Released: April 1993
US Cartridge ID: NES-CK-USA
Supported Peripherals: Controller
ROM Size: 1 megabit
Mapper: UNROM (128k PRG)
The US only sequel to Casino Kid, Casino Kid II attempts to refine the formula as established by Sofel’s first casino simulator. After becoming a millionaire and spending a year at the top of his game as the King of the Casino, the kid receives a message from a “mystery man,” claiming that elimination tournaments have been held in order to determine who the best players are worldwide. The Casino Kid must defeat each of these new challengers in order to meet his rival. Of course, as the American champion, backing down is not an option.
In a dramatic departure from the style established by the first game, Casino Kid II completely ignores the exploration aspect that gave Casino Kid most of its personality. Instead, after a nice looking anime-style intro screen, the player is unceremoniously dropped into a map of the world (bearing more than a vague resemblance to the one in Street Fighter II) where an opponent may be selected to face off against. While this does avoid some of the tedium that Casino Kid fell victim to, as it completely eliminates the downtime between games that resulted from having to search out each new opponent, the new story, bare-bones as it is, doesn’t provide a good justification for omitting what was perhaps the best feature of the game’s predecessor. There are nine opponents that the Casino Kid can chose to go after, and they can chosen in any order, providing the Kid has sufficient funds to reasonably challenge them. Joining the traditional blackjack and poker match-ups on offer, roulette provides some much needed variety to the proceedings.
The characters retain their poker face hints, and this feature’s usefulness is bolstered through the addition of roulette. Because by its very nature roulette is a game of absolute chance, Sofel has granted the Kid’s adversaries with the gift of precognition: before the wheel is set in motion, the player will say something across the table. Recognizing the significance of these comments is key to success: veiled as they are, the opponent is often providing vital clues about whether the ball will land on red or black, even or odd, or even land on a specific numbered space, providing a whole new layer depth to an otherwise simple game. The poker and blackjack games play the exact same way as they did in Casino Kid, though the odds don’t seemed as unfairly stacked against the player, since the computer’s AI no longer produces miraculous hands anywhere near as often as before.
The graphics have been marginally improved for Casino Kid II, featuring better drawn
character portraits and more liberal use of color, and the new cinematics look great. The sound quality has been enhanced a great deal, often making use of drum samples to add to the fullness of the tracks, and there is a fair amount more variety in the music.
Unfortunately, while good, the music is never quite as memorable or as catchy as it was in Casino Kid. The aesthetics, however, are a huge step up from other NES gambling games like the bland Vegas Dreams or the offensively unattractive Caesar’s Palace.
Casino Kid II demonstrates a respectable attempt to improve the formula established by the first game, but in its execution serves to undermine any depth the game might have had. While still a solid table game simulator, Casino Kid II lacks the heart that made Casino Kid so endearing in the first place. The mechanics are solid, but the whole affair
comes across as an uninspired retread that never lives up to the (comparatively) lofty standards set by the original, and suffers in comparison.
|Casino Kid II