I will come out and say it before even beginning this review -- I’ve always thought The Apprentice was some way for a washed up Donald Trump to revive his flagging popularity. Now he’s hot stuff again, although his show is getting a little long in tooth after a few seasons but hey, whatever, he gets sponsors and I’m sure he gets tons of kickbacks when he does deals with the various corporate sponsors. I remember one time he says his son is a smart businessman for mugging with his fiancée at a jeweler to get some sort of discount or I guess maybe even the ring for free. Hey, I could be smart too if they offered me to mug in front of it for 80% off but I guess that’s not all there is to being smart.
Trump must feel less than smart for lending his name to this value title from Legacy. Legacy has published a few games that are based on television licenses. ER, for example, wasn’t a terribly good game. On the other hand, Law & Order seems to be a good fit with PC gamers. And if you think about The Apprentice as some sort of tycoon type game, you’d think you have a winner on your hands. Unfortunately, no one thought The Apprentice is like that. Instead, the developers have cobbled together some mini games and called it The Apprentice.
There is a picture puzzle game. There is a burger making game that I remember quite fondly playing in Space Quest from Sierra. There is conveyor type game, that while I’m on the Sierra route reminds me of something from The Incredible Machines. And then there’s a Diner Dash game where you have to serve things to the right people. What do these have to do with earning a six figure job at one of Trump’s companies? Absolutely nothing. Perhaps more asinine is the fact that you have to unscramble business (mostly accounting) terms when you’re in the infamous boardroom meeting to avoid getting fired.
Now, I’ve never felt that Trump ever gives any of the candidates on The Apprentice anything remotely close to a real business challenge. Organizing parties and functions are great but that’s touching on middle management and really operations. Where does it stress business acumen or creative ingenuity? I’ve always thought The Apprentice needed to throw someone in a failing business, with a mangled product line and declining revenues and ask them to bring it out of that. Oh hey, that would make a great game but a bad television show. It’s obvious if Trump had any say in this game, he thinks even less of the folks who battle to get on his show because now he’s putting them to work on the front lines of a fast food restaurant.
The graphics in the game are also atrocious. The game’s box might be marked with a picture of the Donald, George and Carolyn. But when you’re in the game you see these horrible cartoon depictions of them. Why couldn’t they at least use the copious amount of production stills that I’m sure NBC has left over from the show? Is this a real licensed product? You have to seriously try to be this bad! Trump recorded a few lines for the show and you hear them repeated ad naseum as if every time it plays Trump might get a royalty cut of it (he is smart!).
The Apprentice is a vapid game and really nothing more than a marketing product I imagine is something free to give out to the live audience for attending the television show. Its cartoon depictions and severely limited gameplay simply suggests that this is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. It’s quite depressing since mixing The Apprentice with even the most run of the mill tycoon game would net you a decent product. Instead, we have something here that is amusing for maybe a few minutes and that’s only for Apprentice fans who have nothing much to do on a rerun night.