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Super Caesar's Palace

Year released: 1993
Company: Virgin Games
Genre: Gambling

It doesn't happen too often, but every once in a while a game will come along that renders another game of its kind completely obsolete. Narrow-focus games - driving games, fighters, that sort of thing - will tend to come across this hazard now and then, but usually have enough unique features to keep you interested when a competitor is released. Unfortunately, Super Caesar's Palace falls victim to this obsoletion. If you have Vegas Stakes - and I do - there's very little reason to own this game.

Like VS, you control a gambler with the name of your choosing through the betting tables of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. You start with a modest stake of $2000 and seek to watch that go forth and multiply through a host of casino games. Obviously, you've got your regular stable of Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, and Slot Machines, but SCP also has lottery scratchers, Keno, Video Poker, an interesting card game named Red Dog and even off-track betting. There doesn't seem to be a "Finish Line" to your winnings: you just simply continue gambling until either you go broke or get bored.

Littered here and there among the tables and machines are a few fellow gamblers. If you choose, you can bump into them and strike up a conversation. However, if you're expecting the same kinds of situations to arise as in VS (get ready to see a lot of comparisons to that game, as it's going to be unavoidable in certain cases), you'll be sorely disappointed. Instead of offering you fake diamonds, selling lottery tickets, or challenging you to a hand of Blackjack, these players often serve as stand-ins for the instruction booklet, giving you modest pointers for a couple of the games. You'll probably want to seek them out in the beginning, but as soon as you've talked to them all you'll want to avoid them completely.

The audiovisuals for this game aren't that engrossing. I was hoping to see more of a Grecian feel to the casino, with marble columns and ornate statues and whatnot, but apparently Caesar's Palace is just like any run-of-the-mill casino on the inside. The animation is a tad on the slow side, which will serve to hamper the gameplay in certain spots, and the pictures of the passersby are kinda washed out. On the musical side of things, there are really only two pieces of music I know of: the opening theme and the music that plays as you walk around the casino floor. Again, neither one of them really impresses me, but on the other hand it's probably best to leave the music off when you're playing; just about anything would start to get repetitive when you're spending 20 minutes at a time at the slot machines.

Probably the biggest difference between SCP and VS - and the one that really injures SCP's playability - is the play control. They both use similar point-and-click interfaces at the gaming tables, but instead of an internal bankroll like VS uses, SCP requires you to use chips to place your bets. When you start playing this isn't a big deal, but you'll quickly notice that the highest chip they offer is $500. Once you start reaching the six-digit level, placing proportional bets will become a major chore. Betting $10K requires the plunking of 20 chips, one after another. And if you hesitate in the middle of the chip-plunking, the game will take it upon itself to assume you're done and commence with the game. Aside from that, the control is pretty straight-forward. Before sitting down at any table, you'll see a short diagram of which button does what, in case you're confused. Although I've always considered the controls for Blackjack to be a bit counterintuitive; I'm always thinking "Hit or Stand", and yet the buttons imply "Stand or Hit". If I'm not careful I'll make the exact opposite move I wanted.

As with VS, and pretty much all other gambling games, the difficulty really depends on how much you know about how to play each of the games. Your bank account is linked to a password, so you can always go back to a higher amount if you find yourself in a losing skid. There are two high-roller tables for Craps and Blackjack that are only available when you reach a certain threshhold, but I've found the best way to accumulate large amounts of money to be the slot machines, particularly the one with the boxing theme. The passersby won't affect your total, so you needn't worry about talking to them.

As I mentioned before, this game has become completely irrelevant thanks to Vegas Stakes. The only category this title can outstrip its competition in is game selection, but none of the other games really enthrall me all that much or are worth a significant amount to big ticket players. In all other areas, this game lags way behind. I'll pop it in once in a while if I want to play around with the scratchers or pump up my score up, but the experience just isn't the same.

If you own Super Caesar's Palace and Vegas Stakes, you probably already know all this. If you own VS, now you know you can live without SCP.

Overall Ratings:

Play Control:
Technical Score: 11
Plot: Exempt
Thrill: (Boring)
Aesthetic Score: 9
Overall Score: 56%