Austin Powers: Operation Trivia
Dr. Evil has captured Austin Powers yet again and could easily kill him, but as usual he’s concocted an overly complex scheme to destroy him. This time it’s in the form of an "overly elaborate game show" he calls Win Lose or Die. Austin and Dr. Evil are competing for the fate of the world. This is all explained in the enjoyable intro sequences for the game -- there are several and they are worth watching (actually they are the best part of the game). Based on the You Don’t Know Jack game engine includes trivia form the 1960s through the 1990s, as well as questions based on the movie.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
The game can be played with one or two players -- a departure from the normal You Don’t Know Jack three-player limit. One twist is that you won’t automatically win if you select a single player game -- you have to beat a preset score to win. Each game consists of seven questions which can range from way too easy to very difficult. The questions span across almost any pop culture topic from the 1960s to the present as well as trivia from both Austin Powers movies. Overall I found the questions fairly well balanced, but if you aren’t familiar with topics like 1960s history, 1970s cartoons, or early computer games of the 1980s you may find them almost impossible.
The two-player game play does allow for some nice variations -- my favorite is the "Keep Away" game. Two related topics are selected (e.g. the cartoons Speed Racer and ), with one topic assigned to each player. As phrases, character names, or other bits of trivia related to the topics appear, each player must be the first to buzz in to identify the topic as either theirs or the other teams. Another fun game is the new "Crazy Chain" finale in which nine rapid-fire questions form a topic chain. For example: if the first question was "Who played a mathematician in Jurassic Park", the next question would be "Who helped Jeff Goldblum destroy the aliens in Independence Day?", the next question would relate to Will Smith, etc.
In keeping with Dr. Evil’s penchant for extravagance the game features insanely high point values -- you can win 40,000,000 or more on some questions, but since the score to beat for the single player game usually ranges from 100,000,000 to 140,000,000 you usually need to get almost every question right to win. This is made easier after you’ve played a few games -- even though there are supposedly hundreds of questions in the database (I am still getting some I’ve never seen) the game started repeating questions I’d already answered after only two or three games.
Operation Trivia, like previous trivia games from Sierra, lacks support for online play -- with the popularity of the online version of You Don’t Know Jack I don’t understand why Sierra hasn’t gotten the clue that network play should be added to their trivia series.
Graphics & Audio
The animation and graphics in the game are great. Each question is accompanied by the horrible jokes and puns Austin Powers is known for, as well as some humorous video clips and the requisite 1960s go-go dancer and flower-power montages. Music based on the soundtracks from the movies is used throughout the game, adding to the 60s retro feeling. Where the audio falls flat is in the voiceovers. Apparently Mike Meyers was unavailable to portray the characters for the game and while the actor who stepped into his shoes does a respectable job of imitating Dr. Evil, the voice-overs for Austin are way off -- my own cheesy attempts to imitate Austin are almost as good.
Windows 95/98, Pentium 90, 16MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM.
If you're a die-hard Austin Powers fan then you might enjoy Operation Trivia, although the inaccurate impersonation of Austin may annoy you. If you didn’t like the movies then steer well clear -- you’ll like the game even less. This is a game suited to occasional play when you’re in the mood -- overdoing it can quickly make even Mr. Bigglesworth very angry.