The Weakest Link (PSOne)
Game shows should be satisfied being game shows -- hour long prime-time diversions where real people compete for real money. Contrarily, after one of these shows gets a little popular, the producers see it as a good opportunity to delve into the unforgiving world of video games. A compelling television show does not an interesting video game make. Actually, with the exception of the "You Don't Know Jack" series, (which technically was designed to be a video game before it became a television show) there has never been an interesting game based on game show. Sad but true, this cycle continues with The Weakest Link for Playstation which features gameplay almost as incoherent as Robert Downey Junior after a good night of partying.
So many flaws, so little time. This game is so awful that I don't know where to start. On one hand, I can highlight the fact that you don't feel like you're playing the game, more than watching the game. Or, I could begin by critiquing the sub-par graphics, the low polygon count on the characters or the choppy framerate. Still, I could also start by lambasting the horrible loading times, character clichés, and weak gameplay elements (what little gameplay there is). But, I think I'll start this review like I am right now: by putting all of WL's flaws on the table, and begging you not to buy this game.
The gameplay revolves around the show of the same name if you haven't realized, so Anne Robinson, as in the show, is your host. After two FMV scenes role, laying down the rules and the atmosphere, you're ready to play. Playing, which in this game, means answering a question by pressing one of the four buttons every 20 seconds. After that, Anne makes fun of the characters on your team for a little while, and then you vote one of your teammates off (while trying not to get voted off yourself). If you do get voted off, game over, if you don't, you go through that process five more times until there's a winner. In that respect, the game stays very true to the television show, but at least the television show has some redeeming value. The Weakest Link, the game (if you could call it that), isn't fun to watch or play.
It's amazing how WL's character models look so bad in such a processor non-intensive (if that's a real word) game. They look like their constructed of 2 polygons, and have the muddiest textures I've seen on a Playstation game in the last 2 years. To make matters worse, their spastic movements make them look like Jar Jar Binks. What astonished me the most, however, was not the dreadful character models, it was the framerate. On such a bad looking game, you would think that they could, at least, keep the framerate above what looks like about 20-30 frames per second.
Almost as unbelievable as the framerate, is Anne Robinson's scripted putdowns and FMV acting. Unlike the witty one-liners she uses on the show, the scenes in which she makes fun of the players make you feel as if she is reading off of a que card. There is no wit in delivery, and it feels forced. That reminds me of another point of devolution: the voice acting. The voice actors sound like they came straight out of the worthy Oscar contender (ahem...) Slumber Party Massacre. This takes almost all of the fun that was left out of the game, and transforms the game from bad to campy.
WL is a bad game, and what it doesn't have in gameplay isn't made up for by presentation. It's plagued with long loading times, that boggle the mind. What are they loading that could possibly take this long? We might never know. Making this even worse is the sheer amount of loading times. After every round, there is an FMV (full motion video) scene, which takes time to load, then there is another loading sequence. Time between rounds ranges from 2-3 minutes. Not to mention there are six rounds, an intro, and a conclusion. That makes the loading time during a full game amount to about 21 minutes. During the loading sequences, you should do something productive; here are some suggestions to consider:
1. Get your G.E.D - High school equivalency is all the rage nowadays, and as long as you have some time to burn, why not get one? Three games of Weakest Link every night equals a good hour of study time, so by next summer, you could have your diploma.
2. Write a novel - Now this might sound kinda silly at first, but think about it for a second. If you play 4 full games a day, that's over an hour of good writing time. In a couple of months, you'll have a publishable manuscript and start raking in oodles of money. In the foreword, you can dedicate the book to Anne Robinson and Activision.
3. Raise a Chia Pet or Chia Head - They only need about 10 minutes of attention a day, so you can buy two. Even better, you don't have to walk it, or paper train it. The best part, they're only $10; making them a much better buy than The Weakest Link.
The Bottom Line: Imagine, a game that can be described in one word: disorganized. Then, you will imagine what The Weakest Link feels like.