After sports and music editions of the hugely popular stable of quiz games from the good fellows at Sony, a film themed version was of course the next logical move, and it goes far further than 39 steps in the right direction. If any round at a pub quiz is enduringly popular with every member of every team, it is the movie round, which connects generation gaps like a bridge over the River Kwai.
Just like a new addition of the seminal casual game SingStar, Buzz's status as the godfather of quiz show games leaves it footloose to do as it pleases, but the team at developer Relentless walk the line between innovation and familiarity with sense and sensibility. While there are new rounds and features, in most ways the format stays the same, bringing the proven formula of the first Buzz back to the future, without too much of a sense of déjà vu.
Again the presentation takes the format of a television show, this time in a new virtual set, with the games underrated lead character Buzz taking the helm. As a host he is in equal parts annoying and hilarious, and almost ranks alongside Guybrush Threepwood as one of the best of the comedians seen in videogames. He may not quite be the king of comedy, but he is as strong in personality as any recent video game protagonist.
This time around, the producers of Buzz! have made the wise choice of including easy and hard modes, allowing you to choose the intensity and pace of the game depending on the ability of your friends, which is wonderful if you're playing against the man who knew too much, or a friend with a beautiful mind.
'... for a title pitched at both the family demographic and the wine addled post-pub gamer, the difficulty level is no less than perfect.'
It must be said that if you are a real Barry Norman, you might actually cruise through the hard mode like an easy rider, as the really taxing questions are few and far between, but for a title pitched at both the family demographic and the wine addled post-pub gamer, the difficulty level is no less than perfect.
The questions themselves are numerous, and in total recall over 5000 pieces of trivia and include a cocktail of different features, including quotes, movie clips, and stills, but most importantly they are varied throughout. Occasionally the top gun that is Buzz throws you by testing your knowledge of Hollywood celebrity and gossip, but those moments are fortunately a rare breed.
However, it is in fact the rounds that make the game, as without well-structured ways of tackling the questions all 5000 may as well be 300. All the old favourites like point stealer return, and again there is clever emphases on levellers that allow those falling down the leader board a new hope. Original rounds come in the form of Fact or Fiction, which tests you ability to distinguish Hollywood certainties from true lies, and Rollover, which again lets those with less points indulge in trading places with the winner.
The sound of music in Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz is not the shining star of the game's audio, but brilliantly parodies its TV counterparts, and only suffers in comparison to the superb voice acting and satisfyingly chunky audio effects.
As a game for genuine film fanatics, Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz is an essential purchase this Halloween. Having gathered together a few good men and women, it will keep you spirited away on a long, good Friday away from the office space, and it can turn a dog day afternoon into a night to remember. Like any good quiz it will certainly arouse playful anger as powerful as the passion of Christ, and enjoyed with the family it can bring out rage like the wrath of Khan. As for causing blues, brothers and sisters are likely to hold the only grudge.
And if you were wondering, there are indeed plenty of film titles hidden in this review. I won't say how many, but if anyone can get them all in the comment space below, or over on the forums, then they are the official cinematic superman of Pro-G. If spotting any of them, or even trawling through for every last one appeals to you, grab a fist full of dollars and buy Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz today, or the day after tomorrow, because it's as wholesome and tasty as American pie. If you aren't a fan of the silver screen steer well clear, because the pleasure inherent will be alien to you. Otherwise, the return of the Jedi of quiz games is of Oscar winning quality.