Fusion Frenzy 2 [Xbox 360 Review]

Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studio
Game Rating: E10 (Everyone 10+)

One of my first experiences with the original XBOX was with the original Fuzion Frenzy. I had four controllers and four friends over. All of us sat down and played Fuzion Frenzy until someone said “Man I’m getting hungry”. Little did we know that seven hours had passed! We’d had so much fun playing this simple little party game that the time flew by much like it had in the days of Mario Party, which is exactly where Fuzion Frenzy was drawn from.

When Fuzion Frenzy 2 was announced I was excited. Instead of Microsoft trying to replicate Mario Party as they did with the original they went direct to the source and had Hudson Soft develop Fuzion Frenzy 2. So when the game arrived on my doorstep early last week I could not wait to slap the disc into my XBOX 360. Unfortunately, once I did I was a little disappointed. It is a fun game, but not the fantastic game I was expecting – yearning for, even.

“What went wrong?” “Why didn’t they improve some of the controls?” “What’s with the voice acting?” These are the questions that echoed through my brainpan as I played.

There are 43 mini games to be played including 6 that you must unlock by winning in Tournament Mode and going through all six characters. Many of my favourites games from the original didn’t make it in, but I was happy to see a few old friends like Turbine Jumper (Twisted System) and Sumo. I would like to have seen more of the music games from the original where you had to press certain key sequences at a certain moment. You can play the game offline or on Xbox Live in three ways: Tournament, Mini-Game Frenzy and Custom. In Tournament Mode, the old scoring system is in place while you battle it out on seven worlds: Amuseth, Blazer, Earth, Eternite, Icicle, Machina, and Moisture. It hurts me to say that the additional planets are bland, as are the characters.

The graphics are also rather boring and basic, even in the mini-games. Although with all the game action going on its not really surprising that a lot of effort wasn’t put into the graphics. Without a doubt, the worst part of this game is the voice over work. The most annoying being the host in the Tournament Mode. Horrendously dubbed and voice acted to the point that you would be willing to live out your life as a pixelated Donkey Kong, just to have the opportunity to squash him under a giant barrel. The individual characters are barely better and their lines are weak and irritating.

Another big drawback to Fuzion Frenzy 2 is the card system in tournament mode. No matter how good you are at the game you can be robbed of your points by this flawed system. Even the worst player can win a world by using cards. There is no balance to it. You’re given two cards to start with and can get other cards from the host or mini-mini-games with the bots usually drawing the best cards.

Online play can be fun, but also irritating. I was invited four times into a game with Xbox Canada, only to log on and be told “no sessions found”. I finally gave in and just hit up whoever was online. It can produce mild fun-like sensations, but when a host drops out for no reason you can become quite frustrated – especially if you’ve just won and desperately need the achievement and sense of accomplishment they just robbed you of.

Still, getting together with a group of friends and battling it out until one of you cracks (or gets hungry) is a blast. Even trying to beat your own record on Turbine Jumper is a blast… so far 118 is my best.

Presentation – 5.5
Nothing really stands out on this one.

Graphics – 5
Perhaps it wasn’t a great idea to get the developers of rival Nintendo Games to handle this one.

Sound – 4
I hope a patch is released to gag the announcer and to stream your own music.

Gameplay – 6.5
Although not perfect, it’s still fun to compete against friends and peeps on LIVE.

Lasting Appeal – 6.5
It might only take about 3 hours to get the majority of the achievements, but with 43 mini-game, online/offline play with 1-4 people, you could turn in quite a few hours.

Crave Factor – 6

Out of 10 (Not an average)

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