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October 27, 2005
Buzz: The Music Quiz - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
27/10/2005SonyRelentless Software1-4GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Look, it's the host Buzz.
In the current generation Sony has pushed gaming towards the mainstream 'non gamer' with peripherals and games such as Eye Toy and SingStar. Both have millions of fans the world over and the ability to play games without an unwieldy controller has brought many people to the system. Now Sony are taking a shot at the quiz game genre, and once again are bring a 'so simple even Homer Simpson can figure it out' styled peripheral out with it.

So before we get into the main review of Buzz: The Music Quiz let's discuss the new controllers which you get when you buy the game. As you can see in the image below (and no, its not wireless, they plug into the USB port on the PS2) the controllers contains four coloured buttons on the front which are used to select from the four possible answers to the questions. As well as this the control has a large red button on the top which is used as a normal quick answer or confirmation button. Oh yar, don't even think about using your Dual Shock 2 controllers, they won't work with this game. It's the new controllers or nothing.

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The all-new Buzz controller.
Buzz: The Music Quiz plays like any TV game show and as the title suggest the emphasis on this title is music. The game includes over 1,000 music clips – all international chart-toppers from the 1950s through to 2005 – and over 5,000 questions to test your knowledge. While we did start to hear the same music clip occasionally with over 5,000 questions we still haven't encountered the same question twice after dozens of games - at least we certainly can't recall doing so. The range of questions is impressive too. As well as naming songs and artists you may have to know what movie the song appeared in, or in what decade the song was released, or who the artist is married or related to. When you start the game you can select between Older music, Newer Music or Both which is a nice touch.

When you first boot the game you’re basically taken from the viewpoint of a contestant and asked a series of questions from a girl working on the show. Essentially this is your way into the game. As well as being selecting the single player or multi-player game you can select a likeness, and appearance for your character as well as entering your name and the length of the game you wish to play.

The single player game was where I first headed (being that no one else was home when I received the game). In this mode you play two games. The first is to accumulate time for the next round. The quicker you answer the questions correctly the more time you'll get for the second round. The second round is where you rack up the points to see how good you are. Single player is fine, but lacks the thrills of the multi-player mode in the game and it's unlikely that you'll return to it too often.

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Ready for action...
The real meat of Buzz: The Music Quiz comes via the multi-player modes. The more players you have the better this game gets and with 4-players it's an absolute blast. Multi-player includes a series of eight rounds. The highlights include a simple "Point Builder" which is a nice simple round to start off with which lets you build up some points. "Snap" is a mode where a series of answers flash onto the screen and the first person to hit the button when the correct answer is on the screen gets the points. "Offloader" is rather interesting in that you can either answer the question or offload it to someone who you think won't know the answer so they loose points. "Pass the Bomb" is probably the most amusing multi-player mode and sees you to passing a ticking bomb as long as you answer the question correctly. If it goes off when you're holding it, there goes some of your points! Without a doubt the multi-player mode is what saves this game. In fact, it's right up there with SingStar in terms of entertainment, although with a lot less embarassment.

So what are some of the problems in Buzz. Well we were a little disappointed in the need to go and see the scores after every single question. Not only is there a very brief pause to load the animations or speech for buzz, but there's no way to skip it which means you'll almost spend more time looking at the contestants then answering the questions. Secondly the game doesn't use the original music tracks with lyrics, and most of the audio samples run for no more then a few seconds. Without the lyrics there are no "Complete the next line in the song" type questions. Also, and somewhat understandably there are quite a few more obscure UK based questions then those from other territories around the world. We haven't heard any Ac/DC, John Farnham or Skyhooks questions yet, although we have seen some for Kylie Minogue (who's pretty much British now anyway) and Savage Garden.

While we understand this is a quiz title we have to admit we're a little disappointed with the graphics in this game. Most of the time you'll be looking at a screen with questions appearing on it and that's about it. Buzz is animated well but you'll only see him when looking at the scores and there's not really much in the way visual flare. Also disappointing, and I guess this comes down to licensing, is that there is no video clips to answer questions to, nor any photographs. I was hoping we might see an album cover and have to answer who the artist is and so on.

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The game show stage.
Being a music based quiz there was considerable disappointment to hear that these songs are not the original tracks but rather instrumental versions. Almost no songs had lyrics in them at all. Sure we understand the massive licensing hurdles that would have had to have been overcome to include 1000+ songs in a game such as this and what Sony have done is probably their only realistic option, but it still remains a disappointment. The only other audio is the speech. Buzz, who is voiced by Australia's own Jason Donovan, is fairly amusing and loves to have a dig at players who are struggling which is amusing in a multi-player match.

Make no mistake this is a great party game and will keep you entertained for many hours. Sadly the execution and presentation isn't as slick as we'd like and it's plain to see that there are several places where this game could have been improved even further. With more games to come hopefully, and as has been happening with Sony's Singstar, improvements can be made with each new version. Worth adding to your PS2 library if you're a music nut, or have plenty of parties at your place.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSThe characters are fine, but there's little to get excited about.
SOUNDThe lack of real songs is very disappointing. Amusing dialogue.
GAMEPLAYEngrossing, addictive and very enjoyable. Tonnes of variety too.
VALUE1,000 audio clips and 5,000 questions reduces repitition.
OVERALLThis is a fun party game but single player will fade quickly. Using short music samples, and not even the real ones at that, is extremely disappointing while the graphics and presentation could have been better. Hopefully subsequent games will be better.

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