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Everybody loves Monopoly and I for one am a big fan. I remember playing the game with my childhood friends in the neighborhood. I even recall how I used to play the NES version of the game back in the past. I was so fixated I could play the AI-controlled games against computer challengers for days on end. That probably explains why I’m now so drawn to the DS version and rather excited at the idea of playing classic Monopoly again on a new-generation handheld. There’s no better way than that to while away time during commutes!

As everyone knows, playing the basic Monopoly game is quite simple. You and your opponents roll a couple of dice and work your way around the board, acquiring as much properties as you go; the entire idea of which is to establish monopolies with the very same properties. The ultimate goal is to bring the opponents to bankruptcy, until you remain the last player standing; thus, declared the winner.

Players who are looking for typical board game experience may find that Monopoly on DS has successfully pulled off the classic board game; fortunately, taking the appropriate route in terms of accessibility. You can play on your own against up to three AI opponents; or you might want to play with four other players by passing around a single DS unit and taking turns. Playing over a local network Is also possible, by providing players with copies of the game and using several handhelds.

You can either use the stylus or the directional pad to control the game; though as a personal preference, I’d opt for the stylus for its fluidity. Moreover, I figured out that I can speed up your opponents’ play by holding the stylus over the screen. Put simply, I can watch what the computer does while carefully planning my next moves; this feature is not doable on the console counterpart, the Monopoly Streets.

The video game concept is great; but sadly, it doesn’t give anything more beyond the various ways you can play it. Monopoly is just plain lacking in value-added features to make it more appealing to a die-hard Monopoly player for an extended period of time. The entire package seems to be just banking on the fascination to the board game itself and its popularity; thus, Monopoly on DS comes across as more insipid than what one expects. Why, it even lacks the option of saving your profiles to tally your score; unlike in Monopoly Streets where you can keep track of your own in-game progress, no matter how many games you play.

To sum it up, Monopoly on DS is great if you’re only out for the functional version. Just don’t expect a more compelling experience because quite frankly, the game gets boring pretty fast. I suggest you only buy and play the DS version if you want to kill time in situations where setting up the real board isn’t possible – as when commuting or when you’re in a car or plane.