Buzz The Music Quiz

by Angela Simpson
author awarded score: 80/100

Buzz The Music Quiz Review
Developer: Relentless
Publisher: Sony
Format Reviewed: PS2
Reviewed by: Angela

Remember the days when games would have you and your friends howling with laughter, you’d actually forget you were playing a game, it became more intrinsic via the experience than just a game, be it video game, board game or role-playing game with dice and books. The connection made with whatever the medium became something else and everyone taking part felt it, a sort of connection via the interface. It doesn’t happen often, last time this gamer truly felt it was when she was getting her ass kicked on Steel Battalion and had to reach for the eject button. Buzz has little in common with the aforementioned title, other than the connection value and odd game specific controller, you’re a contestant on a game show, with your friends and the Buzzer is in your hand, will you look a goose or win the show? Welcome to Buzz.

When you first see Buzz in the store, you’ll realise this is no ordinary game. The package comes with 4 controllers specifically made for the game. You don’t need 4 players to play it (2 will suffice) but it is recommended. The controllers themselves are beautifully crafted and add to the gaming experience overall given they are the ultimate TV game show buzzers. They have a large bulbous red button on top and 4 horizontal coloured buttons down the front, these will enable you to choose the corresponding answer whilst playing and these controllers are the only thing you’ll use with the game. Genius.

You can set the game up for a long, medium or short game and also choose your character (male or female) from the pop star / singers who are there (Elvis, Geri Halliwell and Liam Gallagher to name but 3 caricature look-a-likes) and some not so famous, more generic likenesses. You can also choose old music, new music or a mixture of both. You then put your name in using the cool buzzer controller and it’s time to begin. Everything is cleverly explained by your host and his beautiful quiz show bimbo, so there’s no trouble playing it at all. The ‘show’ is broken up into different styled sections or rounds, these include point gathering but also more amusing sections such as being able to steal another players points or passing a bomb with an ever decreasing timer, get the question wrong and you hold the bomb for longer, till ‘boom’, you lose points and your fellow contestants guffaw in your general direction. With a group of friends this is hilarious and should definitely be experienced. The controllers themselves do add to proceedings also. The only downside is that although there are 1000 questions, repeated play (well it is that much fun!) may well result in repeated song clips. On the upside the end credits reveal other Buzztastic titles in the making, these include the uber quiz, which will probably be more of a general knowledge quiz, a sports quiz and this reviewers favourite the movie quiz! All to be released in 2006. Bring it on Relentless!

It’s very cute and cartoony, there’s nothing overtly serious here. Buzz (your host) looks like a muppet (Guy Smiley? – Ed) more than a human being, but it doesn’t distract from the game. The character models are all humorously done, some of which mimic famous stars. It’s bright and it’s all very cheesy Quiz Show in feel, so cheesy you can smell the fromage from the offset, but this just adds to the overall atmosphere of the title.

Given that the entire game is based around sound, this is a fairly important part of the review. The songs played are not the original recordings, it’s assumed because this would have been hugely expensive for the developers. What you get instead are recreated pieces that mirror the original fairly closely. There was only a couple of occasions when the music played was difficult to distinguish as the song it was meant to be, all in all it’s very well done. Buzz, the host of the game, is comically voiced by Australian actor Jason Donovan and it works because the accent is neither Australian or British, it’s very much a cheesy quiz show host voice, which is obviously what it is meant to be, overall the voice acting is cheesiliscious and well done. Buzzer sounds are also hilarious, though it is difficult to distinguish these within the actual gameplay.

Deaf Gamer…
This is the one part of the review that is sadly going to be wholly negative. Given the gameplay is based around hearing a song and pressing the buzzer when you recognize what it is, the deaf gamer is going to be unable to play this title. Sadly there would be no way of including the deaf gamer via text or other means as the entire premise of the game is to know the song by an audio cue.

Female Gamer Angle…
There’s positives and negatives here really. On the upside you can choose a female character and there’s also peripheral female characterisation in the form of the game hostess, the cool backstage producer / stage manager type. On the downside they’re all big titted to the point of stupidity. Yes we can see the humour value, but Buzz is not strutting about with a buzzer in his nicely pressed pants, so why are game developers still opting for this sexist card? Stranger still is the fact this title is clearly being dual marketed to both male and female gamers and this was no doubt in the minds of the developers during the development stage, even if it was only in the wrongly but much touted opinion that we female gamers only play puzzle / singing / games of this type *ugh!!* It’s very strange but perhaps they’ll remodel the female characters in the follow-up titles, we can but hope they’ll realise big tits do not a cool female gaming character make.

Relentless have come up with what is the best quiz game available on any format. With 3 friends this is absolutely hilarious fun and really shows you what a good peripheral and a simple interface can bring to gaming. It’s superb but does have a couple of problems, as mentioned the sexism in character models is just oh so boring now that most female gamers (and possibly some male gamers – Ed.) are probably going to roll their eyes and think ‘why oh why’. Also the 1000 song limit could be a problem for truly repetitive gameplay unless add-on disks become available. Negative points aside though this is a brilliant package of cheesy cliché gameshow goodness. If you’re looking for a game that will have everyone from the younger family members all the way to granny playing this Christmas then this is a must buy.