Come On Down, You’re The Next Sucker On The Price Is Wrong
By Gwendolyn L. Spelvin
The best laid plans go astray, and Ubisoft still released The Price Is Right for a payday.
Okay. Whenever a developer gets the green light to adapt a popular classic game show it’s a tall order of expectation, but pretty self-explanatory on the guess work. Ubisoft, which has shredded itself to the top of the adaptation heap, definitely didn’t get the memo or ignored it completely.
The Price Is Right is just one title on a long list of game show interpretive adaptations in the Ubisoft catalogue that do anything but give the energy, excitement, and virtual experience of its original source material.
A primary irritation of the entire affair is the lack of care in following the tradition of the show in the simplest of terms. For starters there is no host; Bob Barker and his lackluster replacement Drew Carey are noticeably absent on the game show floor.
Seriously, how the hell does that even work in theory? This is a show synonymous with Bob Barker telling America to have their pet spayed or neutered at the end of every episode for decades. How exactly did Ubisoft think the lack of a show host was really going to go?
In the announcer department the results are mixed; yes, there is no Rod Roddy, as he passed away some years prior. However, his replacement Rich Fields, is a stale forced wingman in the energy department on the show, and translates even worse here with poorly recycled audio clips.
Since Ubisoft obviously was too cheap to pay the cast to reprise their roles for this entry and dubbed audio, leaving Roddy out was a poor decision. They could have utilized his forty years of show announcing, maintained authenticity, and left some dignity to be had.
And just where in the hell are the legendary Barker Beauties like Janice Dickenson? Next to Bob Barker, they are the second most synonymous attraction of the show. The character models created do little justice to their legacy, and look like cutting room floor extras from The Sims sprite sheet.
Speaking of character models being horrendous, the remainder player avatars and extras in the studio audience are just horrendous, leaving little to be desired. Players are given eight politically correct mediocre character avatars for representation, with limited animation. Both they and their cloned audience members react overly enthusiastic beyond believability, even losing.
But hey, at least they represent the stereotypical, cookie cutter middle class America, right?
At this point all could be forgiven, except that Ubisoft decided to go short on the runtime and leave little more than fifteen total games from the show that could be played. Seriously, Ubisoft? Fifty some off years of television source material, and a mere fifteen games is all you could emulate?
In addition, those fifteen games are extremely easy to memorize, as puzzles are not randomized for replay value; instead, puzzles have all but two variations per game. Literally, any player could play to the end, copy the answers down, reset, and start over and have 100% accuracy.
It’s right up there with Win, Lose, Or Draw on the Apple II with the same puzzles over and over.
Ubisoft pulled up a bean bag chair and comfortably parked it in development hell, because their cover up to deal with the problem was to miserably torture players with an added Challenge mode, which totally breaks from the show formula and cross mixes formulas from competitors.
Challenge mode heavily borrows from the dynamics of Family Feud; The Price Is Right gives players a total of three tries to complete each “episode”, from contestant’s row to the Showcase Showdown. Should you fail at any step winning, you earn a strike. Three strikes and you’re out to start over from the very beginning.
The purpose of this mess is to unlock secret video clips from the main menu from the show. The irony is that these clips feature commercials and even cameos of Bob Barker in his prime. First off, why are there commercials? How is that relevant to the show dynamic itself, or has any bearing on the price points? Second, what type of tease is this to give a split second sighting of the man that made the show infamous but exclude him from actual play?
Yet somehow I’m just really thankful there were no Drew Carey sightings on the clips.
Let’s call a spade a spade here. The Price Is Right is an abysmal craptastic shitfest that insults the loyal hardcore fans. Ubisoft knew this but were more focused on the paycheck for players willing to pay for the name. It was the perfect con, considering the fan anticipation for more game show adaptations outside of Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy, and they milked it for all it was worth.
Almost immediately they released The Price Is Right: Decades which fared no better and nicely skipped over the PC platform, among another cloned releases featuring bingo and slots that crashed and burned upon arrival as well. Sadly, this isn’t the first nor the last game show they will destroy the legacy of for a quick buck.
Just like the bad commercials on the video clips, save yourself the irritation and skip it.
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