|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hudson Soft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft Game Studios||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 30, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: E 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
After years of playing Mario Party games, one wonders: What kind of mini-game based titles do Xbox gamers play? It's obvious that Mario and company would never make the jump to the other platforms, but the same creators, Hudson Soft, developed Fuzion Frenzy for the Xbox and now they continue their successful series with Fuzion Frenzy 2 for the Xbox 360.
Fuzion Frenzy 2 pretends to be a TV game show where four contestants will compete for the top spot. There is a galactic theme that sets all the different environments and characters, including the clown-looking DJ that presents the show. He introduces the contenders and the competitions that take place. There are just a few characters you can choose from, each of them with their unique look, fancy name, and flashy space outfit.
Only four players can play at the same time. Once everybody has chosen a character, it's time to select a planet where the tournament will take place. Choose between Earth, Machina, Moisture, Blazer, Eternite, Icicle, or Amuseth. Each planet has its own characteristics and elements that will take part in the mini-games, such as fire, water, ice, etc. Even with this combination of elements, the mini-games didn't seem to vary that much, and I only found a few that I really enjoyed. Some will have you pick up things that fall from the sky and throw them to the other characters, others will have you shoot water or fire at your opponents. You will also kick the rivals to send them off the stage or to get something out of their hands.
A card system decides how many points each player gets. Winning the mini-game is not enough to get more points than everybody else. Before the mini-game starts, each player will receive one or more cards, but they can only keep one. Some cards will double the points you get at the end, some will allow you to steal a card from another player, and others will add a generous amount of points to your total. This often makes the results unfair and unpredictable.
The controls are pretty simple and self-explanatory. They don't change much from one mini-game to the other. You will always use the control stick to move your characters and then A, B, or X (and sometimes Y) for the secondary functions, like kicking, pushing, or picking things up.
The online multiplayer mode adds some spark to this game that otherwise feels unfulfilling. You can create your own battle and choose the mini-games you want to play and in what order. You can host the competition for just friends or for any online gamer that wants to join. You will find people that want to play pretty quickly and the games actually feel a little more rewarding than if you were just playing the mini-games with your friends every time they visit. The Xbox Live achievement points are probably one of the reasons to keep playing this game online, as you will be able to improve your own records and keep track of your results. Voice chat is supported in Fuzion Frenzy 2. This is a nice plus because it will allow you to communicate with your distant friends and other gaming buddies.
The graphics look really good in this game. However, the bad camera perspectives and the lack of split-screen action had a negative impact in the gameplay. On many occasions, I found it difficult to see where my player was located even though I play on a big screen. The character models are very skinny, so their flashy and colorful outfits don't really show as much in the middle of battle while surrounded by a bunch of other moving elements. It seems so much easier to follow a chunky Wario on the screen or a bright green dinosaur like Yoshi. Fuzion Frenzy 2 also has a few mini-games that show especially bad camera angles, like a basketball battle where you need to get the balls that fall on the stage. Every time somebody jumps to try to score, the camera shows what's happening up-top and you lose track of your own character!
The soundtrack is good for this action-packed mini-game title. It makes the game more dynamic and inspires the player to act quickly. The voice-over within the game sounds too static and the fact that it's not correctly synched with the movement of the lips makes it just plain bad. The characters only say a sentence when they win, but the announcer won't stop talking before and after each mini-game. Truly, he could be out of the game and it wouldn't lose a step. It's terrible to see incessant close-ups of the DJ just to notice how bad the lip-synching is.
If you haven't bought Fuzion Frenzy 2 yet, you might want to go out and rent it first just to make sure it's your kind of game. And if you never enjoyed mini-game battles, this won't be your exception. This game could have offered much more if it had used some of the good elements of the latest Mario Party games, instead of just focusing on giving it a new, "cool" look.
CCC Co-Site Director