Review by Moochthemonkey

Reviewed: 03/12/04

One of the Few One-Player Card Games Turns Out to Be…Good.

Card games have dated back their existence all the way to the thirteenth century, believe it or not. In all probability they were most likely introduced somewhere in the Middle East, and scholars have suggested that the original purpose derived from cards was for casting magic, and some researchers believe that cards where used in some forms of chess. Since the cards where very expensive, the use from the peasants in Rome was very limited. Only in Germany around the fifteenth century did this remarkable form of entertainment become popular. Today card games have provided ample enjoyment on road trips, in many casinos, by showing off card tricks, and even on your own computer.

Such card games as Poker, Go Fish, War, Old Maid, and Blackjack have been very popular among kids and adults today. Later on, multiple innovative one-player card games were established so the recluse could play amongst himself if he decided to do so. Solitaire and Free Cell are mere examples of solo card games, and usually can be found on your computer. I liked the idea, but solitaire was a little too bland, and Free Cell became to complex for my mind to solve, so I decided to just stick to the idea of playing the inept War game or Go Fish with my friends and family. However, a game known as “Spider Solitaire” was introduced to the new Windows operating systems today, and when I played it the game became very addictive.

The concept of the card game is not complicated at all, and yet it is still very enjoyable. There are also three levels of difficulty, the easy mode will appeal to the primitive card gamers, while the expert will enjoy the hard difficulty. And if you need a little boost to start you off, you can always check out the helpful “show an available move” feature.

First off, ten sets of cards are randomly selected for you. Now you must place them in a certain fashion. They must line up like this- King, Queen, Jack, 10, and so forth. Once you fill the set, your cards will be removed and you have just completed a little portion of your game. However, you cards must be placed from the same suit, for instance, all spades must be in a row. In easy mode there is only one suit, in normal there is two, and in hard there is all four. This is one rule that makes Spider Solitaire different from its ancestor. Once there are no more moves available, just deal from the stack at the bottom! Keep on doing this to you clear all 104 cards on the table. Sometimes the victory will come easy to you; sometimes it will become impractical to win at all….

See, it’s a simple procedure, and it is all simply tied in with the click and movement of a mouse. Does it get boring in ten minutes you ask? Surprisingly, no!

Graphic wise, the graphics are so-so, but why would you ask for some stunning visuals in a card game? The background is green felt, which clearly resembles a true card playing table. The cards look like real life playing cards front to back, which is a (sarcasm) big deal. Thank you Microsoft, (no sarcasm) that is what I truly desire in the visual department of an electronic card game. However, I do miss the aspect where you could change the face of your card, which was available in the original Solitaire games.

The audio field is just sufficient enough to attain a fine score. First off, there is no background music, which I guess was kind of a disappointment. I’m just thankful that there is no soothing music, which would definitely make the game lackluster. I remember I had to quit the Mavis Beacon typing program, because the five second, soothing melody was so annoying I almost felt like biting my keyboard. Thankfully, the mute command was created. In the sound effects area, Microsoft did a good job developing the effects, even though you only hear shuffling and card moving noises.

Usually when I pickup a copy of a game for the first time, I sit down and play it for approximately an hour. During Spider Solitaire, I would dislike to move my mouse around, while sitting in my chair drooling at the same background on the computer screen for an hour. Thank goodness for the save game feature. I would have absolutely been playing longer if there was a speed feature, our different modes in the game.

I still appreciate the fact that Microsoft took the time to invent this superb card game, and even making it free! This game deserves an 8/10, the idea for Spider Solitaire is awesome, but it just needs some more variety. Still, you should check this game out right now. You might not even know you have it! Open the start menu, go to programs, then games, and then voila, grab a can of soda and engage in Spider Solitaire! And if you don’t have it, make sure to download a copy today! This is unquestionably a superb card game that you will have to try.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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