Feb 232005
 
Authors: Jessica Brooke

Slip into your favorite silk pajamas. "Playboy: The Mansion" for PlayStation 2 and Xbox provides the answer for anyone who has ever wondered what it's like to walk in Hugh Hefner's slippers for a day, and who hasn't?

This game might as well be called "The Sims go to the Playboy Mansion." Although "The Sims" is manufactured by Electronic Arts (EA), and "Playboy: The Mansion" is a creation of HIP Interactive, the two games are ridiculously similar.

As a young Hugh Hefner, it's up to you to get the Playboy enterprise up and running. Obviously this is accomplished by throwing expensive parties. You must establish and maintain relationships with various celebrities in order to score interviews and articles for your magazine. You also need to keep a minimum of two girlfriends at a time. Be careful, they fight.

The game is split into missions, each with its own set of goals. As you complete missions you are rewarded with points and by unlocking a part of the mansion. With each mission, you must publish a magazine.

You get to play photographer for the cover shots and centerfolds, and you must assign your journalists to write certain articles. Make sure you've buttered up an adequate celebrity so you get a good interview. You then must target the magazine for your audience, set the cover price and decide on the percentage of advertising. Welcome to journalism school.

Not what you were expecting? This game involves a lot of patience without a lot of naughty things to keep you entertained. Although it's rated M for mature, the explicit content in minimal. Staying true to Playboy's nature, you'll get your fill of fake breasts, but the sexual situations the characters engage in are relatively PG-13.

The All-American Rejects and Start Trouble contribute to a decent soundtrack, and you can choose a genre from rock, hip-hop and industrial, among others.

The game features an archive section where you can use the points you've acquired to view past cover shots and centerfolds as well as old pictures of Hefner. This is possibly the only aspect of the game that would satisfy a true Playboy fan.

You can also use your points to buy cheats, which do make the game more interesting. You can literally make the size of the characters' heads match their egos or make all the guests at your parties severely intoxicated until they leave the mansion.

While the screens load, various Playboy facts are displayed. Did you know the most common Playmate name is Marilyn or Karen or something? The only thing more fascinating is when Hef is in his 20s and carousing around with Jose Canseco and Carmen Electra.

For the average Playboy reader who is looking for something a little more hands-on, no pun intended, "Playboy: The Mansion" will probably leave you feeling disappointed. However, the game would make a good addition to a Playboy memorabilia collection or if you're looking for a way to fill those long, lonely Saturday nights, give it a try. If anyone asks, you play it for the articles.

1 out of 4 bunnies

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