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Destructoid review: Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz

7:18 PM on 05.24.2008 // Dale North

I'll be honest: I'm probably not the best candidate to review a videogame based on Hollywood trivia. I don't watch many movies, and the ones I do see aren't your typical Hollywood flicks. But then again, I don't think that anyone that leads a gaming-centric life would be a good pick to review this title. Because our entertainment choices focus on games, chances are that we'd do much better with a videogame trivia title (where is this?) than a movie-based one. I think that most of us would fare rather well in the sci-fi category. Unfortunately, I didn't even do well with this one!

That being said, I'm a sucker for trivia games. The Buzz! series of trivia videogames is enjoying success on the PlayStation 2, no doubt benefiting from the rise of casual gaming. I've enjoyed/dominated a group session of the general-knowledge Buzz! The Mega Quiz in the past, so I knew that Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz held much promise. I took on the review copy in hopes that they included a "videogame movie" category!

Hit the jump to read our review of Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz

Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz (PS2, PSP)
Developed by Relentless Software
Published by Sony Computer Entertainment
Released on March 11
, 2008 

Those that have played any of the Buzz! titles knows that they are presented in a television game show style. You and your friends (or virtual competitors) are the contestants on this television show, and you use the special buzzers to chime in when you know the correct answer. The sometimes-funny, big-mouthed Buzz is your host and quiz master, and the Vanna White-ish (and easily insulted) Rose is his assistant.

Our review copy included a set of these special buzzers, four in all. They connect via USB (one port) to the PlayStation 2 or PS3. I evaluated this title on both systems, and the controllers worked perfectly on each. Each buzzer has four colored face buttons and a big red buzzer, much like you'd see on a television show. All of the in-game menu navigation has been simplified so that a regular controller is never needed, save for the Quizmaster Mode.  

Starting the game, you're presented with the option of playing solo, 2-4 players, or even 5-8 with another set of buzzers. Both standard and "Film Fanatic" difficultly levels are offered, and game lengths can be adjusted. Each player then chooses one of the silly characters to represent them on stage. They can be dressed to your liking, and your buzzer sound can even be changed.

To get the full Buzz! experience, I invited 3 other contestants over to give The Hollywood Quiz a full testing. We chose the "Full Game" option of the multiplayer mode, which put us through several categories. The Hollywood Stars mode is a choose-your-topic mode, while Fact or Fiction has you picking one or the other after listening to Buzz. Fastest Finger is exactly as it sounds, and Pie Fight lets you slam a pie in the face of your enemies once you correctly answer an item. Players use their eyeballs in Point Stealer, which has them watching a slow reveal of a movie image, attempting to pick the corresponding answer the fastest.

One of the modes we enjoyed most was Top Rank, which has you pressing the corresponding colored button to put four answers into the correct order as fast as you can. These questions ranged from putting actors in order according to age, to the actual word order of movie titles.  

After all of the above listed modes are completed, the multiplayer mode wraps up with one called The Final Countdown. This mode sees all of the previously accumulated points converted into bars of time. These bars are depleted as questions are asked, and sink even faster when answers are wrong. The whole point is to be the last player with some bars left, and this person becomes the winner overall. I didn't like how all of my previous work was so easily lost to this mode, but it did make things fast-paced and highly competitive.  

Your announcer, Buzz, is pretty funny this time around. He talks in modified movie quotes, and his one-liners are pretty witty most of the time. There are a few stale ones included, but they fit with the award show-ish vibe. His assistant, Rose, can be cut off with a button press in the middle of her gameplay explanations. I don't know why it's fun to see her pout when this happens, but it is. 

Never once did I come across a repeated question. There's about 5,000 in stock, and the game uses a memory card file to reduce repetition. 

Visually, I wasn't expecting much from a PS2 quiz game. Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz is presented in something of a cross between a game show and a Hollywood awards ceremony, and the stage and characters were decorated as such. It makes the overall package nicer to look at than The Mega Quiz was. Even then, you're still mostly only looking at text questions and answers. 

Overall, the quiz questions spanned movies and knowledge popular enough to be playable by anyone of an adult age. I did get the feeling that younger players may have trouble with some of the movies referenced. But then again, there's enough Shrek to counteract the Robocop. I was less impressed with the relationship-based questions, but that's probably because I don't keep up with who is dating who. That being said, there's enough here that focuses on general movie knowledge to make it very entertaining in group play, and I was surprised how much I knew and correctly answered. 

If you're a trivia game fan that enjoys films, then Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz is a no-brainer. Its simple controls and approachable content make it the perfect party game. If films aren't your thing, I recommend the general-knowledge game The Mega Quiz instead.

Score: 7.5 (Good. Replayable, fun, but nothing innovative or amazing. The game potentially has large flaws that, while they don't make the game bad, prevent it from being as good as it could be.) 

Dale North, Former Dtoid EIC
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