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You Donít Know Jack: 5th Dementia

Score: 85%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Jellyvision
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 3
Genre: Party/ Trivia/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

As usual, You Donít Know Jack: 5th Dementia uses pre-rendered animations and lots of pretty colors to present the game to you. The floating TV things amused us, especially the very, very scary leader of the squirrel people. The animations that people do when they get a question right or wrong are generally hilarious, revolting, or both, which is a good thing. The in-game graphics are precisely what youíd expect -- questions, answers, numbers to press. Itís nothing mind-blowing, but it gets the job done.

And once again, as usual, the voice acting in 5th Dementia is rock-solid. My personal favorite is the bug voices in Bug Out! -- one of the new question types. They sound like people hopped up on caffeine and helium. Good stuff. Iíve got to note, however, that I miss the goofy number intros (whereís my ďQuestion number 16... and I like it, too?Ē), and the commercials in this game were, as far as I could tell, the same as in You Donít Know Jack: Mock 2 for the PSX. Theyíre also not nearly as high in quality as the ones in the first few games, although the Historically Inaccurate Boyís Choir is hysterical.


Ever played any Jack games? Then you donít need an explanation. If you havenít, it suffices to say that 5th Dementia is a quiz show gone horribly awry. The questions are generally tasteless and quite funny, the answers even more so, and there are a whole lot of chances to screw your neighbors over.

Like YDKJ: The Ride, and the recently-released Mock 2 for the PSX, the question rounds are themed. You donít get to pick your theme, and the theming allows a lot less questions to be in the game (600 as opposed to the original gameís 1,200 or so). But since the game remembers the themes that youíve played, it should be a while before the questions repeat -- 40 games or so. Unfortunately, once they start to repeat, someone whoís had the questions before has an inordinate advantage, so itís best to have two or three Jacks and cycle through them. By the time things start to repeat, hopefully people will have forgotten the answers.

Thereís never been much to the Jack games in terms of weird gameplay (well, lots of weird gameplay, but nothing too difficult). There are a few new question types thrown into the mix (like the Bug Out! which has you splatting bugs which donít belong, and anagrams in the Gibberish Questions as well as the traditional rhymes); variations on a theme, basically, but entertaining nonetheless.

There are problems with 5th Dementia, however, and it comes primarily from the scoring. The dollar amounts are chosen randomly at the beginning of each question, and sometimes really easy questions are given insane dollar amounts. While itís neat, itís also heavily unbalancing. And the Bug Out! takes money away from your opponent as well as giving it to you, so you end up with questions really worth twice the amount they say. This can have a leader cut down quick or someone from behind pulling up fast. And thatís a good thing, but itís a little disconcerting. Winners tend to be more random and less a show of just who knows more useless knowledge. Of course, that could just be my competitive edge talking.

You can also play 5th Dementia online, but I didnít find many people to play against, and thereís something about playing in the same room with people that playing online can never match. Itís certainly doable, but not nearly as entertaining.


Controlling the gameís a snap, understanding the various play modes is a snap... thereís nothing difficult inherent in the game. The questions, on the other hand, can be very hard, especially if youíre not full of useless pop culture knowledge. And depending on just how fast your buzzer finger is and how sharp your opponents are, the game can be a real challenge. Itís all about the people you play against, however.

Game Mechanics:

Q, B, P. Theyíve been buzzers since the first game, and they havenít changed since. You occasionally have to type an answer in, and itís generally a good idea to have someone who types fast be the ďdesignated typer,Ē who types everyoneís solutions in for them. Itís not like you play this game for money, anyway (please, please tell me you donít). The questions are always entertaining, and the question types work well. Bug Out! is a little too harsh for my taste, and Dis or Dat still biases towards one person (in this case, whoever buzzed in the highest dollar amount). But in general, the mechanics of the game are solid.

Like You Donít Know Jack? Then 5th Dementia will float your boat. Donít like the crazy questions? Then stay away. This game is pretty much identical to YDKJ: The Ride, although a little less evil with the naming. It brings nothing revolutionary to the series, and although itís plenty of fun, itís been done many times before. Get it if youíve worn out your other seven Jack games, are looking for new blood, or simply like the series. But donít expect anything more or less than the others.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

P200, 64MB RAM, 8X CD-ROM, 275MB HD space, 640x480x16 video card, 16-bit sound card, mouse, keyboard

Test System:

AMD K6-III 450 running Windows 98, 256 MB RAM, 6X/24X DVD-ROM, Sound Blaster Live!, Creative Labs TNT2 Ultra w/32 MB RAM

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