Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire is best reserved for those looking for a quick gag gift.
Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire is a parody of the hit TV quiz show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The parody includes a game-show-style atmosphere and a wide variety of trivia questions just as there are on the TV show, but the object of the game is much different. Rather than win money for correct answers, contestants in Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire win time in a one-sided boxing match against one of five millionaire characters. As the millionaires get beat up, they lose their money until they are finally knocked out of the game, penniless and bruised.
The game consistently tries to be humorous. While some of the jokes are, at times, tasteless and even mildly offensive, overall the game succeeds at being amusing, at least initially. When you start the game, each of up to four players chooses to play as one of the following five millionaire characters: the white middle-aged American oil tycoon, the young blonde bimbo widow, the Middle-Eastern Sheik, the trust-fund fraternity guy, and the computer software geek. Each character starts with $1,000,000.
The game begins, and the first player to hit the buzz-in key has the first chance to answer a question. If you choose the correct answer out of the four choices provided, you get to physically assault one of the other player's characters by using a very simple first-person, two-handed fighting system that involves jabs to the midsection, uppercuts, and left and right hooks. The victims do not get to fight back until they get an answer correct, and then they can get their revenge. After getting hit in the head a few times, the millionaire victims will automatically block subsequent hits with their arms, and so you'll want to jab at their midsection at that point. The characters lose money as they get beat up, in a reverse version of the TV show's prize ladder. The questions and beatings continue until millionaires get knocked unconscious, and only one contestant remains. That contestant is declared the winner.
The cartoon graphics in the game are clean and colorful, and the animation is amusing but somewhat simplistic. The show host, Egregious Phillin, opens his mouth repeatedly during the dialog, but he doesn't come close to actually mouthing the words. In addition, there are a noticeably limited number of animations while you beat on a victim. Nevertheless, it is amusing, and possibly a little disturbing, to see the progression of bruises, black eyes, broken teeth, frazzled hair, and other results of the beatings that deform the contestants' faces.
The sound in the game is the primary source of amusement. Egregious Phillin delivers a steady stream of one-liners. While these jokes vary in degrees of tastefulness and get old quickly, they add to the general sense of irreverence. Simple, but effective beating sounds combine with the millionaire characters' cries of pain during the beating sessions. During gameplay, Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire's sound would occasionally cut out, but the game would still wait silently as the phantom sound finished playing.
Playing the game is very simple, as it mimics the straightforward format of the TV show during the trivia portion. Each contestant gets three lifelines: one or the other, pass the buck or chicken out, and fortune cookie. The one or the other lifeline is the equivalent of the 50-50: Two incorrect answers are removed from the list, which leaves the correct answer and an incorrect answer. The pass the buck and chicken out lifelines let the player pass the question on to another contestant (in the multiplayer game) or skip the question. The fortune cookie lifeline will tell you if the answer you choose is correct or incorrect. The questions are similar to those in the game show, although they often have a more humorous twist. Since there are 750 different questions in the game, the trivia portion should provide some replay value.
The single-player game will provide some short-term amusement, but the multiplayer game has more potential. The beating portion of the game gets old quickly due to the oversimplified controls, so the game provides occasional special weapons based on the victim's character. The young blonde bimbo may be beaten with the shriveled, dead hand of her late senior-citizen husband; the software geek may be hit with a rolled up technology magazine; and the sheik may be slapped with a falafel sandwich. The multiplayer game adds suspense and competition to the game - each player must buzz in as quickly as possible in order to answer a question, and when successful, that player gets to choose one of the other players to beat on.
Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire relies heavily on humor, and the trivia questions are adequate, but these factors don't make up for the lack of depth and gameplay. Players who are looking for a trivia game will find the fighting portion of the game unnecessary, repetitive, and maybe even offensive, while those looking for a fighting game will find the gameplay lacking. Fans of tasteless jokes and those who are particularly annoyed by the game show may appreciate the game's humor for a couple of hours, and teenagers with a few friends may enjoy the multiplayer mode. But overall, Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire is best reserved for those looking for a quick gag gift.