A couple of the twenty games included in Ultimate Board Game Collection are decent enough to at least remind you that the games they emulate are fun. The rest are miserable any way you look at them.
With games like Chess, Parcheesi, Backgammon, Concentration, Go, 3D Tic-Tac-Toe, Anagrams and Naval Battle (aka Battleship) on offer,the first question you probably have is, "How are the graphics?" Okay, maybeit's the second, right after "Why the hell do I need my PS2 to play Tic-Tac-Toe?" but we're assuming that anyone reading this is actually interested in the game.
At any rate, you'll be glad to know that the rendering power of the PS2 is used to its fullest - little androgynous game pieces tread tediously across the Parcheesi board in full three-dimensional glory. That is to say, the games are monotonous, full of extraneous animation, and topped off with ugly backgrounds. The awkward camera angles and horrid textures even add extra challenge, making itoddly difficultjust to see what's going on.
Above: Quite possibly the dullest collection of videogame images ever gathered in one place.
How's the music, you ask? The game lets you choose between three styles: Rock, Pop and Classical. They all start to sound the same after a while, and they'll all eventually compel you to hit the mute button on your remote.
If you're thinking that there must be something redeeming here, you're almost right. Naval Battle is one of the few games with a little life- animated explosions and water splashes actually add to the Battleship clone. But, of course, the one game not screwed up by shoddy graphics capsizes from other mistakes. The ships don't sink after they're destroyed - they just stay there, confusing us. And we know that a multiplayer mode would have been a bit silly (you'd have to make your opponent look away from the screen while you placed your ships), but when the rest of the game blows, what's the harm in giving players every last chance to salvage some fun from it?