Company:

Microsoft

Price

$25.94 US

License:

Payware

Rating:

4.5 Star Rating: Very Good

Microsoft Entertainment Pack 2.0 for Windows CE

John Ottini | Handheld PC Reviews
May 01, 2006

During the Handheld PC’s hay day there were a number of excellent commercial software packages released for our (then) new, up and coming mobile computing platform. By the late 1990’s, just after the appearance of the Handheld PC Pro edition, Microsoft released version 2.0 of its very popular Entertainment Pack for Windows CE.

The Entertainment Pack contained ten games that could be played between you and your Handheld PC or against an opponent with another Handheld PC through the use of the built-in infrared port.

The CD consisted of a nice selection of games, including board games, card games, strategy games and even an old favorite, arcade type game, in other words a complete and portable fun pack obviously meant to stimulate your mind and sharpen your reflexes.
Did they succeed? – You be the judge?

Taipei

This is a one-player version of the ancient Chinese game of Mah-Jongg where the object of the game is to remove matching tiles (in pairs) until all the tiles are removed from the table. This version comes with one set of large and colorful tiles and is a lot of fun to play, but unfortunately, the game is not as challenging as I would have hoped it would be. Hmmm… either that or I’m a genus?

Figure 1: Taipei

Chess

This version of the classic game of Chess allows you to play against, either the computer or another human being. The computer opponent is quite good and provides for 8 challenging levels of competition, so beware not to take your competition to lightly. If you get stuck deciding your next move, the game provides you with a Hint button or if you want to undo your previous moves, the game allows you to perform multiple undo’s. This is a nice version of Chess, but Chess purists will be disappointed that this version does not maintain a history (in Chess notation) of all the game moves. I also found the florescent green background was bit hard on the eyes, but that’s just me!

Figure 2: Chess

Blackjack

I just love casino Blackjack and this ‘one player’ version is just awesome. The game is fast and fun, and the house is definitely tough to beat. I highly recommend this version to anyone who enjoys a good game of Blackjack. For those of you who want to learn to play the game or just want to improve your game play, just switch on the Tutor mode and prepare to be humbled. The Tutor mode will instruct you on your best moves or betting options during each hand – great tool for improving your game. If I had to change anything in this software, I would add the ability to play with multiple players.

Figure 3: Blackjack

Codebreaker

This is a one-two player version of the brainteaser, where your goal is to break the secret code using the fewest possible number of guesses. Codes can be set by the computer or by a human competitor and the Code length can vary between 4 and 8 grids, while the Code can contain 5 to 8 Shapes. The larger the number of choices the tougher it is to break the code. Intriguing game!

Figure 4: Codebreaker

Hearts

I’ve never been a big fan of this game, but the interesting thing about this version is that provides the option for two player games via the infrared port. The goal of this card game is to end each round with the lowest score and to have lowest overall score at the end of the game entire series of rounds. The game ends when any player reaches 100 points.

Figure 5: Herts

Sink the Ships

This is Microsoft’s version of Battleship, the strategy /action game where the object is to locate and sink your opponent’s ships before he/she sinks yours. This software allows you to play against the computer or another player via the infrared port. If you are playing against the computer, you can set the computer level between Easy, Medium or Hard, then place your five ships on the board and have fun. It’s difficult not to like this game, no matter whose version you play.

Figure 6: Sink The Ships

FreeCell

This is another popular solitaire card game, where the object of the game is to move all of your cards into the home cells. To win this game, you have to stack cards of the same suit in the order of rank, starting with the Ace. It’s not easy to succeed at this game, so they’ve provided quick access to the Restart button in the Tool Bar

Figure 7: Freecell

Reversi

Everyone knows this game and the only thing special about this version is that it provides for infrared play between opponents. When playing against the computer as your opponent, you can set the skill level between one and four (Beginner - Master), other than that, this game seems pretty generic, right down to the computers graphics.

Figure 8: Reversi

Space Defense

A wonderful old fashioned action game, with lots of shooting and bombs exploding everywhere. Use your keyboard and stylus to defend your space station against nasty enemies, remember that each wave is more difficult to defend against and the speed gets fast and furious. This is an enjoyable game, but don’t compare it to todays action software or you will surely be disappointed.

Figure 9: Space Defense

Mineswapper

I’m not a bit fan of this brainteaser game, but someone must like it because there sure are enough versions of this game to go around! Find all the mines on the playing field as fast a possible without setting any of them off, is the object of this game. The skill level can be set to Beginner, Intermediate or Export, where, the higher the skills level the tougher and larger the mine field. Good Luck!

Figure 10: Minesweeper

Final Thoughts

Personally, I really like this entertainment pack! I’ve owned it since 1999 and it has been loaded, in one form or another, on every Handheld PC I’ve owned.

Good News, Bad News time? The great thing about this software is that you don’t have to load all of the games found in this Entertainment Pack on your H/PC, just the ones you want. The bad news is that it’s not always easy to find this software available for retail purchase (See link below). Fortunately, I have often seen copies of it auctioned off on eBay, so next time you see it listed, go ahead and bid on it, you will not be disappointed with this software.

Note to Jornada 700 and Mobilepro 900 series owners: Although the system requirements don’t mention support for the StrongArm processor, I have found that the XXX _JUP_SA1100 CAB files work beautifully on the 720 and 900. As a matter of fact all of the screen shots for this article are taken using the above mentioned Handheld PC’s.

 

System Requirements:

Windows CE 1.0 or higher
SH3, MIPS, StrongARM
614 KB storage space

Rating

 

 

Cost:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Pros: Includes a good selection of games, excellent graphics, and games can be loaded as a group or individually allowing you to choose which one(s) will be loaded on your H/PC.

Cons: Not always easy to locate copies for retail purchase and prices may vary greatly between retailers ($25.00 to $35.00 USD).

Usability:

5 Star Rating: Exceptional

Built-In helps:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Customer Service:

0 Star Rating: Dreadful

Overall:

4.5 Star Rating: Very Good

 

 

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