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."
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
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
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.