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Fuzion Frenzy

Blitz Games



1 - 4


The party genre explodes onto the Xbox, but does it explode in Microsoft's face?

With Mario Party, a new type of game was invented. Sure there have been multiplayer games before, and certainly one that were created solely for the purpose of being played with as many controllers as the console would allow. Until Mario Party, the "party game" didn't really exist. Sega and Sony have dabbled into the genre, but with limited success. With Xbox coming onto the market, Microsoft sees an opportunity to join the fray.

Fuzion Frenzy is Microsoft's entry into the party game genre, adding it to the Xbox launch. This move is to help with the overall appeal of the console. Primarily marketed at older gamers, the console doesn't have the family friendly image. Fuzion Frenzy is exactly the type of game that parents and kids will want to play together, and Microsoft is banking on that to not only widen its appeal, but its install base as well.

The setting for Fuzion Frenzy is different than other games. Rather than taking place on a board, the game takes place in a futuristic city, where participants compete in a tournament to win cash for various reasons. Unfortunately, these never become readily apparent, as the characters are never really fleshed out.

This brings us to the first real drawback of Fuzion Frenzy. With a lack of recognizable characters to draw from, new ones had to be created from scratch. While this is a good idea, none of the characters stand out, either in personality or abilities.

The game is set up into 6 distinct zones, each with its own environment. These environments determine what kinds of mini-games will be played. If you're in a boat, you can bet you're on the Waterfront, and if the music/rhythm mini-game is taking place in a club setting, you know you're playing Downtown.

Other environments include the Coliseum, where roll cages appear, the Outlands, demolition style mini-games take place here, away from the general population of the city, the Military Zone is where tanks are located, and the Power Station has some games featuring bugs.

These aren't the only types of mini-games available, but this gives you an idea of the variety of gameplay. There are over 40 mini-games in Fuzion Frenzy, and while other games within the genre have boasted more, there comes a saturation point where too many games spoil the fun and it becomes a chore. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of variety within the various types of mini-games. There are only so many tank games that can be played.

There are two modes of play in Fuzion Frenzy: Tournament and Minigame Frenzy. At the beginning of the tournament, you can select 2, 4, or 6 of the zones to be played. These zones will be randomly selected, and within them, 3 (again, randomly selected) mini-games will be played. These mini-games will award the player with orbs, which can later either be banked, or gambled at the end zone. The final game within each zone will have players collecting orbs and putting them in goals. Care will need to be given to other players attempting to steal orbs, which is why banking a certain amount of orbs is a good idea.

In Minigame Frenzy, each of the mini-games is available to be played separately. It is possible to go through as many or as few of the mini-games as wished. This is also where single games can be selected for practicing. The games are organized alphabetically, so knowing the names of each of the mini-games will help if you want to practice a specific type.

The music in Fuzion Frenzy doesn't stand out, which is neither a hindrance, nor does the game benefit. The option to select a soundtrack from the Xbox hard drive is a nice feature, but unfortunately, songs end when the mini-game is over. An option to have continuous music play would have been a nice touch.

Visually, the game looks like a first generation title on a next generation system. It looks good, but you know it could look better. There is some minor clipping, and the gameboard is a little hard to understand at time. It suffers the same problem that Gauntlet always has: how can you effectively fit 4 players on the screen, each doing their own thing? This is not to say that Fuzion Frenzy should have gone split screen. Instead, simpler arenas and slightly more basic colors would have been a better idea.

Certain features are missing, such as the ability to determine how many games to play within each zone, a specific "tournament creator", and organizing the mini-games by zone would all have been welcome features. With 6 different characters, one would expect them to have strengths corresponding to a specific zone, but alas, this is not the case.

Daniel "monk" Pelfrey
Fighting for his right.

Fuzion Frenzy: The Scores













The Final Word:  While Fuzion Frenzy has several things missing, what it does have is enjoyable in groups and small doses. This isn't the kind of game that will hold your attention for an hour, and if you have that much time to kill, there are plenty of other games out there to be enjoyed, both solo and multiplayer. Children and families or gamers that really like the party game genre will best enjoy this game.

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