Review: Risk/Battleship/Clue (Game Boy Advance)

Genre: Anthology
Platform: GBA
Rating: E (Everyone)
Publisher: DSI Games
Developer: Hasbro/Atari/Gravity-I
Release Date: 08/16/2005

The Game of Global Domination. The Classic Naval Combat Game. The Classic Detective Game. C’mon, who hasn’t whiled away many an hour with at least one of these? Now, it’s even easier than ever, as you can play Risk, Battleship, and Clue on the go!


COMPILATION

While DSI Games has published a slew of other GBA multicarts alongside this one, Risk/Battleship/Clue is by far the best, simply by virtue of the three games included. (The only other cart that comes close may be Connect Four/Perfection/Trouble.) All three of those games have been around for many decades, and remain as popular as ever. The only strategy game this cart’s really missing is Stratego. I’d even take that over Battleship!

(Rating: 8/10)


GRAPHICS

The graphics are fantastic in this game; many of the backgrounds, boards, and imagery look damn near photorealistic.

The catch? There’s almost no animation to be found. It’s limited to shots and explosions in Battleship, and movement of pieces in Clue. No battling armies in Risk. Not even animated dice! Pretty graphics are nice, but when they’re not doing anything, it’s a bit of a problem. The other downside to the graphics is that often, onscreen text can be very hard to read, as it’s rather tiny. This is only partially the developer’s fault; in a game like Risk, for example, there’s a lot happening on screen at once for you to see, and the text had to be literally jammed in there. The same goes for Clue; the notebook text is miniscule. Your best bet is to play this game on a DS or GB Player; that does make it easier to read the text.

(Rating: 6/10)


SOUND

I hate to say it, but the audio in Risk/Battleship/Clue is atrocious. There’s only one background tune for each game (not including menu screens, of course), and it’s filled with pops, clicks, and other audio artifacts. Not only that, much of music sounds like it was designed for the Game Boy Color, or a 1992 PC game! Sound effects suffer much of the same fate; they’re either horribly generic or error-ridden, or in the case of Clue, highly annoying. When pieces move in Clue, each square of movement is punctuated by a clanging bell. It’s an assault on the eardrums.

(Rating: 4/10)


CONTROL & GAMEPLAY

Here’s where Risk/Battleship/Clue really shines. Each game plays exactly the same as its real-life counterpart. I’m not going to explain in detail exactly how to play each of the three games, but I will sum up briefly:

  • Risk – Use your armies to assault other terroritories, fortify your position, and eventually control the globe by wiping out your enemmies.
  • Battleship – You’ve got five ships. So does your enemy. Neither of you knows where the other is hiding, so you’ll be firing shots at a grid pattern to sink their forces.
  • Clue – Someone’s killed Mr. Boddy, and all of the party guests are suspects. It’s up to you to deduce who killed him, where, and with what weapon.

The AI’s not all that bad; I’ve even seen the computer-controlled opponents in Clue lie to me, just as a sneaky human opponent would. Speaking of humans…you can play against your friends, but there’s a catch: there is no multiplayer link. To play with other people, you need to pass the GBA around. This is a pretty big shortcoming, but at least some way of playing against your friends is included. Better than nothing, right?

(Rating: 7/10)


REPLAYABILITY

Risk, Battleship, and Clue are timeless. While you won’t unlock items or anything by playing them over again, you will replay them to improve your strategic thinking skills, try out new strategies, or just enjoy yourself. It’s the classic factor that makes these games enjoyable to play over and over again, not a load of extra features or bells and whistles.

(Rating: 7/10)


BALANCE

The holy trio represented here were never designed to be brutally difficult. There’s some varying difficulty settings here and there, but how well you do in the games is largely dependent on your own strategies. The computer makes a fair amount of mistakes, but don’t take them for granted; in Risk especially, you’re likely to get your ass handed to you if you’re not carefuly, just as in a real game.

(Rating: 8/10)


ORIGINALITY

Risk/Battleship/Clue is hardly original in and of itself; we’ve all been playing the board games for as long as we can remember. However, assembling them all into an attractive GBA package was a very insightful idea on DSI Games’ part. It’s really split down the middle here.

(Rating: 5/10)


ADDICTIVENESS

How many times do I have to say it? If you’re a fan of the three, then Risk/Battleship/Clue will entertain you for hours on end. If you’ve never played these games before, the cartridge is a cheap way to get them all at once and practice. Problems aside, it’s hard not to love Risk/Battleship/Clue.

(Rating: 8/10)


APPEAL

This set of games was specifically designed to appeal to a specific group of gamers: strategy board game fans. And in that respect, it delivers. As I’ve said before, all three of the games contained in Risk/Battleship/Clue are absolute classics, and no strategy fan should do without them.

(Rating: 8/10)


MISCELLANEOUS

Risk/Battleship/Clue is priced to own at $14.99. You really can’t beat that with a stick. Furthermore, for those of you that are real geeks, you should know that the Clue portion is based on the 2003 ruleset and artwork. One of the modifications was changing “Mr. Green” to “Rev. Green,” for example.

There’s one other thing that hurts this compilation: no save feature. While that may not matter for quick rounds of Battleship, it really stinks when you’re playing Risk for an hour, then suddenly have to stop for whatever reason. You’ll have to start all over the next time you play.

(Rating: 5/10)


Final Scores:

Compilation: 8/10
Graphics: 6/10
Sound: 4/10
Control & Gameplay: 7/10
Replayability: 7/10
Balance: 8/10
Originality: 5/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Appeal: 8/10
Miscellaneous: 5/10

Overall Score: 66/100
FINAL SCORE: 6.5 (FAIR)