Buzz!: The Mega Quiz Review

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Publisher: Sony
Developer: Relentless Software

Platform: PlayStation 2
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

Buzz himself hosts Buzz!: The Mega Quiz, an irreverent game show with a wild assortment of guests, mixing a biting wit with terrific trivia to provide an entertaining game show experience on the PlayStation 2, complete with buzzer controllers.

Kyle Ackerman

The Buzz quiz games have been around for a while in Europe, and (like their musical SingStar siblings), are only now making it across the pond. That's great, because Buzz!: The Mega Quiz is the kind of game that broadens the appeal of the PlayStation 2, and gaming in general, by making it accessible to everyone.

Sure, there have been plenty of trivia games for the PlayStation 2, ranging from biblical trivia in The Bible Game to trivia that served as a vehicle for nudity like The Guy Game. Not only does Buzz!: The Mega Quiz present a diverse selection of trivia, it puts the all-important actual buzzers in players' hands. More than anything, that's what makes Buzz!: The Mega Quiz. Each player gets an individual controller with a big red button and four smaller buttons with which to select answers. Each USB port on the PlayStation 2 can support a cluster of four buzzers, and with two sets of buzzer controllers, up to eight people can battle it out to see who has the most trivial knowledge in Buzz!: The Mega Quiz.

Wild Contestants and a Wilder Host

Beyond the thrill of the controller, the game has an incredibly engaging and cartoonish style. Every participant can select a game-show avatar, ranging from a ridiculous mime and Elvis impersonator to a nerd, giggling cheerleader, or even Napolean. Each has his or her own quirks to bemoan failure or triumphantly gloat. Of course, the real star of the show is Buzz himself – he not only asks the questions, but provides colorful commentary on the action in his own exuberant, smarmy and sometimes sarcastic style.

Aside from the buttons, Buzz is what really keeps the game going. His constant commentary is remarkably good, and makes the game feel a lot more interactive than a typical trivia game. He'll complement superhuman reflexes and taunt slow players. When everyone's right, Buzz might quip "Not much disagreement on that one." When one player had a long streak, Buzz kept calling that player variations on a "trivia cyborg." Some of the comments are a little harsh, bu t should be funny to all but the sorest of losers. Only on a few forgivable occasions did the commentary falter, for example when two players were tied for first (with the next player in third), Buzz still made comments about the second place contestant.

Variety is the Spice of Buzz

The game spans a lot of different styles of game, ranging from "Fastest Finger," in which the player who answers correctly the fastest gets the most points, to "Pie Fight," in which the first person to correctly answer gets to throw pies at other contestants. There are also longer and shorter variants of the overall game, with each version going through the same basic games, simply asking more or fewer questions. The regular game is a bit long for a party crowd, but it's a great assortment of activities. Even the short mode is a bit long for introducing non-gaming friends, but that can be fixed with a custom game.

What the assortment of games does really well is keep the contestants balanced. A really top-notch trivia hound will still usually walk away with the prize, but there are a few games that allow other players to gang up on a leader and really level the playing field. Also, the final round is set up so that everyone still has a chance to win, no matter how commanding a lead one player might have secured. And speaking of prizes, the winner gets an entertaining prize-related cut-scene at the end of every game that is both funny and clever.

Gaze at the Big, Red Button

There are always quibbles when dealing with a trivia game, but not enough to detract from the overall experience. The biggest issue is the controller – despite feeling a little light, the controller is great fun. It's just that there's this big red button, and I really wanted to press it. I wanted to bash it hard whenever I knew the answer to a question, and there are surprisingly few opportunities to smash the red button. Future Buzz games need more red button! Also, it would be nice to have a few more opportunities to choose categories (and hopefully thereby get fewer obscure music questions).

You have to expect a few foolish questions, and Buzz!: The Mega Quiz has plenty of great trivia, but there are a few stinkers. For example, there's the "Globetrotter" game, in which the person with the correct answer pilots a plane to a new country to ask a question related to that location. I chose to fly to Nigeria, and the plane circled the Globe and stopped over Africa. Buzz then asked, "On which continent would you find Nigeria?" That hardly seems sporting. Lastly, if Buzz!: The Mega Quiz wants to bring in older, casual gamers, it would help if there were more alternatives to modes that revolve around reaction time.

Buzz!: The Mega Quiz is simply a lot of fun for a mixed group of friends, be it for dedicated trivia fun, or as a diversion at a party. The combination of the special controllers and Buzz's patter really make the game into an enjoyable experience, more so than most other trivia games. There are other modes aside from the core play – this can be a single-player test or a chance to quiz your friends – but its really all about Buzz's taunts while the trivia rolls by.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on November 2, 2007 2:44 PM.

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