Until recently I haven't been a fan of party games. I don't know why they have just never appealed. I think what made me begin to appreciate them was the fact that for the most part, the modern games are quite serious and there is usually little room for error. Party games offered a refreshing change to all this 'realistic' stuff that we see nowadays and remind us that gaming should be fun, above all else they should be fun. Now Nintendo fans have always had party games, centred around their mascot characters and the Playstation owners have a few titles in this department too so with the release of the XBOX what party game would be offered? Well the answer is Fuzion Frenzy.
Unlike the PS2, the XBOX shipped with four gamepad ports and in Fuzion Frenzy this is very handy. The best way to describe the game is think of a futuristic 'It's a Knockout' but with only four players instead of teams. The game contains over forty-five mini games. These games can either be played in isolation or in a tournament. The game is set in a futuristic city. The city is divided into six zones (Coliseum, Downtown, Outlands, Military Zone, Power Station and Waterfront) and each of the mini games are based in one of these six zones.
If you elect to play a tournament you get to choose how many stages that you'd like to participate in, which in other words means how many zones you would like to compete in. You can choose two, four or six stages to compete. Each stage consists of three mini games and a Fuzion Frenzy round. In a Fuzion Frenzy round you have to grab the orbs and take them back to the goal to score points. You do have the option to attack your opponents and vice versa and this adds spice to the game, particularly when playing human opposition. When all the stages have been played the player with the most points wins the trophy.
Although the are over forty-five mini games quite a few are similar in nature to other games. For instance games based in the Coliseum zone there are a handful of both rolling ball mini games and ice car mini games and in the Power Station there are hopper minigames and splat mini games This could sound like a disadvantage but in actual fact it helps you get familiar with the game rather quickly. It also means that if you particularly like the one game then the chances are that you'll like the two or three that are similar to it.
Both game modes have four participants. If you are playing the game on your own, which is still enjoyable, then you will have three AI opponents. There are three difficulty settings. On easy the AI is OK but makes mistakes to give you a chance. On the normal setting you'll get a good challenge that should keep you occupied for a while. The hardest setting will leave you praying for victory and struggling to win in the tournament mode. One feature I do like is the option to practise an event before you do it for real. This means that if you don't know how to play the game then at least you'll be able to familiarise yourself with it without risking losing points.
The niggles with the game are few. One of the things I wasn't happy with was that for some reason you can't choose the zones or what mini games are played in a tournament, they are drawn at random. Also for some reason if you altered any of the options in the options menu, they didn't save. So the next time you play the game the default options will have reasserted themselves. On a couple of the games the camera feels a little too far away from the event meaning your character looks really small. Apart from this though I couldn't find anything else that I would change.
Graphically the game is good but doesn't push the XBOX in way. The arenas are beautifully lit with multicoloured lights and the ice, water and other environmental effects are all excellent. The character models are all good as well and while they are not up to the high standards of Halo they certainly as good as in any other party game on offer at the moment.
The text feedback in the game is good. The rules for the events are explained in text only before each game starts and these rules can also be accessed from the pause menu. Not all the announcers comments are shown in text but in a game such as this they have little meaning anyway and the omission of them only subtracts slightly from the atmosphere of the game.
Overall Game Rating: 8.2/10 Fuzion Frenzy is a good first party game on the XBOX. As a single player game it might not have a huge appeal but against human opposition it can be a very enjoyable way to pass a few hours. Just make sure you get those extra gamepads.
Deaf Gamers comment: Fuzion Frenzy is fine for deaf gamers. All the game instructions and relevant info is given as text and gameplay instructions can be recalled at any time from the pause menu.