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The party genre explodes
onto the Xbox, but does it explode in Microsoft's
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Frenzy: The Scores
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