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Platform:  Neo Geo
# of Players:  1-2
Developer:  Dyna
Publisher:  SNK
Features:  Pocket Link
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
OK, so you think your good at some blackjack. So did I. I can go to most real life casinos and walk from a blackjack table with serious loot. At my bachelor party I turned up a $1300 profit in 4 hours on a 5 table in Atlantic City. I am a huge NGP fan. I think it is the best handheld out. So when this game was release I had to get it. I admit that at first I was really cocky. I though "hey I can get lots of practice and beat the computer to the ground". I was wrong.

The main difference with this game and a real casino is that there is only one deck. In AC they use eight and in Vegas they use six. Also in a real casino you have other players to use against the house. If you can get 6 players who know what they are doing at the table then everyone can win. I know how to count cards fairly well and that is one advantage in the game. It actually wants you to count the cards.

I really did try to like this game but I came away thinking it could have been better. The computer beats the hell out of you every chance it gets. The one cool thing is that you can get special hands like a 5 card charlie that gives you odds. You can get a variety of these odds hands like 6,7,8 cards or a straight, even the 777 blackjack. These are cool but with only one deck in the shoe (the name of the dealer's decks) it is near impossible. There are two modes in the game as well, original or casino. You can also play versus mode with the link cable but I didn't try that yet. In the simple mode you don't get the special odds wins and you can only bet 1 chip at a time very boring. In the original mode you get the works. You can bet as much as 5 points at a time. The manual says that if you do well in the original mode you graduate to the pro level and you can play two hands at a time. After playing for 500 hands I am still not there. I have a winning ratio (so far I have doubled my points). The game has a bookkeeper to tell you about all your wins/loses/ratios but who cares. I thought this game was really really boring and I was hoping for a much more realistic experience. I guess that if you really need to complete your casino series for the pocket this game is OK, but the others are a lot more fun.

In case you need to know more about the dynamics of the game, here goes. First, you get two cards along with the dealer. You then need to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. Then the dealer must hit to 17 and stay. If the dealer busts taking hits then you win. If his score is closer to 21 than your then you lose. If you get dealt a pair then you can split your cards with a double bet and you get 2 hands. If you want to take only one card and you feel lucky you can "double down". Good luck you will need it.

-Jesse Labrocca

Jesse Labrocca

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