Front Game Rules
Three players compete. In the first round, a scrambled seven-letter word was shown on the board, along with the subject of the word and the questions of that round. Each correct answer was worth $100 and allowed you to put one letter in its correct position. When the word is solved, the player wins $100 for each letter that had not been placed. If a letter fell in the word's "Lucky Slot," the player could solve for a bonus that started each day at $500 and grew by $500 each word it wasn't claimed. The second round had 8-letter words and subsequent rounds used 9-letter words. At the end of the game, the player with the highest total got to buy a prize with their winnings and advanced to the bonus round.
The bonus round was played in two formats. In the first format, a squirrel cage containing 200 lettered balls spun slowly, releasing balls one at a time. This continued until there was at least one 9-letter word that could be formed out of the letters available. The letters in that word were then displayed in the order that they came out. Then, the player got to place one or more letters in the word (depending on how many times the player had made it to the bonus round). If the player could solve the word in 10 seconds, s/he won a new car.
|In the second format, the player had to solve 5 words in 30 seconds. The first word was 5 letters long, the second was 6 letters, then 7, then 8, then 9. As the time ticked down, letters were shifted into their correct position until the word was guessed. If successful, the player won the car.|
At the end of each show, Rashad patrolled the audience floor with a large bowl full of silver dollars and chocolate coins. Members of the audience were given 5 seconds unscramble a 5-letter word. If successful, they got a handful from the bowl.
Caesar's Challenge also holds the distinction of being the last attempt at a network game show thus far. It also made its rounds as a syndicated program.
Not a bad show, but not without its flaws. Most of those are directed toward host Ahmad Rashad. I don't know why NBC gave him this show (perhaps something to do between NBA games?) but he seemed about as uncomfortable as one could get up there. The gameplay was pretty neat, though. That gimmick with the letter cage was a terrific idea - the person who decided to get rid of that should have been axed. One thing irks me - why do the contestants have to buy prizes with their winnings? This isn't like Wheel of Fortune, where players bought a bunch of relatively low-end stuff; on this show the prizes are about $10K each, wiping out a player with only one purchase. I would've just handed them the cash.
Gameplay: 3 pts. (squirrel cage end game), 2 pts. (5-word end game)
Host: 1 pt.
Presentation: 2 pts.
Execution: 2 pts.
Total Score: 8 pts.