellyvision and Disney evidently invested the necessary resources to give the game as much of the TV feel as possible. While Regis doesn't actually read off all of the questions, he does offer the color commentary about where you are on the ladder and banters with the phone-a-friend character. Even after many hours of play, there still wasn't any tedious redundancy in his comments, and the question database seemed sufficiently deep to avoid frequent repeats.
With years of You Don't Know Jack experience under their belts, the Jellyvision designers know how important a smooth audio-visual experience is to keeping a simple game interesting. In addition to the melodramatic music, the questions - which pop in and out, causing the screen to rearrange itself - are animated well. The questions are noticeably more media and pop-culture-related than those in the TV version, suggesting that Jellyvision may have been dipping into the You Don't Know Jack database.
As it stands, Who Wants to be a Millionaire is both a faithful and entertaining simulation of the TV show. It's definitely the game for those who want to see how well they would do in the infamous Hot Seat. It may also be the best way to permanently shut up that irritating, know-it-all family member who barks out the answers to all of the questions whenever the show is on TV.