"Microsoft Casino" is a casino gambling video game. It was first released in 2000 as a PC CD-ROM game by Microsoft Game Studios. In the United States, the game received an age guidance rating of "E" which deemed it suitable for all ages. The game boasts minimal system requirements which include:
System: Pentium-133 or equivalent
RAM: 16 MB
Video Memory: 2 MB
Hard Drive Space: 40 MB
I often dabble in casino games, but it seems I can't find a game which is capable of topping the glitz and glamour of "Vegas Dream" which was released in 1988 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. In more modern days, Microsoft Casino offers the closest competition to my beloved gray video game cartridge and does so in a three dimensional environment.
The game begins with players first selecting a mode of play. "Free Play" allows the player to participate in any game, "Tournament Mode" allows the player to participate in one game with a set purse of cash, and the "Challenge" mode tours the various games within three included Las Vegas casinos. The player will find him or herself in a simulated environment based on either Treasure Island, The Mirage, or The Bellagio. These are the names of three popular Las Vegas casinos with the latter being geared towards the "high stakes" gambling events in Microsoft Casino. After initial selections are made, it's off to the games tables. Microsoft Casino offers players 10 different casino games including baccarat, keno, roulette, slots, blackjack, craps, the big six wheel and three varieties of poker known as video, Pai Gow, and Caribbean Stud. Players will be matched up with computer opponents based on a chosen skill level if applicable, and similar to many pre-existing Microsoft games their remarks are often repetitive and less than imaginative. Opponents with often engage in conversation with the dealer which is composed of basic taunts and cheers regarding the game in play.
Each casino game is functional and features traditional rules of play. Aside from these games, the player may sometimes be approached to partake in extra activities such as a trip to the bar, a Las Vegas show, a spa treatment, and more. The Las Vegas show features snippets of video from acts such as Danny Gans, who also serves as the in game narrator, Siegfried and Roy magic tricks, and a pirate themed battle exclusive to Treasure Island. I found this aspect to be somewhat pleasing to my gaming experience as it brought back nostalgic feelings of Vegas Dream. They don't assist one's bank roll in any way, but do make for a nice break from games which can otherwise become very repetitive due to the simple point and click execution of actions.
The graphics of the game are appealing to the eye. What I didn't like about Microsoft Casino was it's lack of a virtual tour based on the casino. Instead, players are shown a large image with guided hints regarding where certain games and functions are. The games themselves sport an eye catching 3D perspective which is somewhere between an isometric and top down view. The card games make best use of this field of vision as the cards seem to rest flat against the table while appearing to have a sort of thick heaviness in their stock. The colour scheme is what one may expect from a casino game and is filled with bright greens, yellows and other colours appropriate for certain games. The soundtrack isn't memorable. Computer opponents will often shout game related phrases and these grew to be very annoying when playing set casino games for extended periods.
Overall, I like what Microsoft Casino has to offer. I feel more could have been done in the visual department to present a more realistic and panoramic view of the casinos on offer, but the games themselves are functional and the additional excursions provide a nice break for an experience which could otherwise grow to be very mundane. I'd happily recommend it to prospective buyers.