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Platform: GameBoy Advance
Genre: Cards
Publisher: Crave / Majesco
Developer: Crave / Majesco
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Released: Q4 2004

 

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Texas Hold 'em Poker / World Championship Poker

Score: 5.6 / 10 ; 6.5 / 10

 

Pros:

- Card titles are always a crowd favorite

 

Cons:

- Flawed interface for both titles

- AI not so great

 

Related Links:

Review: Virtual Kasparov (GBA)

Review: Lost Kingdoms (GC)

Review: Lost Kingdoms II (GC)

 

"...World Championship Poker is definitely the better of the two titles."

 

Two recent GBA titles attempt to cash in on the amazing popularity of poker in North America.  The popularity of the game has been fueled by the airing of tournaments and celebrity games on American television.  Crave's game takes advantage of the game's popularity by using real-life personalities from the tour.  Texas Hold 'Em Poker is much more sparse with no licensing and very little to distinguish it from a PC shareware title.

 

texas hold 'em poker          world championship poker review

Texas Hold 'em Poker (left); World Championship Poker (left)

 

On the surface, World Championship Poker seems like the more fully developed title.  On top of the licensing, WCP also has far more modes and games, including Texas Hold 'em, Omaha Hold 'em, draw poker, video poker, blackjack, and slots.  On the other hand, Texas Hold 'Em Poker (THP) has just that, Texas Hold 'em.  So, on that front, WCP has a clear advantage.

 

There is, however, a virtual tie as far as the quality of opponent A.I. in the two games.  Unfortunately, the A.I. is bad across the board in both games.  In fact, other than times I made stupid bets just to see what the A.I. would do (which was often something even more stupid), I never left a table in either game without a win.  So, if anyone out there is considering one of the titles simply to get in some extra practice—buyer beware.  Neither game plays a decent hand of poker.

 

Graphically, WCP is the much tighter game.  It includes animated opponents and a nice overhead view of the casino floor.  THP basically shows the cards, but does so crisply and clearly.  I never had trouble determining suit in either game, which has been a problem in past Gameboy card titles.  World Championship Poker does have one huge graphical flaw, however.  On the basic Gameboy Advance, it is nearly impossible to tell which option you have highlighted.  The game does have a nag for two of the three basic options, so it is easy enough 

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to correct a mistake, but I'm stunned at just how poorly the interface is highlighted.  I'm guessing that it isn't a problem on the SP with its backlighting and that the development team didn't do a hands on with the older unit.

 

In the end, players considering which of the two to buy will still need to ignore the flaw in the game interface because World Championship Poker is definitely the better of the two titles.  At least in WCP, when players get tired of beating up on the poor A.I., they can play some Blackjack or Video Poker to pass the time.

 

- Tolen Dante

(January 23, 2005)

 

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