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You Don't Know Jack review


Manufacturer: THQ

Our Rating: We rate this 2.5 out of 5

You Don't Know Jack is the premier name in off-the-wall trivia, but an unfortunate lack of variety and some hit-or-miss humour mean it doesn't quite work as a videogame.

You Don't Know Jack has been out of the spotlight for a few years now, but for better or worse its latest edition picks up right where the last one left off. In other words, if you're a connoisseur of all things pertaining to pop culture, obscure trivia, and extremely spotty potty humor, then you'll feel right at home. In simple terms, if you once knew You Don't Know Jack, then the chances are that you still know You Don't Know Jack.

For the uninitiated, here's how it works: you (and hopefully some friends) answer a series of ten multiple choice questions, which are occasionally broken up by bonus rounds like "Dis or Dat" and a final, potentially momentum-swinging "Jack Attack." The quicker you answer a question, the more money you pocket, and it works both ways, so wild guesses can and will set fire to your cash stash.

You can also "screw" your opponents once per game, forcing them to frantically answer a question they may or may not know the answer to in five seconds. And all the while, the whole thing plays out like a game show, with host Cookie Masterson berating players and cracking typically crude, and frequently downright bad, jokes.

That description, although brief, describes the game from top to tail. Aside from Dis or Dat's clever matching sections - you might have to pick between Pope names and Britney Spears songs, for instance - and Jack Attack's rapid-fire word associations, it's all tenuously linked multiple choice questions all the time. Granted, 73 different ten-question "episodes" make this one of the series' meatier entries, but in a world ruled by trivia kingpins like Buzz! Quiz TV, You Don't Know Jack comes up painfully short.

The lack of customisation - or, indeed, any features beyond the absolute bare-bones basics - is especially problematic, forcing you to slowly unlock new episodes in a linear fashion. In other words, if you're hoping to break open a fresh copy of the game for a social gathering, your party train's going to crash headfirst into a very limited question selection. On top of that, there's no real organization or theme to questions outside of goofy, mostly unrelated episode titles, and you can't arrange your own question sets either. You can pick an episode and play through it. That's it. No extra modes. No difficulty levels. Nothing.

You Don't Know Jack

Also - and this can't be stressed enough - You Don't Know Jack has a very specific sense of humour, and if it's not to your taste every joke will be like nails dragging on a chalkboard. I mention this because it's absolutely a core element of the game's appeal. It's in every word the host says, it's in all the questions; hell, there are even fake "commercials" chattering away behind all the menus. Occasionally, you'll stumble across a joke that's legitimately clever, but by and large they tend to fall back on sex, farts, and outdated pop culture references. That's just the way the cookie (and Cookie Masterson's humor) crumbles.

All told, this is a game that meets expectations and does absolutely nothing to surpass them. It's the You Don't Know Jack of yore with new questions and slicker presentation. If you're an old-school Jack fan with a sense of humor that hasn't aged a second since your fourteenth birthday, then that's probably enough for you. If not, there are far better options out there to scratch your trivia itch.

Next page: Our expert verdict

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You Don't Know Jack Expert Verdict »

System Requirements - OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7
Processor: 1.8 Ghz min processor speed
Memory: 2GB Ram
Graphics: 128 MB Direct X 9 compliant video card
Hard Drive
Sound: Direct X compatible sound card
DirectX: 9.0c.
  • Overall: We give this item 5 of 10 overall

700 interesting questions in a threadbare package.

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