CASINO KID 2 / Sofel / NES
Casino Kid II removes the actual casino from the equation ... which is the best move it could possibly make! Hunting around the casino floor, listening to the terrible music, finding the arbitrary order of unmarked rival gamblers you had to play, and having NPCs constantly block your way was what brought down a poker and blackjack engine that was actually fairly solid and even innovative.

This time out, the Kid automatically jets around the world, taking on the globe's top gamblers from a number of countries in Street Fighter style. Each has a difficulty rating of 1 to 3, which also usually corresponds with the minimum ante to play them. Even though you're apparently a millionaire now, you start with a bankroll of only $1500 ... I guess the idea is to take on the weak foes first to absorb their bankroll, but you're free to play them in any order you care to.

The thing is, you'll have to play each one at their chosen game of specialty. The poker and blackjack engines are recycled wholesale from the previous game, right down to the same Engrishy lines of dialogue being used. So those are good, though you're basically playing the same characters from the first game, just with different names and faces. The problem is, there's a couple of characters who insist you face them in a new game - roulette.

Now, in the review of the previous game, I said it was wise to limit itself to just poker and blackjack, because they're the only casino games worth playing. That's because, under the right conditions and played with perfect strategy, they're the only games where the house edge can be whittled down to a small fraction of a percent. Even a blackjack player who is using a solid-but-somewhat-sloppy strategy is only at roughly a 2% disadvantage, and then with poker you can factor in playing against other people rather than the house, which can put the advantage entirely in your hands. Now roulette, if it were a matter of the wheel simply being entirely red and black, would offer the best odds of any game - perfectly even odds with neither side having an advantage, if you bet either red or black only. Of course, casinos don't make money putting out games where they don't have an edge, so in real casinos the wheels have a non-colored 0 and 00, the presence of which actually shoots the house edge all the way up to like 5-something%. That's what Casino Kid II does as well, and obviously this would put the player in an untenable position. So the answer here is that the dealer knows ahead of time what the spin is going to land on, and drops some general clue about the possibility. Here's the problem - sometimes they outright lie. So you're still playing at terrible odds. If they're telling the truth, you're at 50% at best, but the factor of them lying here and there actually makes the game worse than playing a real roulette wheel!

So the botched roulette game fucks things up. Of course, you could just ignore those characters until last and only take it on once your bankroll is huge ... or just never finish the game, I guess. If you're OK with that, then Casino Kid II gives you the same decent poker and blackjack action of the first game, but gives you much quicker and more convenient access to it.
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