GAME REVIEWS

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

21 Emon


~ 21 EMON ~
NEC Home Electronics
HuCard
1994

Roll the dice, move around the board, and make some good cash--those are the tasks you're charged with in NEC's 21 Emon, which is something of a light, cartoonish rendition of Monopoly. Constructing (and subsequently upgrading) hotels is the main method by which you can amass your fortune.


Emon mandates that there be four participants in the goings-on, but all four can be of the actual-human sort if you have pals who for some reason are interested in playing such a game. They'll likely be repelled immediately by the assortment of "merry" tunes on offer, but perhaps you'll be able to lure them back with the prospect of selecting from three different playfields, one of which is stationed in the depths of outer space.


Clearly, the basic premise, unabideable audio, and limited options will "win" the chip nothing but detractors. Also of little allure are the simplistic mini-games that players must occasionally partake in, among which are whack-a-mole and a tile-flipping memory test.


Tossing additional wrenches into the mix are the here-and-there "pick-a-card" spots, which enable contestants to earn a fast buck or put a quick sledgehammer to their opponents' work.


As players are asked to do very little in it, the game is quite accessible even to those who can't read a bit of Japanese (though it's doubtful that anyone would actually want access to this rubbish). Some menu scouring will unearth "deeper" functions such as property auctioning, but taking advantage of such "features" is hardly essential to succeeding.


Ultimately, its general simplicity makes the game a repetitive bore, and while its graphics are quite nice and colorful, there is nothing particularly cute or crazy to happen upon, which is a bit surprising for a product with an unquestionably cartoony base. In fact, the Super Momotarou Dentetsu games, perennially the butts of jokes along the lines of "I got this chip for free but I was the one who got ripped off," are much deeper and far more endearing than this title. And considering that Emon often goes for over eighty dollars in complete form, I suffer no qualms in suggesting that people avoid it entirely.

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