Casino Kid (NES)

Casino Kid Box Art

Casino Kid

System: NES

Release Date: October 1989

Developer: Beam Software

Publisher: Tengen

Genre: Casino

You are the Casino Kid and it’s your mission to beat all the casino’s denizens in blackjack or poker in order to earn enough money to face off against the Casino King and be the greatest gambler of all time! You start with $500 in your pocket and you need to find the next opponent who is ready to battle you in a gambling war. To do so, you have to walk around the casino, talking to people until you find the right one. Some people will give you hints about the poker face of future opponents, others will tell you to come back later, and your next opponent will tell you where to find your current opponent.

There are two games that you play, Blackjack and 5-Card Draw Poker. You have to beat eight opponents in each game in order to earn the million dollars you need to beat the casino. Each opponent has a set amount of money that you need to drain in order to win. When you start a match, you’re given the minimum and maximum bet amounts and you have to choose how much to bet. Blackjack gives you the option to stand, hit, split, double down, or surrender. It’s really a game of attrition, but after you’ve played for awhile, you can hit the select button before a hand and offer to bet it all. This was the only way I persevered through all the blackjack games.

The five card poker is very simple. You ante up, followed by a bet or call or raise. Then you get to choose which cards to hold and receive new ones. Another round of betting occurs and you find out who the winner is. The opponents will say things when they get their cards, which is supposed to give you clues as to their hand. Some NPCs walking around the casino will tell you if the gambler is easy to read or not. I didn’t really pay much attention to that, and instead worried about playing my cards. After awhile, they’d offer to bet all they had left and if I was in the lead, I’d take them up on it.

After beating your opponents, they typically only have something rude to say to you, you can’t play them again. Once beating all 16 opponents in the casino, you’re taken to the mansion of the Casino King. You then face off in a one on one poker battle against the hooded figure. Each of you have a million dollars on the line in this knock down, drag out matchup. It was the easiest of the lot for me. I don’t think he beat me once.

Graphics: 2.0

The different characters have different facial animations, though none of them are great.

Sound: 1.0

The music isn’t very great and it loops way too quickly. In the long card battles you have, this will drive you nuts.

Gameplay: 1.0

There’s not much here. Press the button when you highlight the correct option.

Difficulty: 1.0

Every opponent can be beaten by sticking it out long enough to get an offer to bet it all.

Fun Factor: 1.0

I was bored within the first hour, but I persevered through to see the lame ending.

Overall Grade: 1.2

Casino Kid earns a D+. This is not a strong debut for casino games on the NES. Pass on this one.