1985
Compilation
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

30
Chris Bourne

Casino Royal provides two separate games, Pontoon and Roulette. The games are well presented and come with full and clear instructions. The first part of the evening will be spent at the Roulette table. The opening menu asks for the names of the players and up to six can be input so that should give you room for the dog as well. Should the dog want to leave he can do so just before the next round of betting begins, if the cat wants a go then this is the time to join the game.

Each player starts the game with a stake of £500 and each player is asked in turn what bets he or she (or it) would like to place. Betting in Roulette is not simple, the different combinations are mind blowing but all of the combinations are listed in the instructions which also gives the odds for a win on any of the combinations.

When placing your bets each player is allowed to use a different method of input, apart from simple keyboard entry. Replying to the questions asked by the computer, a player can use a joystick to position a flashing cursor over the bet and confirm by pressing fire. All players face a choice between making number bets (betting on a block of up to six numbers) or defined bets where the player bets on a block of more than six numbers, perhaps all black or all even.

Clearly the larger the area covered by a defined bet the higher the chances of winning but the odds will be smaller as will be the reward. The maximum stake is £1000 but of course this will depend on the amount of Oak'n'ash held by the player.

The wheel spins for twenty seconds, when it has come to rest the winning combination is given eg.'20, black, evens 18 and above '. The next screen shows how each player fared listing the wins and the amount of money each has remaining. The program does offer a short tutorial on betting to guide the players, this combined with the instructions should provide all of the information required so when you lose all of your money at least you will know why.

The second game on the tape is pontoon, the load time is very short but then it's not a very complex version of the game since it only allows one player against the bank. To play the dame is simplicity itself. First the bank will shuffle the cards and deal one face for the player and one, face down for himself. The player will be asked for a bet which can be for any amount up to his capital - initially £100. After the first bet the player is dealt his second card and the bank deals himself another card this time face up. The player is then given the choice of standing, twisting or buying a card. The player must decide how likely it will be that his hand will be better than the bank's, should he decide that his chances are not terrific then he will ask for another card.

The game of Pontoon must be as well known as Snap but there are many variations in which the rules are slightly different. This version pays the pot to the highest hand less than twenty one. Should the bank draw 21 then it will cost the player double stake. A burn or change of cards is provided for if a player is dealt two cards with a value of thirteen or fourteen, should this happen then the deal will begin again. If the bank draws a Royal pontoon then it will be declared immediately. As with Roulette a player's capital is displayed together with his current bet. The game will terminate when a player loses all of his money, there isn't an option to leave the game before that happens - there must be moral there somewhere.

The joystick option is only required for the Roulette game but both games make effective use of the Currah Microspeech unit. Full instructions are provided should you want to make a micro drive copy.

CRITICISM

'This classic games package consists of two well known games, Pontoon and Roulette. Both games closely follow the real thing, with suitable graphics to show the cards, wheel and board etc. For non-Roulette players such as myself there are instructions provided. Although the games are not in the Smash league they're quite good and will obviously appeal to those who enjoy such games, but who don't actually want to lose any money.'

'A very pleasing implementation of a well trodden theme. The main advantage that the OCP package offers has to be the Currah Microspeech option which really helps to create an atmosphere as well as making the games far more real to play. After a while l did get rather tired of being told, 'you lose your stake.' The graphics are very pleasing, they are helped by a subtle use of co/our. The prompt and input system has been well thought out and is very simple to use. Whenever 1 play this type of game l can never convince myself that the machine is not cheating, what sort of person, l ask myself, could draw 4 cards with a value of 17 and then go on to draw another and get a five card trick. Answer, the sort of person who knows that my hand was 19.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: respond to prompts
Joystick: Cursor type, Sinclair 2, Kempston
Keyboard play: input system allows easy use of the keyboard
Use of colour: very appropriate, not garish
Graphics: provide a pleasant and intelligible display
Sound: makes excellent use of the Currah unit
Skill levels: only one required
General Rating: A very pleasing version, if you enjoy this type of game this version is well worth considering.

69%
75%
68%
83%
57%
62%

Screenshot Text

The roulette betting board in CASINO ROYAL - James Bond preferred gambling on the cards however...

... so if you're fed up with the wheel, you can always try your hand at Pontoon.