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You Don't Know Jack

Score: 98%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: THQ
Developer: JellyVision
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Trivia/ Online/ Party


Graphics & Sound:

Years ago, I was master of this hilarious trivia game. Its twisted way of throwing questions (and insults) at you just appealed to my warped sense of fun. For years now, there hadn't been a new version released so those Q, B, P stickers (the original buttons used to buzz in) on our keyboards were beginning to fade and their use forgotten. Now, I am ecstatic over the return of You Don't Know Jack!

If you're already familiar with the game, when you launch You Don't Know Jack, you'll be transported back 10 years or so. Everything looks and sounds exactly like it did before, which I love. I had forgotten how wonderfully funny Cookie Masterson (the host) is. As before and with the same voice as before, Cookie is there to ask you questions, berate you for wrong answers, make fun of you for playing alone on Valentine's Day (seriously), and on a very rare occasion, be nice to you when you get something right. Of course, he's got guest stars that will come in and help from time to time, just to give you additional humor.

Visibly, I love how You Don't Know Jack looks. Before each question, you get a cute little animation for the question number. I particularly found the interaction between question ten's letters amusing. Once you get the questions, everything is very easy to read. Granted, you might have issues figuring out the twisted way they might phrase it, but the text is clear and concise. It's very easy to see what you need to do when, and nothing is convoluted or hard to understand.


Gameplay:

You Don't Know Jack is a trivia game, but it's not like any other trivia game you've ever played before. Instead of asking you boring questions that you either know the answer to or you guess, You Don't Know Jack avoids the ordinary or dresses it up so that your mind has to really concentrate to unravel the questions.

You Don't Know Jack has three different rounds, Round One, Round Two, and the Jack Attack. Before you start playing, you'll be given the clue to the "Wrong Answer of the Game." When you see an answer that is wrong for the question that is being asked, but matches the clue for the wrong answer of the game, you will want to choose that answer instead of the real answer. The wrong answer of the game is worth $8,000 and will earn you a gift.

Round One is meant to get you used to the questions and ease you into the game. When the questions pop up, the timer starts counting down from 20 seconds. The faster you buzz in, the more points you will earn for a right answer or lose for a wrong answer. You don't have to answer a question if you don't want to (unless you're screwed). If you're not sure, I usually recommend waiting just a few seconds to answer the question just so you don't lose as much if you're wrong. There are 5 questions in the first round. Once you get to question six, you're in Round Two. The questions are now doubled in value, so you can get ahead or behind much quicker here. There are 5 questions in Round Two as well. Once you've passed these 10 questions, you'll enter the Jack Attack round, which is my personal favorite. Before the round, you are given a clue. For the Jack Attack, you'll see a word or phrase in the middle of the screen and other words or phrases popping up around it. When you see one pop up that matches that center word and the clue that you were given, you click the X button. These are worth a lot of money, $4,000 each, so you can really win the game big by getting the Jack Attack questions right. After the Jack Attack is over, you'll get to see your final score and find out who won. The one thing that I wish they had is the ability to play again with the same people. Each time the game is over, you have to re-select your players.

A new feature is that you can now play You Don't Know Jack online with other people that you may or may not know. This is a really great feature as it gives you the ability to play with other people, even if you're sitting at home alone. Of course, playing online does make "screwing" a lot harder since you can't see your opponents to know if they have any clue as to the right answer. Screwing an opponent is where you can buzz in, only instead of answering the question, you can choose a player and force them to answer it, hoping that they don't know the answer and causing them to lose money. Of course, if they do know the answer, then they could also win big. You can also download additional question packs online now, so when you run out of the 74 episodes that are included on the disc, you can just download more for a small fee.


Difficulty:

It's very hard to give you an idea of how hard You Don't Know Jack is. Even playing by yourself, you can end up in the negative numbers when you end the game. But that doesn't mean that it's any easier when you're playing against someone else. It just means that you're not as embarrassed since there's no one to see your pathetic score. Then you could end up scoring 50,000+ in the next round just because you happen to catch on to those questions quicker. There's just no way you can predict You Don't Know Jack, which is why it's so much fun. I can promise you that even if you think you're good at trivia, you will get tripped up somewhere on You Don't Know Jack for sure!

There are a couple of things that can make multiplayer less or more difficult. First, there's the Dis or Dat question. You still have these in single player but in multiplayer, the player who has the lowest score at that time is the one person who gets to answer the Dis or Dat. There's a whole lot of money to be made in it if you answer quickly, so quite often, if you do well you'll go from last to first. Of course, your opponents can still earn money on Dis or Dat if they answer before you do and you miss the question. Then there are the screws. Screwing can be a lot of fun. Each player is given one screw per game. If you think one of your opponents has no clue to the answer, screw them. They'll have to answer the question and hopefully for you, get it wrong. If however they get it right, you will lose points so be quite careful with those screws if you're got a tricky opponent!


Game Mechanics:

Playing You Don't Know Jack is easy as pie! It is simple enough for a child to play, but I highly recommend that you don't let your kids play unless you're prepared to explain a lot of slang terms. You Don't Know Jack truly earns its Teen rating without any graphic violence. Each time you start up the game, it will offer to give you the instructions again, just in case you were a new player. You can opt to skip them though if you know what you're doing and just want to play. For the normal questions, you simply press the button that corresponds to the answer that you want to select. For the Dis or Dats, you'll use (X), (B),and on rare occasions (A). Finally for the Jack Attack, you only use the (A) button. If there are any variations in the game, they'll tell you at that time, so you'll always know what you're doing.

I can't tell you how excited I am for the return of You Don't Know Jack! I have been waiting on this for years. You Don't Know Jack is the ultimate party game and is wonderful to play alone as well. If you think your brain can handle the challenge, I highly recommend that everyone go pick up You Don't Know Jack today. I promise you'll learn to love being insulted by Cookie!


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

Sony PlayStation 3 Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds Microsoft Xbox 360 Hard Corps: Uprising

 
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