FROM THE VAULT: Playboy the Mansion
But first, let's linkblog:
* If you decide not to purchase Lost Girls, you could always get this instead
* Konami has a new fan site up, devoted to their RPG properties
* And hey! Guitar Hero II will have a practice mode! Sweet!
"PLAYBOY: THE MANSION"
Arush Publishing, for thePlayStation 2, Xbox and PC
rated M for Mature (nudity, strongsexual content, use of alcohol), $49.95 (PS2 and Xbox) and $39.95(PC).
I never thought I'd say this, but Hugh Hefner, you lead a pretty dull life.
At least the virtual version of you, as portrayed in Arush's "Playboy: The Mansion" does.
Sure, you get to throw wild parties featuring numerous celebrities, but you're far too busy schmoozing and hitting stars up for articles, interviews and cover shoots to spend time enjoying yourself.
Sure, you get to have "relations" with pneumatic beauties, but both you and your girlfriend of the moment stay partially dressed while engaging in your favorite pastime. Curious.
Sure, you live in an extravagant mansion, but you spend more time settling squabbles between your lovers and staff than buying cool stuff to fill the place up. Not to mention that you have a magazine to constantly put out.
Good God, man, don't you ever have fun?
Such were the thoughts that raced through my mind while playing "Mansion," a "Sims"-like strategy game that puts you in the slippers of one of the most famous publishers in American history.
I say "Sims"-like, but the fact is that "Playboy" looks and feels nearly identical to that extremely popular simulation title.
The interface, the icons, the cartoonish people, even the gibberish the characters spout to one another recall Will Wright's franchise. You don't want to remind players of other, better games unless you're bringing something new to the table. And "Playboy" doesn't.
The goal of the game is to build the Playboy empire up from scratch, starting, of course, with the magazine. You also might be expected to throw lavish parties, mostly in the hopes of culling interviews from famous people or convincing nubile women to take their clothes off.
Which brings me to the fact that it's far too easy to get folks to do what you want. All you have to do is fill up their relationship meters by talking on various pleasant (or romantic) topics, andthen ask them for a favor. That's all it takes to get women to pose for the magazine, and, quite frankly, it's not enough to maintain interest. If you actually had to use your persuasive powers to get that starlet to bare all, you might have a more interesting game.
A good deal of "Playboy" feels repetitive, especially the creepy Stepford-style playmates who have identical bodies and features except for variations in skin tone and hairstyle. They all make the same poses and affectations, leaving you to think the mansion has been infiltrated by the clone army.
The repetition might not be so bad if there were any sense of urgency in the game, but there isn't. There are never any deadlines to get the magazine out or fulfill a particular mission, which leaves you to spend your time noticing all the little oddities and inconsistencies that mar the game.
Apart from the nudity, "The Sims 2" does just about everything"Playboy" does and better. And if you're really hot for pixelated nudity, the Internet will do a better job of satisfying your desires than this game ever will.
Copyright The Patriot-News