Let's get this party started.
Do me a favor and think way back to 1989. Remember that year? The Berlin Wall fell, Milli Vanilli blamed everything on the rain, and a little show called American Gladiators hit the tube. Pretty much everyone I know watched the Gladiators at one time or another for a little afternoon entertainment. Who could resist watching "normal" people like you and I get pummeled by dorky, spandex-wearing mountains of muscle in events of "strength" and "stamina."
It was so cool game companies even made a Gladiator video game for the Genesis and Super Nintendo. And though the Gladiators are no longer with us, their spirit lives on in Microsoft's new party game for the Xbox called Fuzion Frenzy.
Fuzion Frenzy is a futuristic version of the Gladiators minus, uh, the Gladiators. Players compete against three other computer or human controlled opponents in a series of mini-games throughout six different areas. Sound fun? Well, it is...for a little while, at least.
Only two modes make up the game - Tournament and Mini-Game Frenzy. Tournament is the main mode where you and up to three friends can compete in a 2, 4, or 6 stage game. Each stage is made up of three randomly selected mini-games and, of course, the Fuzion Frenzy itself. Mini-Game Frenzy just allows you to choose exactly which event you play.
To start a game, players pick from one of six colored characters. There is no difference between them, so exactly whom you choose really doesn't matter. With the game's utter simplicity, it would have been nice to give them some varying attributes like speed, fighting ability or vehicle skill, but I guess the developers wanted to keep things as even as possible.
After choosing the number of stages and setting the computer player difficulty (assuming you don't have 3 friends with you), the Tournament begins. The computer will randomly select one of 40+ mini-games that are both team and individual oriented.
Some games like 'Rollmentum' are vaguely reminiscent of Gladiator events. In this mini-game, the characters are put inside giant hamster balls and score points by rolling over one of the lit pods. Other games, like 'Jetboat Sprint' and 'Tank Tangle', have you racing or even fighting in vehicles. Still more games like 'Scratch Match' and 'Rhythm' will have you pressing buttons Parappa style. I really wish I could describe all of the games for you, but the pigs might grow wings before I could finish.
After you've done your three events, the Fuzion Frenzy kicks in. If you still remember your American Gladiators, you'll recognize the Fuzion Frenzy event as a Gladiator game called Powerball. Each player must collect his or her own colored orbs and dunk them into the goal. This event plays a lot like Powerstone, since characters run around a 3D environment, picking up items, and stealing other players' orbs by beating them up. If you want to win the Tournament, you've really got to be good at this event since the entire game hinges upon it.
But despite the large number of games, things get dull quickly. Several of the games have very similar objectives and all of them are over with in a matter of minutes.
You'll also be playing the Fuzion Frenzy event at the end of each and every stage. Honestly, I would rather just play another random event than have to keep coming back to this one over and over again.
On top of these problems, there doesn't seem to be any kind of reward for winning. Place first in the tournament and all you get is a pat on the back. You won't find any extra characters, bonus events or even a flashy ending at the first place podium. It won't take long to get tired of this game, especially if you are playing alone.
But don't get me wrong, Fuzion Frenzy is definitely a great one night party pleaser. It does have good graphics as well as the ability to play your hard drive tunes while you play. This game doesn't make the $50 climb, but as a rental for a night with friends, Fuzion Frenzy rocks.