Version tested: PlayStation 2
What better way to start a review of a movie quiz game than with a movie quiz? There are plenty of better ways actually but we've forgotten them and there's nothing on Wikipedia. So here goes: which movie ends with the line, 'Welcome to Hollywood! What's your dream? Everyone who comes to Hollywood's got a dream...' (We'll give you till the end of the review to answer.)
Don't know about you, but our Hollywood dream doesn't include being shouted at by a computer-generated Australian for half an hour. But that's something you just have to put up with in Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz, the first movie-focused instalment in the hit series of quiz games for PS2.
As you'll know if you've had experience of the previous ones, the Buzz! games are played with special controllers featuring four rectangular buttons for answering multiple-choice questions. They also have a big red button on top.
It's all designed to be very accessible, even for tiny children and silly ladies and craggy old duffers. (We once played it with someone so drunk they couldn't access it, though. "Push the red button. The red one. No. THE BIG RED ROUND ONE. IT'S FLASHING. No, I've told you, we're not putting SingStar on again," etc.)
Previous instalments have included the original music quiz, general knowledge quizzes and kiddies' versions. All are presented by the aforementioned CGI Australian and his improbably proportioned female assistant, and feature a range of cartoon characters for players to choose from. You then answer questions in a series of different rounds, each with their own rules.
Not much has changed for Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz. Apart from the questions, obviously, which are all about films, obviously. They're supposed to be about celebrities' lives and Hollywood gossip too, but very few are, and none of them are very interesting (select the Hugh Grant category and you won't find any mentions of Divine Brown, for example).
You can choose easy or hard questions, but even the supposedly more difficult set won't tax the average movie fan. This is definitely a game aimed at the whole family rather than someone taking a break from writing their thesis on the parallels in Ai No Corrida and The Boyfriend School.
As with the other Buzz! games, the rounds are nicely varied and well-balanced and offer plenty of chances for underdogs to catch up. New ones include Fact or Fiction, where you have to decide whether a statement about a particular film or star is true. It's a bit dull.
Then there's Rollover - players answer questions individually, and if they get them wrong the points go into a jackpot which the next player can win. As with all the best Buzz! rounds there's potential for real rivalry and resentment here, and it's fun.
Another addition to the Hollywood version is movie clips. There are over 100 of these, but you won't find them popping up in rounds very often. This is no great loss as they tend to ruin the momentum of the game while everyone sits there watching them.
New on the scene
So all in all, The Hollywood Quiz is just as enjoyable as the previous Buzz! titles - or just as tedious, if you're that way inclined. And that's assuming you're not expecting to be seriously tested if you're a real film fan.
But Buzz! is facing real competition in the quiz game market this Christmas from Scene It! Lights, Camera, Action. As you'll know if you read Tom's preview it's a shameless rip-off of Buzz!, and like The Hollywood Quiz it's all about movies. The differences are it's for Xbox 360, the controllers are wireless, the movie clips are HD and there's no sign of that stupid Australian.
Which might make it a more attractive proposition than Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz. There's one thing to bear in mind though - the Buzz! game is said to feature 5000 questions while, a little surprisingly, Scene It! has "over 1800". It would certainly take you a long time to get through 1800, but it's a little surprising that the old-gen movie quiz game has the more questions.
Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz will do just fine for PS2 owners who fancy a bit of movie trivia and can put up with the Australian, but, if you also own a 360, you might be better off waiting till a bit nearer Boxing Day to see if Scene It! is more your style.
Pretty Woman, by the way.
7 / 10