I love game shows. Don't get me wrong, I don't love all game shows, but more times than not I find myself drawn into the fake studio world full of cash prizes and trips to exotic locales. I don't care if it's The Match Game, Family Feud, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune or Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, if there's a host and they're giving away prizes you better believe that I'm going to be on the edge of my seat.
Perhaps it's this predilection that makes me vulnerable to a game like Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz. Not only am I a huge fan of game shows, but I'm also a huge movie buff. Add these two things together into one video game and I'm in heaven. At least, that was my anticipation going into this brand new PlayStation 2 game from Sony.
Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz is yet another installment in the ever-growing library of Buzz games. In case you're not hip to the scene, Buzz is a line of popular party games for the PlayStation 2, each of which comes with a four-player control that resembles a game show buzzer. Although we're just now starting to see these Buzz games in the U.S., Europe has been answering series' trivia questions for several years now.
If you've played Buzz! The Mega Quiz then you'll feel right at home with this Hollywood version. A standard match of Buzz is split up into several different mini-games, each of which tests your knowledge of new and old Hollywood movies. For example, in one part of the game you'll be trying to answer questions as quickly as possible, while in another section you'll be answering tricky true or false questions. In all there are eight different events, all of which are easy to learn and fun to play.
Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz is hosted by a cute little Muppet-like character named, conveniently enough, Buzz. Like any good host, Buzz's job is to keep the show moving and add funny quips here and there. The problem is that the actual quip writing is extremely poor. Nearly all of his movie jokes fall flat on their face and he'll induce more groans than anything. What's worse, you'll quickly realize that he tends to repeat the same bad jokes over and over again ... and there's not even a way of skipping past him. Buzz does have his moments from time to time, but even those grow stale after you've played the game two or three times.
Thankfully the actual trivia is a lot of fun. As you would expect from a movie-based trivia game there are a lot of questions about actors, directors, writers and everything else relating to the magic of motion pictures. This version of Buzz features more than 5,000 different questions, which should be more than enough to keep you and your entire party interested for a long time to come. Best of all, by creating an account on your memory card the game will keep track of which questions you've been asked, minimizing the amount of time you will see any one question.
An impressive amount of questions come with short clips of movies or captions. It won't take more than a couple of games before you realize that these clips and pictures are being recycled, only with a different question each time. It's interesting to see how many different ways the question writers have come up with using a particular section of a movie or some iconic still image. The clips all seem to come from well known Hollywood blockbusters, so you should expect to see King Kong, Alien, Happy Gilmore, Psycho, The French Connection and many more. Perhaps even more impressive are some of the surprise additions, such as the inclusion of Serenity, Phone Booth, Airplane!, and many other cult classics.
Although you can play Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz by yourself, the real fun is playing it with three other friends. While most PlayStation 2 games support only one or two players at the same time, Buzz is at its best when you have a room full of people competing against each other. The game can still be a lot of fun two players, but not every one of the events seem designed for a one or two-player mode.
A perfect example of this would be the Point Stealer round, an even that comes up right before the end of the game/show. As the name suggests, Point Stealer is a round where you answer a question quickly and then take somebody else's points. In a four-player room this makes a lot of sense, since you can take from people evenly. However, in a two-player game you can only take from the other person, so either it goes back and forth (which is pointless) or it's a blow out (which is frustrating). It would have been nice to see more care put into the two-player matches.
Usually this would be a major bone of contention for me, however with its simple gameplay and cute graphics it's hard to imagine anybody having too much trouble finding people to play with. The control looks like it's specially designed for non-gamers, since it's as basic as pushing a big red button and hitting the right button to answer. Even the various modes feel like they were set up to give everybody a fair shot, which can sometimes be frustrating for movie buffs looking to blow everybody out of the water. The entire package is as non-offensive as possible, attracting a broad audience of movie and trivia fans.
To help dial up the cuteness, characters get to choose from a number of funny characters, all based on different movies (Rambo, Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc.). You will also get to choose from a whole bunch of cool (and annoying) buzzer effects, sure to get on the nerves of whoever is losing. Add in some good (albeit simplistic) graphics and an annoying theme song and you have a recipe for a fun party.
At the end of the day that's the best Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz can aspire to. Let's face it, this is not the kind of game you buy to play every day, it's the kind of thing you pull out when you have a bunch of friends over. As a party game this is a fun waste of thirty to sixty minutes, and chances are it won't feel stale the next time you have a bunch of buddy's over. Best of all, the game allows you to tailor the experience for whatever kind of guests you have over (casual movie fans, movie fanatics, etc.). It's not without a few problems here and there, but Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz is a solid trivia game for the PlayStation 2.
Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz isn't perfect; it has an annoying host and some of the different events kind of suck. But for all its faults, this new Buzz game still gives you a lot of questions to answer and has just enough character to keep you coming back for more. Buzz is perfect for people who plan on doing a lot of entertaining in the near future!