STAFF REVIEW of Playboy: The Mansion (Xbox)


Monday, January 31, 2005.
by SilverOak

Playboy: The Mansion Box art Way back before the dawn of the internet and the availability of various degrees of pornography at all hours of the day, Hugh Hefner was ?The Man?. I mean, how could you not respect and idolize a man who had a virtual stable of beautiful women living in his mansion, and according to all of our teenage imaginations, having !&%$@#* with several of them each night! This of course was not contradicted by Hef (can I call him Hef?), rather, he fed the fires with his own stories of conquests.

The game developers at Arush looked to mix all of that sexual intrigue, and the building of the Hefner entertainment empire when they designed this game...unfortunately, they failed on both counts.



Upon firing up the game, you are offered the choice of either ?mission based? or ?free form?. Missions are the actual meat and potatoes of the game and free form is as it implies, just living the life of Hefner. Your ultimate goal is to publish a magazine on a monthly basis. This involves interviews, hiring and firing staff, gladhanding with business contacts, and the all encompassing centerfold photo shoot! Yes, yes, yes...there are boob shots galore, but unless your particular quirk involves watching cartoon characters in various stages of undress, you will not be impressed.

Accomplishing all of these goals is made easier for the player by having the option to throw a party anytime and every time you want to throw one. Wouldn?t that be nice to do in real life? The list of party attendees can be either drawn up by your female assistant, or by yourself. Invite politicians, athletes, celebrities, and of course a generous sampling of jiggly flesh supplied by the bunnies. Be forewarned that some will decline your invite for insane reasons only known to themselves.

Introducing guests to one another and to the bunnies is easy to do and watching your progress as you strive to make your guests happy is equally easy to do with the emoticons that appear above characters as they are being spoken to as well as the gauges at the bottom of the screen. It isn?t difficult to please your guests as they are quite happy being introduced to a bunny and shown to a secluded place where they can be alone.

Your success as a magazine publisher is probably harder to accomplish than your time with the ladies. A few choice words, a compliment or two, and you are well on your way to scoring. I?m positive many of us find it that easy in the real world as well. Uh....right.


The !&%$@#* in the game is reflective of the entire games graphics. Apparently, the only sexual position that Hef ever read about was with the woman on top. Don?t get me wrong now, nothing bad about that at all, but surely Hef would have read one of his articles and been more adventurous in the bedroom! Oral pleasures can be had as well, but prepare to enjoy them ....with your shorts on!

In a nutshell (no pun intended), that?s what I really dislike about this game. They tried to bring us a game in which there was sex, but they don?t deliver. I would have been happier with brief movie clips of nude or scantily clad models, than with this silly imitation of intercourse. Same thing applies to the building of the magazine from it?s beginnings. Give a player more tools to develop a sense of involvement, rather than just deciding on who to invite to parties and what particular sound system to install.



Speaking of sound....who the heck did they hire for the voices in this thing? Is Mushmouth from the Fat Albert show suddenly a hot commodity? I?m serious, everyone sounds as if they have a mouth full of water while they?re trying to speak. C?mon! Give us some snappy dialogue so we can take notes during the pickup scenes.

Background music is actually semi-enjoyable and can be heard quite clearly. The list of bands and music is diverse and should be able to please everyone if they can stomach the rest of the game. Jazz, rock, hip hop and even techno are all present. Well at least the music department wasn?t sleepng during the making of the game.


Suggestions:
When I went in my GameStop to purchase this game, I was a little leery that my crew at the store might think I was odd for buying a game that promised sex. Little did I realize that the odd looks I received was not for that, but more for buying such an obviously crappy game. I have an unwritten policy of my own that I never trade in video games to buy others. However, for this one game I am going to break that policy.


Overall: 2.0 / 10
Gameplay: 3.8 / 10
Visuals: 3.0 / 10
Sound: 2.0 / 10

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