Trivial Pursuit CDTV logo CDTV

DOMARK * £49.99

This and the Guiness Book of Records are probably the two most important titles for CDTV and the Amiga. The scale of this enterprise is unique: it comes on two CDs, which is a monster amount of data.

The essence of play is the same as the famous culture-changing board game: six players move round a board and answer questions in six different categories. Good die throws and good answers are both needed to win. Inevitably, the basic game structure had to address handling whose turn it is, the die-throwing and question-asking. But in all aspects, the way it has been done leaves room for some improvement.

A chirpy cartoon character has been chosen as gameshow host and is predictably irritating. Clips of animation and real speech are used to swap from player to player and keep the game moving, and after you've heard all the speech clips prompting you to roll the die, they do nothing but hold up the game and irritate the players.

The dice roll has been really badly done, with a slow animation and a painful over-mixed sound effect making every roll of the computer-generated random number an endurance test, not a moment of excitement. Even though the process can be speeded up, it's still a badly implemented idea.

Each time you reach a new category of question, a host of that category is introduced. The cartoon characters used might amuse you first time through, if you like Bob Monkhouse's jokes, but of course the second time you play they are nothing but an irritation.

All the questions are accompanied by a picture of some vague relevance, but here too an opportunity is missed; an interactive CD version of the game could have added questions like "who painted this picture" and "name this tune". Instead, too many are just word-based and the pictures are mostly irrelevant.

When you've got an answer you are happy with, you are expected to click a button to see if you're right and then to click on 'yes' or 'no' when asked "did you get it right?" which is somehow completely unsatisfying.

All in all, there is the same fun board game underneath, but doing it all via your telly seems to take something away from the game as a social activity (it's always fun asking questions when you're playing the board game) which it can't replace by clever-clever presentation. Add in a substantially higher price and, sadly, you're on to a loser.

Trivial Pursuit CDTV logo CDTV CU Amiga Screen Star

So far, the CD medium hasn't really been exploited to the full. However, Domark's first foray into this exciting medium is a conversion of an old fave with a difference. Paul Rand gets trivial...

Since its creation in the mid-Eighties, Trivial Pursuit has become the post-winebar pastime of Thirtysomethings the world over. Why? Probably because everyone likes to be a smart-arse, and what better way to prove it than by correctly answering hordes of trivia questions? Which is exactly what you must do in Trivial Pursuit.

Played on a round board (actually, it's square, but the actual playing area itself is circular) which is further split into numerous question boxes, each player must attempt to fill a plastic playing piece with different coloured segments and reach the middle of the board before the others. This is achieved by landing on one of the six special segment squares and correctly answering a poser pertaining to the appropriate category - you must have played it at some time...

All well and good, but isn't it annoying when you roll in through the front door with the boys and girls, all of whom are champing at the bit for an hour of two of 'Triv', only to find that half the segments are missing and the dog has chewed up all the cards? Domark remedied this a few years back with home computer versions of Trivial Pursuit - and now they're set to sell untold amounts of CDTVs with a CD-based conversion of the game.

No need to ask someone to hold the cards here: Trivial Pursuit - The CDTV Version has its own built-in Master of Ceremonies, called Russell. He's an odd-looking bird with a distinctly plummy voice - yes, he talks - who will be your guide right to the end of the game. Russell's rustled together a few of his friends, too, to read out the questions.

And what a black book this feller must have! Albert Einstein (Science), Mae West (Entertainment), Adonis (Sport), Napoleon Bonaparte (History), William Shakespeare (Art and Literature), and Christopher Columbus (Geography) are all on hand with questions at the ready and quips in abundance.

All the customary rules are there, with the player rolling the dice and moving the amount of squares shown. In the likely event of landing on a normal question square, a poser will be given, which must be answered within a strict time limit. Alternatively, land on a square with a dice icon and you are allowed a free throw. And, if you land on a segment square and correctly answer the trivia question, the appropriate wedge becomes yours. Collect all six and make it to the centre circle, answer a random question and you win the game!

It is in the question-answering where Trivial Pursuit differs radically to other computer boardgames. There's no need to choose from a list of possible answers - simply shout out what you believe to be the correct answer and then select the Reveal icon. The computer will then tell you the answer and ask you if that was the one you chose, at which point you select either Yes or No depending upon whether or not you were right.

This unique method allows fo an ability never before possible in this genre - cheating. There's no need to worry about running out of questions, either: Trivial Pursuit is supplied on two CDs, each containing 1000 questions, with extra question discs already in the pipeline.

With 550MB of available memory on each CD, the programmers of Trivial Pursuit have been able to run riot in the graphics and sound department. The first thing you notice is the animation of your host Russell and his question-asking cohorts. Although quite basic, each character comes to life on screen thanks to the many frames of movement.

What is technically very clever is the way in which their mouths move in sync with the spoken word - and there is a lot of speech in this game. How much? Try every question, every answer, and God knows how much more. Russell is never afraid to rattle on about something, whether it be informing the player to roll the dice, or making some scathing comment on the amount scored after the roll.

And, on introducing each of the question-masters he'll spend a good half-minute or so indulging in mindless conversation with them before getting back to the proceeding. Each piece of trivia has a picture attached to it, and some even have a piece of music or snippet of running commentary, too.

Trivial Pursuit is a title that has obviously had an enormous amount of time spent on it - and it shows. If Commodore are on the lookout for a title that shows off their machine, this is the one.

The game isn't without its faults, though. The most annoying is while the screen is showing one question, the CD player occasionally zips off and chooses an incorrect piece of speech to go with it - imagine my surprise when, on hearing my CDTV ask me how many teeth does a human have, I looked at the question which was enquiring as to the colour of Yak's milk!

Other little gripes include some rather nasty flicker on the digitised graphic screens, not to mention the disconcerting and, eventually, agonizing click which blasts out whenever a new block of speech is loaded.

And there's a totally unforgivable omission - while Domark have stuffed the front end full of humorous graphics and sound, come to the end of the game there's not even a hint of congratulations to the winner, just deathly silence and a frozen screen.

Having said that, Trivial Pursuit is so packed with humour, especially in the form of the cynical Russell and his constant stream of witty, if slightly cheeky, one-liners (especially if you aren't very good at the game - he'll let you know in no uncertain terms), that all the problems, which would be extremely off-putting on other titles, pale into insignificance.

Obviously, with the method of answer selection employed, this is a game that is all but impossible to play on your own, but then again so is the real thing. Trivial Pursuit will wow your family and friends. It has all the features and content that we all expect from a decent CD-based title - none of your direct ports, here! - and with so many questions on the CDs, its longevity is ensured.

And just think, no longer will you have to suffer the indignation of scrabbling around the floor, looking for the missing blue segment!


Thanks to the power of CDTV, the player isn't just treated to a dull screen and a snatch of ropey music! On loading, the CD grinds into action with a full-frontal assault on the senses, taking the player through an animated cartoon representation of all six different categories, from History - in which your character just escapes being beheaded by a Roman soldier - to Entertainment - in which you're grabbed by King Kong and carried up the top of the Empire State Building. The definition of the graphics isn't too hot, but the overall effect, coupled with a stunning CD soundtrack, is the business!


If there's one thing you can't help but notice about CD-based software, it's the amount of people involved in their production. Trivial Pursuit has a cast list as long as your arm, from programmers and animators to picture and sound providers and voice-over artists. Comedienne and impersonator Kate Robbins (who you will probably have heard supplying the voice of Fergie on Spitting Image) does a fairly mean impression of Mae West in the game, while Carry On actor and star of Give Us A Clue (wow, really big-time!), Patrick Mower, supplied the voices of other characters. Mind you, quite what Mr Mower was thinking of when he did the voice of Adonis we don't know - he's got a Cockney accent in Trivial Pursuit!

Trivial Pursuit CD32 logo CD32

Domark 081-780 2224 * £29.99 * Out now

Everyone has played this game in one form or another - it's the most popular board game in the galaxy and because it relies on folk interacting, you wouldn't expect it to be much good on screen would you? Wrong.

This version has an animated bird called Russell as its host, and heck, the whole game is not only entertaining, it's very funny. There are pictures, animations and sound effects and with about 2,000 questions, you'd have to be as brainy as my Auntie Kath to finish that lot in a week. Recommended.

Trivial Pursuit CD32 logo CD32

Zum guten Schluß nochmals eine etwas aufwendigere Versilberung. Domark hat die Versoftung des bekannten Frage-und-Antwort-Brettspiels für die CD einer Frischzellenkur unterzogen, womit sich Besitzer von Commos 32-Bit-Konsole über zahlreiche neue Features freuen dürfen: Jeder Spielzug wird von passenden Digi-Bildchen begleitet, viele und teilweise sehr witzige Animationen wollen bewundert werden, zudem ertönen die Fragen jetzt in richtiger Sprachausgabe.

Dummerweise ist alles komplett in Englisch gehalten, was in erweitertem Sinne auch für den Fragenkatalog gilt - ob deutsche Quizkandidaten an den oft recht spezifisch britischen Aufgaben viel Freude haben, darf also bezweifelt werden.

Wer hier schon das Handbuch wirft, braucht sich auch nicht über das mißratene Handling zu ärgern: Die unzähligen Kommentare und Hilfestellungen des an sich ja sehr unterhaltsamen Papageien-Moderators Russel lassen sich nicht abbrechen, man muß den bereits bekannten Worstschwall immer wieder neu über sich ergehen lassen.

Und weil das unbestritten lehrreiche und nett gemachte Spiel trotz aller Mühen des Herstellers in geselliger Wohnzimmertischrunde ohnehin immer noch am meisten Spaß macht, sollten hier 68 Prozent genügen. (rl)

Trivial Pursuit CD32 logo CD32

Domark, £29.99

Here's a bit of a turn-up for the book - a CD32 port of an old Amiga game that's actually been completely rewritten for the format. CD32 Trivial Pursuit boasts music and speech questions (as well as actually asking all the questions in sampled speech from top unemployed BBC sitcom actors impersonating historical figures), pretty pictures in hundreds of colours, and, er... Russell.

Russell is the host of the game, a scrawny bird of some sort in a suit, voiced by 'Ooh, I know who he is but I just can't put a face on him' actor Chris Langham, and the current record for putting up with him before going 'Yeeeaaurgh!' and lunging for the 'Russell Off' option stands at 52 seconds.

CD32 TP is the first computer version of the game to actually feel like there's some point in playing it instead of just buying the board game, and it does a very good job of creating the same kind of feel as playing the real thing (except the crap scrolling and the game's insistence on telling you everything in crystal-clear Received Pronunciation when you're just trying to move the pointer to the right question category can slow things down to a slightly annoying degree).

Which isn't necessarily a good thing, of course. You get either 1000 or 2000 questions (the game's documentation seems rather muddled on this point, and I haven't counted), and, er, it's all very nice.

Trivial Pursuit CD32 logo CD32


Ask anyone what the most important release was for the ill fated CDTV and they'll answer 'Trivial Pursuit'. Domark made a killing many moons ago when the 8-bit versions appeared, and the advent of CD seemed the perfect medium for a trivia based game.

Pulling influence from everywhere, from pub trivia machines to every game show under the sun, it worked brilliantly, providing an unrivalled multimedia experience. And now it comes to the CD32.

Don't get over excited, though. This is basically the same game as the CDTV version, with a couple of bugs fixed. Getting technical for a moment, the differing sizes in the loading buffers and some of the sound files wouldn't run properly on the CD32, so a couple of quick fixes later and, hey presto, the CD32 version is born.

So what do you get for your money? 2,000 questions, as the box so proudly shouts. 2,000 questions covering every topic under the sun, and all accompanied by full colour, generally highly misleading photographs. "Which parts of the human face typically has around 550 hairs?", asks the game, showing you a picture of a man with a huge beard. Apparently, there are considerably less pictures on the disk than there are questions, so it chooses the one it finds the most relevant.

The whole thing is held together by a talking cartoon bird, who introduces each question and a selection of famous personalities from history - such as Shakespeare and Einstein - who ask them.

The script is almost funny in places, but due to the limiting nature of the game, you do find yourself watching the same bit of animation and listening to the same joke time and time again.

If you like Trivial Pursuit, of course you're going to like this. By the way, an eyebrow has 550 hairs. See what I mean about being misleading?