How anyone ever came up with the premise for Rags to Riches during the prehistoric C64 gaming era is beyond me. This title stands out because it is simply the most original game I have ever played. The usual collection of space aliens, fast cars, ninjas, warlocks and helicopters are replaced by a pathetic drunken tramp wandering the city streets in search of a better life.
Fun for the whole family...When the game begins, our hero is dirty, unshaven, homeless and has just been released from jail. Several ways to make money soon become apparent as you’ll see change, soda bottles and the occasional dollar bill lying on the sidewalk. Ten coins or five bottles will get you a dollar. A dollar will buy you some bones to get past the evil junkyard dog who guards an endless supply of bottles. Two dollars will get you a subway ticket. Four dollars will get you a haircut. A haircut will get you a job at the gas station. You get the picture. ..As you wander the 4 areas of the city you’ll begin to piece together what needs to be done to get our hero a place to sleep, a job, an education and ultimately a high-paying corporate position. It’s straightforward enough after you take a look around and learn some of the tricks.
The game, unfortunately, has one fatal flaw…..There are three characters who will interact directly with your tramp. The Policeman will chase you down and throw you back in the jail for vagrancy. Get yourself a spiffy, $4 haircut, and he’ll leave you well enough alone. The Robber will take all of your loose change as anything over $10 is magically deposited in some sort of bank he can’t get to. The IRS man will run off with absolutely everything you’ve managed to collect - in the blink of an eye. If you’ve spent an hour playing the game, have saved $100 and are about to enroll in the college… he’ll take every cent and you’ll have to start ALL OVER. ..Sometimes the tramp will be able to outrun these three characters or even duck into a store to elude them. But sometimes, they’ll appear right on top of you when you step off the subway and you’ll be instantly robbed, taxed or jailed without warning. The cop and the robber I can deal with. They add to the suspense and the satisfaction you feel as you progress through the game. There is no excuse, however, for the IRS guy who adds an unreasonable level of difficulty that will have you tearing your hair out. ..Despite hours of trying, I have never been able to beat this game. Not even close. In spite of its shortcomings, Rags to Riches is worth a download and a look. A truly memorable and original piece of gaming history.
|GRAPHICS - 8/10|
|Among the biggest character animations I’ve ever seen on the C64. All of the action is large, up-close and in your face. It’s blocky but it serves its purpose and looks good enough.|
|SOUND - 7/10|
|The whiny, miserable soundtrack helps me sympathize with our downtrodden hero and I often find myself digging through trash cans for old tuna fish sandwiches. Effective to say the least.|
|PLAYABILITY - 9/10|
|I want to give the gameplay a 10. But I just can’t. Like I said before, the game is too darn difficult. Close, but no damp, pre-smoked, sidewalk cigar.|
|OVERALL - 8/10|
|This game is insanely fun and addictive which redeems its unfortunately sadistic difficulty level. Head for your local soup kitchen today!|