Can you figure out what ‘Hit Sewn Leed Ember Hairy’
sounds like? What about ‘Knots Hole Dens Tores’? Say it
fast, say it slow, slur it, rinse, and repeat. If you came up with ‘It’s
only temporary’ and ‘Not sold in stores’, then Mad Gab is just the
game for you.
Mad Gab, from Sierra Studios, is a collection of words that sound
like a phrase, famous person, place or thing. Your job is to
unscramble the jibberish and make sense of it. If you’ve played
any of the ‘You Don’t Know Jack’ series of titles, you might
remember that they also featured questions much like this. They
were called ‘Jibberish Questions’ in You Don’t Know Jack, but the
premise was the same. It might drive you crazy, it might get you
talking to yourself, but it’s a whole lot of fun.
Mad Gab is designed much like a game show. You begin by
choosing your contestants and their level of difficulty. Mad Gab
supports up to 3 players, so you can play against computer
opponents, or up to 2 of your friends. If you select one or two
computer opponents, you can select from 5 levels of difficulty for
those opponents, ranging from beginner to brilliant. After the
contestants have been chosen, it’s time to start the first round of
The first round of Mad Gab features 3 different categories: In
Reverse, Pick-n-Click, and Self-Paced Play. Each category is a
unique variation of Mad Gab, and the dollar value appointed to
each category shows just how difficult the game will be. Each
player takes 5 seperate turns during this first round in an attempt to
accumulate as much money as possible heading into the second
round. The ‘In Reverse’ and ‘Pick-n-Click’ games are rather simple
and should get you into the swing of things for the later rounds.
Upon completion of each round, a scoreboard shows just how well
each player is doing in terms of how many they got right or wrong.
The second round of Mad Gab also features 3 different categories:
Visual, Audio and Multiple Play. The dollar value for these
categories are doubled for this round but instead of taking turns
playing the game, all three players are involved at the same time.
The Visual category plays out similarly to Classic Concentration.
You have to piece together a series of pictures to form a phrase,
person, place or thing. The Multiple Play involves choosing the
correct response amongst a list of five possible answers. The Audio
category is fairly self-explanatory. In this game, the host will
annunciate the words for the players in such a way that it gives
tips as to what the answer might be.
The third round of Mad Gab is the lightning round. Each player will
take turns trying to correctly identify as many answers as possible
in a two minute time span. Each correct answer is worth $750, but
if you pass on one you can’t get, you lose $100. The game is
basically won or lost in this round alone, but you should have a
grasp of the game by the time this round commences. The player
with the most money at the end of this round will go on to the final
round. The final round is sure to test even the best of players as
they attempt to win the big prize. All in all, there are over 1,500
puzzles in 8 different categories, so there’s plenty of replay value
in Mad Gab.
The overall presentation of Mad Gab reminds me a little of
Jeopardy, with a bit of Classic Concentration thrown in for good
measure. The graphics are extremely crisp and colorful, but I
would have liked to have seen a more original design than the
one implemented. Sierra and Berkeley Systems did a fantastic job
with the You Don’t Know Jack series of games, and I was hoping
for something with a little more attitude. Mad Gab is full of sound
effects, music and speech, as you can imagine, but once again it
seemed to lack a little attitude. It was very Jeopardy’esque, which
is to say it was too serious. Little added remarks here and there
certainly would have made the game more interesting. That aside
though, Mad Gab comes across in pretty good fashion.
Mad Gab does support multiplayer. You can play with up to three
players on the same computer or over a network. A great feature
in Mad Gab is the ability to save your game at the end of each
round. So if you’re in the middle of the game that you can’t finish,
you can just finish the round and save your game. That way you
can complete the game another time. Mad Gab is a very simple
game to get around in. The menu system is easy to use and you
should have no problems starting up a game immediately with
Mad Gab will probably drive you crazy, but it’s a fun kind of crazy.
The puzzles are challenging and the gameplay is exciting. A
better presentation would be nice, but overall this is one of the
better puzzle games to come out this year. It might not be in the
same class as the You Don’t Know Jack games, but it does well in
it’s own right. The only thing left to say is Nickle Grey Sea
Mold!. Ok, I got nothin’!