Friday, August 18, 2006

Video Strip Poker Supreme Review

Video Strip Poker Supreme, developed and published by Torquemada Games.
The Good: Pretty much everything you’d expect from a strip poker game, appropriate AI skill level
The Not So Good: Difficult to win, blinds are too small, video clips are repetitive
What say you? A faithful adaptation of the game, but more nudity more quickly would be much appreciated: 5/8

Everyone once in a while, I get a game to review that I try to hide from my wife. This game was one of them, and so is Video Strip Poker Supreme. With all of the hype surrounding poker these days, it’s natural to combine the love of cards with softcore nudity. Plus strip poker is a fantasy for a disturbingly large number of men around the world. Taking the game to a completely virtual setting removes all of the possible disadvantages of strip poker. Add in some opponents that you’d never be able to play against in real life (let’s be honest, shall we?) and you have Video Strip Poker Supreme.

Obviously, the most important aspect of any strip poker video game are the lovely ladies that will act as your opponents. Video Strip Poker Supreme features pre-captured video of real women which is high-quality but very repetitive. The game will show the same piece of video over and over again for the same action: for example, removing a shirt will look the same almost every time for a single character. There are only a few exceptions to this rule (and those consist mainly of additional camera angles), so once you beat every opponent in the game, there isn’t much else to see. There are seven models in the game that run a good range of different looks, although all of the models are younger and thin. The game does allow for adding new models: Video Strip Poker Supreme uses a proprietary video format for easy add-ons. The video quality in Video Strip Poker Supreme is good, but you can find the same video (albeit at lower quality) at various places around the Internet. The sound consists of whatever scripted responses the models were instructed to use, and I know I was more interested in the visual aspect of the game rather than the audio aspect of the game, but it’s there for those people who want it.

Video Strip Poker Supreme allows you to play five-card-draw poker against one opponent at a time. Because playing with a full 52-card deck would result in rarely getting anything better than high card, the game allows you to play with a 32-card deck (7 and higher). This is highly recommended and produces a much faster and “exciting” (easy there, tiger) game. Video Strip Poker Supreme follows the usual pattern of betting seen in a poker game: blinds are put in from both players, and you can bet before discarding and drawing new cards, followed by additional betting. For the amount of money given initially to each player, the blinds are extremely small; this causes the game to drag along much slower than needed. The AI is a fitting opponent for the game. The models know when to bet and when to fold, and you’ll become successful when having a very strong hand against a not-as-strong hand. The AI makes it pretty easy to figure out how strong their hand is (always betting the maximum when they have a straight), but the AI does do some bluffing every once in a while to throw you off. In fact, the AI is really too skilled for the game. Obviously, the goal of the game is to see some nakedness, and the fact that the AI plays a pretty smart game makes this goal difficult to achieve. You can make it a little easier by purchasing the models drinks, but the effect from doing this is minor at best. You can also spend your hard-earned money to catch a sneak peak at the next stage of nudity. The structure of the game makes it very difficult to win: models can buy back some clothes if they earn enough money. This means you have to win almost every hand (and especially ones with a large pot) in order to see the Full Monty. One bad hand (which happens to everyone) and all your “hard” work is gone in a flash. There aren’t any options for tailoring the amount of money or blinds in the game, which means almost every contest will be excessively drawn out. I would really like to see more “classic” strip poker, where one lost hand equals one article of clothing, instead of having to win multiple hands in order to see some naughty bits.

Video Strip Poker Supreme has the potential to fulfill all of its goals, but some design decisions holds the game back. The game has good quality video of some nice looking models, and the ability to play with a smaller deck results in better hands and more exciting gameplay. However, the inability to customize the bets in the game produces some very slow play, definitely a lot slower than people who are actively participating in the game would like. Plus, the game’s AI, while challenging, is too tough for a game where all you want to do is win and win convincingly. You’re probably just better off downloading some video from a free porn site. Faster and less frustrating games would definitely help Video Strip Poker Supreme succeed as a computer simulation of America’s favorite pastime, but as it stands, most people will find the games last too long to be completely enjoyable.